I can remember many years ago when my girls were little, I'd spend about half an hour in front of the pantry, fridge and freezer trying to find something different to cook that night. Money was very tight and I didn't have great cooking skills. Spag bol and chop suey were cooked once a week. I loved those meals but even I was getting a little tired of eating them so often. Inspiration was hard to come by when you are looking at the same old, same old ingredients. In desperation we'd have eggs on toast, spaghetti on toast or crumpets. I cringe when I think of it now.
The first step to writing a great menu plan is to write a list of all the meals you can cook. Include even the basic meals like spag bol, fish fingers and eggs on toast. When I first wrote my list I think I had about 15 - 20 meals on it. As time went on I learnt to cook a few new meals each year. If they were a success I'd add them to my list. I now have about 45 meals I can cook. Some are cooked more regulary than others.
Once you have your list, grab another piece of paper and write the day and date of each day down the side for the whole month. Then work out how often you want to eat certain types of meat each week. For example it might be fish x1, chicken x2, beef x2, pork x1 and lamb x1. Then you need to work out what meals work best on each night. If you have swimming with the kids on Thursday night then a roast won't work unless you are happy to eat at 9pm. If you ae all home on a Sunday night, then the roast might work better then. I always have a different meat each night for variety. If I served chicken three nights in a row, we'd all be tired of it. If there is leftover meat from a roast, it's either frozen or served two night later.
Cheaper meals are included to offset the dearer cost of roasts. I also don't cook on Sunday night. This isn't for religous reasons. We quite often have church functions for lunch on a Sunday or family gatherings. By the time tea comes around we are only wanting something simple and light. I cook from scratch six nights a week so Sunday night in our house is called " Get your own but feed me ". My girls and husband are quite capable of cooking something simple and it gives them a chance to improve and expand their cooking skills.
Here's my current menu plan -
Mon 18th - Lasagne and veg
Tues 19th - Honey soy chicken drumsticks with mash and veg
Wed 20th - Roast beef with roast veg
Thurs 21st - Tuna casserole and greens
Fri 22nd - Chicken curry in slow cooker with rice
Sat 23rd - Rissoles, gravy, mash and veg
Sun 24th - Get your own
Mon 25th - Meat pie and veg
Tues 26th - Honey mustard chicken with rice
Wed 27th - Chicken flan with mash
Thurs 28th - Fish ( from box ) with rice, zucchini slice and veg
Fri 29th - Hamburgers with wedges
Sat 30th - KFC style chicken drumsticks with mash and veg
Sun 31st - Get your own
Mon 1st - Spag bol
Tues 2nd - Wedding anniversary - not sure what we'll have
Wed 3rd - Roast beef with roast veg
Thurs 4th - Salmon patties with rice and veg
Fri 5th - Freezer meals ( pick your own )
Sat 6th - Rissole casserole with mash
Sun 7th - Get your own
Mon 8th - Meatloaf with mash and veg
Tues 9th - Sausages, mash and veg
Wed 10th - Silverside in slow cooker with roast veg
Thurs 11th - Tuna pasta bake
Fri 12th - Homemade pizza
Sat 13th - Beef stew in slow cooker with mash
Sun 14th - Get your own
Mon 15th - Lemon chicken drumsticks with mash or rice and veg
Tues 16th - Nasi Goreng
Wed 17th - Roast beef in slow cooker with roast veg
Thurs 18th - Tuna caserole with greens
Fri 19th - Lasagne with veg
I do my big monthly shop on the 16th of each month so I write my menu plan the night before I shop. If for some reason I can't shop then, I have a few days up my sleeve on the menu plan.
|Chocolate self saucing pudding|