>Menu & Meal Planners
Posted on March 3, 2012 in Life by Katie Oskin
I have blogged several times about my meal planning. I LOVE to meal plan. Mostly because it saves me and my family time & money. I thought I’d share with you my simple and easy meal planning strategy. Please know that my meal planning methods will not work for everyone, but will work for some people. The first thing that I did was I bought a CHEAP ($4) calendar that was a single page and bound with a spiral wire and a hook at the top.
Once a month (on the 1st) I get out all my cook books and recipe box and sit down at the dining room table with a big cup of coffee. First I pick two days a week that will be “pantry meals” and write them down automatically. For us it’s usually Wednesday and Sunday as those are the days we barely have time for any kind of a formal dinner.
Then I flip through all my recipes and decide what I’d like to make. I try to have one red meat, one (max of two) chicken, one all veggie, and one turkey or pork meal a week. This keeps me and my hubby from feeling like we always eat the same things. Then I fill it out with the name of the meal (for example: Tomato Sausage Polenta) and the recipe book with page number, or simple write “recipe box.” I don’t often worry about side dishes, just a main dish. My husband and I eat simply, so if we’re having soup, I’ll just make a loaf of bread to go with it. Here’s a closer look at the calendar that hangs on my fridge.
Now, for those of you who are thinking I’m old fashioned…this is just the FIRST part. Once I’ve filled out my calendar for the month, I sit and fill everything into my iCalendar in a special calendar I created appropriately entitled, “meal planning.” This ensures that wherever I go, I always have my meal plan with me and know what I’m cooking for dinner. See my picture below…
So how do I make my grocery lists you ask? First I take 2 or 3 index cards, depending on the number of weeks in the month, and fill out the things I know I’ll need to get for the next 2 week period. I take and add an additional $20 into our bi-weekly budget for extras and sale items to supplement our pantry dinners. This method works for me and my madness, but might not work for you. Here are some other awesome menu planners on Etsy that you might enjoy.
Magnetic Grocery List and Menu Planner
From the ad: “Get organized with Crystal Gayle Photography’s magnetic menu planner and grocery list! This magnetic planner makes planning meals a snap. It helps you keep track of what groceries to buy — as you run low! Stick it to your fridge, or keep it slipped onto a clipboard, and the chaos in your kitchen will be a thing of the past!And best of all, it’s reuseable, pretty — and something you can customize!The organizer measures approximately 8.5″x10.5″ with lamination, and comes with a bullet tip black dry erase marker.”
PRINTABLE PERSONALIZED WEEKLY MENU PLANNER
From the page: “With this easy, colorful way to organize your meals, that will be a simple question to answer! You can hang this planner on the fridge, display it on a cork board, or stick it in your purse for grocery shopping. You can print as many times as you like! If you don’t like the colors shown, see my color guide to the right and choose up to seven colors. You will receive a high-quality PDF file containing this meal planner. The file is formatted to be printed on U.S. letter-size paper (8.5×11).”
LARGE DRY ERASE MENU CALENDAR
From the page: “This is a “Frame Your Own” glass dry-erase board print! JUST FRAME in a regular ol’ picture frame and use the glass as the dry-erase surface. FULL COLOR and GORGEOUS!! SHOWS like art, WORKS like a white board. Fantastic new concept; simple, affordable and classy. This is not made with vinyl stickers like many other products on the market, but with a gorgeous, full color, large 1 piece art print that is simply framed right under the glass.”