If you don’t menu plan you really should give it a try. I find that menu planning helps me to save time and money each and every month. But getting started with menu planning might seem a little overwhelming. Don’t worry I’m going to walk you through how I plan a month of dinner at one time.
I make a 5-week menu plan each month, so once it’s done I don’t have to think about it for a while. To make this menu plan takes me about 1 hour from start to finish. If you want to menu plan for a month but have not been doing a menu plan you might start with a week or two first.
Take inventory of what you have on hand
To start, I will look into my pantry and see what ingredients I have that could be used for making a meal. Then I will look through the refrigerator and check to see what other items I have that will last for a while. Things like cheese, pizza toppings, peanut butter and anything else that I have that will last for a while in the refrigerator and make a note of these items. Next I’ll go to my freezer and note what meats I have on hand, how much bread, any frozen made ahead meals to use, and any fruit or veggies.
Because I buy most of my meats and vegetables when I see them on sale. I will usually have enough for the upcoming month’s meals. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough to get you through the month just note what you do have.
Once my inventory of what I have on hand is done, my next step is to find meals to match up with those ingredients on my list.
Pick Your Recipes
I will match up as many of the items I have on hand with recipes that use those items. I find recipes online, in magazines and I use my cookbooks and recipe cards.
If I have a lot of spaghetti sauce on hand I will plan to make spaghetti a couple of times and maybe a parmesan chicken dish too. If I have a pot roast in the freezer I will make a pot roast one night and maybe use the leftover roast the next day in a casserole or make french dip sandwiches. Just try to make as many dishes with what you have on hand as you can.
Make the Plan
Now that I know what I am going to be cooking I have to decide what day to make which dish. This is when I use my monthly menu sheet. You can grab a copy of my free editable monthly menu planner. Just add fill out the form below and I’ll email it out to you right away.
You’ll also be added to my email list too. Don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.
I use the Monthly Menu Planner to add all my meals to for the month. Make sure to include days you will be eating out and any planned dinner parties or family get-togethers on your menu planner too.
So now you should know
What you have on hand to use, the recipes you want to make and your planner with all of those recipes filled in on a certain day. Also, you should have noted on your menu plan any get-togethers or dinners out.
Next time I will go over how to make the grocery shopping list and how to decide which store or stores you will shop at for what you need.