Mommy's Kitchen - Recipes From my Texas Kitchen: Menu Plan Monthly at Mommys Kitchen

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monthly at Mommys Kitchen

I have added a new Feature to Mommy's Kitchen its called Menu Plan Monthly! I am a firm believer in organizing and planning meals. If you plan a menu and stick to it not only will it help you save money on your grocery budget but, time as well.

How will it save you time and money? Well how many times have you started to make a meal just to realize you don't have all the ingredients to make that particular dish. Then if you really want to make that meal, you have to make a quick run to the store. I am sure this happens more times than you can count. Wouldn't you love to do away with all that.

Why do I Menu Plan?
Before I started Menu Planning that is exactly what was happening to me. If I wasn't missing ingredients, then I would just stand in front of the pantry starring at everything trying to figure out what to cook for dinner that night. It became so frustrating that I knew there had to be a easier way.

Menu planning isn't for everyone, but it works best for my family. All I can say is give it a try and see if it helps you get a bit more organized in the kitchen. Menu Planning is second nature to me. I have been planning meals for so long that I don't think I could function if I didn't have a Menu Plan.

What type of Menu Plan do I use:
I only plan a menu for Dinner meals. We always have breakfast and lunch items, so that is not a big problem in our house, dinner time was always the complicated meal. I plan a dinner menu with one months worth of meals. You can do a menu weekly or biweekly. It is really what works best for your family.

The reasoning behind my monthly menu plan is because my husband works for the state. When you work for the state we get paid once a month. Our big grocery shop is done the first week of every month. So it is just easier to plan for a months worth of meals. If you get paid every 2 weeks then a biweekly menu would be best.

I love going to other sites and blog to look at their menu plans and see what they have posted. With Menu Plan Monthly, I will post my dinner menu on or around the first of every month. I also just started adding Linky at the end of my monthly menu posts.

So if you are a monthly menu planner you can link up and share your monthly menu plan as well. Then everyone can get some new meal ideas, and who doesn't need that.
(Menu Plan Monthly linkys have been put on hold for now)

My steps on planning my Monthly Menu:
This is how I start my monthly menu. I usually start at the end of the previous month. I get some input from my family on maybe a particular dish they might want me to make then add it to the menu.

I use cookbooks, the Internet and other cooking blogs for meal resources. I also throw in my rotation meals for the month (spaghetti, taco's, breakfast night etc. ) Once I have all my meals together usually around 25 meals.

I leave a few openings for eating out or if we just want to have leftovers or a free meal night where everyone can just eat what they want. After my menu is all written down, I make my grocery list accordingly.

I write down all the items and ingredients that I will need to make those particular meals. Then off to the grocery store I go. We try to allow about $350 a month for groceries for our family of five. That includes toiletries and everything, sometimes we go a bit over, but we are working hard on trying to keep it at or around $350.

With food prices going up it is so hard to do that some months. I have been surprised at how some of my regular items have gone up in price. We do have to go to the store weekly for milk, bread and produce, since we go through that pretty fast.

We do not buy a lot of prepared foods. Our dinner meals are cooked from scratch so that helps out a great deal. I mean we do buy just a few for quick lunch stuff but not for dinner. You would be surprised at jut how much of your grocery bill is eaten up on already prepared meals. Plus you can make a lot of those foods from scratch.

After my meals are all written down and my grocery list is finished I type up my menu in a List Format. Save it on my computer in my (menu folder) and then print it off and place it on the refrigerator. The reason I do my menu in a list format rather than assigning meals to certain days is to give me more flexibility and choices with my meals.

For example if I am having a really busy day then I will want to pick a quick dinner meal. If it is the weekend or I don't have anything planned then i can save the more time consuming meals for those days. OK, now I have my menu posted on the refrigerator.

Every morning I can look at my menu and decide on what I want to make for dinner that night. I choose a meal, cross if off my list and take out anything form the freezer that needs to thaw out and that's it! I have everything I need to make that particular dinner meal.

No more running to the store for missing ingredients. No more standing there in front of my pantry or freezer trying to decide what to throw together for dinner.

My thoughts on Menu Planning:
Menu Planning isn't for everyone, but you should really give it a try and see if it helps your family. It's true that sitting and planning meals takes time, but in the end you will see how just how much time your are really saving instead of wasting.

I have been doing my dinner menu this way for 9 years and I love the simplicity of it all. It just comes second nature to me now. I will post my dinner menu every month. Just click on the link below and you will find links to all my menus according to months.

So if you are a monthly menu planner or even a bi weekly menu planner jump on board and get involved in menu plan monthly and link up your menu plan.

Click here to view my Monthly Menu Plan's

Side Note: I forgot to mention this above. A lot of times throughout the month a particular meal or dish will catch my eye. You know something you see online or at someones cooking blog and you say to yourself I really want to make that.

Well most times I end up forgetting about it. To solve that problem I do this little trick. I go and get my current menu off the refrigerator and on the back of the menu I jot down the name of that particular dish and where I found it. (example: Buttermilk Chicken Strips - Pioneer Woman).

This way I don't forget to add that particular meal to my menu for the following month, plus I already have a start on a few meals for that months menu. It is so helpful if you want a certain dish and you don't want to forget about it.

Tina, The Mom in Mommy's Kitchen


Michelle said... #

I love how you plan your meals out for the month. I do a tentative each week. You have such an awesome site. Almost every recipe you make I want to try. I look at yours almost every day! I'm jealous you live in Texas; I lived in Live Oak for over 3 years and miss Texas. My parents just moved here last year from Port Aransas so we don't even go visit TX any more! :( Keep up the great recipes!

Lynne said... #

I just read how you planned your meals. My problem in the past has been what if we're not in the mood for Chicken & Dumplings tonight. Your list idea just made me thunk my forehead of course! I've done it in the past and haven't been too successful. Mainly, because I was so rigid with a calendar. I'm going to try your list idea and see where it takes me. The month is still young. Thank you.

Gwen (Pooh) said... #

Tina, I just love your site! I need new recipes, and more organization. :) I have used weekly or bi-weekly planning before and it does help. I got out of that habit and am just getting back into it. My bankbook and waistline will thank me, too, as we do eat out too much. lol Unfortunately when I was growing up, my mom never learned how to cook herself, so she couldn't teach me. My family was from Texas, too (I now live in Nebraska), and my grandma was the kind like you mentioned, that didn't really want people in the kitchen while she was cooking, so my mom never really learned. I've learned how to cook from my mother-in-law and she's gone now, and I miss going to her for recipes and how-tos. So, I'm glad to find your site and others like it. Take care. Thanks for all your hard work!

leaphart2 said... #

We also do the monthly menu. I do have it for each day for the month and not just a list. I can always change something or switch it around.. and if something comes up then I will make sure to add that meal to the mext monthes menu. My husband also gets paid once a month so it works best for our family. I also look for coupons online and in the paper to match to my menu items. I know we save time and money!

Perfect Papercuts~ said... #

Love the list idea! Working on not being so rigid with my meal planning :) Blessings~

Anonymous said... #

i have that exact problem. im always scrambling on what to make for dinner and end up making it super late. especially since i have to wait for my husband to get home from work to make a quick stop at the grocery store because i never have all the ingredients. this has helped a lot and im definitely going to try it. i love your blog !!

jakesma1999 said... #

Anonymous, I couldn't have said it better myself! As they say, "How's that workin' for ya?" Well, for me, its not, so I'm gonna give this a go. So far the recipe's I've tried and tweaked.......just a little, have been good, and fun too! My hubby and our son have been along for the "ride" and so far, have enjoyed it! Happy cooking y'all! !