I started out small... and I started out simple. I sat down with my husband... okay actually I yelled to him in the living room while I was sitting at the kitchen table... and we figured out our seven most favorite meals that I make. We divided those up throughout the week making sure to not put two of the same type of dinners back to back... for example, making sure at least one day was between dinners with chicken or pasta. Then suddenly... we had a menu for the entire month! Wait... but we only picked seven meals... how do we have a whole month's menu planned? REPETITION! Remember... I needed it to be simple so that I would stick with it and I needed it to be budget friendly.
We've been doing this so far for the whole month of April and not ONCE have we gotten sick of any dinner that I have made and in fact... each day my husband asks "What's on the menu?" and each day I actually have to look. I surely thought we'd have each day's menu memorized by the end of the month but nope... the only days we have memorized are Spaghetti Night and Pizza Night because those are our favorites. I can only imagine how much money we have saved and the amount of stress that has not even stepped over our threshold into our home by having this menu plan.
Here are the details: When I first began this it was in the middle of March... I took inventory of all that I had in the pantry and refrigerator and planned meals for the remainder of March using up all I had. Then is when we planned out April deciding between our favorite meals and went shopping. For the most part, each meal had ingredients that had good shelf life (i.e., canned goods, onions, etc) or could be frozen. I did however learn my lesson, which will come in handy in May, when I bought a huge Costco package of bell peppers and had them go bad in my fridge before I had even touched them. I won't be making that mistake again. So for the occasional fresh ingredient needed for a meal... I'll just go out that day or the day before or sometimes even send hubby after it on his way home and it's been working grandly.
May will be interesting as far as menu planning goes... it will be the first month in which we begin getting our weekly CSA deliveries! I'm so excited but it will also be quite a test run. I imagine this topic will probably come up several times so I decided to change my "Homestitched" page and dedicate it to menu planning instead. Don't worry though... I'll make sure to blog about any homestitched projects I begin.
~ Be Magical!