Normally we plan our menus by the week. I kind of started dreading that task every week. I was having a hard time remembering what we had recently had to eat, to make sure we were varying up our recipes a bit (though, I guess we pretty much live on chicken around here). Plus, every week I felt like I couldn't come up with any foods we liked.
So, one day on the drive to Des Moines, I decided Jesse and I would make a list of foods we liked that we could choose from. Then, when we got home, I printed off my Google calendar for a few weeks and started making a menu out for what turned out to be the next 5 weeks.
To make it a little easier to plan out the weeks, I decided to try to make few 'key' items each week.
- Try a new food we've found in either magazines, blogs, or Pinterest
- Pizza --this is a staple in our house, you can make a bunch of different kinds so it's not the same each week (lately we've been grilling pizza = yum yum)
- Use a crock pot meal that we have down in the freezer
- Date Night out
After using each of these categories each week, it got to be pretty easy to throw together the 5 weeks of a menu. Of course, this is just a plan, and I knew we weren't going to stick to it hardcore. Things come up, we crave a different type of food and so on.
So, when I look at the menu plan to see what groceries we need to be getting for the upcoming week, I go back and circle the meals we didn't eat and move them to the next weeks menu. I figure we already have that food on hand, so better use it, and just kind of shift all the rest of the meals back farther (who knows this could end up being a 6 or 7 week meal plan by constantly pushing food back!).
And of course I have to use our chalkboard refrigerator, so I make sure to write up the next weeks meals!