Menu Planning, Monday 17 Aug 2009

retro-cookingThe Happy Housewife is doing a series titled “Menu Planning 101” which you can go to by clicking here.

She’s challenged everyone to come up with 15 of their family’s favorite meals as a first step to planning out a weekly/monthly menu.

What I did, over weeks and months, was figure out what I cooked, what I served, and what I typically served with it. As I thought of it, I added it to a computer chart I made — and it’s still a work-in-progress. At one point early in my menu planning days, I had them all printed out and cut into little squares, then “pulled them out of a hat” one by one and filled a month’s menu with them. Now, years later, I can pretty much do it in my head, spread out the menu, not duplicate meals too often.

I take a large white board monthly calendar and fill in the menu plan. Twice for the month I’ve written “new recipe”, and I force myself to dig through one of the dozens of cookbooks I have and find a new main dish or new side item. If it receives rave reviews from me – the cook – or the family, then it gets added to the chart and becomes part of our regular menu.

I also cook breakfast every morning, so the monthly menu includes a daily breakfast. Every three days, I add a dessert to the chart. I’m certain as the boys age, I’ll have to cook desserts more often than every three days. Kaylee doesn’t over-indulge with desserts at all, and the boys eat such small portions that I often still have some left over three days later.

Our family has well more than 15 favorite meals, but to give you a jumpstart of an idea for menu planning, I’m going to go ahead and list 15 of our favorite dinner meals (in no particular order):

roitisserie chicken with wild rice, corn, green salad, homemade rolls
lasagna, salad, homemade French bread
tacos with homemade corn torillas, Spanish rice, savory corn
roast beef with potatoes, carrots, onions; homemade rolls
salmon fillets, saffron rice, asparagus, green salad
chicken and rice, peas, green salad, blueberry muffins
chili-mac, corn, green salad, corn bread
steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, green salad, homemade rolls
tuna casserole, peas, green salad, fruit salad
chicken stir-fry with brown rice, egg rolls
grilled London broil, wild rice, brussell sprouts, green salad
fish sticks, fried potatoes, green peas, cole slaw, corn muffins
fried chicken, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, biscuits
beef stew, green salad, cheddar biscuits
turkey stroganoff over homemade noodles, green beans, green salad, rolls
chicken pot pie, green salad

So, that gives you an idea of the menu for a 15-day time period.

As this website develops and I add recipes, I’ll go back through this and link the recipes to this list. I also intend to post the weekly menu on Monday mornings.


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