Last week I talked about my tips in getting started with your menu plan:
- Include at least one crockpot meal
- Use Leftovers
- Keep a running list
- Check your calendar
- Know what you have
You can go here to see more details on last weeks post.
This week, I’ll be covering;
- Go-To Meals
- Frequency & Content of Meal Plan
- Web Resources to help you plan
- Cooking 101
Go-To Meals: Even if my meal plan for the week falls through, I always have at least 2 or 3 “Go-To” meals I can make. It is important to have a few things to fall back on that you know your family loves. So, instead of making a quick and expensive $20 trip to the drive-thru, take that meal you know you have and get something on the table quickly. My go-to meals are things like spaghetti, tacos, and black bean soup. I always have pasta and sauces, taco items, and lots of chicken broth and beans. So, with these staples on hand I can usually figure out something to make. Allrecipes.com is a great resource, by plugging in what you have on hand, it will give you recipes you can make without making a trip to the store.
Frequency & Content of Meal Plan: Your meal planning can be planned as far ahead as will work for you; weekly, monthly- but you have to pick one that works for you. I love to cook, and am starting to enjoy my meal planning, so weekly works really well for me. Also, our tastes and cravings change too much for me to try to plan monthly for my family. If I was working outside my home, I might opt for planning it monthly, to do it once and be done. Another thing to consider is what you are going to plan. I started out just planning dinners, this got me used to the process of the planning and helped me see the benefits. Just this past week, I have started meal planning our entire day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has really helped me make sure I have enough snacks, fresh fruits and fridge food on hand without running to make another grocery trip.
Web Resources: There are a million wonderful places to draw from in putting together your meal plan, just try not to get overwhelmed. Find a few places that work for your family lifestyle. Whether you are concerned with organic eating or just being healthy, eating vegetarian or meals with lots of meat protein, there is definitely a place for you! On my “Meal Planning” link above, I am constantly adding resources I have found to be helpful. Here are a few that I like.
- $5 Dinners: An amazing resource for meal planning, that also has a store specific bargain meal of the week!
- Crockpot 365: A full year (yes EVERY day) of crockpotting!
- eMealz: Subscription service whose meal plans are based on Sales Cycles at the stores they cover (in the South and West – but includes WalMart, Kroger Affiliates and an “any store” plan).
- Meal Planning Mommies: Great new resource for weekly meal plans, with daily recipes and pictures to show you how to prepare the meals.
- Mommy Snack’s Menu Planning Recipe Box: An excel sheet of menu planning ideas with links to each recipe.
- Organized Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday: Lots of ideas for your weekly menu.
Cooking 101: One of the areas I get the most interest in are readers wanting tips and tricks to make kitchen life easier. One thing to learn, is how to change a recipe to fit what you have on hand. I used to always get stuck in the mindset that if I didn’t have 1 or 2 ingredients or I had red, instead of white onions I couldn’t make that recipe. If you go here, you can find lots of different recipes, prep day ideas and ways to change up a recipe to work for you. My new goal is to start posting 2-3 meals per week with my ways to stretch it into another meal or morph the recipe with different ingredients.
:: Be sure to visit Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood, she has finished up her series on “How I Plan Our Menu’s: Part 2″ . She gives her tips on getting your grocery list finalized and your shopping trip.
What are your favorite go-to meals? Where are your favorite planning resources? Or, tips on a specific recipe you think is versitile. Share your knowledge here for all of us to glean from in a comment below. I find my favorite and best ideas have come from you!
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