These past few days have been busy, in a good way. It meant I was not able to post here on the blog. As part of the busyness, I sat down and made our menu planning for the rest of September and most of October. Yup, I’m ahead finally and it feels GREAT. If this week goes well, I’ll finish planning November’s menu by Monday night as well.
So, how did I do it? How could I plan 1.5 to almost 3 months in advance. It was not as overwhelming as I thought. Here are the steps I took:
- I used Plan To Eat to make creating the actual menu quick and simple – With the ability to click and drag, as well as type in notes, I was able to add in some of our weekly or twice monthly favorites. This included breakfasts, pizza, salads, spaghetti, etc.
- “Leftovers” were added once a week to a supper and “Eating Out” for Sunday’s after church. I have found that we do not usually have many leftovers. However, there always seems to be something we can use, such as that last bit of spaghetti in the box or partial bag of frozen vegetables.
- Having recently cleaned out the freezer, I had a good idea of what was in there. This past week has seen a few leftovers or extras added as well. Using the ingredients and pre-made meals on hand, I added them to the meal plan for the upcoming weeks. My plan is to use these up first while keeping my eyes open for sales on other ingredients for meals further along. I was able to make yet a second week’s meal plan (this upcoming week’s) out of the meals and ingredients I have at home. Several items, like browned ground beef, will be used throughout the upcoming 4-6 months. I used this to plan only up through the next three months, adding chili, spaghetti, beef curry and so on to the meal plan.
- Several Saturdays each month I added the meal – “Try New Recipe”. This will allow me to go through the recipes my husband has found and wants us to try. It also gives me room to use a meal we may not have gotten to.
- Once all of these were added to the meal plan, I went through my recipe list on Plan To Eat, adding in other meals to balance things out. Having all heavy meals at the beginning of the week and light meals at the end does not usually go over well.
- There is one meal at the end the month labeled as “TBD” or To Be Determined. My that point in the month I will have a meal somewhere along the way that I have not been able to use, have added a meal to the freezer to use up, found a recipe I would like to try, or will have ingredients on hand to do a quick and easy meal. Again, this gives me some planned flexibility.
With about an hour’s time spread out in increments, which allowed me to think things through as I went as well as deal with kids and household responsibilities, I was able to make up 1.5 months’ worth of meals. The next 1.5 months should not take as long, as I am already on a roll and have found a groove.
So what is on this week’s meal plan? Check it out. Leave me a comment below, sharing your favorite fall recipe. After all, I am looking to try something new and would love to hear what things you all like.
Note: A meal plan should work for you, not you for the plan. To demonstrate this, take a view at this week’s meal plan. Due to sickness we had to return home early and adjust them meals. That is okay. I know what we have at home, what we are going to eat and what is extra. We adjusted a few things and will still have good meals without having to go to the grocery store or order out.
I used to regularly plan meals out, but it was not using the steps above. I found that I was repeating too often and not giving myself enough breaks in the meals (every main meal was being either made from scratch or I had made too much for our freezer). It turned into me being a slave to the plan. I went back to weekly planning for a few months while considering what I needed to adjust. This method is actually ones that conforms to our life now, rather than trying to make our life conform to it.
- Puffed Apple Pancakes
- Cream of Wheat, fruit
- Traveling (we were going to join friends for lunch, but George got sick last night. We had to leave early to come back home.)
- Beef Curry with vegetables, rice
- Beef Bourguignon, bread
- Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, mashed potatoes, vegetables
Eat OutWatermelon (check of plans due to coming home early)
- Breakfast For Supper – scrambled eggs (using leftovers from Sunday’s eating out), grits, fried salami
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Greek Meatballs With Mint, cherry tomatoes, rice
- Vegetable and Hummus Sandwiches
Linked up with OrgJunkie.
For more ideas also check out This Week For Dinner.
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