I've talked and talked and would get a week planned and such but never did a whole month. So, I took the time to create a basic menu for the month of November.
Reason 1) I find I have little time on my hands. Just KNOWING what I'm going to make for lunch and supper goes a long way! Also I can pull the meat out and have it prepared.
Reason 2) My grocery bill is out of this world. My goal over the next few weeks is to cut it down. I found a blog, Po'Mans Meals. She has created meals with a "per dish" cost attached. I'm going to start being more aware of how much the meals I serve cost also. I chuckle because most blogs with posts about inexpensive meals only include the main dish or have a recipe for a family of 4, etc. Po'Mans Meals does not use sale prices, supposedly and her recipes have all been for 6 servings. I really want to see how much I'm spending as a whole including our side dishes. All the green dishes are from her site. The black are either from All Recipes, or recipes I've made enough that I don't need a recipe for. If you are using this calendar and need a recipe that in black font....just ask!
Reason 3) I'm bound and determined to start shopping at a meat market and see if that helps. So, in doing that, I want to be able to go just once a month or so and get what I need and freeze it. We'll see how that goes and if it saves me money. It'll definitely save me time and stress!
Reason 4) a printed menu gives me a place to keep all our family's 'review" in one place so that when I go to choose meals on the next go around...it's not so difficult. I'm planning on finding some really good meals that we all like and rotating. It also gives me a place to write down how much the meal cost . I did not include side dishes in the menu as those will just be whatever is handy...not planning ahead produce. So, with a printed menu, I can write down the side dishes.
So, I'm finding with a lot of "inexpensive" meals...there is a lot of pasta. To be truthful...I'm not a big pasta fan. It seems like a "filler" and kind of empty. Guess that's why it is cheap. But this month, I went ahead and included it because yes, a box of pasta at $5/5 and we only use have the box so that means only 50 cents for the pasta portion of the meal for a family of 5 (or 6, if you include baby who is starting on table food)...that is pretty good.
At the top of the calendar I put labels- that was to help me plan. I moved some things around so we weren't having potato, rice or pasta twice in a row so it may not be exactly what is in the column...but in general.
There is a blank day of the week, Sunday. I consider that "open". I'm hoping that ham or turkey goes on sale. We have roast and I think even steak in the freezer. I'll go with the flow with that.
There is also a day or two a week that really was hard to find something and I decided...that is just fine because there will almost always be left overs from Sunday so...we will not be wasting!
Saturdays there is only one meal planned. This is going to be our "planned" left-over day. I also didn't put anything for breakfast on Saturdays. Typically it's a "left-over/what do you want" day or my husband makes breakfast.
I really like having the planned breakfast. It allows the kids to be a bit more independent. I plan a grain and they add a side dish of their choice. They can always have cold cereal if they do not want what is on the menu for that day. However, Saturdays are the ONLY..."whatever you want" mornings. We do not have time for trying to make up mind about what to eat for breakfast...so 2 choices....what's on the menu or cold cereal. :-D
EDIT: I uploaded a new calendar as I found an error.
Also, the original had blanks for Sunday. Typically we have popcorn and cold cuts so I added that in for supper but still left the dinner blank. Why? Because something ALWAYS comes up on Sunday. :-D For example, we had a potluck this past Sunday. Who knows what will happen next Sunday. It's one day I really don't know what we are doing. So, again, I do have turkey and hope to get a ham on sale. We also have roasts and steak in the freezer due to purchasing a side of beef. I'll slip it in as I go. :-D