Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Share recipes, menus, and kitchen hints.
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Wacky Woman
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Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby Wacky Woman » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:19 am

Meals, menu planning... a whole issue unto itself!

Whether you live alone or have a large family, whether you are stay-at-home or juggling the demands of a payroll schedule-- we all have to eat, and helps to know how that is going to happen.

Do you have a format for menu planning that works for you? Do you prefer something planned, or something more flexible?

Shrinking budgets, crazy schedules, fussy eaters, dietary restrictions-- these issues can make planning a challenge.

Please share your tricks, thoughts, frustrations, musings and insights on menu planning!
I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it. ~Maya Angelou

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Wacky Woman
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby Wacky Woman » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:21 am

This is Pam & Peggy's Weekly Menu Plan, as it appears in my (old) paperback copy of Sidetracked Home Executives, page 147, from the Appendix.

MONDAY- Leftovers/Paper-plate night
TUESDAY- Chicken
WEDNESDAY- Fish
THURSDAY- Casserole/Crock Pot
FRIDAY- Hamburgers/Tacos/Spaghetti
SATURDAY- Cook's Choice
SUNDAY- Feast/Roast/Ham
I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it. ~Maya Angelou

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SuzLew
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby SuzLew » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:42 am

WACKY: I would like to get so much better at this. With Dh and I retired it usually is a look first thing of what is available then thawing something for dinner. So usually planned in the morning. Would like to change this to a monthly menu with flexibility! Actually planning out groceries per menu with coupons, sales, etc. Cooking double batches and freezing 1/2 is my latest try to get ahead in the meal department!

Thanks for the Pam and Peggy weekliy basic reminder will help !

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Emptynester
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby Emptynester » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:47 am

Hi Wacky!

Especially when I am trying to GMAT about shopping I use a chart for menu planning. I usually just write down the protein unless I want to emphasize the side dishes. So a typical day would look like this.

Breakfast: Raisin Bran, Milk, Banana
Lunch: Egg salad on lettuce, Fruit
Dinner: Chicken, Spinach and Orange Salad, 1/2 Sweet Potato
Snack: Yogurt, wheat thins

My chart also has a last field for schedule for the day, i.e. shopping, company, etc.

So in Word I make a table 8 columns wide and 6 columns long. (Turn paper to Landscape and it works great)
Top row = Days of the week
First Column = B, L, D, S, Schedule.

Then just fill in the blanks. If you save about 1 month's worth of menus - you will start recycling the meals and it makes it easier. You could even have a small column for each day that counts up your points. I used this on WW and it helped ever so much as I never had to wonder what I was going to eat and then eat the wrong thing.
It’s never too late to be what you might have been.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
― C.S. Lewis

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DeeClutter
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby DeeClutter » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:50 am

Like your 'chart' thoughts, MT. I'll have to mention it to DD. We, too, need some sort of regimen for meal planning -it's usually DD calling around 4-4:30 and asking I have any ideas for dinner. :cry: :?
Begun is half done -SO! JUST BEGIN!!

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Harmony
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby Harmony » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:23 am

Just the 2 of us here so I have a tendency to cook once and eat 2 or 3 times, changing the protein into something different. Like the chicken soup I made yesterday.

I like MT's chart idea, but don't know if I would keep that up.

I've always thought my food bill is way too high for just the 2 of us, and I do most of my cooking from scratch, no frozen entree dinners, etc. I save everything, even one serving of something either gets used or into the freezer for later use. Chicken bones get made into broth, leftover chicken pieces either go into soup or with oriental vegetables with rice.

So any ideas along these lines would be helpful to me.

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Dove
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby Dove » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:06 pm

Add me to the list of those who would like to improve their skills in this area :). Like Harmony, it is just dh & I so, with the exception of fish, I usually make enough for 4 servings & we have the leftovers a day or two later.

Some random thoughts:
Pam & Peggy's kitchen book was full of great ideas. While I never wrote every recipe down on a 3x5 like they did, years ago I sat & made a random list of every meal I make that I could think of, to have a reference list. It was a great memory jogger; I would pull it out periodically & see meals I had forgotten about & hadn't made in a while. Every few months I would add more meals to the list, only now I am more organized & have separate sheets for chicken, fish, ground beef, etc. I also added one for side dishes.

Another helpful tip from their book was to divide meal ideas into Spring/Summer, and Fall/Winter.

I tend to freeze 3 things the most: soups, chili, & lasagna. I still freeze leftover grilled meat & chicken to use in another dish like enchiladas, casseroles or stroganoff, but they often get freezer burn because I forget to use them :oops: . Need a better system for that.

I always keep boxed veggies in the freezer & the ingredients on hand for several quick meals, like spaghetti & meatballs. Chicken tenders & fish filets thaw quickly in a ziploc bag placed in cold water. With lemon juice, a few spices, and some rice or noodles on the side -- walla! Dinner! :)

I try to make out a weekly plan to keep track of what we are having on what day. This helps me remember what to thaw in the morning. This is very flexible -- if our plans change at the last minute & I'll just move whatever was planned for dinner that night to the next.

I need a better system to keep track of freezer items. I label & date everything, but need to have a list of some sort outside of the freezer & close to it. I try to rotate old items to the front as best I can. I tend to forget what's in there though, & every few weeks I pull on a pair of gloves & do a quick inventory of everything. A list would work so much better.

I have clipped & printed drawerfuls of recipes to try but don't do that on a regular basis & would like to.

I keep a running grocery list inside one of my kitchen cupboards. When I open the last of an item, it goes on the list. If I'm not sure the item is the last but don't want to run down to the basement pantry to check, I'll write the item down anyway with a question mark in front of it. Then before going to the store I'll check to see if I need or aready have all the question mark items.

I love learning about everyone else's ideas! (And I really love when dh suggest we go out to dinner or order in our favorite pizza! :lol: )

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Re: meals october 12 to october 26

Postby blessedw2 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:15 pm

menu for this week:
Tuesday: Lasagna*, salad :D
Wednesday egg casserole*, colorful beet salad*, and regular salad :D
Thursday: pea soup bowl*, 1/2 door county chicken salad on grain bread, :D
Friday: ate out with dmom :D
Saturday: ate out with dd20 and dmom :D
Sunday: eating Pizza at dsis in laws. :D
monday:for dh and dd14 brats *(dd14 doesn't eat rolls), with dijon sauteed onions+, , beet salad :D
Tuesday: sloppy joes on hard rolls, salad wedge with peppercorn ranch dressing, sliced tomatoes, one chopped hard boiled egg :D it made it look fancy but not at all.
wednesday: chicken kiev*, rice with herbs and toasted almond slices+, carrots with dill :D
Thursday: sandwich to go on whole grain bread, bag small chips, french pickles for dd14 cucumbers. :D
friday: lo mein noodles with tofu for dh chicken in his. (things to buy for this: oyster sauce) :arrow:
Saturday: eat out with dd20 :D ate too much again
Sunday: eating with dsis in laws

soup of the week: tomato



*made ahead so far
+still need to make
it is always a joy to be here with you!

blessedw2
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby blessedw2 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:58 pm

this weeks menu October 25th. 2 weeks (GOAL FOR THIS WEEK MEASURE OUT BEFORE I EAT)

Monday: Swedish meatballs (make more for freezer), egg noodles with butter and parsely, cucumber salad
Tuesday: sandwhiches: virginia ham, swiss or cheddar, lettuce, bag chips, cut veggies to bring with
Wednesday: Vegetable tofu lo mein
Thursday: Zuppa Rusica, garlic bread, cut cheese and fruit
Friday: Beef Braised short ribs, risotto, salad with italian dressing
Saturday: Pizza frozen as I am not sure what dd14 is doing.
Sunday: EAt out with dd20
Monday: Crispy dijon chicken breasts, carrots steamed, salad
Tuesday: Tater tot casserole with turkey instead of ground beef
Wednesday: ham, scalloped potatoes with leeks, peas with onions, salad
Thursday: eggs scrambled, left over potatoes, fruit
Friday: tacos with fixings

lunches: soup I make at spur of the moment. I use left overs in it and lots of time canned chopped tomatoes.
I need to measure out my noodles I put in there.

I also need to make vegetables for a couple days at a time so I eat that instead of other things.

make biscotti's this week, 2 person blueberry crumble, apple muffins freeze, coffee cake muffins freeze.
Last edited by blessedw2 on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
it is always a joy to be here with you!

blessedw2
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Re: Musings on Meals and Menu Planning

Postby blessedw2 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:05 pm

I forgot about pam and peggy's kitchen book, I used the information from that book to focus on my menu. Mystery I use that week for my planning too.
I love learning from all of you too!!! pizza out always sounds like a great idea 8-)
it is always a joy to be here with you!


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