Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Glimpse Into My World of Menu Planning

I love to cook which works out great for my family since they all love to eat. It is a win win situation until I get tired or burnt out of ideas. For me the hardest part of cooking is the planning of the menu. I plan my menus for two week periods. It works well with our paycheck cycle, and I have been in this habit since we were first married. I plan my menus when everybody else is still in bed. I need it to be quiet so I am not distracted! I pour myself a cup of coffee and find a comfortable seat and I start writing. My first thought is what sounds good to me. I then think about if I were to go to a restaurant what I would order. This helps get my thoughts flowing. I also keep cooking magazines and cookbooks within arms reach so I can look through them to get ideas. I always ask my family what they would like to eat over the next few weeks. Usually my kids give me at least four meals that sound good to them. I also try to include a new dish every now and again. Everybody likes to try something new every now and again. I also look at scheduling issues for the upcoming two weeks. If we have football games 3 nights out of the week at 5:00 p.m., them I don't want to be serving food that has to be made minutes before eating. Instead I look to things like casseroles, soups, or crock pot meals that can be cooked before hand so we can eat as a family after the game. Obviously money is also an issue for meal planning. If money is tight, serving steak isn't an option. I am realistic when I plan my meals. Purchasing food for two weeks seems like a lot of money, but in the long run it saves money because we aren't eating out or stopping at the store to grab just a few things that add up to over a $100. Here is another great tip for meal planning. There are many restaurants that have their menus displayed online. I get on my computer and look at different menus to give me ideas of things I would like to serve my family. This has been great for those times that I am not really in the mood to plan. I also use a copy cat web site to help me create some of our favorites from different restaurants. Several years ago, I bought a copy cat cookbook and I have enjoyed many of their recipes. One of our favorites has been a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich that is always a treat when I serve it. I know I promised a recipe for today, but instead I am going to post some links. Happy Planning!!!




(Olive Garden even shares a few of their recipes for you).



grace and peace,


TX Doodler said...

We also shop for 2 weeks at a time, with the exception of fresh produce. That has to be about every 4 days. I love your menu reference idea! I'm gonna have to try that out. I always feel like I fail in meal planning. I throw stuff together or use the 'ol stand bys again & again. My poor family, bless their hearts! They've seemed to survive thus far tho. He he!

jwcreath@gmail.com said...

Thanks for the links. Can't wait to click on them! I also like to cook as well as my family enjoys eating, some times a little to much & often!

TnFullQuiver said...

You both are welcome, and I hope they help. I understand the part about enjoying eating a little too much sometimes! I am in the same boat on that one!
grace and peace,

Paige said...

I love the ideas! Cooking is always a way for me to unwind, but I can tell that unless I have something planned out a day or two in advance, after I lose my head of steam, by the end of the week, I'm reverting to old stand-by's or am very tempted to just pick up a pizza--and I miss my cooking! I'll have to start trying two weeks at a time. And yes, I was keeping a listing of all my favorite recipes...I need to reorganize them, though!

Concetta said...

Hey Jules!

Thank you so much for your kind words my friend. As you well know, it is one of my greatest joys in life to spend time with you. You are the life long kind of friend and I treasure you!