Monday, July 12, 2010

Menu Planning Tips For Your Blank-Minded Moments

Many times when I sit down to do my weekly meal plan, suddenly "my mind is a blank." Anyone with me on that? During the week I read lots of posts about fabulous food and then on Sunday evening, it all vanishes out of my mind with a poof.

To jog my brain out of jello-mode, I have found it helpful to have themed nights in our menu plan--such as: pizza night, vegetarian night, pasta night, mexican night, etc.

For us personally, each week I think about doing the following:
  • One crock pot meal
  • One new meal
  • Pizza night (a favorite...especially since I just tried Butter Yum's pizzaria pizza recipe last week!! LOVED it!)
  • Vegetarian night
  • One meal from the freezer
A little game plan like this makes meal planning less daunting for me and suddenly it's easy to fill in the blanks.

Here's what's on the menu for this week:

Breakfasts: Blueberry Pancakes and Banana Pancakes (I made huge batches on Sunday), cold cereal, yogurt
Lunches: Tuna sandwiches, leftovers

Dinner by weeknight:
Monday--Vegetarian night: Zucchini Parmesan and Spinach Souffle (we never made it to the Zucchini parm last time it was on the meal plan)
Tuesday--New Meal/Crockpot meal: Slow Cooker Orange Chicken with rice and broccoli
Wednesday--Easy Mexican Casserole
Thursday--Dinner at small group--will take mashed potatoes from the freezer
Friday--Pizza night--topped with cheese and sliced tomatoes

What's your "formula" for meal planning?

Another way to help a blank mind is to visit Org Junkie's Menu Planning Monday!


  1. I also get "brain freeze" every time I try to plan meals for a week. I usually try to plan dinners by ethnicity: one Mexican, one Italian, one Chinese, etc. We also do homemade pizza almost weekly, and there's usually one or two meals that I planned from the previous week that didn't happen for whatever reason, and those end up rolling over.

  2. Those blueberry pancakes look yummy. Such a treat when blueberries are in season.

  3. That's a good outline for menu planning. I guess I usually do at least one Mexican meal, one Italian meal, one traditional type meal, and then whatever.

  4. Yes, by ethnicity works nicely too...come to think of it, I have Italian, Mexican, and Chinese all on the menu this week. Not sure how authentic each will be, but it will work!

  5. I often pull out one cookbook and cook all my recipes for the week from it. I just pour through it and see what catches my eye.

  6. I need to be better about trying a new recipe each week. It seems like I make the same things over and over again. I like your method and sometimes I try to have pizza on Fridays and tacos on Tuesdays; but depending on how my day went, sometimes I'll make those things other days. I'm flexible.

  7. Your menu looks great!

    I actually have a column on my menu plan sheet captioned "Notes for Next Week" - whenever something occurs to one of us that would be good (like, 'hey, we haven't had tacos in a while!' or 'don't we have some pulled pork in the freezer?'), we jot it down, and if it doesn't make it to the next week's menu, it gets carried over to the following week.

    It seems to work for us, anyway. :)

  8. I want to create a recipe file/binder: clipped recipes (goal is to print out Internet ones right away) to try, as well as favorite tried-and-true. Then I can just go to the binder when I'm feeling at a all those "I-want-to-try-it" recipes will actually get their chance on my table! :)

    I also love having a theme, though my themes are pretty basic. I wrote about them this week for Menu Planning Monday -- my first time linking up!

  9. @Nancy: WOW! I've never done a whole week of new foods, but I bet that would be fun. Maybe I'll do it for Try New Adventures Thursday one of these days...
    @Betty: Flexibility helps! I always do a menu plan, but most of the time we switch what day we eat what due to changes in plans. But at least I know I have all the ingredients for the planned meals, no matter what day I want to cook it!
    @ToyLady: Good idea! I have started putting the links of recipes I want to try in "future" blog posts of mine. What really cracks me up is when I have to check my blog to find out what I had planned to cook for the night..:O
    @Audrey: I have a binder, but only with tried-and-true recipes. Maybe I should start a second one with recipes I want to try!

  10. I look through the circulars to see what's on sale, then look for fun recipes around those items!


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