My Complete Menu Plan For Four Weeks!

My Complete Menu Plan For Four Weeks!

It's been way too long since I wrote a post about menu planning.  It's not that I haven't been doing it at all.  I've been scribbling notes in my calendar book with loose meal ideas for a few days at a time. I got out of the habit of doing my complete weekly meal plan after the holidays and I've just been lazy about getting back to the discipline of sitting down and thinking it through. 

But what inevitably happens when I am not as disciplined about planning is that I spend way too much money on food and end up buying too much stuff that we don't really need.  Some people like to shop for shoes, I like to shop for food!  I really do enjoy going to the grocery store and just browsing! But if I don't have a complete planned out menu, with a grocery list to go with it, then I find myself at the store and just buying what looks good, or buying more than I need just to have stuff on hand.

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On the menu this week: December 8 - 14

Oy, it's been a few weeks since I've done this.  It's amazing how fast you get out of practice. We're still recovering from our vacation, there's laundry everywhere and just lots of piles of odds and ends.  On top of that I am trying to get some Christmasy stuff done with the kids each day.  We've been using our 25 days of Christmas calendar, and the kids are loving it, and I love that it gets us in the spirit but keeps it simple for me right now.  

With all of that, I'm feeling the need to keep things simple.  The great thing about having been doing this for a while is that I can just open up a meal plan from a previous week, make a few changes to it, and not have to work too hard to come up with original ideas.  This is not a week for original ideas.  This is a week for comforting, nourishing, easy food that I know will keep us going and won't be too much work for me to make.

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On the menu this week: November 10 - 16

Here we go, another week, another meal plan.  I've shifted a few of my usual things around this week since we've got some little schedule changes.  That's why it helps to have an up to date family calendar, so you know what you need to plan around.  I've got a couple of new-ish things, but really nothing too revolutionary.  This time of year I like predictable comfort foods.

My husband has a soccer game Monday night so I'll be feeding the kids on my own.  For those nights I like to go with something a little easier to make, and clean up, and easier to get them to eat - so I've switched my kid food night to Monday, and we'll have our leftover night on Thursday.  The kids don't have school on Tuesday, so I'll get a break from having to pack the lunches and we'll have our lunch at home most likely.  

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Meal Planning: How to create a plan that you will actually follow.

Menu planning is one of those things that we all seem to like to talk about, but don't often actually get done. You look around on blogs and Pinterest and you can be left feeling a little intimidated.  Do people really do that?  I’m thinking not very many actually do. 

Those menus look nice, but not the reality of what most of us with busy lives are actually going to stick to.  I don't know about you, but I don't have time to do that much experimenting, and the idea of trying a new recipe every night of the week is just too much. Don't get me wrong - I love reading food blogs and cookbooks, I love experimenting and trying new recipes - but I am also super busy.  I need an efficient system for planning a week’s worth of meals for 7 people. I need a set of tried and true basics that I can just pull out of my mental file and slot into my plan.  I need some sense of structure and consistency.   I need a plan that is going to guide me in the right direction when I've been up all night with sick kids, or I'm totally brain dead from a very full day. I need to not have to think about it too much.  But if I don't put some thought into our meals ahead of time then we end up just having the same stuff over and over again, or I end up staring into the fridge at 5:30 wondering what the heck I'm going to feed everyone in a half an hour.  

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