What's for supper?
I love being able to answer, "Look at the schedule!" It makes my life soooo much simpler. I always know what we're having because I already decided, days or weeks ago. I know the ingredients are in the pantry, fridge or freezer. And I know the food budget won't go over because by having a plan, I can stock up when the basics are on sale. I can keep some money back and buy a large, inexpensive, locally raised piece of meat and have it cut into pieces the size I need for my family.
But how do I write a plan for the whole month? I use a few techniques. First I set themes to each day of the week: Monday - leftovers, Tuesday - beef, Wednesday - chicken, Thursday - pork, Friday - pizza, Saturday - soup, Sunday - chicken/fish. But of course, this is just a plan and isn't carved in stone. Sometimes I'll slip in a meatless night, sandwich night or whatever else comes to mind. But generally, the themes point me in the direction to go.
And from here, I cheat! Because I already have a meal plan written. It's called Supper Plan for December! And with just a few changes, it will become the meal plan for January. Looking at the birthday and holiday calendars, I don't have anything to work around, and all the meals I made in December were well received by the family, so writing a plan for January is simply the process of copying.
Friday, 1st - pizza (take-n-bake or homemade)
Saturday, 2nd - broccoli cheese soup
Sunday, 3rd - baked fish, tossed salad, roasted vegetables
Monday, 4th - leftovers (I always have sandwich fixings in the fridge which is the back-up plan.)
Tuesday, 5th - shepherd pie
Wednesday, 6th - chicken spaghetti
Thursday, 7th - pork steak, baked beans, corn
Friday, 8th - pizza
Saturday, 9th - chili and corn bread
Sunday, 10th - chicken tacos
Monday, 11th - leftovers
Tuesday, 12th - beef sausage, hash browns, green beans
Wednesday, 13th - slow cooker chicken, page 170 (no idea what this recipe is today, but that's ok)
Thursday, 14th - slow cooker pork roast, potatoes, veg
Friday, 15th - pizza (maybe on ciabatta bread for variety)
Saturday, 16th - lentil soup, fresh baked bread
Sunday, 17th - baked fish, tossed salad, roasted vegetables (recipes can repeat within the month)
Monday, 18th - leftovers
Tuesday, 19th - beef gravy over toast, peas (which sounds boring today, but who knows in 3 wks?)
Wednesday, 20th - chicken, angel hair pasta, CA med veg (one of our favorites)
Thursday, 21st - stuffed baked potatoes - cheese sauce, broccoli, bacon, SC, chives, etc.
Friday, 22nd - pizza
Saturday, 23rd - chicken, veg and rice soup
Sunday, 24th - not sure... time to look up a new chicken recipe
Monday, 25th - leftovers
Tuesday, 26th - sloppy joes, corn and peas or tacos
Wednesday, 27th - slow cooker chicken ala king
Thursday, 28th - ham and cheesy potato bake, peas or broccoli
Friday, 29th - pizza or spaghetti
Saturday, 30th - potato soup and tossed salad
Sunday, 31st - baked fish, tossed salad, roasted veg (this is the only fish meal I have, but I get no complaints)
Tadaaa!! That took about 10 minutes! Of course I will copy it over to a calendar that hangs in the kitchen. And I'll still have to check my inventory levels and write a shopping list, but this is the starting point.
What about lunches and breakfast? I pack lunches for husband and daughter which include lunch meats/summer sausage/tuna salad, cheese/yogurt, fresh veg, fresh fruit, pretzels, and something sweet. It's a lot of the same kinds of foods without being the exact same foods every day. My lunch is usually either leftovers, sandwich, or salad. And breakfasts are pretty simple - homemade granola, fruit & yogurt, eggs & toast. Again, simple.
Are you a planner? What does your plan look like - no plan? weekly? monthly? Let's stop re-inventing the wheel and share.