Kitchen Binder: Menu Planning

This is the last post in a series of posts about creating your own Kitchen Binder. Today we are going to talk about easy menu planning to help the “what’s for dinner?” question be answered a little more easily.

When it comes to dinner it’s always easier when one is prepared. Whether it is to get the meat thawed out the day before in order for it to be cooked that night or to help with knowing what to buy when one is at the store. Planning makes dinner go a little faster at my house because I know what to expect.

    How to Start a Menu Plan

  • Make a List of your Families Favorite Meals: whether on a piece of paper or in a spreadsheet write down all of your families favorite meals. Don’t forget to ask the members of your family what meals they like or prefer, this helps if one gets stuck in the list making process. Also to this list one can add recipes, dishes, or meal ideas one would like to try.
  • Map out the Month: from the master list of meal ideas, one can begin to map out the month. Of course a menu plan doesn’t have to be etched in stone. It can be flexible as we all know how crazy schedules can become. I love to create my menu plan on Google Calendar because this allows me to share this calendar with other people in my family so they know what dinner will be on what night.
  • Plan by Month or Day: ideally I would like to have a 3 month menu plan mapped out for my family. While this is still in the works, the idea behind it would be that the menu rotates every 3 months. This helps keep a little variety at the dinner table. As different months are layed out on different days, I suggest a Day plan. Instead of mapping out your menu plan at first on a calendar, use a spreadsheet labeled 1-31. Then each month one can put the meals on the calendar that they’ve pulled from the 1-31 list. With 3 different day plans the menu plan will never be the same two months in a row (unless one wants it that way).
  • Print it out!: Print out your master list of meals and have a hard copy in your Kitchen Binder. This helps for days I may have forgotten to menu plan and quick dinner ideas when I’m low on time.
  • Free Resources to Menu Plan

    Google is my one stop planning source. With Google Calendar and Google Docs I can easily set up & share calendars and master menu lists quick and easily. Moving around meals through Google Calendar is very easy as well.

Do you Menu Plan? What are your tips?