O.M.G. it is 5 pm – What’s for dinner????
Is this you every night? It used to be me. I actually hate to cook and the end of the day used to be a nightmare as I would run around trying to figure out what we were going to eat, which then usually ended up in take out. With a 5 and 3 year old doing the dash to the shops for ingredients just isn’t an option these days.
That 5 pm rush is chaotic in my home and most likely your home also. Getting home from work, picking kids up, sports activities, appointments, and anything else that finds its way into your busy schedule. You know what I am talking about.
Having a menu plan is one way that can make like that little easier. A menu plan can save you time, money and a lot less stress at dinner time.
I have been meal planning for a while now, tried a few different methods but I have found these simple steps help every time. Yes, technology can be an advantage with Pinterest or meal planning apps etc but I generally waste my time getting too involved in these, so a pen and paper or one of my menu planning printables is all I use. I also only meal plan for dinners. Breakfast is easy as we just eat cereal or toast, and lunch is usually just a meat and salad sandwich for me, and for the kids, its a simple Vegemite or ham and cheese sandwich.
Try these tips that will make menu planning easier and save you time.
- Write a list of your families favourite meals. There are several ways you can do this. Have a folder with your recipe cards written out. Grab one of the many free apps out there to save your favourite recipes on. Or write a list of meals that you love and where to find them eg which cookbook they are in.
- Try to add a new meal once a week or fortnight to make sure you are not getting stuck in the meat and 3 veg rut. Our ut is usually Spaghetti Bolognese.
- If you have time on the weekend or even during the week do a big cook up of some of your favourite meals and then store them in the freezer for those busy nights where you are late home from work or kids sporting activities. As mentioned above Spaghetti Bolognese and Lasagne are my go-to freezer meals. Perhaps you could even make a double batch of a meal and freeze the extras for another night.
- If you have similar meals or leftovers that can be turned into another meal group these together. An example maybe a roast chicken one night and then the next night you could turn the leftover meat into chicken casserole.
How I organise my menu plan.
- Firstly I do a quick check of my fridge, freezer and pantry and see what I already have.
- Check your calendar and see what is planned for the week ahead. Is there any events where you will be out, or late home where you just want a quick easy option.
- Grab my meal planner here (it is free) and list down meals you want for the week. You may need to pull out your cookbooks, your own recipe folder or Pinterest if you have saved menu ideas.
- Shopping list. Have the recipe for each meal you have on your planner and write your shopping list from the ingredients required for each meal. Don’t forget to add items you need for every day. Fruit, snacks, cleaning and personal items, pet food etc.
- Display your meal plan so that everyone in the house knows what is on the menu each week.
My Menu Plan
There are few spots for breakfast and lunch if you wish to plan these and then there is space to write 7 dinners. I have purposely left the days of the weeks off as everyone will shop and start their meals on a different day. My menu plan starts on a Saturday as I tend to do my shopping on either Friday or Saturday.
I hope these tips help you with your menu planning and help save you some time, in that evening rush to figure out what’s for dinner.
If you have enjoyed this article or have tips that you use in your menu plan please leave me a comment. If you would like to find out how to save time in other activities during your day or week please feel free to follow along on Facebook and Pinterest.
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