For me, it just helps. A lot. At the moment, an awful lot. It helps me think and plan for my week. It helps me use up food before it goes to waste. It helps us eat well within a tight budget. It’s efficient. I know a lot of people who don’t menu plan, and many others who do in one form or another. I’ve tried various ways, and done a few different things over the years, but this is what has been working well for me lately.
|My Menu Planning|
I sit down with my diary, a sheet of A4 paper, two coloured pens, pencil, and rubber (eraser). I’ve also written up a list of meal ideas on another A4 sheet that lives in the back of my diary, so if I get stuck I’ve got ideas to hand. I used to have an excel spreadsheet with meal ideas for fish, chicken, pork, etc but found it got to be too much work so this is my ‘budget’ version the same idea.
I try to have one meat-free (or very close to it) meal each week, one fish or seafood, and the rest balanced out between beef, lamb, pork, etc. Boyo cooks once a week at present – he has a repertoire of about 4-5 meals that he likes to cook (okay, so saying he ‘likes’ to cook is not really accurate, but he has meals he chooses to cook when his darling wife insists he does!). He gets to choose, provided the materials are in the house. And no, we cannot have bacon and egg pie twice in a month, however much we all might want to!
During winter there’d be soup once a week, but at the moment we’re only having soup every month or so…tomato last month due to a tomato glut, pumpkin this month as there are buttercups on sale for 99c each.
I’ve found that having my diary sitting right beside me is super helpful! I can work out quickly if the crockpot meal I’m hoping to make will work with plans to be out all morning and most of the afternoon (ah, maybe we’ll move that to a day I know I’ve got at least an hour free in the morning to put it all together). It reminds me that Tuesday and Thursday are study days. That means simple, quick meals that work around study and kindy. I write down if I need to make extras for another night (Boyo frequently takes a meal for night shift). And if things change during the week, which they invariably do, I can erase, re-write, add to, or otherwise change my mind! Since doing this menu (yesterday), I’ve already written a note on the bottom “sticky pork chops, roast lamb madras sausages and veges – recipe from packet” – both meals I think I might make next week. Yum. Some weeks there just aren’t enough nights to fit all the things I want to cook!
How do you like to cook? Are you a spontaneous, decide today person, or a work-to-the-same-menu every week person? I guess that there's probably as many different menu-ing ways as there are cooks! Either way, I hope you have a delectably scrumptious, super easy eating week! I am enjoying the delicious aromas of Thai Curry as I type this, thinking about how good dinner will be (it's in the crock pot). Oh, I think I might have forgotten to have lunch! Well, that would explain my rumbling tummy. Better go and find something to eat!