Yes, I know the title is a little dorky. I am lacking in creative juices at the moment…
Meal planning in our home involves me sitting down with 2 index cards, my pile of current magazines (Rachel Ray, Sunset, & Cooking Light), my favorite 2 cookbooks, and my recipe box FULL of recipes from friends and family members. Because I love to try new recipes whenever I can, I pull recipes from the magazines first- listing them on the lined side of my first index card. Recipe names on the left (with any applicable side dishes) and where that recipe can be found on the right. Next I pull recipes from my cookbooks and then last I complete any empty lines on the card with recipes from my box. As I go, I list out the groceries I need to make the meal on the blank side of the other index card- produce and bulk goods separated from the rest. Lastly, I rummage through my collected coupons for any that might be of use and check ads for any deals I might need to take advantage of.
I tried to put my meals on specific days, but this was a little too structured for me. I like the flexibility of picking an easy meal off my list for a busy (or lazy!!) day, and a more complicated one for those days I am excited about cooking. I try to grab something for a fun Saturday AM breakfast (a coffee cake, overnight french toast, or fritatta) as well as a few nights of homemade pizza (Fridays!) while at the store too. If I am making meatballs or some kind of taco meat (crock-pot!), I usually make 2-3 batches at once and freeze the rest for a busy day that lays ahead. This method of meal planning lasts us about 3 weeks of our month, so we do end up doing a small trip at the end to replenish some produce to get us through to the next payday. And of course, with small kids, there are always those trips in the meantime for things like milk and bananas! :-)
Whew. That was a mouthful. Thanks for reading, I hope our methods encourage you to also find the plan that fits your family best! Happy eating!