Weekly Menu Plan: February 17-22, 2014

Weekly Menu Plan: February 17-22, 2014

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

In getting back into our routine from some restful and relaxing days last week, I should have created our weekly menu plan over the weekend.

However, I didn’t, and there’s no going back.

The nice thing about planning our menu week by week is I can start the week on whatever day I can menu plan. For the days I missed, I just fill-in what we ate. 

Is this method cheating? No way! I’m starting where I am, giving myself grace, and focusing on the next 6-7 days.

Rather than throwing in the towel for the entire week because I didn’t start when I wanted, I just grabbed a pencil on Monday morning and took a trip to our refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.

Using the ingredients I had on-hand, I wrote out our weekly menu plan to kickoff a busy week.

Breakfasts

  • Cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Cheesy toast
  • Fruit

Lunches

  • Turkey
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Sandwiches (PBJ, grilled cheese, turkey, ham, etc.)
  • Leftovers

Dinners

  • Monday: Cheese tortellini with Alfredo sauce and vegetables
  • Tuesday: Open-faced pork chop sandwiches and vegetables
  • Wednesday: Entertaining with Papa Murphy’s pizzas, salad, and dessert
  • Thursday: Pan-seared chicken with gravy, rice, and vegetables
  • Friday: Roped sausage, macaroni and cheese, and vegetables
  • Saturday: Steak-um sandwiches with onions and mushrooms, chips, and fresh vegetables

Keeping flexibile within our plan, we may rearrange the order should we feel a need. With a tentative plan, we can make changes knowing we have all the ingredients at home.

These meals are scheduled to land on our plates this week. If you post your weekly menu plan, then please leave a link in the comments for our inspiration. Happy planning!

Question: What’s cooking at your home this week?

Scheduling: Feeding our Families

Scheduling: Feeding our Families

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

The cold temperatures and snow have driven us indoors, and I love it! With our grocery shopping done, our family is prepared should we get to stay in for the rest of the week.

In completing the Scheduling 2014 series with the last 4 tasks from the Planning for Success series last year, we are focusing on feeding our families.

From choosing a menu planner to arranging coupon redemption, these tasks will help us save money while using time wisely.

28. Print and Display Menu Planner: Planning for Success – Day 3

When preparing for the Scheduling 2014 series, I wrote this article that included my monthly calendar, menu planner, and water and exercise log. If you do not have a menu planner, then feel free to use my FREE printable.

If you are new to menu planning, then I recommend just writing down what you eat. As you get used to tracking your meals and knowing what you have on hand, then you can start to plan. But for starting out, just record what your family eats.

29. Track your Family’s Favorite Meals: Planning for Success – Day 17

I used to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen often. In the past year, I think I tried 3 new recipes and have repeated one of them.

Whether you like to try new dishes or keep with the tried-and-true, tracking your family’s favorite meals gives you suggestions when life gets busy.

Our family’s favorite meals are written down and kept inside my menu planning notebook. When I need inspiration, I go to the list. To see some of our family’s favorite meals, check out this list of 10 favorites.

30. Design a Quick Meals List: Planning for Success – Day 24

Another great tool for using time wisely is a list of quick meals. These are life-savers when traffic was backed up, homework took longer than expected, or life happened.

Keeping the ingredients for one or two of your quick meals on hand will see you through your busy evening. We used one of these 15 quick meals last night when our plans to meet family fell through due to icy roads.

31. Arrange Coupon Redemption: Planning for Success – Day 31

From daily deals to paper coupons, we keep a stash of coupons handy for family outings. If we find a great deal, I make sure I note the deal on our calendar. This way, I am reminded of the coupon when I schedule or consider an activity around a meal time.

In Scheduling 2014, we are off to a great start. There will be more items added to the calendar throughout the year, but the basics are all covered.

As food is a big part of family life, I find the favorite meals and quick meals lists huge time savers for me. As the masses get hungry and time is short, these meals meet us where we are without a trip through the drive-thru.

As you continue Scheduling 2014 may you find the organization tools you choose a help to using your time wisely. If I have left off any tasks, then please share in the comments. I prefer to have too much on the calendar than not enough. Happy scheduling!

Question: What scheduling tasks have I missed?

Planning for Success: Track Your Family’s Favorite Meals – Day 17

Planning for success - Day 17

Photograph Credit: iStockphoto

Knowing that a successful year will not materialize on its own, we must plan and prepare for a prosperous 2013.

Throughout the 31 days of January, I will choose one topic each day to prepare or schedule for this year.

Without preparation, I know I will forget, miss, or overlook certain items. If you desire an organized year, then join me in this adventure of Planning for Success for a prosperous 2013.

To receive a daily e-mail around 11:00 a.m. with the new posts of each day, subscribe to my free daily newsletter. In case you miss a post in this series, I will provide the link to each day as the month progresses. 🙂

Day 17: Track Your Family’s Favorite Meals

During busy seasons, my creative inspiration in the kitchen lacks momentum. As my mind processes other issues, I want my time in the kitchen as efficient as possible. In creating menus and feeding my family, I work to keep variety, healthy choices, and multiple colors on the table at each meal.

From year to year, our family’s taste changes, so what I planned last year may not work this year. Keeping up with who likes peas, but not broccoli vs. the one who likes rice over pasta could consume my time. But in using time wisely, I track my family’s favorite meals by observing, marking, and asking.

Observing my Family

When my family’s plates return to the kitchen filled with food, then I can assume that they did not care for this meal. Sometimes the results are due to changing an existing recipe, trying something new, or failing to make the meal correctly. Whatever the reason, I won’t repeat, on purpose, that exact meal again.

On the other hand, if I notice that a meal results in mostly empty plates, I investigate further to determine if that meal is a keeper.

Marking my Menu Planner

If I find that our family enjoyed this meal and would like to have it again, then I mark it on my menu planner. By placing an (*) next to the meal, I can track my family’s favorite meals. When I need inspiration, I can review our prior menu planners for (*) and ideas.

Asking my Family

Periodically, I ask my family for their favorite meals. Though my children do not agree, I get a variety of options. At the end of the session, I have a list of at least 20 meals that the majority of our family really likes.

The following meals are included in my family’s current Top 20 favorite dinner meals’ list:

Crock Pot Dinners:

1. Chili, pigs in a blanket, corn bread, and vegetables/fruits

2. Pork chops served on toasted hamburger buns with vegetables/fruit

3. Roast beef, rice, gravy, and vegetables/fruit

Stove Top Dinners:

4. Broccoli and cheese soup with sour dough bread

5. French toast, sausage, and fruit

6. Hamburgers and homemade French fries

7. Mexican dip, tortilla chips, and vegetables/fruit

Oven Dinners:

8. Baked chicken (dipped in egg and then in crushed French fried onions), chicken or cornbread stuffing (made and then baked for 20 minutes for a little crunch), and vegetables/fruit

9. Mini meatloaves (baked in a mini muffin pan topped with shredded cheese), mashed potatoes, and vegetables/fruit

10. Papa Murphy’s Chicago-style stuffed pizza

Keeping this list updated, I can adjust my stockpile. Knowing what meals my family likes, I can watch the sales and stock up when these items are at rock bottom prices. In doing so, I feed my family, buy what we will eat, and save at the store.

In planning for success in 2013, track your family’s favorite meals by observing, marking, and asking. With a list of go-to meals, you can adjust your menu plan, watch the sales, and feed your family.

Your top 20 list will provide creative inspiration as you plan your meals, save money by stocking up at rock bottom prices, and feed your family. Continue planning for success while using time wisely. Happy tracking!

Question: What are your family’s favorite meals? 

Planning for Success: Print and Display Your Menu Planner – Day 3

Planning for success - Day 3

Photograph Credit: iStockphoto

Knowing that a successful year will not materialize on its own, we must plan and prepare for a prosperous 2013.

Throughout the 31 days of January, I will choose one topic each day to prepare or schedule for this year.

Without preparation, I know I will forget, miss, or overlook certain items. If you desire an organized year, then join me in this adventure of Planning for Success for a prosperous 2013.

To receive a daily e-mail around 11:00 a.m. with the new posts of each day, subscribe to my free daily newsletter. In case you miss a post in this series, I will provide the link to each day as the month progresses. 🙂

Day 1: Select a Planning Tool

Day 2: Add Your Priorities

 Day 3: Print and Display Your Menu Planner

In preparing to save money while feeding my family, I find my menu planner a key tool in the process. Having worked through different options, I found my tool of choice a monthly menu planner. Though I plan a week at a time, I like to see the entire month on one page as I plan.

Planning for Success - Day 3Keeping my prior menu planners in a 3-ring binder, I planned for 2013 by completing the following:

    • Added 6 page protectors to my notebook. When I complete a month’s plan, I slide it into one side of the page protector. I can fit 2 months per protector when they are facing opposite sides.
    • Printed 12 copies of my monthly menu planner and tucked those pages inside the pocket of my notebook.
    • Completed my weekly menu plan for the rest of this week, and displayed my menu planner on my refrigerator.

Menu Planners

If you desire to change menu planners, try a system, or start for the first time, then these weekly options and my favorite monthly planner (with a free download) might solve your dilemma:

    • Weekly options – Shayla offers 5 different printable weekly planners.
    • Monthly option – click on my Monthly Menu Planner to download the below-pictured printable for free. 

Monthly Menu Planner

In planning for success, print and display your menu planner. With the visible reminder and easy accessibility of adding ideas, my menu planner saves our family from emergency meals at a fast food restaurant.

Though there are times when I chuck the menu planner and choose what is best for my family, our menu planner saves the day quite often.

As you prepare for 2013, remember to plan for meals as they will come three or more times a day. 😉 Happy planning!

Question: What is your favorite menu planner?

Start Saving from Scratch – Part 2 of 6

Start Saving from Scratch

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

Going back to the drawing board provides a fresh start saving from scratch. Beginning with the basics and then working up allows the process to stay manageable. When the foundation crumbles, then one needs to start over.

In starting over, I took last week’s challenge and organized my food supply. This time around, the pantry took longer although I did not defrost my freezer. I stayed inside as much as possible this week with the drop in temperature.

In continuing this series with an organized pantry, freezer, and refrigerator, I move onto creating a menu.

Part 2: Creating a Menu

In discovering a menu plan, I have used a weekly and monthly plan. Though I no longer plan the full month in advance, I prefer to schedule our meals a week in advance on a monthly menu planner. I like the calendar in the kitchen and a place to add meals as I get inspiration.

1. Choose Meals

With my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator organized, I can “shop” from my food supply to create meals that I have in stock.

2. Assign Meals

Once I have a meal decided, I assign that meal to a day on my menu planner.

Sample Menu Plan

Sunday: 

B – Egg sandwiches with fruit cups

L – Roast beef in crock pot, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and bread

D – Pancakes and bacon

Monday:

B – Cereal and fruit

L – Pizza at school

D – Baked chicken, rice, and vegetables

3. Partial Meals

After assigning the meals I can make with the ingredients at home, I might have a few days left on my planner for the week. I continue to see what parts of meals I have in my food supply. For example, to make open-faced pork chop sandwiches I might have the pork chops, cream of chicken, and milk, but I lack the hamburger buns.

For these partial meals, I add the meal to my menu planner on a day after I plan to grocery shop. I then add the remaining items needed, in this case the hamburger buns, to my weekly grocery list. I then plan hamburgers or chicken patties for another meal to use the leftover hamburger buns before they spoil.

In using time wisely to prepare for the week and to save money on food items, I use what we have at home and then write down the missing items on my grocery list for pickup during the week.

Shopping your food supply may only generate a meal or two, at first. But as you build your stockpile, you will find more and more meals in your food supply. Start where you are and work from there, and the savings will come. Happy menu planning!

Question: What type of menu planner do you prefer?