Last week in this post I gave an overview of how I do my monthly menu planning. In this post I’m going to explain what I do so that it is easy and not at all overwhelming to plan a whole month of meals.
Here is a close up of my calendar for this month (please excuse the lack of neatness… when I wrote it up I didn't intend for other people to see it!) It's not the prettiest thing around, but it is easy to get started and is something I can keep up with.
To start with, decide what type of meals you want every week. Here is what I have for this month: Sundays- crock pot meal, Monday- beef, Tuesday- beef, Wednesday- any type, Thursday- beef, Friday- chicken, Saturday- pork or fish. I use to do a non-meat day to save some $$, but hubby likes his meat. I generally try to write side dishes as well to go with the meals that don’t already have vegetables in them. I’m still working on this one. Hubby is not a big fan of vegetables and I’m not the best at pairing sides and meals, but it’s coming!
To go about selecting recipes for the month, I start working from last month’s meals that I didn't make or that I want to repeat. That usually takes care of half the menu! If you are starting from scratch, that won’t help you, but it will the next month! Then, I look for one type of meal and fill in all of those, before moving to the next type of meal. So, all of my crock pot meals are filled in and then all the beef and so on. The nice thing about carrying meals over to the next month that didn’t get made is that I’ve already shopped for those ingredients (minus perishables, of course) so, that is less that I need to buy this month!
For breakfast I try to do the same thing each week. For example, every Sunday we have eggs, every Monday is oatmeal or baked oatmeal, every Tuesday is some kind of breakfast bread (banana, butternut squash, zucchini, carrot…and I try to make that Monday night), Wednesday is pancakes, Thursday is a rotation of homemade granola cereal or pinto (a Costa Rican dish), Friday is some form of eggs (crust-less quiche, baked ham and egg cups, omelets, scrambled eggs with a variety of add ins) and Saturday is Oatmeal.
For us, dinner is really light. We do leftovers some of the time, but I have a list of different ideas, like fast soups, tuna cakes, tuna sandwiches, quesadillas, tortilla pizzas, grilled cheese, grilled pizza sandwich (my personal favorite!) and such like that. Those usually don’t make it onto the menu, but I’m trying to work my way into doing that as well.
I often ask friends on Facebook for new recipe ideas and I’m always searching Pinterest.
Here are some links to some of my favorite recipes I've found on Pinterest:
(I do have to make some adjustments for what we like and what we can get here, but they are minor.)
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Banana Bread (So easy and so good! Substitue butter for oil)
Skinny Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones
Smothered Chicken (Substitute wine for chicken broth)
Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Easy Alfredo Sauce
Hope this can be a help to some of you!