menu planning

Hey guess what! I've started meal planning!

Meal planning is pretty basic - you sit down one day and map out your meals for the upcoming week, or two weeks, or month if you are super-mom (which, hello, I am NOT, on account of not being a mom and also not being super enough to plan meals for a MONTH).

Some folks plan out breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. I am good with just doing dinners, since Brian doesn't eat breakfast much and lunch is usually leftovers (for him) or sandwiches for me (or maybe leftovers too).

Back when I was working and Brian was in school, he did a lot of the cooking and I just tried to make sure we had a little bit of everything on hand. I tried menu planning a few times, but Brian - who has an extreme aversion to rules, lists, schedules, boundaries, etc. a major spontaneity/creativity streak (love you hon!) - was resistant. And since I didn't have the time or energy to do it all myself, we just kinda would wing it most nights.

Well...NO MORE! Now that he's the one working (HA!) and I sit around eating bon bons and watching soap operas all day (DOUBLE HA!) I figured it might be a good idea to bring back the meal plan idea. So I did. I did one for most of last week's dinners, and last night I scribbled one out for this week.

A lot of of the frugal/homemaking blogs I read will make their new meal plan on Sunday, which makes sense especially given the Sunday circulars - wherein they scope for great deals and plan meals around what's cheap this week. I've noticed here in Denver that a lot of stores run their sales Wednesday through Tuesday, AND, with Brian's weekday off being Monday, I have sorta gotten in the habit of my 'weekends' being Sunday/Monday and am naturally inclined for my 'week' to begin on Tuesday - which would include the meal plan. So I'm in this weird little time warp and I haven't bothered to reconcile it. Buying lots of meat when it's cheap has worked well enough in the cheap-stuff department.

Another thing I like about meal plans - it gives me a way to experiment with new recipes. I've got a couple in the pipeline for this week. I think it's a lot of fun to poke through some of the cookbooks we received as wedding gifts to find something new to try. And if I don't feel like looking through books, I'll just make a list of things I already know we like. No harm, no foul.

So who wants to sneak a peek at this week's dinner plans? I KNEW you did!

Tuesday - potato and leek soup (leek is a new vegetable to us, and soup is usually a safe way to introduce something...yes?) with some of the leftover bread from last week - an assortment of cornbread, biscuits, and featherlights
Wednesday - barbecups, canned corn, and salad (barbecups are something I came across in the Virginia Farmers cookbook we received as a wedding present. It consists of a muffin tin lined with crescent rolls, and then you put ground beef and onions cooked and mixed up in barbecue sauce into the crescent rolls, and you put some shredded cheese on top and bake until the crescent rolls are done. They make little cups full of barbecued beef and it's one of those recipes you can mix up a lot and do whatever you want with.)
Thursday - chicken tetrazzini, with more salad (because if we don't eat our lettuce up front, we don't eat it, and that is sad)
Friday - dinner out. Brian is leaving that evening for the youth group ski retreat, so we're going to get a little something cheap and yummy before the high schoolers descend and I am left alone with the dogs for 52 hours I get a couple of solid days of work on the house  
Saturday - chicken lo mein (something I have wanted to learn to cook for ages and I finally got some noodles! Brian isn't a huge fan so this is a good thing for an alone weekend.
Sunday - leftovers
Monday - pasta, likely spaghetti or macaroni and cheese, and whatever vegetables are about to go bad. Otherwise, Monday is when we'll eat whatever meal I had planned that week but for some reason didn't cook (such as, emergency pizza night, dinner invitation, etc.)

Do you do a weekly meal plan?


  1. I do! I do!
    Actually, I plan monthly, BECAUSE I'm not a Super-Mom and not spontaneous and creative like the SM's I know.

  2. I couldn't live without my meal plan! It is SO helpful with all the other stuff I have going on.

    One reason for the Sunday timing of the meal plans (in addition to it being the beginning of a new week) is to match up coupons with the weekly sales. Since coupons come out in Sunday's paper, this gives you Sunday-Tuesday to use coupons+sales, before the new circular comes out. (I've used Grocery Game before, if you're interested). Hope that makes sense!

    Your menu for the week looks yummy! It looks like you've got a little variety, which is always a good thing!

  3. This is such a cute blog and I love your information. I've started menu planning, too. I work for a cooking software company and decided to try out their product(duh!). Anyway, it's amazing, and has simplified my life a TON. Without sounding like an infomercial, you might want to check their stuff out (www.dvo.com). I hope to continue following you. I do a blog dedicated to making life simpler in the kitchen so moms have more time and mental wherewithal to get the dinner on the table (www.makingfamilydinnerhourpossible.blogspot.com). Please take a look when you have a minute. And keep up the good work! This is so reader-friendly!

  4. meal planning has been a huge thing for me starting last year. I've saved SO much money and time and gas (multiple trips to the grocery store from not deciding the night of on what to have for dinner). It also saves money because I'm less likely to go out to eat if I have something written down and scheduled to make. I only plan one week at a time. I've even become a moderate couponer. I don't have one of those big baseball card books like the serious couponers do, but I do use quite a few.

    I basically get a rush out of lists and plans ;)

  5. Ha, I get a rush out of lists and plans too :) AND I get a rush out of not having to think about dinner and just doing it.

    Cara - I have heard of the grocery game but I haven't decided yet if becoming a super couponer is worth the time an effort yet, given everything else happening. I do think about it sometimes, though :)


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