|Use a two-week menu plan to organize your dinners.|
I've been experimenting with different ways of menu planning. So far, the two-week menu plan works for my family. I write the following items in my plan:
- The name of the dish
- The main ingredient used (e.g. type of meat)
- Grocery items I need, including any seasonal produce
Listing the main ingredient on my menu plan achieves the following goals:
I save time cooking by transforming leftovers into another dish. I typically cook enough for leftovers. For instance, let's say on Monday I make a chicken dish. On Wednesday, I can use chicken leftovers and make a new meal (such as quesadillas). A quick scan of the main ingredients make this planning process effortless. Plus, I don't have to spend a lot of time cooking that day!
I meal plan by the main ingredient to make sure that the menu is diverse. My family enjoys different dishes (no more chicken three nights in a row!). Plus, since I shop weekly, I can easily factor in seasonal produce.
|Tip: Health counts! I try to portion my family's plate via this helpful tool from the USDA.|
Planning two weeks at a time has it's benefits:
I save money. If done right, meals planned at home are typically much cheaper (per head) than eating out. Additionally, planning two weeks at a time helps me factor unexpected meat sales that pop up from time to time.
I can try new recipes. Yes, I have some tried and true recipes in our cookbook. But I love trying new recipes too! Writing out an entire month of planning may not provide the flexibility I need to allow for this. But two weeks does!
Click the link for the two-week menu plan.