Monthly Menu Plan

Hope you all had a good weekend. 🙂

Last week; I promised you I’d share how I plan our menu for the month, so I’m going to do that today.
Planning out a menu has helped us so much! It saves money and time, and makes it so much easier for me to actually get a balanced meal on the table because I can just look at my list and not have to piece together ingredients into making a meal. I am not. good. at. that.
My mommy brain has enough to piece together, I don’t have to add more to the list!

Okay. So here we go.

First: Brainstorm.

Near the end of the month, I sit down and start going through my recipe book to see what I want to make for the next 30 days.
There are a few dishes that we love so I make those every month like; cow meat chili, tacos, homemade pizza and chicken curry.
Then I pick 4-6 “portable” meals that we can eat in the car on the way to the chiropractor.
(We go twice a week and eat dinner in the car, so I usually plan some sort of sandwich and fruit or veggies or chips to eat on those nights. I sometimes just pick a few meals and then we have those twice.)

After that, I write down any new dishes I want to try. I try to keep it to 2 or 3 new meals, in case they don’t turn out. Then we don’t waste a bunch of food!

This is all for dinners, mind you.

We usually eat the same things for breakfast every day, and mostly leftovers for lunch, along with a few other add-ins, like hot dogs or pbj. (not together.)

Next: Make a grocery list.

After I have my rough menu, I go through all the recipes and write down all the ingredients that I’m going to need. I try to pick recipes that use some of the same ingredients to cut down on spending.

For example, this month I’m trying two new recipes  from  my friend Jane at Adventures in Dinner that both have parsnips in them. I know we like parsnips, so I thought they would be good to try and they’re not too expensive. Plus, the recipes look amazing. (The links are below, for Chickpea Curry Bunnies and Pumpkin Vegetable Soup.)

I also find ways to use up leftovers and make them into new meals, if needed, like making leftover roast into a stew.
I write down all of the ingredients that I need  for my recipes, along with any other random items that we need like spices or ketchup or honey.
(Make sure to take an inventory of your pantry/fridge/freezer first so you know what you already have!)
Then, I add in breakfast and lunch and snack stuff.
Snacks for us usually consist of apples and peanut butter, oranges and pretzels, nuts and cranberries. If we run out of those things, we eat homemade bread, or something else that I bake for us to eat. We don’t usually buy bread, I just make it. Except this month, I was craving some regular sandwich bread, so I bought some. 🙂

Finally, Post your menu where you can easily see it.

For me, this means on the side of our fridge. I just write everything down on paper, and stick it up with a magnet. I prefer to write things out still, even though I could type it up all nicely. Writing is just more fun for me. 🙂

So. That is how I do my menu plan!
Now, do you want to see what we’re eating this month?

First, look at a cute picture of my kids from Saturday, when they figured out they can climb into our clothes cabinet. 🙂

Oops, that was two.
Aren’t they adorable??

January Menu for the Swans
(The links are for the recipes. I’ll add more as I get more organized. )

Steel cut oats with blueberries
Homemade Granola
Bacon (we usually have this in addition to the oats.)

PB&J with fruit or pretzels
Yogurt with fruit, scrambled eggs
Hot dogs with apples & peanut butter


Chickpea Curry Bunnies
Vegetable Soup
Minestrone Soup
Venison Chili (basically cow meat chili with venison instead of beef)
Polish Sausage & Pasta with Red Sauce
Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes with Green Salad
Pizza Pockets
Chicken Salad Sandwiches and veggies
Sub Sandwiches and chips
Homemade Pizza
Enchiladas and Rice
Chicken Soup and Biscuits
Chicken Mole with Couscous and Sauteed Zucchini
Chicken Curry with Rice

If you notice, this is only 15 dinners. I must add in a disclaimer here that we eat dinner 3 times a month at our church small group, and we don’t usually eat a “real” meal on Saturday nights. Tim works that night, so the kids and I just eat leftovers. That’s an extra week of dinners that are taken care of without being on the menu.
Also, the meals listed make enough leftovers to have at least one night’s worth of dinners. I just keep an eye on how full the fridge is getting and we eat the leftovers as they accumulate to cut down on food waste.

So there you have it!
That’s how we do meals here, folks. I love it. Planning the menu out satisfies the organized side of my brain, but not assigning a meal to a day satisfies the impulsive side of me. 🙂
Hope this gives you some good ideas, good recipes, or both!

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