My Meal Plan!

I have tried a lot of different menu plans.  I used to assign the meals for the whole month by writing what we would eat on the calendar.  The problem with that was we didn't ever want to eat what was on the calender the night it was assigned or plans would change and we ended up wasting food. In the past I have planned meals for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  Now, to keep things simple I only plan for dinner.  

Breakfast is usually cereal, or oatmeal or other things like pancakes, waffles or eggs and we almost always have the ingredients on hand.  For lunch we usually eat things like sandwiches, cheese crisps, wraps, mac & cheese....things that don't require a recipe.  The only thing I have to really plan for is Dinner and this is how I do it! ; )

I make a list of dinner options. I look in the fridge and see what needs to be used.  I try and plan the foods around what we have or what's on sell.  Once I have my list I hang it on the fridge so we have options throughout the week.  Next I go to the recipe binder and pull the index cards for the recipes that are on the dinner options list.  This is a good chance for me to check and see if I need to buy any extra ingredients.  If I do need ingredients then I add it to my grocery list (on the side of the fridge on a notepad.) 

I love this because when it's time to cook I still have some choice as to what we want to eat, but not 1,000 options.   I have easy access to the recipe and know that I have all of the ingredients.

This is working good for our family and the stage we are at right now!  I don't have a set day that I make a list, but it seems to happen Sunday night most of the time.  When we are running low on options...that's when I make a new options list and plan grocery shopping.  

Sometimes I'll make double and throw half in the freezer for nights I don't want to cook. To keep things different I have made a goal to add a new recipe to the options list each time it's created.  This week I added the chicken-cordon-bleu-pasta to our list....it was SOOOO yummy and i'm sure will become a regular.  

I LOVE these simple magnet clips... When It's time to cook I like to put the recipe in the clip and hang it on the stove (right next to where I usually prepare the meals. ; )

What do you do to plan your meals?



  1. I LOVE this idea!! I always have the same problem - simple solution, but I never thought of it!!

  2. lisa silva6/01/2012

    I do a 15 day meal plan. Similar to your idea...my shopping and meals are based on the weekly sales. Our family picks in the morning what they want for dinner. I take out what I need to defrost. I also like to add a couple new recipes a month. I buy fresh fruits and veggies and milk weekly at the farmers market otherwise I have to shop only once a month. A small.freezer is a must. Thanks for all your great ideas.

  3. I just started planning our meals out for the week on Mondays, I also go grocery shopping on Mondays. Then I just choose from that list what I would like to make for dinner that night.I made a cookbook for our little family that has all the recipes that we like to make. Its a three ring binder with pictures, in page protectors. Easy to use and keeps us within our budget.

  4. I love this idea too, we actually have a list of meals we make but my problem is whether we have all the ingredients for them or even the meal we pick! For example I'd say we're doing beef stroganoff and I make it all only to find out I have to run to the store for the noodles! Do you have any tricks to make sure you have every little thing for each meal besides thinking you did a correct inventory lol?

  5. Jessica, I have had the happen too. When I am choosing the dinner options it helps to look over the recipe and do a quick inventory just to make sure I have all the ingredients. Sometimes something is overlooked and I end up doing a quick trip to the store (which I hate because then I spend more money) or just choosing a different dinner choice. I hope that helps! ; )

  6. Anonymous11/07/2012

    I do my meal plans by the week with an 8 week rotation. I have rated each meal on a scale of 1 to 4 - with 4 being the most time consuming or difficult. Every week gets at least one meal that is a "1", and one vegetarian dinner(saves $). I created a shopping list for each meal that includes everything down to how many cups of flour or tablespoons of olive oil and then made a combined list for the week. When I am making my shopping list, I pull up these detailed lists and look through my fridge, canisters, spice rack and cabinets to make sure I have everything I need. The weekly shopping lists are also organized according to how I shop at my local store, not by meal. For example, all the dairy items are listed together, fresh foods, meats, etc... After I check the kitchen for ingredients, I delete what I don't need and print a list of what remains. It takes a lot to set it up but it works like a charm once you get it going.

  7. I also usually plan a weekly menu. I look at my week and see what else is going on, and plan meals around that. I make my menu Thursday - Wednesday. Wednesday, usually being a leftover night. I do assign a meal to each day, but am not married to that, so if we decide we don't want to eat a certain meal on said day, then we just switch it up! I love meal planning! I also try to always have at least one new recipe in my menu, and at least one dessert.



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