This is my first Menu Plan Monday. Like most of you I find that if I don't plan for the week, I end up scrambling from day to day trying to figure out what to serve my family.
For several years I have used a 30 day menu plan with approximately 20 meals that I try and rotate. Every month I try and add two to three new recipes and remove any that weren't working for us. Planning ahead also forces me to shop in advance and have extra ingredients on hand for unexpected visitors etc. Ideally, I like to shop only once a month for all my staple items for my planned meals, and then shop once a week for the fresh ingredients. This greatly reduces my grocery bill when I stick with this plan. I am able to better take advantage of sale items and other specials when I have a plan.
I have also tried to have a cooking day once a month in which I will cook several pounds of boneless chicken and freeze in 2 to 3 cup portions for several dishes. I also have a few casseroles that freeze nicely.
The family meal time is one of the most important times of our day during the week. I try and create an atmosphere in which we truly "come to the table". Tuesday is usually our Mexican theme night. Friday nights we sometimes have carpet picnics depending on what I am serving. Occasionally, we have "table talks", play a simple game while eating or a family favorite is having each child share about their day. And now that our children are getting older we have added devotions right before the meal. Our two year old is the only one I serve ahead of time so that he remains quiet while daddy is reading and sharing. Some evenings everything goes nicely as planned and other times it is chaotic. Perfection is not the goal in my planning, but to create an environment in which my children can experience the love of family as well as receive both spiritual and physical nourishment.
Here is what I hope to serve my family this week all of which are part of my 30 day plan.
Monday: Spaghetti with meatballs, Salad and garlic bread
Tuesday: Taco Soup, Chips and salsa
Wednesday: Chicken Packets, corn and red potatoes
Thursday: Roast Beef and Gravy and Steamed Veggies
Friday: Enchiladas with rice and beans
Saturday: Super simple Beef Stew with homemade biscuits
Sunday: Lasagna with salad and cheese bread
For more menus and great recipe ideas go to Organizing Junkie