See Part I and Part II.

The first thing you want to do is print off a calendar month (or two calendar months if you are really ambitious).

1.  I immediately fill in Friday’s as Pizza night.  Now, we could have homemade pizza or we could have Little Caesar’s or we could order out.  Every week we do have a pizza night and it may not always be Friday night but we do usually have one.  For your family I am sure you have a traditional night that you do something like this.  If you don’t – make one.  It is fun and it will make your life easier.

2.  Next, I write leftovers or “Sunday Dinner” on Sundays.  We sometimes try to have a nice meal for lunch like Roast in the crock pot or if we aren’t having anyone over we will have leftovers.  Either way I don’t “plan” a meal for this day because I usually have roasts in the freezer and I almost always have potatoes and other side items to go with it so I don’t need to plan for this day.

3.  Now I start filling in the meals.  I try not to have chicken two days in a row and I definitely plan to do one or two slow cooker meals a week – love ’em!    You could do theme nights to help you better organize.  For instance -Monday – Slow Cooker night; Tuesday – Mexican night (tacos, enchilada casserole, etc.); Wednesday – Soup and Salad night; Thursday – Italian night.  I don’t do this but some people do.

4.  Figure out what I can make ahead and freeze for the month once the menu is done for that month.  If I am doing a meal that calls for cooked chicken, I can figure up how many meals call for that and total up the amount I need and add that to my list of what I can make ahead.  I will do the same thing with hamburger (such as for my sloppy joes and tacos and cheeseburger soup).

5.  Institute a few “To Try” nights a month.  I think two would work best for me.  I think we all have some recipes bookmarked or printed off to try.  I plan to do that on non-busy nights (ha non-busy nights with 3 kids under 4, ya right).

Just filling out my menu it looks like I kind of did themes:

Monday – chicken night

Tuesday – Mexican night

Wednesday – something easy – soup, sloppy joes, foil packets

Thursday – Asian inspired meals – stir fry, fried rice, etc.

Friday – Pizza

Saturday – Whatever

Problems:

Here is my problem – I would like to be able to do two months of menus and with 20 or so favorite meals I feel like I can only do one month.  Any suggestions?  Until you all get back with me I think I will go ahead and fill out the next month like I did the first month and then only add meals that I know my family love and will eat two months in a row.

Tomorrow I plan to join Money Saving Mom and Fish Mama for their February Freezer Cooking Day and I will list my monthly menu plans and my list of what I am making and freezing.  I am not going to actually freeze most of my meals this time.  I am going to freeze the meat and sauces and various other things to make it easy to throw the meal together.  I will explain more tomorrow.  I know you can hardly wait right?

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