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Works for Me Wednesday- Menu Planning

chef.jpgI used to spend a lot of money on groceries and throw away a lot of food that had gone bad. I also used to drive my husband crazy calling him on the way home from work and asking him to pick up a few things I need to make a recipe I had decided on 10 minutes before dinner.

That was before I discovered the art of menu planning. I know many of you probably don’t see this as a great revelation, but I didn’t know this existed and how much of a time and money saver it was. I plan my meals on a Friday to Friday basis because my mom watches my girls on Fridays and I find grocery shopping without children to be one of life’s greatest pleasures. I plan out just my dinners and I do so with the calendar next to me so I can see if there are any nights I don’t need to be cooking because of other committments. I also prefer to plan out the main dish and sides so I am not running around at the last minute finding things to fill up the rest of the plate after a dish up the entree.

Now, I am sure there are many people out there who are very self sufficient at planning out menus, but I am not one of those people. I am a good cook, but I prefer to put as little thought into this as possible. That is why I use Saving Dinner. For a very reasonable fee, Leanne (see, it’s like we are friends) sends me a weekly menu accompanied by a grocery list. She also has lots of different menu options to choose from. I prefer Heart Healthy because…well, the name kind of explains it. She really has tons of options and it is easy to change menus if you don’t like what you picked. She even has a few free menus so you can try it out and see if it works for your family. If it doesn’t there are lots of sites like hers around the web. Feel free to leave a comment about any you have tried and liked.

My family has been really happy with what I cook and a lot less food is being wasted. My husband loves not having to make last minute store runs. I think our waistlines are a bit smaller and our arteries a bit less clogged. Best of all, I never have to stand digging through my cupboards at 5:15 trying to figure out how I am going to make lasagna when I am out of lasagna noodles.

Check out more Works for Me Wednesdays at Rocks in My Dryer

Comments

  1. I don’t cook every night like I used to when we had kids at home, but I remember how much it helped when I planned ahead. This definitely works!

    Hugs!
    Kat

  2. I have to agree that Meal planning is a great idea :)

    Rachel xxx

  3. Sounds like a great idea! I’ll have to check out the Saving Dinner link.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  5. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  6. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  7. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  8. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  9. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  10. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  11. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  12. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  13. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  14. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  15. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  16. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  17. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  18. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  19. I’ve got to get into menu planning. What a fabuluos idea. I, too, waste SO MUCH MONEY on food that eventualy goes spoiled. And I hate being in the market every single day buying food. We need to get a better system down. I’m going to do this – I think it’s going to save us money, time and alot of energy running around!!
    Thanks so much!!
    And I love your blog.. it’s great!!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls
    http://www.pinksandbluesgirls.wordpress.com

  20. Georgia Mom says:

    Great Website!! I’m going to check that one out for sure!

    Blessings,
    Georgia Mom

  21. You are right on with menu planning! It has become a HUGE time/money saver for our family. We do our shopping with each paycheck and it REALLY helps to not only have a list, but a PLAN. I am a person who THRIVES on organization and planning and this has truly saved me! Do you post on ‘Menu Plan Monday’ over at I’m an Organizing Junkie(http://orgjunkie.blogspot.com)? If not, you should try it out, it WORKS FOR ME! ;-)

  22. There is also a free site that I used to get myself started in planning….

    http://menus4moms.com/

  23. I love Leanne!

  24. movingmama says:

    I use Six O’Clock Scramble and love it! Most of the recipes are great, and I love the grocery list… I’ll have to look at the others also – thanks.

  25. fxbacks says:

    My wife and I started meal planning about a month ago. We recently just had our third child and the time it takes to cook dinner nightly is just too much with 3 kids. So now what we do is cook 14 nights worth of meals on either a Saturday or Sunday and store them in our deep freeze in the basement.
    It was taking my wife about 6 hours to cook all 14 meals, but this last time around we cooked together and knocked it down to 4 hours! I figure that we have gained 10 hours of time back to spend with the kids by doing this. We have also cut our grocery bill dramatically.
    I highly recommend meal planning!

  26. thediaperdiaries says:

    I wish I had the freezer space for that. Saving dinner has a plan with freezer meals too, but I would have to buy an extra freezer which would defeat the saving money purchase. Great tip for those who have space though

  27. I agree, meal planning makes life so much easier and saves so much money on the grocery bill.

  28. Karen@FamilyBriefs.com says:

    Shopping without the kids IS one of life’s greatest pleasures!!!

  29. What a great website! Thanks for sharing it. :)

  30. Planning the menu has helped me as well. I plan our meals out each week around the sales papers and then only buy what I need. This is a great way to save money and organize your life. Thanks for sharing!:)

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