Simple Dinner Ideas & Menu Planning

Happy New Year! This is my first post for 2012. Later today, I'll post my top 10 recipes from the past year! A few of them stayed in the top 10 all year and are still going strong! Do you make new year resolutions & goals?  I'm not real big into it but I did make a few goals last year and I'll talk more about that in a later post.

On to Simple Dinners & Menu planning. This is something that I already do each week. I"ve been a menu planner for years and years but have NEVER blogged my menu. I look & follow other bloggers weekly plans all the time and wonder why I don't blog my own on Monday. So this year, I'm joining in the menu planning fun and will have my menu ready to go on Monday morning. I just decided it this morning after seeing the *NEW*  "Simple Dinners" series posted by two of my fav. bloggers, 3 Boys and A Dog & Crystal and Company.

How do I menu plan?

Check the schedule: I check and see when the teens work and for other evening activities. I then plan meals based on who is home and when. If only 2 people are home then that is a lighter meal or their favorite meal on a smaller scale. This is where I will also plan on cooking the main meal at lunch if everyone will be home. We homeschool so sometimes that is the case.

Check the Recipe Database: Each week I check my recipe database (some of that is on my blog and I plan on adding a lot more in the up and coming weeks) and pick what meals to fix. I'm not that super organized where I rotate a set plan. We have a lot of meals we like to eat and I also like trying new ones so I just pick based on my mood, family request, seasonal, dinner guest, what foods I have on hand, etc.  I also check out the store ads and that will influence what I cook for the week, too, if they have some good specials. I also cook with the freshest ingredients earlier in the week.

Make the grocery list & shop: Once I know what I"m cooking I make my list. I always double check and make sure that I don't buy ingredients that I have on hand. If you are new to menu planning and buying like this it might seem tedious at first. But once you do it on a regular basis you'll find that you save money and waste by only buying what you need. I stick to my list at the store and occasionally will pick up something else for meals ONLY IF I have a good coupon or the store has specials. I do suggest you check out your store ads before shopping. I only shop or my menu once a week. It saves time & money!

Post the menu: The above "Menu Planning Monday" is an actual chalkboard in my kitchen that I made. I post our weekly menu on this board. I found that if it is written down then we stick to it. Another good reason for it is if you don't make something then you can use those ingredients for the next week menu.  Our planning allows me to be very flexible incase meetings and other events pop up unplanned.

Menu planning takes the STRESS out of your life. Bloggers post a lot of great recipes and if you think you are lacking tasty meals, check out my recipe data base or check back every Monday morning for my menu. Don't forget to check out the two blogger links above for their Simple Dinner Ideas & Menu Planning and LINK up your blog, too! Check out Org Junkie for more Menu Planning ideas.

My kitchen is closed most weekends. This means we eat from the fridge & pantry. I will make another post on what things I keep on hand for this type of "pick up meals" soon!

Here is our simple menu this week:

Monday: Steak Stroganoff  & veggie salad
Tuesday: leftovers (I'll be the only person home for dinner:)
WednesdayChicken Cordon Bleu & fruit kabobs and Strawberry Spinach Salad
Thursday: Middle Eastern Spicy Lentil Soup , Greek salad and 
Oooey Gooey Onion Cheese Bread 
Friday: outside dinner plans
Saturday: leftover lentil soup
Sunday: Weekly after Church lunch plans & dinner at youth meeting

DESSERTS: I don't have any planned this week JUST because we are coming off the holidays and trying to get over the sugar buzz! IF you are looking for sweets, do check out my recipe data base. You'll find more than enough there :)

DO you have already do menu planning on your blog? Link up below. If you are new, make your post and come back and link up. It will go live Monday morning and stay up until Sunday night. Stop back to get more ideas. You can also post recipes on this link up. (sorry no crafts on this one)

IF you want to host this link up with me on your blog send me an email. I'm looking for a few bloggers to join me. Email me for more details. (cafescrapper at gmail dot com)

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  1. We LOVE that steak stroganoff recipe! It's part of our meal plan this week, too!!

  2. Hi,
    I am your newest follower and I hope I did the link up correctly!

  3. Melissa & Jamie, thanks for linking up! See you next week :)

  4. Susie- these are great tips! I like the suggestion of serving a big lunch on the days all of your children have evening plans.

    Your menu looks tasty! (The Spicy Lentil Soup has me interested.)


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