I’ve had a lot of friends ask me about what I do to plan menus. I figured I would make a blog post to help those out who want to know how The Wining Husband and I go about planning out our menus for the week. Before getting into the details, let me discuss a little bit about the considerations that go into planning a week’s worth of meals.
We are members of a local CSA – each week we receive veggies and fruits from GRUB. When we pick up the veggies, we then are able to start planning our menu.
We also like to spend as little as possible on groceries while maintaining a healthy diet. This means that we won’t sacrifice health for cost. We will start out at Grocery Outlet for canned and dry goods (and sometimes wine, as they do have some finds among their shelves!) We then head to SaveMart, and finally for specialty foods, we will go to Raley’s. It helps to know what is on sale where. For instance, SaveMart often has a 5 meats for $25 deal. When this is going on, we’ll stock up on tilapia, chicken breasts, pork chops, etc.
We also like to experiment with new foods and new recipes. For instance, we recently found a good deal on both calamari and shark fillets at SaveMart. Since we try to incorporate fish into our diets two times a week, we snatched them up. This also means that I subscribe to a lot (and I do mean A LOT!) of food and cooking blogs. When I see something I like, I will pin it to my Pinterest account.
- Fish two times a week
- Vegetarian at least once a week
- Use as much of what we have on hand as possible
- If chicken, pork, or beef is on the menu for dinner, fish or vegetarian must be on the menu for the following evening
- The meal plan must consist of a balance of known recipes and new recipes
Following those rules, we look to see what we have on hand. We’ll fill in some of the slots with things that we like that we’ve made in the past and staple recipes. When filling in slots, we also look at our week’s calendar to see what events are going on. For a busy day, it will be unlikely that either one of us will want to put together an intricate meal. Instead, that night will be something easy like a chef salad or fish, rice, and steamed veggies. I will search my Pinterest account for relevant recipes that we want to try. When I select a recipe, I will tag it “Monday – Dinner” so that it’s easy to bring up in the search later.
A sample week might look like this:
- Sunday: Falafel Pitas with Grape Yogurt Salad
- Monday: Chicken Swedish Meatballs and steamed summer squash
- Tuesday: White Fish Cooked in White Wine with Rice, Mushrooms, and Wax Beans
- Wednesday: Pork Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, and Salad
- Thursday: Lemon Caper Calamari and Garlic Summer Squash
- Friday: Chicken Tacos
- Saturday: Curry Butternut Squash Soup and French Bread with Side Salad
What tools do you use to plan out your menus? Post your tips in the comments!