Thursday, January 24, 2013

What's cookin'?

Sometimes I like to see how other people do things.  I like to get new ideas.  I am a wonderful copy cat!,but I tweak it if I need to so that it works for me. 

I thought I'd show you how I menu plan.  I made this chart up in MS Word years ago.

If you are unfamiliar with Word - here is what I did.
  1.  Make your title first (whatever you want above your chart.)
  2.  INSERT (In the drop down menu choose table.)
  3.  Select the number of columns and rows you desire.
  4.  Adjust squares for font space and for empty spaces.
  5.  Repeat, if more grids are desired.

I created the space where the days of the week are to allow for writing in the date.  This helps me with planning for any special event (like a birthdays, or guests, or meetings.)

Over the years I have found that planning for the same type of meal on a specific day allows me to plan simply, yet gives us variety.  I use this idea for all the meals. For example.  Breakfast for Monday is muffins.  Each Monday it's a different type of muffin.   Another day we have yogurt with granola, etc.  This is a super easy way to plan.  I know it's not for everyone as some would think this boring, but that's why we don't have the same kind of muffin.  It's different each week.

Lunch is often leftovers or whatever is easy - I don't really plan lunches, I just try to have "stuff" available. 

For suppers I use the same method.  Mondays we have soup and homemade bread.  Each Monday will be a different soup.   I just started having salad and sandwich night.  I usually grill up some yummy Panini sandwich and try a new salad.  So far, so good! 

Some advantages of the way I menu plan.
  • I am a visual person and having the grids (like a calendar) lets me get an overall feel for how much of certain things we are eating.  I can balance our meat and meatless dishes a little better - which is better for the budget.
  • It helps us use fresh, in season fruits and vegetables. 
  • I can more accurately plan quantities (cans of beans needed, for example) - preventing those unexpected stops to the store.
  • It makes variety easy - something different each night.
  • It has made cooking with food allergies easier.  For example, on soup and bread night - I just make sure the soup is a soup with ingredients we can all eat.  The bread is the side and can be omitted by those who need to.
  • It allows for the older children to know what is planned so they can make dinner. :-)
Periodically, I'll go and change the categories of meals.  After all everyone has their likes and dislikes.

Hope this helps you.  I'd love to hear what you've got cookin'.

1 comment:

  1. I do something similar, but mine is on my Google calendar. I like it being digital because it is far easier to move things around if I need to and that way Curtis can share my calendar to see what's for dinner that night. So, for right now I have my meals scheduled on Google through the end of April. LOVE IT!


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