|Homemade pizza on my pizza stone. SOOO good!|
Yesterday afternoon I sat down and formulated our meal plan for the month. First, I print out a blank monthly calendar. I pull out my recipe binder and a few cookbooks and look over some of my previous monthly plans for inspiration (here's February 2011, January 2011, and December 2010). The weather is spring/summerish here in Florida already, so this month I'm moving on from soups/stews to pasta salads and hamburgers on the grill. Whooo-hooo!
Here's how April looks:
|April 1st--Dinner at Chick-fil-A!||Our neighbor brought us a Korean dish for dinner. :)|
|Lemon Tomato Tilapia/ Broccoli||Quick Crustless Quiche||Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts/ Spinach||Burritos||Spicy and Cheesy Black Beans and Yellow Rice||Date Night||Hamburgers on the grill!|
|Stuffed Pasta Shells/ Green Beans/||Sweet Potato, Chard, and Coconut Milk Casserole |
|Black Bean and Mango Chicken Salad||Shepherd's Pie (I make some adaptations to the recipe)||Sticky Chicken/ Roasted Asparagus||Pizza Night||Baked Grouper/ Veggies|
|Garden Macaroni Salad||Quick Crustless Quiche||Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts/ Spinach||Taco Salad||Spicy and Cheesy Black Beans and Yellow Rice||Out of town||Out of town|
|Stuffed Pasta Shells/ Green Beans/||Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry||Black Bean and Mango Chicken Salad||Shepherd's Pie||Sticky Chicken/ Roasted Asparagus||Pizza Night||Baked Grouper/ Veggies|
Does the idea of planning out your dinners for an entire month intimidate you? Please don't let it! I tried it for the first time in December and was happy to discover how simple it was. When I take the time to plan for a month, I actually spend less time menu planning.
During the month, we don't stick to the plan exactly. Some weeks, I switch the meals around. The veggie sides may be switched out for whatever vegetables are on sale that week. Occasionally we'll go out to eat, or eat dinner at a friend's house. Regardless, there is a plan to fall back on, which makes the month go more smoothly.
Last night I went to the grocery store and purchased a lot of meat on sale, so I'll be doing my freezer cooking day sometime this week. With the recent increases in food prices, I'm finding that the combination of monthly meal planning and freezer cooking is vital to our budget.
(Side note: My hubby picked up a gallon of OJ at the grocery store this weekend and it cost $6! Wow! Maybe we'll drink it out of wine glasses...*wink*)
Linked to Menu Plan Monday.