What’s Your Plan? Week 1

As I may have lamented a time or two – menu planning is no joy ride at our house.

But menu plan we must.

Why?

Because it saves us a TON of money.

Because it spares us copious quantities of stress.

Because it brings a little bit of cohesion to what could be a very chaotic schedule.

Because it helps us factor in the different individuals needs.

Because it really is the right thing to do.

Why we buck it so much, I just don’t know. Honestly – it doesn’t take that long. Particularly if we happen to remember to incorporate the kids when we’re sitting down to plan.

So I’m gonna try something kinda revolutionary.

Every Saturday, I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

(Little confession here – I consider it raging success if we can get dinner menus planned, I’m not even going to go anywhere near planning breakfast and lunch menus. We’re all old and skilled enough in our household to fend for ourselves for those two meals each day.)

So – here it is – Week 1 of this resolution of sorts, and for the past week our kids have been away from home. Jess has been in Hawaii with friends. Jonathan has been at high school camp. William has been at middle school camp. John and I have used this less complex week to enjoy some peace, quiet, and quite a bit more risky menu options in the kids’ absence. It’s been quite an experience – this little foretaste of Empty Nest Syndrome. And you know what? I will miss my kids whenever and wherever they go – but just the two of us, John & I – it’s a-okay in my book!

Sunday – DIY at lunch time after church; Turkey wings & thighs on the grill at the evening meal

Monday – Chicken Stir-Fry with Yakisoba Noodles

Tuesday – Spaghetti either with meat sauce or carbonara – I can’t decide

Wednesday – Tacos

Thursday – Fish (probably on the grill)

Friday – Raviolis with chicken in Alfredo sauce

Saturday – Burgers/Dogs on the grill

Typically each meal has a vegetable dish and/or salad, and some sort of starch on the side as well. Don’t tell my kids, but I’m gonna give quinoa a spin this week – it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out and what they think of it!

So that’s all there is to it!

In coming weeks I’ll share some tidbits that we’ve learned over the years to help take some of the pain out of getting a menu planned and successfully executed.

Now – tell me…

What’s Your Plan?

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10 thoughts on “What’s Your Plan? Week 1

  1. I agree totally, feeding a family of 7 has always been a bit of a challenge. I use a great website I found awhile ago. It costs 5 bucks a month. I print the menu’s with the list. So easy and super cheap. I always modify a bit to make it a little healthier but it costs me about 90 bucks a week for 7 meals for 7 people. It is called ezmeals.com, heard about it on Dave Ramsey, swear by it!

    • Dana – I don’t know how you do it. And I know you guys are busier than I can even begin to comprehend. I congratulate you for finding a system that works for you – and so affordably, as well! Gold star!

  2. Because there are only the two of us I make meals that serve 4 people which gives us dinners for two nights. It has worked out great for us. We also eat 5 times a day: 3 meals and 2 snacks. 300-100-300-100-500.

    Here’s my week:

    Lunch for Mon/Wed/Fri will be Shrimp Penne Salad (we make low calorie recipes that last all week). Tues/Thurs are usually a snack bar, yogurt, and fruit or something similar.

    Sat/Sun
    chicken with veggies over noodles and pineapple/mandarin jello salad

    Mon/Tues
    BBQ pork with bacon and pineapple skewers, rice and corn on the cob.

    Wed/Thurs
    Turkey Ham Bean Soup with cornbread

    Fri/Sat
    Stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu, Sweet potato, asparagus

    We do pretty good sticking with the menu but sneak in treats sometimes…a little too often I think. My will power is awful and I wish I could control it better…menus help.

    • Tammi,

      Thanks so much for sharing! I love seeing what other people are doing for their menus! Your system is great – and well thought out. BTW – I *adore* bean soup. Is there anything more amazing and warm and yummy?! Hmmm…. I’m thinking I might just have to make some of that for my lunches this week!

  3. In my raising the Kids years…I found anytime I could cook once and eat twice was a HUGE budget and time saver. An example…Sunday roast two chickens…one for Sunday dinner and maybe Tuesday would be Chicken enchiladas. Monday brown hamburger meat plus some extra, make Pasta with meat sauce, Thursday use the browned hamburger to make Tacos or Sloppy Joes. Friday Cook a deep pit type roast, Saturday add barbque sauce to the leftovers and have bbq burgers.

    Every couple of days I would make a large Side dish to last a couple days…a pasta salad, a potato salad, pot of beans, fruit salad, green salad, Mashed taters….. Cook once, eat two or three times.

    • Brilliant, Jo!

      I’ve recently been trying to make an “extra” meal to have in the fridge to re-heat. Or maybe have an extra pasta salad or grain-type on hand to snack on – instead of something with stupid calories in it, you know?

      I love your cook once eat twice strategy for meals, though. I guess I’ve done that – but only by accident! – now and then. I so appreciate you sharing this – I’ll try to be much more strategic with stuff like this!

      Blessings!

  4. I use a computer program called MasterCook to plan the week’s meals and shopping list. It helps me make sure I have what I need on hand for all of the ingredients of the week, and then I am not as tempted to purchase something else (unless it is a Really Good Sale).
    This week is grilled burgers tonight; meatless Monday tomorrow – probably baked potatoes; crockpot Tuesday: sweet and sour chicken; Wed will be a pasta night, spaghetti; Thursday is most likely kielbasa and rice, with Friday as pizza day. Unless my husband is out of town one night, and then it will be breakfast for dinner.

    • Jules – you’re the second person I’ve talked to recently who mentioned MasterCook – interesting! I actually have a program called Living Cookbook – but *shame* I really only use it to analyze recipes to see what kind of nutritional content they have, and well – for recipe storage, too. It does have a menu planning function – I’ve just never taken the time to utilize it. You’re so with it!

      Thanks so much for sharing your menu!

  5. I have always been a “planner”. It’s just the 2 of us, but I have always liked knowing what I was cooking for the week. For the past 6-7 months I’ve been trying to plan a whole month of menus at once. It’s been harder to accomplish this summer, but I’m not giving up yet! I like the freedom of not needing to come up with a weekly menu each Sunday, in time to do grocery shopping on Monday.

    This week is: Turkey Kielbasa/onions/peppers Pasta (skillet); salmon loaf with dill sauce; chicken cutlets with seasoned buttered noodles; layered taco dip & chips (using ground turkey);chicken stir-fry with garden veggies & brown rice; meatloaf (testing new recipe) & baked potatoes. We always have fresh veggies and most often a green salad along with our meals. Leftovers are for lunches or to share with the folks!

    • Merilou,

      I’ve got to confess – when it’s just John & I for a meal at home, more often than not we just try to find something to eat for ourselves, not make a concerted effort for an actual “meal.” Total gold star for being so organized and motivated! I know we’ve got to do that! And your menu is lovely! Certainly would make one WANT to comply with the plan, huh?!

      Thanks for sharing!

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