I've gotten very lazy with menu planning. As a result, we often run out of a needed item for a recipe and have to run to the store. And since we all know you can't just run in and pick up 1 thing, the costs add up. Our finances have taken a hit with unforseen expenses, so we are trying to get some control.
I decided instead of planning a specific meal for a specific day, I would just plan a months worth of dinner menus and each week decide which meal goes on which day. The easiest way to do this is take 14-15 of your families favorite dinners, multiply X 2 and then you have a months worth of options.
Taco's, Rice, Refried Beans x 2
Spaghetti x 2
Macaroni & Cheese x 2
Baked Hamburgers, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Vegetables x 2
Barbeque Chicken, seasoned rice/pasta, vegetables x 2
Chicken & Dumplings, Peas x 2
Chicken Pot Pie x 2
Chili, Cornbread x 2
Loaded baked potatoes x 2 (with ham, cheese, sour cream, butter, salt, pepper)
Sliders, french fries, baked beans x 2
Red Beans & Rice with sausage, chicken or gr beef x 2
Zatarains Southern Stroganoff or Alfredo x 2 (these are new and yummy)
Pizza x 2
Vegetable Soup, biscuits (can leftovers)
Split Pea Soup, biscuits (Greg & Will love ~ Amy & I eat vegetable soup)
Hot Dogs, Hashbrowns, baked beans
Turkey, dressing, vegetables, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls (Thanksgiving)
That makes 30 meals ~ enough for a month's worth of dinners! We all love soups and casseroles, so that helps to stretch the meat $$. We are trying to plan meals for leftovers, then Greg has a lunches he can heat up at work. We also know that these plans can change if I find a great deal at the grocery store on the Meat Managers Specials, or a great sale on something we love. The Zatarains Mixes are $1 a box right now~ so I am going to stock up and we will have these handy for quick yummy meals.
I don't plan out menu for breakfasts/lunches/snacks. Usually breakfasts are bagels, eggs, muffins, cold cereal, grits/oatmeal, waffles, pancakes. We make the muffins, waffles and pancakes and freeze to pull out when we want them. Lunches are leftovers, mac & cheese, ramen noodles, quesidillas, soup, or sandwiches. Snacks are crackers, cookies, popcorn, cheese, or pretzels.
One snack dinner we like on the weekends is the velvetta cheese/rotel tomatoes dip with tortilla chips. You can "beef" it up some by adding leftover chili ~ yum! This is a good Sunday night watching football or "Amazing Race" dinner.
Happy Menu planning!