Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Menu Planning or Pantry Stocking?

I've had several inquiries as to what my menu plans look like...so here goes:

Growing In His Glory ~ Menu Plan

Yep, that's it...that's as far as I really ever get...a pretty menu...with nothing entered on it!  Seriously, I have purchased a ton of cute little menu/grocery planner items, and they just don't work for me!  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the idea of menu planning, I seriously just never stick to it! 

One thing I have done is write out a list of meals that I frequently serve, and then have used that to help me pick a meal based on the ingredients I have...but it's not really the same as menu planning!

Last week I read an article on Pantry Stocking.  The basic concept is that you stock your pantry with the basic ingredients that you use all of the time, and then plan your meals according to your time, energy, and palate.  This is definitely more like how I "plan" our meals!

One thing that I have done in the past that I absolutely loved, and it worked for our family for a long time is: 

This cookbook has 5 seasonal recipes per week, that take 30 minutes or less to cook!  Her website has a Grocery List section where you can print off your grocery list for the week, and cross off what you already have on hand. {Each item has a number code that coordinates with the meal the ingredient is for...if you are not having that particular meal, cross it off!} Plus, the list includes ingredients for her suggested sides!

I don't use this on a regular basis now, but it does come in handy when I am having a busy season in my life! Of course we have to double every recipe to feed all of us!!!

I'd love to get some feedback on how others do their meal planning...I'm always looking for ways to improve!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!


  1. We pantry stock. I am way too indecisive when it comes to dinner. I know what I want to make when I make it. So we buy staples for us like chicken, flour, milk eggs,and cheese.

  2. I keep chicken breasts and ground beef portions in my freezer so I can use them in most of my staple recipes. I often try to write out a quick menu for the week on our dry-erase board, but I don't know that we've ever followed it 100%. I even try to plan what nights we'll have leftovers, but it doesn't always work out. And then, on occasion, we end up eating in the Costco food court. :) I've also tried to plan a menu for the week just trying to use up some of the stuff that's in my pantry/freezer. I know it's time for that when I have so much in my pantry that it doesn't fit on the shelves... or when we get home from Costco and have trouble fitting everything into our little freezer (I wish I had a seperate freezer).
    I've also found that, even though I have a cupboard full of them, I very rarely pull out a cookbook to try something new. So I hesitate to buy any more cookbooks. I mostly end up cooking meals like my Mom does - throw stuff together and not measure anything. It usually works out pretty well. :)
    - Jenai

  3. I can never stick to a plan either. Of course, I don't have a large family to cook for. I do buy the huge packs of ground beef at Sam's (we don't have a costco, wish we did), and when I break them down, I put them in quart size ziploc freezer bags, and smash them flat so the meat fills the whole bag. Takes 20 mins to thaw in cold water since they're flat. Another thing I do is anytime I have leftover veggies (peas, corn, beans, onions etc) I put it into a container that I keep in the freezer. When it's getting full, I use it to make vegetable beef soup.

  4. I have a planner, and on the last Wednesday of the month I sit during naptime and write down the next two months of meals! The planner I have is solely for meals and cost me $1...but I have also used a 10 cent spiral-bound notebook and wrote down my "60 Meal Deal!" On the subsequent pages I write down all the ingredients I will need to make the meals, plus a few things like frozen peas, frozen corn, and frozen green beans for sides. Then the next Wednesday (the first Wednesday of the month) I head to Business Costco and pick up my load! Then as I need a little produce here and a bit of milk there, I zip over to my local store to pick up those items. With my two girls, I can't dilly dally at the store all the time, so I find it is much easier to get it all done in one trip! I made the mistake of buying 4 months worth of groceries this last time, and it was too much...2 months is juuuust right for my family of four!