Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Menu Plan

I want to get into the habit of posting my weekly menu plan, even though I have yet to figure out how to create a printer friendly copy of recipes, so I thought tonight I would just discuss a bit of the menu plan method I use. When I first started menu planning, I definitely sat down with the Safeway ad, checked out what was on sale, and generated my plan from that. And I think that is a really good way to start writing a menu if you have never done it before. But now, I shop completely based on the sales, stocking up my pantry and freezer so that I am prepared to make a variety of meals when they strike my fancy.

For me, I may not stick to the plan 100% of the time, but it is so helpful to have it written up when I have a couple of minutes to think, rather than trying to figure it out at 5pm. I have a master plan of the theme of each day's meal, so for example,

Monday; Meatless (I'm not sure where I first heard of meatless Monday, but I can't lay claim to the idea)
Tuesday; Ethnic (stir fry, pasta, tacos, something along those lines).
Wednesday; Crockpot or freezer meal (I don't really freezer cook like many others do, but I stash leftovers that are in adequate supply for a complete meal).
Thursday; Leftovers (this is where I use up leftovers that are hanging around the fridge because they don't freeze well or there wasn't very much of the item, I usually rework these into something new, but it depends).
Friday; Grill or soup (depending on the SD weather of course!)
Saturday; Homemade pizza, or once a month it's date night.
Sunday; Big meal (like roast chicken, pot roast).

So, when I need to write a menu, here's what I do;
1. Check out the fridge, and note meats and produce that I need to use soon.
2. Pull a couple of frozen meat items to defrost in the fridge.
3. Pull copies of any recipes that I want to try that I already have the ingredients for.
4. Think about any events that I have coming up for the week, for example my hubs is going fishing this weekend, maybe, so I probably would do better to use leftovers or something really easy if he's gone.
5. Write up my menu on the really cute Sandra Boynton calendar that I got for Christmas, which is hanging on the fridge. That way, I never have to tell anyone what's for dinner!

So this week, we skipped meatless Monday due to the holiday, when we ate at my folks house and I just had to bring a pasta salad. We moved meatless to today, and had rice and beans for supper. Tomorrow we'll have lentil soup from the freezer, and Cuban Bread from The Complete Tightwad Gazette, a rocking good book. Thursday, we'll have beef stir fry, since I won't have any leftovers to use up, and Friday, we'll grill steaks and my fab grilled potatoes. Saturday's pizza night is probably my favorite actually, because I love coming up with new toppings, and we have dough balls too, which are my answer to breadsticks (my favorite part of takeout pizza).

I promise to spend some time figuring out how to start posting recipes!

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