Thursday, March 29, 2012

Menu Planning Tips & Links

Dear friends,

I'm trying to be more effective and efficient around the house.  One of the areas where I always need work is in menu planning.

I recently compiled a list of all of the different dinner entrees that I might prepare.  Most of them are standard ones that I've fixed for years, but I have also been looking for new recipes on-line via and the Food on Fridays links at  Here is my current list:

Menu Ideas


v Spaghetti
v Tacos & burritos (sometimes as a make your own buffet)
v Chili
v Beef stir fry
v Beef potpie
v Beef stew
v Roast beef
v Beef strogranoff
v Hamburgers
v Lasagna
v Stuffed shells
v Sloppy Joes
v Meatball subs
v Meatloaf


v Baked chicken with rotisserie seasoning
v Baked chicken with BBQ sauce
v Baked chicken with oriental sauce
v Stir fry chicken
v Chicken potpie
v Chicken noodle (or rice) soup
v Chicken Alfredo and noodles
v Chicken potato casserole
v Chicken tortilla casserole (layered with refried or black beans, cheese)
v Chicken salad sandwiches
v Confetti chicken with penne, peppers & squash


v Quiche
v Scrambled eggs
v Eggs in a basket
v Deviled eggs
v Egg salad sandwiches
v Strata


v Pork chops
v Pork ribs
v Ham and potato casserole
v Sausage and biscuits
v Hot dogs and baked beans
v Bacon and potato soup
v Kielbasa and noodles


v Macaroni and cheese
v Pizza
v Calzone
v Chef salad
v Taco fiesta salad
v Lunch meat and cheese subs
v Turkey burgers
v Tuna salad
v Quesa dias

My goal each week is to sit down on Saturday and choose a meal for each night of the week.  Then I can go grocery shopping based on what we need to make these meals.  I try to choose a variety of chicken, beef, egg, and other dishes each week.  We try not to have red meat more than three times a week.

Menu for 
March 17-23
baked potato buffet,  green cupcakes
potatoes, bacon, sour cream, shredded cheese
St. Patrick’s Day
confetti chicken,  salad
chicken, penne pasta, yellow squash, broccoli, red and green peppers, corn, whole milk, flour, butter
youth group for boys
sub sandwiches and chips, salad
lunch meat, sliced cheese, rolls, chips
PHE classes until 4
chicken thighs (BBQ and teriyaki), herbed veggies
chicken, sauces, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, olive oil, herbs
Dad at class
lasagna, salad, garlic bread
ground beef, sauce, lasagna noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, French bread
Dad & Rachel home
strata with ham
eggs, bread, ham
Dad at class
chili, salad, corn bread
turkey burgers, beans, seasonings, spaghetti sauce, corn bread mix
field trip to LegoLand

Confetti Chicken
So how did we do that week?  Saturday went as planned, though I should have bought more bacon for topping the potatoes. After Sunday's dinner we had plenty of leftovers which I recycled into a casserole on Monday to supplement the planned sandwiches (on sale-priced bagels instead of sub rolls) and chips. On Tuesday, I had forgotten to take out the chicken to thaw, so I substituted stuffed shells (frozen bags from Aldi) which I had bought  instead of lasagna ingredients for Wednesday.  We had the chicken on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I got a late start at dinner, so we heated up two boxes of pierogies (potato and cheddar in pasta) and a few cans of beef soup. On Friday, my husband fixed tacos and burritos (instead of the chili) since we were getting home late from a field trip.  There you have it!  We didn't stick to the menu plan, but it sure helped as a guideline anyway.  At least I had the recipe ingredients in the house, as well as some backup convenience foods.

One more tip:  As long as you plan your menus for the week, you can set aside specific foods for each night so no one will take them for other purposes.  For example, if you are making chili using canned beans, rice, corn, sauce or salsa, a seasoning packet, or whatever, you can put the food packages in a plastic grocery bag, tie it up, and label it with the day you plan to use it.  You can store this bag on your pantry shelf.  You can do the same with the refrigerated ingredients such as ground beef, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, etc.  If you buy shredded cheese by the bag, you can take out enough for that one meal and put it in a zip lock bag to include in your dinner bag.

Other related posts:

More menu planning resources on other sites:

This blog post is cross-linked at:

(my new blog carnival!)

 Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays


No comments:

Post a Comment