Monday, October 8, 2012

Month Long Meal Planning

I mentioned in my last resolution update I had made a month long meal plan in hopes to buying less, using leftovers better, and saving time with my incredibly busy month.  I thought I would share with you my plan and how it came to be.

The first thing I did was spend some wonderful time on Pinterest, looking at all the recipes I've pinned (there's LOTS) and once I found a recipe I thought I'd want to try I wrote down every ingredient that was needed for the recipe. 

I need to write things down to fully wrap my brain around something

Then I went through my cookbooks and added to the list meals I wanted to keep in mind.

I finished with 32 possible meals (not all made the final cut but can be used for future meal planning).

Then, I grabbed my handy Mom Calendar.  With Lynden's swimming, skating, and preschool it's already won it's way into my heart (I'm a sucker for calendars anyways).  I looked at what days were going to be slow cooker meals, which days needed an easy meal (mainly the days I work), which days we were going to be out, and which days I would be home (thus free to cook at the last minute).


Here's how my month turned out.

{None of this is written in stone, as things change all the time}

Week 1 - Oct 1-6:

Breakfast - Fish (Lynden had caught a trout the day before at a local event and we needed to eat it)
Meat Loaf
Slow Cooker - Whole Chicken
Peachy Dump Chicken
Broccoli Cheese Soup

**The Peachy Dump Chicken was bumped as we had enough meat loaf and chicken to have leftovers one night.  But fear not, I am making a pork dish with peaches in Week 2 so I can use the peaches to prep (freeze) the Peachy Dump Chicken and use it later.

Week 2 - Oct 7-13:

Thanksgiving Dinner (2 nights)
Left overs - Turkey!!
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
Pasta (TBD)
Left Overs

**This has changed already as well.  Lynden and Alyssa are eating at my grandparents one night this week as Danny got called in to teach a class at the last minute.  The Pulled Pork and Quesadillas were pulled in lieu of Peach Pork (coming in Week 3) and the Pasta was pulled for Turkey Stew - we had more left over than I originally thought. 

Week 3 - Oct 14-20:

Teriyaki Dump Chicken
Pork Chop W/ Peach (now in Week 2)
Tortellini Vegetable Soup
Slow Cooker - Bacon Wrapped Apple Chicken
Ham and Scalloped Potatoes
Slow Cooker - Pizza Casserole

** With the Peach Pork Chops getting pulled into Week 2 I will need to come up with a replacement meal.  The night I planned for the Tortellini Vegetable Soup is now the night Danny and I are going out for our anniversary, so I may plan to make chili earlier and kids can have it as left overs.

Week 4 - Oct 21-27:

Tomato Mozza Pasta (we've had it before and liked it - read my review here)
Coconut Chicken (another good review)
Enchiladas (using wraps from quesadillas)
Slow Cooker - Teriyaki Pork
Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
Slow Cooker - Ribs
Left Overs

**This was a hard week to plan for.  That weekend I'm away for Sister's Weekend (my youngest sister is coming over for the weekend so I'm staying at my other sister's for the whole weekend.  Normally wouldn't be an issue but Danny works all weekend so I planned for meals that can be made before I go)

Week 5 - Oct 28-Nov 3:

Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta
Fish (my grandparents caught fish while away in Sept)
Cheesy Chicken Casserole

** This week only takes us to the 31st.  However, I (currently) have 3 unused meals that I planned for which can easily be added in to finish this week off. 

{Some of you may notice the lack of beef recipes - I don't eat beef.  Thankfully Danny doesn't miss it much and a lot of our beef recipes I can use another meat in lieu of.  We do have a few steaks in our freezer when Danny wants beef and we usually make beef tacos along with pork or chicken for myself.}

Next was writing out a weekly shopping list based on what ingredients I didn't already have for our dinners.  This helps break down the cost a bit and I can watch for sales.

It happens I only have spaghetti and lasagna noodles, which doesn't do me much good for our 4 pasta based meals.  But while looking through flyers this weekend pasta is on sale (2 for $3.50), so I can buy all my noodles needed now while they are on sale instead of buying them at full price at the last minute. 

It also allows me to physically see if there's repetitive things I need to buy (beans, cheeses, etc) and if I can buy bulk items or if I should buy smaller amounts; from there I can, hopefully, reduce my waste.

All in all I'm quite happy with it.  It takes a bit of weight off my shoulders knowing what's for dinner all month when we're crazy busy and it allows me to make meals early if need be.  I also don't have to think "what's for dinner tonight?".  It helps with the grocery shopping (this week we have less than 15 items to buy - that includes the basics). 

It's something I'll continue to do this for the next few months, especially with Christmas coming.  I'll be picking up an extra day at work and Danny will most likely have longer hours which means less time for planning, prepping, and grocery shopping. 


  1. great job! i am not nearly that organized but having that weight of "what's for supper?" lifted would be so nice!!

    1. It only took me about an hour (a week long one takes me almost as long sometimes) and I got to sit on Pinterest ;o)