People are often surprised when I tell them that I plan my dinners for each day MONTHLY. The main comment I get is “Isn’t that really hard to plan?”. The answer NO!
I have created a spreadsheet in Excel, I love Excel, there’s nothing you can’t do with a spreadsheet and I didn’t earn the title Spreadsheet Queen for no reason, you name it, I have a spreadsheet for it!
Back to the monthly plan! Each month I copy the previous months sheet and change the dates and with a little adjusting I have my monthly plan. And it’s not set in stone so if we change something up it’s no big deal. It also helps me ensure that we only eat a dish once a month.
So another question is how do I find 31 dishes, well I cheat, because it’s hard work cooking a meal from scratch every night and some meals are more complex and involved than others. So a lot of the dishes we eat two nights in a row, for example Gumbo and Stew. Cheating? I guess so. Home cooked meal every night? YES!!! I have been known to do something different every night but 3 children later and a crazy life some nights it’s nice to just reheat something. If you don’t want to do that, a lot of the dishes like Gumbo can be frozen so eat it one night and throw the rest in the freezer for next month and you have an easy night when that meal comes around next time.
Another huge plus to monthly meal planner is saving money and time. All the couponing bloggers and experts say monthly meal plans save money. You can plan your shopping trips and do a big monthly shop for everything and just do pit stop trips for perishables like milk. It also helps if you do coupon and watch the sales because you will know which products you need and how many until they go back on sale again. A well stocked pantry and freezer saves money and reduces those “I’m just going to pop to the store for X and $100 later you have a bunch of other stuff you don’t really need” trip!
As for time well you don’t have to stand in front of the fridge wondering what’s for dinner that night. You can also plan around your schedule so if you know you have a crazy day of soccer practice, dance classes, etc you can have a crock pot meal planned so you throw it on in the morning or night before and when you get home it’s ready.
So are you up for the challenge? Would you like to join me for a month of home cooking? Each month I’ll post my meal plan and you can come along for the ride. I’ll post my recipes for you try or use your own. Like I’m always saying I’m a work in progress so I’ll adapt as I go. What are you waiting for, sign up for the email alerts!
I’ve created a template of my meal plan in Google Docs for you to use. Click here to download the PDF. Or view online in Google Docs here. You will find clickable links to recipes on our old website. We will update it as we move them to this site.
Happy Home Cooking!