Welcome to Week 2 of our Make-A-Menu Series with Menu Maker Mom. Hopefully you enjoyed Week 1 and were able to get your Make-A-Menu Binder set up. Wasn’t it easy?
Today, you’re going to learn to use the Make-A-Menu Binder to make a menu in three easy steps. You’ll be amazed at just how easy it is to plan an entire week or even an entire month of meals!
To get started, here are the supplies that you’ll need:
1.) Your Make-A-Menu Binder, which should contain your Menu Calendar, list of Family Favorites, and list of what’s already in your freezer.
2.) Your Family Calendar.
Get your blank Menu Calendar. Choose a meal theme for each day of the week. There are a number of ways to choose the themes for the week. For example, you might make your themes related by main ingredients, ethnic food types, or by appliance (crockpot, grill, oven, no-cooking-required, etc.). Write down the themes above the day-of-the-week columns on your calendar.
Here’s what’s on Menu Maker Mom’s calendar:
Sunday – casseroles, BBQ, Oven-roasted meats
Monday – sandwiches, salads, soups
Tuesday – Italian, pasta, beef
Wednesday – Mexican, beans
Thursday – Chicken, pork
Friday – Fish, vegetarian
Saturday – Calzones, pizza, or another day of grilled food
Take out your family’s calendar. Look at the schedule for this week. Are there any nights that will be too busy for cooking? Plan for using the crockpot, use leftovers, have sandwiches or some other quick meal, or you’ll need to have something ready to cook straight from the freezer. Make a note these scheduling needs on your Menu Calendar. Put the Family Calendar away.
It’s time to Make a Menu! Get your list of “Family Favorites” and your list of meats or meals that you already have in the freezer. Using those two lists, start filling in your calendar with the groceries that you already have on hand. To save time, try to cook meat one night and use it again on another night. As you use a “Favorite”, check it off the “Family Favorites” list. Try to get this entire week filled in. Keep on going and fill in as much of the month and even the upcoming month as you can, using the ingredients you already have on hand.
When you’re done, check your fridge and pantry and see if you have all the ingredients for each meal. What about extras like garlic toast or rolls, salads and other side dishes? Make notes of any groceries that you will need to complete the meals, and add those items to your shopping list. You should pick those items up as soon as possible, and then your cooking will be on autopilot!!!
Congratulations! You’re done! Put all your lists back in your Menu Planning Folder. Hang your Menu Calendar in a prominent place where you can see it. Display it proudly! You are so organized!!!
Don’t forget to check your calendar each evening after the kitchen is closing for the evening. Do you need to thaw some frozen ingredients for tomorrow’s meal? Do you need to set the crockpot on the counter? Can you chop onions now to save time? Do a last-minute check to make sure that you have all the necessary ingredients. Anything you can do to save preparation time will help.