How Do You Meal Plan? Menu Plan Monday: 5/13/13

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How do you menu plan?

Do you shop based on your menu or do you shop and then plan your menu based on what’s in your pantry?

I actually do it a little of both ways… When I grocery shop, I have a standard list of items I like to keep in stock. Things like chicken, black beans, green chilies, rice tortillas, eggs, potatoes, pasta, shredded cheese, sour cream, plain yogurt, the list goes on…

I have a big list of meals everyone likes to eat.  (Some easy and not some so easy.)  I  usually plan my meals out about two weeks at a time based on what I have in the pantry and freezer.

I leave little gaps in my plan for easy nights or in case I want to try something new, then when I grocery shop, I add the items needed for anything new to my list. 

I keep my menu plan on this little dry erase board that is supposed to hang on my pantry door (but most of the time just sits here on my desk.)  I feel like this dry-erase system keeps me prepared, yet at the same time, I don’t feel pressured to make what’s planned if I’m not feeling well or if I decide to make something else. 

I just erase it and rearrange it or move it to the end of the list.  (Ok, I really need to invest in a fine tip dry erase marker – do they even make those?)

Want to try a dry erase board? Here is one that you can hang and I love this magnetic one if you have a fridge door magnets will stick to.

One other thing I like to do to make meal prep easy is to batch cook the meats (mostly chicken in the crockpot or oven, or when rotisserie chickens are on sale, I’ll buy 2 and freeze the meat for later.)  I also double the recipes for some meals, then package them up in the freezer to eat on another day.  

I would love to hear about your meal planning methods, be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

On to the meal plan…

Here is our menu for the week:

Monday:  We have a makeup Baseball game today, so something easy from the freezer, meatballs, and mashed potatoes.

Tuesday: Sausage w/ Yellow Rice and veggies

Wednesday:  Out with the kids this night

Thursday: Hamburger Bun Mini-Pizzas

Friday: Steak Fajitas

Saturday:  Frozen Lasagna  (I picked several of these up on sale a few weeks back)

Sunday:  Pot Roast (recipe coming soon)

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  1. What a great idea!! I really need to start planning my meals more. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  2. Frugal Friend says:

    They do make fine dry erase markers, Expo makes them. Now they have fab colors! And like Jennifer, I also shop based on sales. But I do stock up when meats are on sale. This means my pantry is fuller and I can plan based on what I have for other weeks.

  3. Jennifer Lachman says:

    I shop based on the sales for the week. I start by finding the best sales and adding those items to my list, then decide what meals they can be used in and add everything else I will need for those meals to the list.

    When I write the menu on my dry erase board I don't assign days because something always comes up and it has to be rearranged anyway. I have sections labeled breakfast lunch dinner snacks and leftovers. The snacks section is written in black (sugary snacks) and red (fruits, and healthy snacks) so the kids know they can take a red snack anytime they are hungry without asking.

    For the dinner section I usually choose based on what I am in the mood for or have time for. Sometimes if the kids do something really good, like bring home a good report card or clean their room without being asked I will let them choose what they want from the available dinners.

  4. There is a marker out there called Vis-a-vis. The teachers I had growing up had them to write on the overhead projectors. They are water removable, meaning you need to wipe it down with water. But they have a finer tip on them. Don't know where you can get them though.