Husband:  Honey, what’s for dinner?

Wife: Ok I give, what?

Oh, it’s not a joke you say.  Do you ever go to the pantry and go what am I going to make tonight?  I think we all do that from time to time.  I know a lot of people are into the menu planning for the week and use the grocery ads for the best deals.  I think this is a great idea but it hasn’t worked for me as it seems time consuming the way I tried it.  So that has led me to a different type of menu planning (or maybe not).  I like to use a seasonal 3- 4 month rotation.  Now this doesn’t always happen but it sure makes it easy when it does.

So today’s A-Z tip will be M = Menu planning.

First, ask everyone what their favorite meals are.  Compile a large list.  Put down fancy and even non-fancy items like mac ‘n’ cheese.  But not too many pre-boxed stuff as you will find better alternatives doing this that will save not only money but will be healthier.

Next, break them down by seasons.  I.E. salads for summer, soups for winter, etc

Now you want to think of your schedule.  Are there nights, like Wednesday night church, that you will need a quick dinner or leftovers?  What about some night that everyone can try a new recipe together?  Don’t forget breakfasts and lunches when needed.

With all this info in hand you want to start putting a 3-4 season (some of us don’t have as many seasons as others…ours just hot, hotter, and “Where am I again?”) menu together i.e. Jan-Mar or Jan-April, etc.  Next list your Sunday-Saturday’s.  And finally fill in the menu items.

Make sure when you plan this to add a new recipe night at least once in the rotation (but try a few more if you can).  And try not to double up as much as possible.  If you take time to create this I bet you have more things that you know how to cook then you think.

Finally gather up all your info and put it into a menu planning binder.  You may want to use clear protectors since this will end up in the kitchen no doubt.

Use can use this binder for your shopping.  And if you want to use the store ads to get the best deals just shop ahead. Take your binder and look at what’s on sale to what you are going to be cooking in the next month or so for non-perishable items or items that can freeze.  Make sure you make note that you have purchased that item so you don’t pick it up again.

Menu planning is a stress reliever.  It may not always happen but when it does it sure makes life happier when you don’t have that deer in the headlights look at 6 pm.

If your hubby is the cook, as I know a lot of men are, this may be helpful for them.  This works great for anyone who is having trouble with added expenses on last minute purchases at the store, the people saying AUGGHH when fixing dinner, those who may always seem to forget key ingredients to recipes, and those who are fixing the same things over and over again.  But if hubby is the cook and there are no problems don’t mess with a good thing!

So what do you say?  Wanna start?

Have a “planning” day.

P.S – Don’t forget about my contest.  Link/ping any of my A-Z tips and let me know so I can enter you in my first contest.  See post on wanna know what you are playing for to see prizes.

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