I have always resisted the title of CEO of the home. I don’t know why but it just gives them heebie jeebies. But this is the year, I’m taking control of more of running the house, so I guess I am coming into the title. And the big thing on our agenda is budgeting and making sure we have the money for our priorities: traveling and experiences.
In an effort to reduce our spending on groceries, I am trying a new approach to meal planning. Since the girls have been sick, I had more time for Pinterest reading as I was often holding sleeping, feverish little girls. I noticed a common thread on grocery budget advice. They all seem to advise a monthly meal plan so that you can really plan for your month and spending.
I love to plan our meals but I have always done it on a weekly basis. That being said, I am often stressed over the weekend as I have to carve out time for meal planning and grocery lists. The idea of assigning meals to every day in the month seemed a bit much for me, but the idea of having a master list that I can assign weekly seemed doable. I wanted to share both some tips that helped me and our monthly plan. And I will keep you posted on how well we follow it.
Tips for Monthly Weekly Planning
1. Pick some meals that you know your family will eat. I know my girls will always eat: pizza, pork, eggs, and chicken tenders. That doesn’t mean that we will only eat that, but I know that having a few of these a week means I have a few stress-free dinners.
2.Plan for those busy days. We have a tendency to do delivery or take out when the going gets rough. I still have money allotted for those things, but I also have some plans in place to prevent them. Things like slow cooker dinners, brinner, and planned leftover meals should help. I hope.
3. Try a few new recipes, but keep them in the minority. I’m all about trying new stuff and it’s so easy to get carried away in meal planning. “Of course, I am going to want to make a fancy meal several times a week!” Said no mom ever. But even I have fallen into the trap of being overly ambitious and then ordering delivery when I just couldn’t face lots of ingredients and multiple steps.
4. Plan for some fun nights. Nights where you feature appetizers or just a fun food. I know the girls love hot dogs, so one night we are having hot dog night with toppings and baked potatoes for buns. Taco night can also be made fun with Scoops chips and a toppings tray.
5. Take inventory of what you have and what is expiring soon. We have some salad dressings and sauces that won’t make it past the month. Dressings make great marinades. When we have one going bad, I use it to marinate chicken breasts or pork chops for a super easy dinner.
6. Organize your monthly list in categories you eat every week. For us, it’s pork, chicken, beef/ground turkey/sausages, and eggs/veggie. Then each week, I just have to take a recipe from each category.
Our Monthly Menu
1. Homemade Chicken Tenders
2. Indian Butter Chicken and Cauli/Sweet Potato Rice with Naan
3.Pesto Chicken/Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad
4.Thai Chicken and Brussel Sprouts Skillet
5.Slow Cooker Tikka Missala Chicken
6.Roasted Red Pepper (Salad Dressing) Chicken Breasts
7.Homemade KFC Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken
8.Homemade Chicken Tenders
1. Greek (Salad Dressing) Pork Chops with Roasted Potatoes and Frozen Veggies
2.Pork Ribs and LO Cauli Mash
3.LO Pork Ribs and Spinach Artichoke Twice Baked Potatoes
4. Pork Tenderloin
5. Asian Ground Pork Lettuce Wraps
1.BBQ Turkey Meatloaf and Slow Cooker Cauli Mash and Peas
2.Steak Fajitas/Ground Beef Fajitas
3.Burgers on Portabella Mushrooms
4.Taco Night/ Salad
5.Hot Dog Night with Baked Potato Buns
6.Slow Cooker Garlicky Beef with Crunchy Slaw
7. Salisbury Steak Meatballs and Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls
1.Spaghetti Squash Pasta Bowls
2.Chicken Sausages with Roasted Squash and Cabbage
3.Chicken Sausages and Roasted Veggies
1.Trader Joe tilapia
2.Tuna Melts on Naan/baked potatoes
3.Sesame Shrimp with Ginger Broccoli
1.Brinner/slow cooker shashuska with Artichoke hearts
3.Kale and Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs
4.Frittata and hashbrowns
Entertaining meal: BBQ Pulled Pork tenderloin, Chop Salad, Spinach Artichoke Twice Baked Potatoes, and Chocolate Cake with PB frosting.
So, that’s our monthly plan! As you can see, we don’t have sides assigned to each meal. Veggies are one thing I can usually get the girls to eat, so I’ll probably rotate the known go-tos: raw veggies and dip, cooked green beans, cooked broccoli.
Now, I would love to hear from you! Do you meal plan? Weekly or monthly? What tips would you add?