I never meal planned. I would just look in the pantry or freezer and determine what meat I would cook that night and add sides to it.
But in the past 30 years, I have come to enjoy meal planning. I do it on Saturday night for the following week. Before I even think about a meal, I check my calendar to see what appointments we have for the week and when. Then I plan my meals around those things. For example, I had a long dentist appointment yesterday and a long day out of the house so we went out to dinner. We hadn’t been out in well over a month so it was a treat. When I had kids at home, we planned meals around their activities. They played sports in junior high and high school so my crock pot got used a lot.
On Saturday night, I ask Hubby if there is anything special that he would like to eat this coming week. Sometimes, he will make a suggestion and sometimes he won’t.
Then I come up with 6-7 meals for dinners that I will make during the week. Each week I try to have at least one meatless meal. Because I knew we were going out to dinner last night, I penciled that in for Tuesday night. Next I checked my pantries, refrigerator, and freezers to see if I had the ingredients for those meals. I had all the ingredients this week so I needed no food at the grocery store to make them. If I did need an ingredient, I would put it on my grocery list. However I did shop for a few things this week. I purchased the liquid dish detergent pictured above at Walmart for $ 5.96(stockpiling for the winter). It is the cheapest dish detergent that we like. So I just buy it and pour it into a smaller bottle. I also went to Dollar Tree and picked up 6 packages of Jennifer’s Garden Spring Rolls for a $1.00 each. We rarely buy food at Dollar Tree but when I find something we really like, I stock on it. When I saw these a while ago, I purchased one package to try. They are vegetable spring rolls. I deep fry them or air fry them. They are delicious! My store doesn’t always have them so when I see them I snag a bunch. They will make a nice snack on Sundays during football season. I also picked up 2 lbs. of butter for $ 2.36 each at Aldi’s.
Here is our menu this week:
Sunday – Homemade chicken vegetable soup, crackers with butter
Monday – A repeat of Sunday night
Tuesday – Dinner out
Wednesday – Chicken with Orange Sauce on rice, green beans
Thursday – Hubby’s meat chili on rice, tomatoes, and cucumbers
Friday – A repeat of Thursday night
Saturday – Meatless spaghetti, side salad
I find that meal planning saves us money because our leftovers get eaten and I can work food that needs(think produce) to be used into our meals. We have very little waste in this house.
We always have many choices of breakfast food in the house – cold and hot cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham slices and I make pancakes, waffles, various muffins and quick breads. This week I have been eating a bowl of plain yogurt, fresh blueberries, and granola sprinkled on top for breakfast every day. It’s easy to grab what we feel like eating when we get up. Lunches are usually sandwiches, peanut butter on English muffins, salads, fruit, cheese and crackers or leftovers. Sometimes we even skip lunch if we know that we are having a heavier meal like stew for dinner.
So if you haven’t tried to meal plan at least your dinners, give it a try. It only takes a few minutes to do. We save money not running for takeout or going out to dinner two or three nights a week because I forgot to thaw something or I don’t know what to make. I keep my menu on the side of the fridge so we always know what we are having that day.