Thursday, May 20, 2010

The elusive menu plan

When it comes to dinner, I'm a planner. Growing up, we used to sit down as a family and plan the menu for a month at a time. Up until recently, we've menu-planned weekly since we got married over 12 years ago. I think the system fully broke down not long after we discovered we had a solids-eating child in the house! At that point, it all just got too hard.

We've muddled through the last several months with me half planning and shopping as needed, which often means a last minute call to T to get him to pick up something essential on his way home from work. Obviously not a particularly satisfactory solution!

Tonight, after thinking I'd done a reasonable job of planning this week, I realised that not checking the ingredients needed for a recipe, and then not checking if I actually had them (before doing the shopping), leads to a red lentil stew with a few less red lentils than ideal.* Hmmm. Or takeaway, which we can't really afford very often at the moment.
So here's my solution. If I post my menu plans for each week or so in the sidebar**, then I'll have to be organised enough to do the shopping properly! Maybe I'll even let you know how successful we've been at sticking to it.

Maybe you'd like to join me? There are no rules - there's no shame in being flexible, or just changing your mind from time to time! Or even missing some weeks! I'm just hoping that it keeps me a bit more accountable.

For me, menu planning means spending less, wasting less, and not having to make decisions about dinner at 4pm (probably my biggest driver). If you'd like to join in, leave a comment letting me know, and tell me what drives you to try menu planning!

My first proper menu plan will start next Monday.

*It was still yummy, even if a bit light on in the lentil department!
**Getting a bit full, especially once I update my reading list - any ideas how I can get a sidebar on both sides??


ecoMILF said...

I've been posting my weekly menu plan on my sidebar for a couple months now and it really does get you a little organized. Sometimes I switch the nights around or change a veggie stew to a veggies stirfry last minute, but generally it helps me to stick to the plan and eliminates a lot of food waste. Good Luck! xo m.

Kylie said...

Snap - I sat down today to write mine. Have beenso disorganised for the past few weeks and this week came down in a tubling heap. Maybe I should blog it too:) Actually took a picture of the magazines that have made there way into the trolly in the past two weeks today to do a post on that! 5 can you elieve it - some yummy things in there that are being cooked this week.
An idea to tidy up the side

You could pop your recipe links up there. Looing forward to seeing what you are cooking this week. (if it helps any, I have 2kg of chickpeas in the cupboard - opps)

Lorajean Kelley said...

I was just thinking we needed to do more meal planning in our house. Especially with a wee babe almost here and a toddler that eats like a horse! It seems like we spend half our time at the grocery store and then come home with nothing to eat. It doesn't work for the budget either!

Christie said...

Hello, I'm visiting from Down to Earth and I'm enjoying having a look around your blog.
Just some help with the two side bars issue; if you go to your dashboard, down the bottom of that page there is an option for "Blogger in Draft" under "Tools and Resources". Once there you will find templates that offer a sidebar on either side of your posts. I hope this helps, good luck with your meal planning.

Jeffrey said...

Menu planning was a real challenge for me too, but I recently found this great software that has helped simplify my life a lot! Cook'n Recipe Organizer makes planning my meals easy. I just input my recipe, Put it on a weekly menu, and Cook'n can print out my menu, and even generate a shopping list for me. It has made planning meals extremely easy, and has already helped me save money.