Seems like I've finally reached my breaking point in the lunch and dinner menu department. Frequent trips to the grocery store (like 4 per week!!), too many meals at the restaurant, and scrambling to make something quick before the whole family melts down...this has been my life for the past couple of months. It's driving me to insanity!!!
So after a meal of leftovers and cheese pizza, I decided to get my life back on track in the cooking department. I've always done menus and it has been a wonderful help to me. I'm a BIG buyer and believer of organic and natural foods, so planning my shopping trip is important if I want to buy the kinds of foods we eat and save money. Believe me, buying prepared meals at Whole Foods is not cheap!
I began by taking a look at some of our favorite family meals for both lunch and dinner. I love allrecipes.com and I have most of our favorite dinner recipes stored through their Recipe Box feature. My next step was to download an empty dinner menu planner from Donna Young's website. Finally, I just filled it in for the whole month. (I did the same for a lunch menu.)
I started with our Friday meals, since we don't eat meat on those days. After that, I planned our Wednesday meals since we have faith formation on those days and having slow cooker meals is most convenient. The rest just fell into place. Leaving the weekends open for leftovers or family trips to the restaurant works well for us too.
I opted for doing a whole month of planning in advance. I think this will prevent my weekend rushing around of trying to come up with something. And once the month is over, I can just start at the beginning again...maybe switching some recipes for others. But at least I don't have to think about what's for dinner (or lunch!) for a whole month!!
My grocery shopping trips are now being planned for every two weeks, with perhaps a small trip in-between for fresh produce. This will give me so much more time for when I have our babysitter watching the kids...and I'm sure she'll appreciate knowing what to make for lunch whenever she is here!
I have included a link to both my dinner and lunch menus. All my lunch meals don't require a recipe, I just make them off the top of my head. If you want the recipes for my dinner menus, a quick search at Allrecipes.com will help you find what you need! If not, just drop me a comment and I'll send it over!!
It feels good to go back to having a plan, especially now that I have a new baby on the way in less than 2 months! Now to start organizing other parts of my life...... :)