When I plan correctly for meals, I can save hundreds of dollars a month. Plus, end the constant opening and closing of the fridge while some hungry child looks for food.
And, when I post the menu, it also reduces the number of times I hear: What's for dinner? My kids love it!
This approach works as well in a family of one as it does in a larger group. Here are some tips on creating a weekly menu:
1. You must be hungry to create your weekly menu. Do not attempt this after dinner, or nothing will sound good. This is a critical component of the plan.
2. Create a schedule for your week, listing evenings when you have less time. Pick easy meals for those days.
3. Gather the grocery store ads for the week. Identify good sales to incorporate in your menu. For example, I almost never buy packaged biscuits. But when they went on sale for 88 cents, I planned a few menus with stuffed, baked sandwiches using crescent rolls. Kind of like pasties, if you know what I mean.
4. Use your crock pot at least once a week on a busy day.
5. Identify the main food you will use that week based on sales and what's in your freezer. For example: chicken 2x, hamburger 1x, fish, pork roast, eggplant, eggs.
6. Find recipes to use those items, recording on your menu where the recipe can be found. (You will forget)
7. Where to get ideas:
- http://recipes.robbiehaf.com/ (a favorite for copy cat recipes)
- Cookbooks from the library
- Take out menus at your favorite restaurant
- Buy new cook books. I said this earlier in the month, but I figure if a cookbook saves me from going out to dinner once, it's paid for itself.
8. Create a master list of your family's favorites, as a handy go-to resource.
9. Make a double recipe at put one in the freezer. Works great with casseroles.
10. Remember to put side dishes, especially fruits and vegetables on your menu.
When many of us are trying to find ways to save, be healthier and spend more time with those we love, this is a great way to hit all three of those goals.
Before I end, I want to share a link to a fantastic dinner I made last night. I found the recipe looking for ways to make chicken on http://www.foodnetwork.com/. It earned fantastic raves from everyone, including the teen boys. One said it was better than any restaurant food he's eaten. Sadly there were no leftovers for me for lunch today. I guess I need to make it again. Next time, I'm going to put mango chutney under the cheese.
I hope these tips have been helpful. I'd love to hear about one of your family's favorite meals. Please leave a post so we can all benefit.
In His Love,