Go here for Worksheet I.
Go here for Worksheet II.
Worksheet III ~ Actually writing your menus!
With your menu lists in hand, all printed out, make your plan for the week! Yes, you are ready to do it! And it won’t be that hard, because you already have a “stockpile” of ideas that you know they all like!
What do you need to do this? You could use an Excel spreadsheet, a Powerpoint presentation, a PDF file that you download off an organizational website, or any other technologically advanced method you choose.
I usually grab a scrap of paper and jot down:
Then I look at my calendar to see which days I’ll be in the car at four in the afternoon rather than able to be cooking at home; which days I know I’ll be tired because I have a meeting the night before; and which days I know I will have time to bake or roll up tortillas or something like that.
Then I choose my menus accordingly.
Here’s my thought process:
M- [This is a day I spend a lot of time in the morning cleaning up from the weekend and making sure I am up to date on my bills and checking account. Mondays are a day of anxiety for most people, so it’s good to have something easy and hearty for dinner. I usually have an Italian-American type of dish on this day. Knowing that I will probably be making spaghetti with meatballs (that I have already frozen) or pasta with meat sauce or easy lasagna makes this day a cinch.]
Spaghetti with meat sauce (I’ve already frozen browned and seasoned meat)
T- [On this day I teach a CCD class in the late afternoon. I can do my grocery shopping in the morning, but I can’t do any cooking in the afternoon. I like to use something leftover from Sunday on this day.]
Leftover stew (I make enough for two meals at least)
Green beans tossed with olive oil and salt
Bread (I make all our bread other than bagels and pita and usually have a bunch in the freezer.)
W- [I like to serve soup on Wednesdays. It’s a good way to be simple in our eating habits and it leaves me time to bake, visit, and do other things on this day when I don’t have to go out until 3:30.]
Split pea soup (using hambone from the freezer)
Th- [Since our meals have been simple for the first days of the week, I tend to be more elaborate on Thursdays. Kids are ready for a hearty meal, and the leftovers are helpful on the weekend when more people are around. However, we have a lot going on Thursdays. I have a busy afternoon that never ends. It’s also a good day for a chicken dish.]
Squash or roasted yams (leftover from Sunday, keeps fine)
Salad (assembled early in the day)
Biscuits (made from my homemade mix)
F- [We go meatless on Fridays. Almost always we have homemade pizza and salad. Occasionally we have a fish dish or a pasta dish.]
Salmon cakes with yogurt cumin sauce
S- [Usually we have leftover pizza for lunch, which is pretty hearty (I make a meat one for Saturdays). So by Saturday night we don’t need anything too filling or complicated. In addition, I’ve usually worked hard on chores and don’t want to cook! My husband grew up having hot dogs and baked beans on Saturdays – I’m not a huge fan but it is easy! If we have lots of leftovers we’ll have a “bits and pieces” night with good bread, saving those hot dogs for a busy day when I really can’t cook.]
Cole slaw (homemade)
S- [It’s worth it to do a traditional big Sunday dinner. You will get at least one more meal out of it in the coming busy week; maybe more if you play your cards right. More importantly (and sometimes we do have something very simple) it’s good to have a family day, emphasizing being together and resting. A roast is actually restful to make – more so than a casserole! Try to make something with bones you can use for soup another day.]
Pork roast (make extra for bbq pork sandwiches later in the week)
Mashed potatoes (make extra for shepherd’s pie later in the week; use cooking water for bread making)
Broccoli (Make double for broccoli soup for lunches)
Rolls (keep a lot of homemade rolls in the freezer!)
M- [I like to make a “weekly” menu of a little more than a week, in case I get thrown off somewhere. Having an extra meal up your sleeve without any extra preparation really helps.]
Chili (easy to make a large amount and freeze)
Now you are ready for Worksheet IV.