Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Planning

I wrote last week about how to save $20 a week off your grocery bill. One of the tips was to make a menu plan, so I wanted to share this week some tips of making a menu plan that you'll be able to stick to.

1. Keep it simple. 

To cook does not mean gourmet meals. You need to plan a menu based on your cooking skills. Pour over cookbooks and find things that interest you. If you're a beginner cook, try one meal this week that's out of your comfort zone.

Here are a couple of easy dinners from Moms Who Think. I also love and Taste of Home for easy meals. If you're wanting to step out of your zone, try Food Network for some great ideas.

2. Work around your schedule.

For us, we have football practice on Tuesday nights, and Chris has school on Monday and Wednesday. So, on those days - supper is easy. Usually something that can be thrown in the crockpot or a great freezer meal.  Don't expect yourself to make homemade fried chicken on a night that you only have 20 minutes for dinner!

3. Work within your budget.

Want to eat filet mignon...but only have a cube steak budget? Then eat cube steak!!! I know it's fun to eat fancy every once in awhile - but if you're trying to save money, stick within the budget....for now. Or, instead of treating yourself every week - how about just once a month?

4. Keep in mind what you already have and what's on sale.

Like I said in my last post, write down what's in your pantry. For example, right now I have the following items in my pantry:

Spaghetti sauce
Canned black beans
Canned Soup
Canned Kidney Beans
A couple bags of frozen veggies
Taco Shells
Canned Tomatoes

On sale this week:

Here's what my menu plan would look like:

Spaghetti with Sauce w. Hamburger / Garlic Bread / Veggie
Chili (Canned Beans, Hamburger and Canned Tomatoes) / Cornbread
Soup / Grilled Cheese
Hamburgers / French Fries (made from potatoes)
Chicken Taco's / Rice / Veggie
Grilled Chicken / Baked Potatoes / Veggie
Leftover Chili mixed with leftover Rice / Veggie

Using what I already had, I was able to put together a weeks worth of meals! And, really I didn't cook at all!

5. Ask your family for ideas. 

If you want your kids and your hubby to eat what you're serving...ask them what they want. Kids (and husbands) and much more likely to eat whats on the table if they feel like they helped get it there. Of course, for my kids - they would want mac and cheese every night of the week. But I do try to let them have the "fun food" a few times a month.

Next week, I'm going to talk about how to get the most of out what you already have! 

Please share your tips and thoughts on Menu Planning! Thanks so much for stopping by! 

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