So I promised this a few weeks ago, but I got sidetracked by, well, life.
I have three children under the age of 6. ‘Nuff said.
A little bit of background on these menus. Rewind to when #1 was born.
I had pretty bad postpartum depression that I didn’t want to admit to having. One of the things that really bothered me was that I had no idea what I was doing for dinner. It was a valid concern. We didn’t have money to eat out a ton and Hubby is NOT a cook. And I was STARVING with all that breastfeeding.
Since then I have fiddled with various ways to plan menus, but this is what I like best for now. I’ve been doing this for over a year, and it works!
Hubby gets paid every two weeks, so our budget is on a 4 week interval. Because we live 45 minutes from the nearest Costco (HUZZAH MAGIC POWERS) I only go once every 4 weeks or so.
To be clear, I don’t plan a meal for every night of the week. I do about 5 meals a week, at least one of which is made up of stuff I always have on hand (grilled cheese and tomato soup, black bean soup, tacos, etc…) That way if we decided to go out one night or we have a ton of leftovers we have a night to eat those.
Here is my weekly menu board
The weekends are for leftovers (again) or going out to eat for date night and frozen crockpot meals or pancakes or waffles or something simple. I just don’t have time to cook on the weekends, usually because we are trying to do a project on our house or shop for a new appliance or whatever. Sunday we have church and that just wears me out. I love it, but I always come home exhausted and hungry and totally not in the mood to cook.
I have 5 lists for the month. Yes 5.
1st: Costco (HUZZAH MAGIC POWERS) list. As I compile my menus, I keep a running list for Costco for anything I want in bulk.
The other four lists are weekly lists for stuff I don’t want to buy in bulk like various fruit or veggies that will go bad if I buy them at Costco. Or stuff like Pesto. I don’t need a giant thing of pesto for one meal. If I was having 4 or 5 meals with Pesto, then it would be worth it to buy the Costco one. Got it? Okay.
Here is an example menu for a week:
Just by looking at this list, I know I’m going to need:
Fish (we get it and freeze it)
BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)
Mozzarella Cheese (did you know you can shred and freeze mozzarella cheese?)
Shredded Cheese (Yes I buy shredded cheese. I am going to chef hell.)
Carrots (I get that big bag of baby carrots, then use it for everything all month)
Chicken Broth (I make my own, which is insanely easy, but if you don’t, the best deal is at Costco)
White Beans (Canned)
Spaghetti Sauce (if I don’t have any frozen. Usually I make my own)
Various Spices if mine need a refill (a local grocery store sells bulk spices, so I usually stock up there)
Any other ingredients you might not have on hand.
I usually have any meat on hand, as we buy ours in bulk from the butcher or I shop the sales at the local store, so you might need to add that if you don’t already have it.
Also, did you know you can buy an entire pork loin from Costco for about 1.99$ a pound? Then I cut it into chops or roasts depending on what we want. It is a killer deal.
Here is a document of the shopping list that you can download for FREE:
It includes a list for Costco and a list for every week. I included an optional 5th week in case you go by the calendar month instead of every four weeks like we do.
This just takes out the stress of daily dinner planning for me. I only have to sit down and work it out once a month. I also spend a few minutes before I go to the grocery store every week reviewing the menu for that week and checking to see if I need to add or remove things from my shopping list. Then I know I will have all of the ingredients I will need for whatever meal we have that night. Then I just have to get off my butt and make it rather than worry about it all day. It is SUCH a relief.
One nice thing about this list is it is completely adaptable. If you go to Costco every week or even less, you can adjust as necessary. Just print off an extra sheet of the Costco shopping list and adapt.
Let me know what you think!