Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monthly Menu

Ever since Sean & I have been married, I've used a monthly menu plan.   (I've posted a sample before.)  There were some years it was more on the back shelf, but because it's a great tool  and makes my life easier, I've been pretty faithful at using it.  I've got four weeks laid out, and just cycle through them.  Monday is my grocery day, so I pull out the list, adapt the week's menu to suit our week, and make my shopping list from that. 

When setting up the plan, I kept in mind a balanced diet, our weekly schedule (piano after school Tuesdays means a shorter prep time, Friday can be a meal that's not great for leftovers), and food likes and dislikes.  I plan for six days - the last W means weekend, which for us is usually flexible; as long as I've got the fixings for one meal on hand, we're good.

Where there are two meals listed, I alternate and make one one month and the other the next.  I often switch up which chicken meal I make, too.  I have the Company's Coming Chicken Cookbook and like lots of the recipes in there.

Week One
M - Spaghetti
T - BBQ Steaks / Shepherd's Pie
W - Honey Baked Chicken
T - Lazy Perogie Casserole
F - Fish in Brown Butter
W - Burgers

Week Two
M - Tortellini Alfredo
T - Hamburger Helper / Meatballs
W - Parmesan Chicken
T - Lasagna
F - Tacos
W - Stirfry

Week Three
M - Van Raes Mac & Cheese / Penne Rose
T - Perogies & Sausages
W - Chinese Chicken
T - Hamburger Casserole / Canelloni
F - Fish Sticks & Fries
W - Frozen Pizza

Week Four
M - Roast Beef
T - Sloppy Joes / Hot Beef Sandwiches
W - Any Chicken Recipe
T - Chicken Lasagna
F - Pork Chops / Mexican Fish / Experiment with Something New
W - Chicken Fingers & Fries

Do you use a menu plan?  What are some of your family favorites or standbys?


Alexis said...

Before we go grocery shopping for the week we make a list of 6 meals. We cook them in any order, or whichever we feel like when the day arrives.

Some if our standbys are tacos, pasta, salmon strips and rice, and hamburgers. I have recently discovered ham and egg bakes, which are quick and easy.

I'm curious about your perogi casserole.

Carolyn Ward said...

Thanks, Alexis! I`m curious about the salmon strips... (M and I just had creamed salmon on toast for lunch today - yummy!) The perogie casserole is like lasagna with one layer of mashed potato and cheddar cheese filling, and one layer of cottage cheese filling. It is really good - I`ll email you the recipe.

Kathie said...

What a great idea, Carolyn! I've struggled with the meal ideas and usually end up "winging" something uninspiring at the last minute because I hate to plan every week. But this monthly rotation could work well for me - thanks for sharing!

Suzanne said...

I have a 4-week meal plan, but have discovered that although I'm a planner I also love variety. Thus, my 4-week meal plan is on the side of my fridge in case I need it, but I've found that I am usually bored with it and make something different after consulting it. I'm (slowly!!) working on a more elaborate mealplan with a few more options. For example, the current Monday Week One meal might be taco soup. My new plan will (I hope) have 3-4 options, (ie. taco soup, butternut bisque, cream of broccoli soup, or borscht), so that my 4-week plan actually has 84 different meal options instead of 28. However, I'm also discovering that I have too much going and am sometimes too much of a procrastinator to actually get this meal plan planned. So in the meantime ... any supper ideas?

Suzanne said...

Carolyn, can you tell me about your fish in brown butter and mexican fish?

Carolyn Ward said...

Suzanne - I will bring you recipes for both next week. :)