Number one, I don’t have to worry about what to make for dinner on a daily basis. It’s already written out for me. All I need to do it throw it together!
Two, I know days in advance what I need to take out of the freezer to defrost. Have you ever had a meal planned out in your head only to realize that you forgot to take your ingredients out of the freezer? Yea, I’ve done that on more than one occasion.
Three, it makes writing my shopping list easy. I already have what I’ll be making written down, so if the ingredients are not in my cupboard, or if I’m almost out, then I add it to the list!
And finally, it saves me money since I only buy what I know I need based on the menu! I’ll admit that I have a bad habit of walking in to the store only needing a few things and walking out with more than I can carry. We’ve all done it. You see something and say “Oh that might be good.” Only you buy it and realize weeks or even months later that you’ve never used it. Yep, been there!
There are many different ways you can put a menu together. I prefer to write mine based on pay day. So I only do the really big grocery trips twice a month. This way I only need to make a weekly trip to the store for small items like milk and any produce that we’ve run out of. But some like to write out their menu’s weekly, or even monthly and that’s perfectly fine. You want to find and do what works for you.
When creating a menu, you want to also take into account what you already have that you can use. In the menu above, I will be heating up spaghetti sauce that I have in my freezer and I know that I have plenty of pasta, so I don’t need to buy any ingredients for that meal except for the salad. I will also be making a split pea soup, and I wrote that I have a ham bone in the freezer that I will be using. I made some BB-Q pulled pork a few weeks back and I saved the bone from the pork solder and put it in the freezer. Now I will use it for soup!
Don’t feel like you have to have a fancy meal planned for each day. Eat what you and your family enjoy. You can see I have written “Leftovers” on the days when I know we will have plenty of food left from the previous meals. Make sure you eat your leftover. If your not big on leftovers, try incorporating them into a different dish. And don’t be afraid to change things up. Who said you can’t have eggs for dinner? My family loves Breakfast for Dinner! It’s something we look forward too. Like a special treat.
Take into account your schedule. If you know your going to have a very busy week, maybe plan a couple crock-pot meals. You can see above that we will be having hot dogs next weekend. There is a big game on TV and I am not going want to be stuck in the kitchen making dinner. So hot dogs it is =)
So that is how I do my menu planning. I hope you find it helpful. =)