Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu Planning Tips, Menu and Top 13 Menu Plans of 2013

For the past several years I have relied on my weekly menu plan to keep me organized at home. The menu became so much more than I ever imagined. Not only was I more organized, I saved money, had less food waste, used it as a teaching tool for my teen daughters, gave food ideas for my blog readers,etc. The benefits truly outweighed any negatives. I can't even list a negative with menu planning.
menu plans

Some think that menu plan is restricting and doesn't allow for spontaneous fun or change of plans. We might have found that the first week or so but learned to adjust and think ahead. With future menus I had to think ahead of what our family had planned for the up and coming week to make sure I wasn't buying food or planning meals when they weren't needed. On days when I wasn't certain if I would have to cook, I planned meals based on what extra food I had on hand or freezer meals.

Do you meal plan? What has been your experience? If you don't, what is holding you back? If you need help or have questions, just ask! Feel free to use any of my meals, recipes, etc. They are here for you to use and share.

Menu Planning Recipes

Here are the Top 13 Menu Plans from 2013. The menus are such a huge success for me that I plan on continuing them for 2014. Out of the below 13, quite a few are menus from several years ago that people still visit, especially the holiday theme menus.

Just so you know, menu plans can be reused and recycled. Some do it in an orderly fashion, but I don't. Some recycle their menu every so many weeks. I don't but you can. I do pull from past menus depending on the weather or season. Find what works for you and do it!


#1 Fall Menu Plan with 15 Beef Crockpot Recipes - This has been a huge hit since fall. I gathered up these recipes for the sake of my family. I don't cook a lot of beef and wanted to get new ideas for my family.


#2 4th of July Menu Plan - This menu is from a few years ago and still gets visitors. Who doesn't love picnic food? Theme menus are so easy to plan.

zombie recipes

#3 Zombie Themed Halloween Menu Plan - You'll have to pin this menu for later! So many yummy ideas for Halloween, even if you aren't into the zombie thing.

crockpot recipes

#4Menu Plan with Crockpot Desserts - I did this menu plan and round up because some of my readers were asking for more crockpot recipes. So I searched some of my favorite blogs to come up with delicious recipes for my family to try and share with you.

Fourth of July Recipes

#5 Menu Plan with 4th of July Recipes - Different menu than the above one but just about as popular. Summer fun ideas.

Crockpot favorite recipes

#6 5 Family Favorite Crockpot Recipes - This menu plan kicked off the crockpot crazy on my blog this fall. Everyone loves crockpot recipes.

Fall recipes

#7 Fall Menu Plan with Trail Mix Recipes - I had a lot of tasty menus this fall which everyone loved. This menu and the included trail mix recipes were a huge hit.

best chicken recipes

#8 Menu Plan with Crockpot Chicken Recipes - I love cooking chicken. This menu has some of my favorites and tasty recipes from more of my favorite blogs.

recipes for memorial day

#9 Memorial Day Menu Ideas - This is another well love theme menu plan and list of recipes for Memorial Day!

spring recipes

#10 Menu Plan Monday with Spring Recipes - This menu plan was popular this year because of the included post on 24 Ways to Use A Tube of Pizza Crust! Good short cut meals!

mexican recipes

#11Monday Menu Plan with Mexican Recipes - My family LOVES Mexican food and I add such foods into our menu several times a month. These are some of our favorites as well as some other blogs.

best ever chili recipes

#12 Monday Menu Plan with Chili Recipes - Fall is our Chili time. I usually cook one type but this year I was inspired by other bloggers to try new recipes. This post has a menu plan, my go to chili recipe as well as unique recipes from some of my favorite blogs.

National Soup Month Recipes

#13 Monday Menu Plan with National Soup Month Recipes - January is National Soup Month and everyone loves these recipes. They have been a favorite for quite some time!

Recipes for Winter


Our Weekly Menu - I often only list our main dish and not everything that can go with it to leave that addition up to you.

Monday- Manhattan Clam Chowder and New Orleans King Cake for Epiphany- family loved soup for almost 20 years!
Tuesday-Leftover soup and grilled cheese - I love making grilled cheese on the 2nd day of leftover soup.
Wednesday-Tangy Meatball Subs, fresh veggies and Jalapeno Mac & Cheese (recipe coming soon)
Thursday-Crockpot Beer Chicken, Mom's Hash brown potatoes, Broccoli
Friday-Dinner date with hubby so leftovers for the teens
Saturday-Crazy Breakfast Casserole, Bacon, Anna Banana Bread and a fruit salad

If you need more menu ideas click on the above top menus and check out my recipe box - Listed in A-E, F-N, and P-Z.

If you are on a healthier lifestyle journey, check out my Kick Off of 2014 Healthy Challenge.

I've linked up at OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Join my newsletter to keep up with the new soups in January and more tasty menu plans of 2014.



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