Menu Hacks For Your Planner | Giftie Etcetera: Menu Hacks For Your Planner

Monday, March 3, 2014

Menu Hacks For Your Planner

This week, foodwise, is complicated.

We are Catholic, so no meat (seafood is acceptable) on Ash Wednesday or Friday during Lent. Plus, the kids are off school all week and the husband is working overtime all week. So I have to cook a lot more food than usual.

We are going to stay under budget by defrosting meat and sides that I've frozen when on sale and by cooking beans and pasta. I still will need to do lots of shopping, though, in order to feed my boys (who've suddenly started eating like growing teenagers, despite being in kindergarten and second grade) all week. In order to stay under budget, careful planning is required.

I advise that people keep their menus in their planner. Sure, a quick list of dinners can go on a wipe board on the fridge. (Clearly, I am over that. Sure, the family knew what to expect. But that just gave them time to complain in advance!)

The problem is that a simple wipe board is not about planning. It's about advertising my plan. I don't need advertising. I am not a restaurant. (I am a good cook. And since I've stopped advertising, they've stopped complaining and started requesting instead.)

I need a plan.

The details, for those borrow such things as their own...

1. List the tasks to be done ahead of time on the day they must be done. For example, on Monday, over the red line, is a reminder to defrost the shrimp for Wednesday.

2. Divide tasks from menu. This is important, since the tasks are an action and the menu is informational. The red line reminds me to do the tasks. I also put a little reminder, with a circle around it to tell me to copy it from day to day, on my weekly planner that says, "menu."

3. List breakfast and lunch if they are complicated. For example, I list breakfast when it involves cooking instead of just cereal or something quick. I list lunch on days where it is meatless or must be taken out of the home.

4. Create meals around meat on sale or in the freezer.

5. Once you have created your menu, check for ingredients, such as condiments and side dishes.

6. If you need to add an ingredient to the grocery list, put a little mark by the item. This is important because it not only allows me to create my grocery list, but it allows me to substitute at the grocery store. Roasting veggies look withered? Check the see that you are roasting a chicken and consider a baked dish in the same oven instead.

7. Use the menu to make your grocery list. You don't need to buy much else. We'll get milk, bread, some lunch meat, and a couple of snacks.

8. Be flexible. If you find steaks on sale, maybe you don't roast a chicken this week.

9. Make your menu for next week as you go. There's no reason to make it all at once. Craving Mexican? Google a recipe and add it to next week's menu.

10. Have a list of things you know how to cook and love to eat, in case you are stumped about what to put on the menu.

I am looking forward to dinner this week.


1 comment:

yezenia said...

Weren't you promising us a video on meal planning? ; )