Menu Planning Gone Crazy!

We have been enjoying the two-week menu plan. It has helped me stay on track with meals, and (for the most part) helped me keep from overspending. I do still find myself, on occasion, forgetting to put things on the list (like diapers! I don’t know how I forget that!!). But, I am getting better. 🙂

I have been thinking about menu planning for longer periods – three or four weeks – to shop for at one time. The problem has always been money. We plan the two-week menu with the paycheck that covers the upcoming two weeks. Last week, I decided to go for the four-week plan and borrow against some cash we had here at home. I checked with my husband about it, explaining I believed it would help keep us more in budget and give me some more sanity when it came to grocery shopping. He gave me the green light, and I ran with it! I just have to remember to pay us back with that next paycheck!!

I spent an hour a day, for four days last week, planning 28 days of meals – breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I pulled from cookbooks, magazine pages I had torn out, online recipes, and index cards I had stashed away. I came up with 11 meatless dinners and 17 with a meat. I didn’t count pizzas that might have had a meat topping and a meat meal….I was just thinking about meals that required a separate meat to be purchased. For breakfasts, I listed three items to be had every single week and then rotated a couple of others every other week. And lunches are pretty much as they always are – simple and easy and things the kids like.

All in all, it was a stressful but successful planning time! I tried to get the meal planning done during naptimes, but I found that difficult with a million other things to get done. So, I did do a lot of the planning while the kids were awake. I worried so much that I was going to miss something. The only thing I forgot to write? Diapers. AGAIN! This is probably the fourth shopping trip of forgetting to write diapers. Maybe it is because we’ve been using them for so long I forgot about them? Does that even make sense?!

So, written below is what I have come up with. I am very happy with the selection. There are a lot of favorites in there and a lot of new items. Everything is simple, and most are crockpot items, which works out wonderful for me. As far as prepping them and freezing them (which obviously have to be done so things don’t spoil), I did some on Friday and Saturday and froze them. For the chicken meals, I just cooked up and shredded all the chicken. I will just freeze that and make up the meals on the days we need them. I didn’t have a ton of freezer space to hold a huge bag or container of a meal mixed up (maybe next month though!).

 

Breakfast

Weeks 1 and 3:

Biscuits and Gravy

Muffins, Fruit

Waffles

Pancakes

Eggs

Oatmeal

Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal

Weeks 2 and 4:

Cinnamon Rolls

Muffins

Waffles

Pancakes

Eggs

Oatmeal

PB & Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Lunch

Weeks 1 and 3:

Leftovers x 3

Cheese Taco

PB&J x 2

Tostadas

Weeks 2 and 4:

Leftovers x 2

Buttered Noodles

PB&J x 3

Tostadas

Dinner (Meatless in Orange)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Bake, Salad, Veggies and Dip

Pirate Pasta Shells, Salad, Bread

Frozen Pizza x 2, Chips, Veggies and Dip

Homemade Pizza x 2, Chips, Veggies and Dip

Lentil Stew x 2, Bread, Salad

Tortellini Bake, Green Beans, Salad

Homemade Mac and Cheese x 2, Fruit, Peas/Green Beans

Ham and Bean Soup, Cornbread, Fruit

White Chicken Chili x 2, Fruit, Salad

Meatloaf, Carrots, Roasted Potato Cubes

Chicken and Sausage Stew, Salad, Bread

Hamburger Stew x 2, Fruit, Bread

Pasta and Meatballs x 2, Green Beans and Carrots OR Peas and Corn

Chicken and Wild Rice Bread Bowl, Carrots, Peas

Chicken Tetrazzini, Fruit, Bread

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas x 2, Fruit, Corn

Loaded Potato Frittata, Fruit, Toast

Teriyaki Chicken, Carrots, Bread

Baked Ravioli, Green Beans, Bread

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, Corn, Mashed Potatoes

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