I was gung ho at the beginning of January about planning menus for the whole month. My thought was to have it written out for the month and about every other week, add a few more weeks so the menu doesn’t run out. That didn’t quite happen toward the end of January. But as of this weekend, I have planned a February menu! I get hung up sometimes on variety and not wanting to have the same thing twice. I realize we can have the same thing twice… though after brainstorming on Saturday, I do not have anything listed in February that we had in January!
The biggest hang up I have in transferring from the month’s menu to the weekly menu is balancing the meals so we have an ideal amount of leftovers and also to try and go easy on the budget. I try to plan a soup or two and a couple things without meat since it seems like meat can be the biggest expense on groceries (after diapers at least, good thing we don’t need to buy diapers every week!).
Overall, after a month of meal planning, I feel like we did pretty well. We mostly stayed on the budget as determined from week to week. Aside from the week around Doug’s birthday, we didn’t go out and we ate pretty well at home. In fact, I have definitely noticed a difference in how I feel after a week where we went out a few times and had a few too many desserts.
I’m realizing again that I don’t need to plan a meal every night. I started out with having one night as “free” for either going out or leftovers or something else. For February I’m actually leaving two nights a week for leftovers or the occasional going out. This is kind of nice because its not as much work for me and also not as much planning involved. We haven’t had another week like that first with SO many leftovers, but we still have a lot. But that’s not bad because we like leftovers!
This week is a week of the crock pot and freezer meals, which is what I try to aim for every time.
Monday: Black bean soup in the crock pot (this recipe is really more like a taco soup)
Tuesday: Ham and scalloped potatoes, freezer to crock pot
Wednesday: Leftovers or freezer
Thursday: Homemade pizza
Friday: Mustard crumb chicken thighs
Saturday: Leftovers or freezer
Sunday: Potato and double corn chowder in the crock pot
It is interesting to see how the meals shape up depending on where I am while planning. I have so many different places I’m finding meals. In January, the menu was basically recipes I had bookmarked at work along with ideas Doug and I brainstormed. Its a lot different for February, using a few ideas we brainstormed and using a couple different cookbooks. I think this might be what makes it so hard for me to plan menus for just a week at a time, all the different sources and my hang up on variety that I mentioned earlier. I suppose I can add trying to do too much to the list too.