Oct 27, 2009

Tipsy Tuesday - Menu Planning 101

Tipsy Tuesdays

Cooking for your husband (and later, your family) can be a blessing and joy or it can be a chore that sucks the joy right out of you! I have learned over the last 10 years that you don’t have to be a gourmet chef, nor your husband the most adventurous eater, to enjoy cooking.

Remember, as you cook you are not only providing nourishment for your family, but are blessing them with your time – cooking is an act of love. The saying “practice makes perfect” may not be completely true, but “practice makes better” is totally true! If you keep cooking and keep trying to learn and grow, you will become a great cook!  Here is a tip that works for me, and it could work for you! ENJOY!

Tired of coming home and trying to figure out what to have for dinner? Try this, and you’ll never go hungry again (or eat fast food, mac and cheese or eat grilled cheese sandwiches for every meal)!

  1. Get a calendar that you can write on every month, or a notebook that you can keep track of your menus and grocery lists every week - I started with the calendar, and then started using the notebook.  I now have an entire year's worth of menus and grocery lists in one notebook, it's easy to take to the store, easy to store coupons in (bought a little one (5x7ish) with a small pocket in the front), and easy to leave out on my counter or in the drawer by the phone to make notes for next week's grocery trip, and for referencing "what's for dinner"
  2. Every 2 weeks (or every week), on the day before you plan on going to the grocery store, sit down and write out your menu for the following 2 weeks. Include breakfasts, lunches, dinners; be sure to plan what you’ll have with the main entrĂ©e; fruit, vegetable, starch?
  3. Make your grocery list from your menu. Be sure to include everything you need (milk for your cereal for instance). It might take a few tries before you remember everything.
  4. Go grocery shopping. I would suggest going to Food Max or WinCo (or any other discount bulk grocery store). You will save hundreds of dollars each year by shopping at one of those stores every one or two weeks, rather than going to the local expensive store every 3-4 days. ** If you go to WinCo or Food Max, be sure to go first thing on Saturday morning or on a Monday-Wednesday night after 8pm, those are the times (other than during the day) that the store is less crowded.
  5. Post your menu. This way both you and your hubby know what’s on the menu. If he gets home first and is a cooking type of guy, he could start on dinner. If nothing else, at least you won’t get the constant question “What’s for dinner?”
  6. Check your menu the day before. This way you know what meat to take out of the freezer, and can do any necessary prep the day before.
  7. Keep it up! Once you get your system working for you, just keep doing it. It’s worth it to never have to ask… “What should we have for dinner?” It’s less stressful, and more time efficient.
  8. Finally, if your family is like my family, we have about 10-15 meals that you make over and over, be sure to write all of those out on a reference list so you don't have to think so hard when making your menu.  If you have time, read your cookbooks for new menu ideas!  Have your kids choose what to have once a month (or every 2 weeks), and let them help you shop for the ingredients and/or make it.

PS - I was recently featured on TipJunkie check it out here.


  1. Congrats on being featured on Tip Junkie! Way to go mama!
    I love this idea of a meal log! I make something different all the time and this would be easier to take to the store then just a single piece of paper!

  2. I love the notebook idea, I will have to pick your brain and notebook in person very soon! I am also a big fan of Winco :)

  3. Great tips! I always forget to take out the meat in the morning to defrost. I think I am going to use some of your ideas.


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