Menu Planning Strategies {How Ang Does It}

Planning your MenuI love to plan out my menu! Why you might ask? Because it stops the never ending “MOM what’s for dinner???” Everyone knows and everyone helps in planning it. (Though I still love it when my husband comes in and says “Hey good lookin’ whatcha’ cookin’?” Such a well trained, I mean, such a sweet husband.)

I wanted to share how I plan my menu from my food storage (stockpile). You can do this any way that works best for you. Some craft stores sell hanging menu boards (use a coupon to make the price Fab) or you can just use a piece of paper and write yours out (I did it this way for years).

This is one that I made with Vinyl on my Cricut. I stuck it straight on to my fridge. I write on the fridge with a dry erase marker then clean it off with a Magic Eraser at the end of the month (I also like to write a quote next to it to). I plan for one month at a time. I can now just go through my food storage and see what we are going to eat. I only write the main dish on my menu this way I am using sides that are fresh foods during the weekly sales or whatever sides we bought that week (or have already).

It’s great and saves so much time and money!

What are your menu planning strategies?

Here are some recipe ideas!

Comments

  • I would LOVE to have ANY kind of meal plan! I get 2 hours to do the entire weeks shopping trips! Since I’m a stay at home mom, it gets hard trying to do chores with 3 kids 4 and under destroying everything in sight! i was so proud of myself for portioning out everything this past week (during nap time)! Going to try it again and hope it will inspire a meal plan:)

    • Ang

      Good luck Amanda! I only have 2 under 4 & I know how crazy it gets. I have found that is saves so much time because then when it comes time for dinner I am not stressed out. Also once a week I do a crock-pot dinner so I can unwind and spend time with my family. If you get a chance go look at https://fabulesslyfrugal.com/freezer-meal-recipes-master-list. Sometimes it’s great to do a girls night making freezer dinners for the next 2 weeks.

  • Susan

    Careful with this. I’ve read on various blogs recently about using your fridge as a white board, and some commenters have said that they’ve had difficulty removing the marker. I guess it depends on what kind of surface it is.

    • Ang

      Using a dry erase marker comes off super easy with a Magic Eraser. Your right though, make sure you try it on the side of your fridge first and see how it works. I have a regular white fridge and it works great. Thanks for sharing that tip Susan!

  • Denise

    I really would love to know HOW to do this. I have a large stockpile, but just cannot seem to figure out what to make! I don’t know what’s wrong with me! I think maybe I’m just overwhelmed with all the food I have. Can people leave suggestions on different ways that they even BEGIN to start planning? Do you think of like a main ingredient for every day and then build your meal around that? What about making a large meal one night and then having a variation of that meal the next night using leftovers? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I think a whole blog post needs to be dedicated to just this!

    • Ang

      Nothing is wrong with you silly! It takes a minute to do it. Start with a piece of paper & pen. Sit in front of your food stock & look at what you have. Doing it as a family really helps so everyone is getting their favs for dinner. I don’t generally serve left overs for a meal but maybe once a month. We eat them for lunches. I find a base meal -ie one of my children loves to have sloppy joes. So I put that on my list, I already have the hamburger meat & sloppy joe mix, so that week I add hamburger buns to my shopping list. The for the sides I find what I already have that sounds good with it, like corn. If corn is on sale or a great deal this week I will by it fresh if not I will use my stock of canned or frozen corn. Then add from my stock anything else I have so it makes it a full meal. If your family is smaller then maybe cook up all the hamburger meat for sloppy joes but put half in the fridge (with out the sloppy joe mix in it) & use if for say tacos a couple days later. Does that help?

      • melissa

        I got my 4 kids together and everyone choose a week and they were the assistant chef that week. Takes care of who has KP Duty!

    • Monica

      Denise-

      Here is a post we wrote with some tips for getting started on menu planning from your stockpile. https://fabulesslyfrugal.com/stockpiling-101

    • Tali

      Denise, try allrecipe{dot}com. You can choose ‘ingredients’ and input your stock pile items….I had the same problem when I started couponing because i was getting FAB deals on stuff I never got before and had no idea how to incorporate them into our daily lives. I ended up finding a bean soup (made out of canned beans and takes 10 minutes to make) that my husband says he can eat 2 times a week.

    • Tracyfl

      I almost always cook one night and have a variation of the meal the next night. I always plan and cook extra protien the first night and then make into something else the next. if we are having roast chicken, I will cook extra and use it to make enchiladas, or chicken pot pies, or chicken soup the next. If you cook extra hamburger meat, you can have tacos the first night and then have extra cooked hamburger to add to spaghetti sauce or casseroles the second. There are some great cookbooks for this concept. My favorite is by Robin miller – Quick fix meals.

  • Monica

    I too have three young children two and half years between the oldest and youngest. Dinner time was at one point the most stressful part of my day – looking in the fridge trying to decide what to make that night, children getting hungry, three under foot with their toys while trying to cook =)

    One day decide to try menu planning a month at a time. Loved it. Took the guess work out of what was for dinner and I could shop for some things once a month (before I started couponing). But then I took it one step further to help me plan our month faster while keeping our diet balanced with some variety. So this is what I found works great for our family:

    Monday – meat dish
    Tuesday – pasta or vegetarian style meal
    Wednesday – chicken
    Thursday – fish
    Friday – potluck with our small group from church
    Saturday – left overs
    Sunday – oatmeal (a tradition from my husband’s family)

    Now it is simple for me to pick recipes for the month and even if some share ingredients you don’t feel like you are repeating a meal. This routine also works great when I plan our freezer meals, which have been the biggest stress reducer and time saver.

    At one time I even had weekly routines for breakfast and lunch. A little extreme I know but it cut down on the time it took to plan those meals and making a shopping list. Also helped to identify which coupon deals to stock up on and the quantity we would use. Besides my three young children like the predictability of knowing what they would be eating – like Wednesday was Mac and cheese day!

  • Brenda

    Wow, so many great ideas!
    One other thing I started doing with my family is to brainstorm a list of all the foods/meals that we love. We take time and bring out the cookbooks and find ones that we have forgotten about or even new ones that we want to try. Then I add a couple of these in each week as I’m making my menu (I usually do 2 weeks at a time). It’s really helpful if you feel like you’re in a dinner rut, serving the same things all of the time.

  • Racheal

    I keep a list of our meals that we like inside my binder/recipe book even the easy things and when it is time to make a menu I have a running list of ALL the food we eat including breakfast, lunch, snacks, sides, dinner, and dessert. It is easy to forget some of the foods we like to eat just because we don’t have a recipe for them.

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