MONTHLY MENU PLANS
How I plan my monthly menus...
When I plan my monthly menus, I look through my low carb recipe file box and pick out recipes that I think I'd like to make. I then start filling in the days of the month, trying to use a variety of meats per week (such as only one or two at most using hamburger, etc.). I put down quick and easy recipes on the days of the week that I know I will be busy or out of the house or plan to have leftovers on the busiest days. Also, when I make a recipe that makes many servings, such as a casserole, we'll have the leftovers for maybe one more day, then the rest will be used for lunches or even my breakfasts. My husband generally has some kind of quiche every morning, but I'll eat anything at any time of the day, so my breakfasts are usually leftovers or yogurt. I generally cut my quiches into six pieces so two quiches will usually be enough per week, but I try to overlap so that I don't ever run out. Any extra pieces can be used for a packed lunch or frozen.
Once I have enough recipes to cover every day, I make a stack of the recipe cards I'll need and put them in the order I will be using them. That way, when I make my weekly grocery list, I simply look at my menu calendar and the recipe cards to see what ingredients I will need to buy for any given week.
We almost always have salad every night for supper, but I also keep a supply of frozen vegetables on hand for an extra side dish when needed. If there's a good sale on fresh vegetables, I buy them and just use them that week with whatever meal they'd go with best.
I have an extra small freezer so I pretty much only buy meat on sale and stock up so my menus are also planned around what I have in stock. I don't always stick strictly to my menu plan if I see something really good on sale that week. I might even still make what I'd planned but throw in a bonus meal so that there will be more choices for lunches.
One thing that really saves me time and prevents last minute rushing around to get dinner ready, is to do my cooking when I do have the time. If I know I'll be busy late in the afternoon, I might cook that night's dinner early in the morning or even the night before and just reheat it later. I might even prepare two different meals at once when I have the time. If I'm cooking one thing on the stove, I can always throw together a quiche and have that baking in the oven at the same time. If I see that I'll be using cheese in several dishes throughout the week, I will shred all that I will need at one time and individually wrap it and label it with the name of the recipe I will need it for. Why dirty the food processor more than once? To save even more time you can use pre-shredded cheese, but I prefer the texture of freshly grated.
Another thing I like to do is to have the ingredients on hand for a few extra simple recipes, just in case I find I'm running short of food that week. Those recipes generally will only use food items that can be kept in the pantry or freezer at all times and quickly thrown together. A couple examples would be things such as Chile Relleno Casserole, Dottie's Burger Scramble Florentine or even a Deep Dish Pizza. The ingredients in those dishes will keep for quite a long time.
If you find that you've made a dish that's not getting eaten within a couple days or so, don't be afraid to individually wrap a few servings. Label and date them and stash them in the freezer. You never know when one of these will come in handy in an emergency. If you're going to pack a serving for a lunch, pack it frozen in a microwaveable plastic container and it should be thawed enough to reheat easily by lunch time.
By jotting down what things I need to thaw for various recipes, I almost never realize at the last minute that I've forgotten to thaw the meat for that night. I usually allow a day or two for thawing a pound of hamburger or sausage and at least 2 days for a large roast or whole chicken.
I've marked in BLUE the recipes that I'm planning to make for breakfasts, desserts or specifically for lunches. Keep in mind that this menu doesn't show what I will be eating for each meal of each day. It shows what I need to cook for each day. The main recipes listed will generally be what we'll have for supper on those nights. When it says "Leftovers", that can mean anything that was left from previous days. I cook for a family of three, two of whom are low carbing. My son usually eats whatever low carb food I've prepared, but he's not always home for meals. So, if you have a larger family, you may need to either add more meals per week or double or triple the quantities you make to suit your family's needs. One last thing to note is that some of these are recipes that I have not tried yet so you won’t find them posted on my site until after I have made them.
I've also added blank calendars for you to print out to make your own meal plans.
JANUARY 2006 FEBRUARY 2006 MARCH 2006 APRIL 2006 MAY 2006 JUNE 2006 JULY 2006 AUGUST 2006 SEPTEMBER 2006 2015 BLANK MENUS 2016 BLANK MENUS
I've decided to take a break from posting my monthly menus. I will keep posting blank ones for you to fill in with your own menu ideas.
Click here to download a printable weekly menu calendar.
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