Saturday, January 30, 2010

Organizing in the Kitchen - Menu Planning Step One

Posted by Krista at 8:38 PM

I missed posting yesterday but I didn't actually do anything other than the basics to get through the day.  I had to babysit and with looking after two little ones, plus the big kids home for a snow day; keeping my sanity was the only goal. Today I took another easy day mostly. Did a little work in the living room, tidied the rest of the house and this evening I worked on my menu for next week.  Since menu planning is part of being organized I thought I would talk about it with you tonight.

Do you menu plan? Have you stood in front of your cabinets or freezer an hour before you should be serving supper wondering what in the world you could make tonight?  Do you often end up just ordering out because you can't figure out what to make? Menu planning can help! Spending a few minutes once a week can save you time, stress and money!

When I first started menu planning I just started with planning suppers, gradually I started adding in lunches and breakfasts.  This is particularly helpful when the kids are home on school holidays. Now I generally keep the same breakfast and lunch menu until the kids start saying they are sick of something, then I will change it up a little.  I plan only one week's worth of menus at a time.  If you get paid every two weeks it may be more helpful for you to plan two weeks at a time.  I've tried planning a months worth or more of menus before and I never stuck to the menu at all.

Recently I sat down and tried to figure out a faster system for menu planning and this is what I came up with.  Tonight we'll only talk about the first step. That way you can do the homework and come back next week for step two. The first thing I did was sit down with all the recipes I had printed, cookbooks I use, clippings I had saved and wrote down a huge list of things I like to make. This list does not include things I haven't made before or want to try; it's just things I know my family likes.  I have a list for spring/summer and fall/winter.  Doing it this way I know I'll have things on my menu the family enjoys and I can add a new recipe in whenever I want. You can see the list of meals I made here. I think I've added on to the list (via my cooking blog) since I made this list in my notebook, but I just used the notebook list to make this file for you.

This week you can try coming up with a list of meals your family enjoys. Next week we'll tackle the second step.

Are you finding this helpful? Do you have a different, maybe better way that you plan menus? If you do I'd be interested in hearing it, always looking for a new more efficient way to do things. :)

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