Thursday, September 22, 2011

Menu Planning

 My Weekly Menu Spreadsheet

I hate grocery shopping. I hate it.

Therefore, I often don't feel like cooking. Why? Because I don't have any good ingredients.  When I don't (even loosely) plan a weekly menu, I fall into buying the same stuff at the store.  And when it comes time to cook, I'm bored rather than inspired.

Lately, I've been using a spreadsheet to plan weekly menus.  I like this idea because I used to save online recipes in my bookmarks folder, but it quickly became an unorganized list of random recipes.  By using this spreadsheet I can see what I've made, where the recipe comes from (if there is one), and I get excited about trying new menu ideas.

The spreadsheet is pretty simple--on the x-axis I put the days of the week, and on the y-axis, the week dates. Easy. Simple. Boom.

After a while, I can track our eating habits.  Are we eating out too much?  Am I sticking with the menu? What did we and didn't we like.  And, if I change my mind I can drag and drop recipes to other dates.

I try to make one vegetarian meal per week and one slow cooker meal per week, and I plan for leftovers at least once a week, perhaps twice.  We are so bad at eating leftovers, so I've tried to perfect the art of cooking for two.  Menu planning is a lot easier when three or four days are practically planned already.

The best part about menu planning is having a shopping list! I can go to the store and get exactly what I need for dinner all week!  When planning out the weekly menu, I can work within my budget--a couple of fancy-ish meals and some cheapo ones.

We'll see how the menu planning spreadsheet works out in the long run. Hopefully, I'll stick with it.  I've been keeping tabs on Stephanie at Keeper of the Home and her Plan It--Don't Panic Meal Planning Challenge that is just starting.  She has a lot of great resources to keep people planning.

Do you plan your weekly meals? If so, what works best for you?

1 comment:

  1. I make a monthly menu at the beginning of each month. It has been wonderful knowing exactly what to buy each week and not having to come home and wonder what to cook. We save the menus so we can rotate through them. We also cook enough so each meal lasts two nights. It's been a life safer, especially since we are busy and tired when we come home at the end of the day.