Saturday, 16 July 2011

Menu Planner

I was discussing menu planning with a group of friends on Facebook, and I said I would share my menu planner.

I have only been doing this for 3 weeks - this one will be my fourth.  It has been working really well for me.  It helps me with my online grocery shop - it helps me to be more organised in my daily routine. Now I often will get dinner ready before breakfast, whether we are eating dinner in the middle of the day, or at the end of the day.  It saves me from rushing around trying to get things ready, either whilst I am trying to do school in the morning, or when Elijah is getting grumpy at the end of the day (or we are calmly running about, getting tidy before Daddy gets home!).  The day definitely runs more smoothly if dinner is sorted earlier in the day.

I would really like to start using my slow cooker more, as well, but that's a whole other blog post!....:-)

I have a master list of dinners that I make.  I first of all check my diary for the week, and see if there are any strange or startling dinner plans for the week (read "going out, people visiting, giving the children ravioli from a tin, sorry, special dinner for Robert and I and an alternative dinner for the children....").  Then, based on my general plans, I devise a menu from my master list of meals.  Rule of thumb seems to be that I always have 1 chicken dinner, 1 minced beef dinner, 1 pasta dinner, and fill in the gaps with whatever else I feel like having!  I will add here - THERE IS NO PLAN FOR A SUNDAY.  WHY?   Because we ALWAYS have a roast on a Sunday, so no planning involved (other than remembering to take the joint out first thing on a Saturday so it is defrosted in time....oh yes, and making sure you know what it is first, before taking it out of the freezer, so you don't THINK it's going to be pork, only to find out it's gammon, when you had written roast gammon into the menu for Wednesday already.....oink oink.....*whistles* ).  Also, tea time on Sunday only involves the children, and once a month we have tea at Church. (Actually, I don't usually have the same lunch as the children anyway, as mine involves lovely weight loss items like Ryvita, which doesn't work well with PB&J or chocolate spread on it....) Breakfast time on the Lord's Day is also less formal, and often the children just eat as they appear out of bed.  The rest of the week is more set in stone, but that's a whole other blog post.....(I think I may end up saying that a LOT....?)

Ok, back on to topic.  Where was I?....yes, master list, filling in meals around commitments.  Yes, so there we have it.  I try and make sure I don't always have the beef on the same day, or the chicken, or whatever.  I don't like to be that predictable!....There ARE certain meals that we would happily eat every week, however. Bolgnaise and pasta feature regularly, although we may vary the form of the pasta....spaghetti, fusilli, lasagne.....or in my case, always whole wheat, and whatever is on offer....why?...well, that's a whole other....yes, as I was saying.....

Macaroni cheese is another firm favourite.  We have it with bacon in it. Yum, yum.

This week I threw in a chicken dinner that I loved growing up.....Caribbean Chicken.....I'm afraid it went down like the proverbial lead balloon, much to my dismay.  And my children are NOT picky eaters.  Sad, heartbroken Mummy. Will be scrapping THAT one off the master list.

Onto the menu plan.  Voila.

Menu Planner

I created it from a basic grid design on Word, of course choosing my favourite colour of green as my border! Something Cath Kidston-ish would have been preferable, but unfortunately Microsoft Word doesn't seem to have that as an option.....pah.....You should be able to use it, edit it, and just change the content to your own lovely dishes of delight!  If you can't, let me know!

Ah, yes, you can see I have a section for adding any notes, or items I need to get in my shopping which may be different from the "norm".  

I have it in A5 format, as that fits nicely into my Binder once I trim it up.  I keep them in a zipper file in my Prayer Journal/Home binder, so I can get them in and out easily, but still see through the plastic.  


So, there you have it.  If I left out any crucial elements in my tired, 1/2 an hour to midnight, over-an-hour-later-than-my-normal-bed-time state, then please tell me!  Nicely.  Please.

I trust this may be of use to someone, somewhere.  And, never say I don't try and do things for those who ask nicely......;-)


  1. Er, green is your favourite colour?? Seriously?! Sorry, Caroline, but we can't have that.... I could almost 'unfollow' you for such an offence!

    Anyway - menu planning - great idea and don't have time to talk right now, but just to say that you obviously sing from the same hymn sheet... ahem, *psalm book* as us when it comes to Sunday dinner.... roast (beef, mostly) every week. Every. Single. Week!

  2. have you ever looked around yourself? MUCH green God gives us? much life there is in green? God gives us richly ALL things to can you not love green?....oh, ok, you are THAT worried about football? hmmmmm you could be a good friend to my brother! lol

  3. purple comes a close that ok?