I started menu planning in 2006. I had just had our second baby, I was doing the stay at home mom thing, and someone who was helping us with our budget (much-needed at the time) told me I needed to menu plan because our food/grocery spending was out of control. I think it was around $200-$250/week at that time.
I was pretty overwhelmed at the idea of planning an entire menu ahead of time every week, so I did some searching and started with Menus4Moms. At the time, she was doing a free menu plan each week with recipes and a grocery shopping list (she now charges a fee and has several different plans). It was just what I needed at that time to get started and I learned a lot about cooking and menu planning there.
I’ve been doing it on my own for a while now, but I am not always consistent. Lately, I’ve been kind of loosey-goosey with it and that causes me to go grocery shopping more often and spend more money than I would like. It also can be stressful when I’m not sure what I’ll be making for dinner each night. The disorganization doesn’t help with my problems with wasting food, either!
Soooo I’ve decided that I will try to do real week-long menu plans and only go grocery shopping once a week. I’m also trying to pay attention to what I already have on hand, and use things up that need to be used before they go bad/expire. Oh yes, and I’m also trying to eat healthier and cut down on processed foods. And I’m trying to simplify the whole process, too! Menu planning helps with that for sure.
Last week was my first week, and it went very well! (And by the way I spent about $125, including non-food grocery items, which I’m very happy with!)
Here’s my menu plan from last week, with notes of any changes:
Sunday: Homemade Pizza (I double it and use part whole wheat flour)- one pizza with cheese, and one with pepperoni and banana peppers, raw veggies & dip
Monday: Shepherd’s Pie, cantaloupe (I was going to do a green salad, but didn’t)
Tuesday: Curried Chicken Divan (with broccoli) served over brown rice (my daughter requested this meal)
Wednesday: Hearty Lentil Soup (a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that I modify a little), cherries
Thursday: Tuna Salad Sandwiches, raw veggies
Friday: Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad (see picture above) This was the first time I made this as the entrée instead of a side dish.
Quiche and fruit salad Leftover night! (This was Mr. RSS’s idea. He loves leftovers. He’s a good boy. I wanted to bail out and go to Chick-fil-A! )
And now my menu plan for this week:
Sunday: Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Feta (See the picture above: I used free organic cherry and grape tomatoes that we got from an event with Mr. RSS’s work and basil from our garden! ), corn on the cob
Monday: Grilled Rockfish with grilled veggies, brown rice
Tuesday: London Broil Steak Salad (I won’t follow the recipe exactly)
Wednesday: Roast Chicken, green beans, potatoes
Thursday: West Indian Rice and Beans (new recipe I’m trying), salad
Friday: Chicken salad or BBQ chicken pizza – can’t decide!
Saturday: Leftover night 🙂
Do you menu plan? Making anything fun this week?
I’m linking up with Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com. Check out the gobs of menu plans you can find there each week!