Weekly Menu Plannin'

I've been getting really interested in making weekly menus and freezer meals lately.  I've always admired menu planning from a distance, but never really stuck to it when I've tried myself.  I'm finally trying to take the leap now though for a couple reasons:
  1. My mom has one of those Once-A-Month Cooking cookbooks & I always thought it would be sweet to have a whole freezer full of home-cooked meals all lined up for the month.  The problem was, I didn't like all of the options on their pre-planned menus, some of the meals were pricey for our budget, and really...a month's worth of cooking?  Seems unrealistic for me.
  2. I've always loved to cook extra for freezing since it's just Tedd & I around here.  It's a waste of time for me to cook every meal from scratch, so when I make stuff, I make it for a crowd and freeze half of it for us to enjoy later.  I've been wanting to get more freezer meals stocked away lately for when baby Ian arrives so we can treat ourselves to some pre-made homemade meals when we're in those first few weeks of parenthood.  Making weekly menus will not only apply to dinner this week, but I can have easy-reference grocery lists for times when I want to make meals ahead and get them in the freezer.
  3. If I can plan ahead, I can grocery-shop with more purpose.  I mean, less haphazardly, ya know?  Rather than throwing a bunch of random "oh-that-looks-good" stuff into the cart, I can have a list with me and shop for just what I need and there will be less overall waste - less food waste and less money waste.  I don't have the pressure of throwing things together based on what will go bad (though that can be a fun challenge at times), and I can have a good idea ahead of time what I'll be spending on meals for the week.
  4. And finally, I've had a lot of inspiration lately from Jane Maynard's This Week for Dinner blog.  It's awesome!  I found several great recipes there and I've been trying to make up my own weekly menus lately...  

How I'm Planning Our Weekly Menus:
  • I started by making a big list of our go-to meals.  Ya know, the ones we fix over and over.  Then I made a list of recipes I'd still like to try.  As I try out those recipes, (if we like them), I add them to the list of go-to's and start planning weekly menus from there.
  • As I make the meals and grocery-shop for recipes, I've had some fun writing down prices of the ingredients (not including staples) and doing a price breakdown of each meal.  This part may look to you a little obsessive, but really it's for my own curiosity & to humor my left-brain.  Plus, when the budget's tight, I'll know exactly which meals we can afford to make, right?
  • When I make a menu for the week, I'm only planning dinners.  For breakfast, we're usually wingin' it & for lunch, we're usually eating leftovers.  (There are always leftovers around here since it's just the 2 of us).
  • I also only plan for 5 or 6 nights of meals since there are inevitably leftovers that need to be eaten and it allows for nights out or nights when we just don't feel like cooking :-)
So.  for about two weeks now, I've been testing out new recipes to add to our repertoire and I think I'm ready to start sharing our menus with y'all every now and then, both for accountability's sake, and for the fun of it of course! 

I've been taking pictures of our food lately (blogging has made me such a weirdo) and I'm ready to share my menus with you :-) just like Jane Maynard (she's so cool).  I guess we could call this a sort of belated New Year's resolution for me, but because I fear failure, I'm only committing to this for 2 weeks and then we'll see how it goes from there.  Whaddaya say? 

Weekly menu #1 coming soon...

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