Saturday, July 5, 2014

Meal Planning Made Easy

Yesterday I posted about the importance of feeding our families and gathering around the dinner table together as often as we can. I thought it might be fun to share how I plan and organize our family dinners.

My menu revolves around where I buy our food and what I buy at certain times of the month. Let me explain.

Once a month I go to Costco. I pick up in bulk the household supplies that I need: toilet paper, paper towels, dishwashing detergents etc. I also buy food. One of our favorite things to buy at Costco is the Big Package of Uncooked Flour Tortillas and the huge bag of Kirkland Tortilla Chips. For a week after I shop at Costco, I plan all my menus around these tortillas. We go crazy with the Mexican food that my kids love.

Here are the items that I regularly serve using these tortillas:
Green Chili Quesadillas
Breakfast Burritos
Chicken Enchiladas
Homemake Cafe Rio Sweet Pork and Rice
Beef Taquitos
Chicken Chili Quesadillas

I try to limit our red meat consumption but once a month I do buy good quality lean hamburger. The following week most of our dinners revolve around this meat. Here are some of things that I serve.

Taco Salad
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Navajo Tacos

The other two weeks of the month I do regular grocery shopping usually at Walmart. We eat Italian and Chinese on these weeks with the pasta and rice that I can get very inexpensively.
I serve a mix of the following meals:

Stir Fry Chicken and Rice
Orange Chicken
Ham Fried Rice
Homemade Pizza
Pizza Rolls
Fettuccine Alfredo
Homemade Mac and Cheese

I have tried lots of different meal and menu plans (see this week's post on adaptation above) but this system seems to work the best for me. When I plan my week around a few key ingredients, we spend less money on groceries and waste less food. My family doesn't seem to mind that each week is repetitive since we get lots of variety in the course of a month.

I hope this helps you think about menu planning in a different way and gives you some of your own ideas about what might work for you.

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