Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Menu Planning

I suck at menu planning. I've tried to do it for about 3 months now and I can get a month's worth of plans ready, have it all on a spreadsheet sorted by days and then basically I don't cook anything I planned. But hey, it's nice to know I have options.

It's been working okay since I have learned a few key concepts that have turned my grocery shopping around.

1. Don't ever buy anything at full price. Maximize savings by shopping with coupons & sales and then stock up if you can. Especially if the item is close to being free.

2. Make your grocery list from the sales flyers & coupon match ups.

3. Stick to your list!

4. Make your menu plan from your stockpiled items & current grocery list.

Used to be I'd make a weekly menu plan, make a specific list of food, go to the grocery store and would be very proud of myself if I stuck to the list. And hey, if something happened to be on sale, well, yippee-ki-yi-yay. Coupons were a rarity. And my 75$ never took me very far, but I've learned that's because I was doing it all backwards & not looking for the deals.

So, I've got the shopping/stockpiling/budgeting down and I've been doing pretty decently with the menu planning, but I came across this template for weekly menu planning and for some reason I just really like it. I use the grocery list column for unusual ingredients I need. Maybe because it isn't overwhelming? Who knows, but I like it and I like getting other peoples menu ideas at this OrganizedJunkie's website. It's fun to see what other people eat and use some of it to incorporate into our menus. I don't really enjoy cooking and baking, so our menu isn't exactly stellar or gourmet, but I like throwing in something every once in a while.

So - here's my menu for this week:

Monday - Tacos
Tuesday -Chicken/Veggie Alfredo/Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Hamburgers & Million Dollar Potatoes
Thursday - Spinach, Rice & Cheese Casserole
Friday - Bacon/Cheeseburger/Pickle Pizza - don't knock the pickle till you've tried it!
Saturday - MIL's house to visit cousins.

Whoop. That was pretty easy - let's see if it happens!

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