Posts Tagged ‘Menu Plans’

Menu Planning Monday 04.27.09

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Here is what our next two week’s of dinners look like. I hope you can try some of these yummy recipes! You can also print out a free printable menu planner in our Downloads section to jot down ideas as you are planning this week.

1. Chicken Cooked in Milk, Mashed Potatoes, & Baby Peas

2. Herb Baked Tilapia, Lemony Rice Pilaf, & Roasted Green Beans

3. Chicken Enchiladas With Homemade Enchilada Sauce & Mexican Rice

4. Homemade Waffles, Homemade Syrup, Hash Brown Potatoes, & Orange Juice

5. Homemade Pizza With The World’s Greatest Slushies

6. Ground Beef Tacos With Tortilla Chips

7. Old-Fashioned Spaghetti & Meatballs with Homemade Breadsticks

8. Chicken & Broccoli Lo Mein With Brown Rice

9. Grilled Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Green Beans, & WHO Bread

10. Homemade Pizza With Milkshakes

11. Piggy Pancakes, Homemade Syrup, Hash Brown Potatoes, & Orange Juice

12. Chicken Italiano Over Spaghetti with Roasted Green Beans

13. Rotini With Turkey Meatballs

14. Panini Night (Turkey, Swiss, Prepared Pesto on Sourdough Bread)

Please visit I’m An Organizing Junkie to get even more great menu planning ideas for the week!

Menu Planning Monday 02.02.09

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Here is what we made the past two weeks in our kitchen:

1. Parmesan Sage Pork Chops, Cheesy Orzo, & Baby Peas

2. Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein With Rice

3. Deli Sandwiches With Chips (shopping day)

4. French Toast With Orange Juice

5. Baked Salmon With Lemony Rice Pilaf & Corn (check back for these recipes!)

6. Baked Tilapia With Lots of Spice, Rice, & Corn

7. Ground Beef Tacos with Tortilla Chips

8. Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Corn

9. Rotini With Turkey Meatballs & Garlic Bread

10. Turkey Burgers on Homemade Buns With Baked Potato Wedges

11. Pizza Night

12. Turkey Meatloaves (Scroll Down to Meal #3), Mashed Potatoes, & Steamed Broccoli

Please Visit I’m An Organizing Junkie for some really great menu plans each and every Monday!

Menu Planning Monday: 01.12.09

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Here has been our menu plan for the past two weeks with recipes!

1. Deli Sandwiches With Chips (shopping day)

2. Herb Baked Tilapia, Rice, & Corn

3. Sticky Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Peas

4. Baked Ziti, Holiday Punch, Moist Chocolate Cupcakes With Vanilla Buttercream Frosting & Garlic Bread

5. Rosemary Chicken, Cheesy Orzo Pasta, & Baby Peas

6. Chicken BBQ Sandwiches, Tortilla Chips, & Baby Carrots

7. Sloppy Joes (new recipe coming soon) on Homemade Hamburger Buns With Baked Potato Wedges

8. Ranch Pork Chops With Rice & Corn

9. Braised Balsamic Chicken With Rice & Green Beans

10. French Bread Pizzas

11. Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks, Mashed Potatoes, & Baby Carrots

12. Chicken Tacos with Tortilla Chips

13. Chicken Parmesan Over Spaghetti

14. Old-Fashioned Spaghetti & Meatballs (made a double batch)

15. Meatball Subs on Homemade Buns & Oven Fries

Please visit I’m An Organizing Junkie for a whole slew of menu planning ideas and recipes!

Meal Planning Monday: 12.29.08

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Here has been our menu plan for the past two weeks with recipes!

1. Deli Sandwiches With Chips (for shopping day)

2. Herb Baked Tilapia, Rice, & Corn

3. Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Peas

4. Rotini Pasta With Turkey Meatballs & Garlic Bread

5. Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Over Egg Noodles (Scroll Down to View)

6. Sloppy Giuseppes With Oven Fries (Scroll down to Meal #8)

7. Ground Beef Tacos With Tortilla Chips

8. Italian Chops Over Spaghetti

9. Yeast Waffles with Orange Juice

10. Chicken Enchiladas With Homemade Enchilada Sauce

11. Skillet Chicken & Ziti with Broccoli & Homemade Breadsticks

12. French Bread Pizzas

13. Chicken Parmesan Over Spaghetti

14. Chicken Wings, Celery with Ranch, & Cheese Quesidillas


Please visit “I’m An Organizing Junkie” for a round-up of great menu plans!

November ’08 Menu Planner

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Here is our month of meals for November. I will be posting some new recipes throughout the month so please be sure to check back if a recipe is not listed! I hope that some of these ideas will help with your own menu plans this month!

I will also be working on some holiday recipes and will be sure to share those as well. November can be a tough month to plan with the holidays so I am starting this a little early this month. The cost to buy the supplies and everything needed for lunches & breakfast came in at approximately $200.

November Menu Plan

1. Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
2. Chicken Parmesan With Spaghetti
3. Pasta e Fagoli with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
4. Turkey Burgers with Oven Fries
5. Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli
6. Yeast Waffles with Scrambled Eggs & Orange Juice
7. Homemade Pizza Night
8. Weeknight Skillet Fajitas with Tortilla Chips
9. Herb Baked Tilapia with Rice & Steamed Broccoli
10. Spaghetti with Meatballs (make extra & freeze for later)
11. Roasted Chicken with Buttered Noodles & Baby Peas
12. Chicken Flavored Chops with Mashed Potatoes & Corn
13. Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein with Rice
14. Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks with Mashed Potatoes & Corn
15. Deep Dish Pizza with Homemade Breadsticks
16. Beef Tacos with Tortilla Chips & Carrot Sticks
17. Meatball Subs with Oven Fries (meatballs pulled from freezer)
18. Piggy Pancakes with Scrambled Eggs & Orange Juice
19. Italian Chops with Spaghetti
20. Meatloaf Muffins with Mashed Potatoes & Broccoli
21. Roasted Balsamic Chicken, Jasmine Rice, & Baby Peas
22. Homemade Pizza Night
23. French Toast, Bacon, & Orange Juice

Snacks: Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Biscotti, Simple Oatmeal & Chocolate Muffins, & Vanilla Scented Granola

**Check out I’m An Organizing Junkie for a menu planner extravaganza, posted each & every Monday for your weekly inspiration!**

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September ’08 Menu Planner

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Since last month’s menu planner was such a hit, I wanted to be sure to share our current month’s menu plan for some inspiration for the month. I am trying some new recipes from my cookbooks so I will be sure to post our reviews of those when I complete them as well as the reipes. Anything that I have shared before or that I have found online will be highlighted so you can make the dish in your house! Please be sure to visit I’m An Organizing Junkie for a whole list of participants to help inspire your menu plans each and every week!

Meal Plan:

1. Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce (from my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook) with tortilla chips & Idiot Margaritas

2. Classic Baked Ziti with homemade bread & tossed salad

3. Salmon Patties (from my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook) with Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges

4. Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole (scroll down to view) over Egg Noodles & Baby Peas

5. Homemade Pizza Night

6. Skillet Ziti With Chicken & Broccoli (from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook- bake or prepare extra chicken for chicken tetrazzini later in the week) with Homemade Bread

7. Leftover Night

8. Best Waffles with Orange Juice

9. Herb Baked Tilapia, Rice, & Corn

10. Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini with Tossed Salad

11. Meatball Subs with Baked Potato Wedges

12. Ranch Pork Chops, Rice, & Corn

13. Appetizer Night- Honey BBQ Chicken Wings, Cheese Quesidillas, Carrot Sticks & Tortilla Chips

14. Leftover Night

15. Pumpkin Pancakes with Orange Juice

16. Homemade Pizza Night

17. Roast Turkey Sandwiches (Scroll to Meal #7) & Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup

18. Funky Chicken with Sesame Noodles

19. Turkey Salad Sandwiches (from leftover turkey) With Pretzels & Carrot Sticks

20. Lemon Roasted Chicken (scroll down to Meal #16 & save leftover chicken for later), Buttered Noodles, and Corn

21. Homemade Pizza Night

22. Leftover night

23. Chicken Salad Sandwiches (made from leftover lemon chicken)

Making for the Freezer: Butter Baked Rice (to be used throughout the month)

Snacks: Apple Pie Muffins, Pumpkin Streusel Muffins, Cinnamon Muffins

Back To School Free Menu Planner

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Menu planning has been neglected this summer in favor of spontaneous grilling out and going with the lazy summer flow. School begins for us this week though and I need to get back in my menu-planning groove. Since I was working on our own planner, I wanted to share it with you so you could see what we have planned for this month. I hope it will inspire you for your own family meals this month.

1. Old-Fashioned Spaghetti & Meatballs (Make double batch of meatballs for later in the month)
2. Sloppy Joes & Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges
3. Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad With Homemade Pitas
4. Pita Pizzas (made from leftover pitas) & Salad
5. Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks, Steamed Broccoli, & Rice
6. Oatmeal Waffles with homemade syrup & orange juice
7. Leftovers Night
8. Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein with Rice
9. Herb Baked Tilapia, Chicken-Flavored Rice, & Microwave Corn in Butter Sauce
10. Meatball Subs on Homemade Rolls (meatballs from freezer)
11. Jerk Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Baby Peas
12. Homemade Pizza Night
13. Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken, Rice, & Steamed Broccoli
14. Leftovers Night
15. French Toast with homemade syrup & orange juice
16. Italian Pork Chops over Spaghetti
17. Chicken BBQ with Pretzels & Carrot Sticks
18. Salmon Pockets, Rice, & Baby Peas
19. Chicken Pasta Milano with Salad & Bread
20. Homemade Pizza Night
21. Leftovers Night
22. Yeast Waffles with homemade syrup & orange juice
23. Chicken Tacos with Tortilla Chips
24. Sarah’s Tilapia, Rice, & Corn
25. “Roasted” Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Baby Peas (save & shred leftover chicken)
26. Chicken Salad Sandwiches (from leftover chicken), Pretzels & Carrot Sticks
27. Bread Machine Calzones With Dipping Sauce
28. Leftovers

Snacks: Banana Bread, Chewy Granola Bars, Cinnamon Muffins, Air Popped Popcorn, Rice Krispie Treats, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Muffins

I also made a printable version of my planner and am making it available for you here:

Back To School Menu Planner

I hit the grocery store and accomplished all of our grocery shopping (including food for breakfast & lunches) for one month for $175. That leaves us an extra $25 in the budget for our milk and anything else that comes up. Our budget has gone up a lot with the grocery prices, but it also gone up because I have not been planning as well. I am hopeful that we can stay on track this month.

Looking for more tips on menu planning? Be sure to check out my article on how I do my menu plans! It offers an overview on some ways you can start menu planning and find the right style of planners for your family!

With grocery prices rising, what is your grocery budget for your family? What style of menu planning works for you (planning weekly, planning monthly, no plan at all)?

Ask the Frugal Momma: How Do You Do Your Menu Plans?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Q: What is your experience and advice on planning a standing weekly dinner menu rather than planning out a month of meals? To save time, you pick either a meal or theme for each night of the week, and repeat it for the most part each week. This way you always know what you need to buy (in general) at the grocery store without spending much time planning each week. I would like to set one up for my family and right now we have Sunday – Something New, Monday – Mexican Fiesta Night, Tuesday – Leftovers, Wednesday – Italian Feast, Thursday – Leftovers, Friday – Breakfast for Dinner, Saturday – Homemade Pizza Night. I’m just playing with this idea and have only partially implemented it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

A: Menu planning, although it is a huge chore, is something that I really enjoy doing in our house. I really find a lot of pleasure in trying and implementing new dishes in our house. Sometimes the dishes are a roaring success, other times we find that a cold bowl of cereal would taste a lot better than my experiment.

Over the years, my menu plans have changed a lot depending on the needs of our family. Here are some ways that we have made our menu plans work for us and have saved our family a lot of money in the process.

1. Menu plan according to your family style- This might sound like a strange phrase, but I will try to explain. Generally, you probably have a style to your homemaking or the kind the of parenting that you do in your house. For example, some people live by a fly-by-the-seat of their pants mentality and may parent even in a similar way. For a family like this, expecting them to keep a rigid schedule would be awfully difficult because it just doesn’t fit with their general personality. Likewise, a person who cleans the floors on Monday, recycles on Tuesday, changes sheets on Wednesday, etc… will find going without a menu plan would be extremely difficult.

I am one of those weird people that falls somewhere in between. I would love to be more rigid with the things we do in our house and set up more days of scheduled activities, but I am laid back and constantly trying to fight the clutter over here. I like to menu plan and enjoy knowing what I am going to eat throughout the week, but I hate to feel like I have to do exactly what is planned because I often give into my cravings. That is where my menu planning style comes into play. I just plan out a month’s worth of meals and then pick from my twenty or so choices so that I always feel like I have lots of options. This gives me a game plan, but not a detailed game plan that I must stick to or else.

Think about your personality and what works best for you, but having a plan in mind will truly save your family a lot of cash. It is time-consuming, but it is only as time-consuming as you want to make it. If your family has simple tastes, don’t feel like you have to be a gourmet chef.

2. Get creative with your planning- I love to be creative with my menu plans and have found lots of great recipes to add to my collection by spending lots of time researching new recipes and constantly being open to trying new things. I utilize websites like Recipezaar, All Recipes, and Food Network.

I also love to check out cookbooks and magazines from our local library to help inspire me in the kitchen. Many times I don’t necessarily want to make exactly what is in the book, but I can flip through the cookbooks and get general ideas for recipes I can search for on the internet.

One other place I love to hunt for ideas is by saving take-out menus from our favorite restaurants and using these to do my planning off of that. Since eating out was such a temptation for me, I could take those menu plans and use those to build a menu off of them. Let’s say that my favorite take-out food in the world is Chicken Lo Mein (which it truly is!) then I can take that menu description or dish idea and try and replicate it through a site like Recipezaar or Food Network.

When I began doing this something very strange started happening. I began to replace my cravings for food out with my own version. In a way it is really great because there are very few places that I really love to go out to eat at anymore, but in some twisted way it is a little disappointing because I don’t enjoy dining out anymore. I just have to keep in mind all of the money that we are saving and then it all seems worth it!

3. Theme it up- Themes are definitely a great way to being menu planning and I loved the theme ideas in this question. Themes make planning a lot easier for families because it takes some of the work out of the planning.

One way to make themes easier to implement in your house is by arranging your recipes by your theme night. My recipes are in a giant Word file and are set up by my themed days. My theme was a Brunch Sunday, Slow Cooker Monday, Chicken Tuesday, Italian Night Wednesday, Casserole/Comfort Food Thursday, Kid Food Night Friday (usually pizza, but they have other options too), & Seafood Saturday. Sunday night is also Seek-And-Ye-Shall-Find Night. This is just a fancy way of saying, “Momma ain’t cookin’.”

You can pick from any variety of themes and you can go to town with your theme or just keep it a general night. You can make it special or keep it super simple. What I hope my children walk away with isn’t just that their mom is the best darn cook in the world, but that they have fond memories of our family sitting around the dinner table being together.

4. Involve your children- Things just seem to go better if the family has some input into the week’s meals. My son is five now and he is at the stage where he loves to express his opinion and feel like he is contributing towards the family.

That is why each Friday is his day to pick what he wants and I try to come up with a few ideas for things we can eat. Pancakes, waffles, calzones, pizza- those are just a few of the options that I offer. We usually watch a movie with them and have a special snack like popcorn or hot cocoa to make the night completely about them. He looks forward to this evening a lot and we look forward to indulging in some of our favorite foods too.

He doesn’t get to pick the rest of the week, but I have made it a rule to only introduce one new thing at a time so that we can avoid the fights over the dinner table. I will always offer one thing that he is familiar with and likes, but I might introduce one new food in with the meal. My son is big on the routine and to hand him a plate of food that he doesn’t recognize can make for a really stressful dinner hour. I try to always plan the meals with them in mind, but also like to indulge in trying new dishes. This is a happy compromise that we can all live with.

5. Remember it doesn’t have to be all about the menu plan- There are so many elements to making the dinner hour enjoyable in your home. Is the kitchen table not cleared? Are you eating off of paper plates parked in front of the television? Is the baby is crying through the entire meal? I can picture all of these scenarios happening in our house at one point or another. Heck, it might even happen tonight.

Try and make the dinner hour at home fun because it curbs the temptation to want to go out to dinner. If you have an enjoyable dinner hour at home, there is just no need to go out and brave the crowds.

Now it doesn’t have t
o be all fine dining and elegant candlelight, but keeping the dinner table clear for eating can be a great start. My ideal dinner hour has nice dishes and soft music and no children crying or whining at the table. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but I try to make an effort so that we all want to be at our table instead of Steak & Shake’s table.

6. Visualize your choices- I feel very accomplished when I have our menu plans hanging on our refrigerator and it makes me feel good to see all of our choices neatly typed up and ready to go. If I prepare a dish from the list, I take a highlighter and swipe a line through it. Seeing all of the things we ate all neatly highlighted also proves to me that I did not go out to eat. It makes you feel good and it also gives you ideas for food you can look forward to in the coming weeks.

7. Grocery shop according to your family style- Just as I mentioned in the first part, you need to grocery shop according to your family style or finances. I love, love, love to menu plan, but I hate, hate, hate to grocery shop. This is why menu planning once for the entire month works best for me. It keeps me out of the place I hate and I only have to sit down once a month to do my plans and grocery list.

If you only want to eat fresh produce all week long, then you will need to go weekly or bi-weekly to make that happen. Whereas my style is to rely heavily on canned applesauce, frozen veggies, and potatoes towards the end of the month. I sacrifice the fresh stuff in favor of shopping once a month.

Family finances can also have an impact on when you do your shopping. When my husband was paid bi-weekly I was able to visit the grocery store twice a month. Now that we are working with a monthly check, I find that shopping once a month makes it easier for me to manage our family finances and also keeps me out of the grocery store so often.

8. Save your plans & rotate them- One of the best ways that I have found to save us time is to just keep copies of my past menu plans so that I can rotate them. If you come up with two month’s worth of meals, you can reuse those and rotate those dishes to make new planners for the future weeks. I do all of my plans on the computer and then save them so that I can look back on past ideas for inspiration.

I hope this gives you some more ideas on how we do the planning in our family! If you have a question you would like to ask me, just shoot me an email ( and put in the subject line, “Ask Frugal Momma.” I love to get your questions and it makes me feel like I am providing some truly useful content!

Some Related Readings:

Iron Chef Mom Challenge

Don’t Throw Out Those Take-Out Menus!
Saving on Groceries
Pretty Menu Plans
Ding-Dong: Did Someone Order Groceries?
Become a Coupon Queen or Not
Milking the Milk Budget
Aldi Fall/Winter Planner
One Month of Slow Cooking
Aldi Menu Planner
Grocery Shopping on a Budget
More Aldi Menu Planners & Grocery Lists (Click on titles to expand)
Latest Menu Plans

Sound Off: How do you do your menu plans and keep that family grocery budget on track?

December ’07 Menu Planner

Monday, January 7th, 2008

I did not get to make a lot of the dishes that I planned to due to the holidays and us all being sick over those past couple of weeks. I did want to share my ideas though and hope that you can use some of them for your menu plans in the future!

December Menu Choices:

1. Gingerbread Waffles and Christmas Caramel Rolls

2. Basil Cream Chicken Over Pasta

3. Pizza Night

4. Chicken Caesar Wraps With Tortilla Chips

5. Eggnog Baked French Toast

6. Cheeseburger Pasta with Homemade Bread

7. Funky Chicken With Sesame Noodles

8. Italian Chops Over Pasta

9. Turkey Burgers With Oven Fries

10. Chicken Tacos With Tortilla Chips

11. Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs

12. Herb Baked Tilapia, Rice, & Sweet Cornbread

13. Pizza Night

14. Yeast Waffles & Turkey Bacon

15. Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole (Scroll towards the bottom) Over Egg Noodles

16. Bread Machine Calzones

17. Sloppy Joe Turnovers with Oven Fries

18. Chicken Italiano Over Orzo

19. Chicken & Broccoli Lo Mein With Sticky Rice

20. Roasted Chicken, Rice, & Herb Buttered Corn

21. Harvest Grain & Nut Pancakes

22. Lazy Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken & Noodle Soup with Homemade Bread

23. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches & Shoestring Fries

24. Sloppy Giuseppes (Scroll down to Meal #8) With Oven Fries

Snacks/Desserts: Oreo Biscotti, Cookie Dough Dip, Panettone Bread for the Bread Machine

**Please visit I’m An Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas!**

A Months Worth of Meals: November

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Here is our menu planner from the month of November. I did really well with it and ended up only missing a couple of the meals on our list, mainly because I ended up running out of ingredients due to entertaining and some potluck events on our schedule for the month.

Since people seemed to enjoy this last month, I am hoping to share each month since it will help to keep me on track with our grocery budget and our menu planning.

I hope this will give you some new ideas for your month! Please visit I’m An Organizing Junkie to get more ideas for your family!

November Meals

1. Olive Garden Chicken & Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo (I used that recipe, but added cooked chicken and broccoli for toppings)

2. Parmesan Sage Pork Chops & Cheesy Orzo Pasta

3. Roast Turkey Sandwiches (Scroll to Meal #7) with Tortilla Chips

4. Yeast Waffles with Orange Juice

5. Pizza Night

6. Clam Chowder & Red Lobster Biscuits

7. Herb Baked Tilapia, Chicken Flavored Rice, & Microwave Corn in Butter Sauce

8. Meatball Subs with Shoestring Oven Fries

9. Chicken & Broccoli Lo Mein

10. Caesar Pork Chops, Cheesy Orzo, & Baby Peas

11. Oatmeal Waffles with Orange Juice

12. Chicken Pasta Milano With Homemade White Bread (I didn’t get to make this chicken dish yet, but I have moved it to next month)

13. Potato Soup & Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

14. Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

15. Tomato & Artichoke Chicken Breasts Over Angel Hair Pasta (another one I didn’t get to make, but will move to next month)

16. Pumpkin Pancakes (Scroll to Meal #8) with Scrambled Eggs

17. Sloppy Giuseppes (Scroll down to Meal #8) with Tortilla Chips

18. Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce With Homemade Bread

19. Pizza Night

20. Italian Pork Chops Over Spaghetti Noodles

21. Country Ham & Macaroni Casserole (Scroll to Meal #6) with Sweet Cornbread

22. Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken (Scroll down to Meal #16), Chicken Flavored Rice, & Baby Peas

23. Turkey Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn

24. Baked Salmon, Chicken Flavored Rice, & Baby Peas

Snacks: Banana Bread, Pumpkin Muffins, Almost Nutra-Grain Bars, & Chocolate Chip Cookies