Weekly menus

My car is hopelessly messy. My refrigerator is frequently filled with many science projects. But when it comes to dinner, I’ve got that under control. We’ve been doing a weekly menu over here for a long time now, mostly at the urging of my husband who always has to know where his next meal is coming from. Mind you, he’s never gone hungry and I cook pretty much every night of the week. There was a time when we would go out to eat at least once a week because we both love to try new things. Since we’ve had kids, we eat out about once a month. It’s just easier and more cost efficient to eat at home. I do love to cook, so it’s not too much of a sacrifice. Making a menu each week helps us make a grocery list. It also ensures that (for the most part) we’re not eating the same meals over and over again and helps us look at how much we’re spending on food. It’s also a BIG time saver. I work part time so on those days, I find having the menu already decided means I have one less thing to worry about. I’ve heard some people say that they don’t like to have a menu because they find they’re not always in the mood for what’s on the schedule for that night. But if you have everything on hand for the week, you can easily sub it out for something later in the week with plenty of choices. I’ve even been able to plan up to two weeks out over the past month by making double and triple batches of certain recipes and freezing them.

This old slate chalkboard gets the job done. I bought it last summer at our neighbor’s yard sale for $5. Jim thought I was a little crazy for dragging it all the way back down the street to our house (it’s crazy heavy), but I think we can both agree that it’s now one of our favorite things in the kitchen.

I made this Martha recipe for the enchillada filling. I doubled the recipe (used half and froze half), threw it all in the slow cooker for 4 1/2 hours on high, and we had chicken filling for a meal this week and next week. Easy peasy, and tasty! Chicken thighs are my new favorite when it comes to chicken. News flash: they’re cheaper and they taste better than chicken breast! I can get organic chicken thighs at Wegman’s for about half the price of organic chicken breast.

Need some motivation to get started planning your menus? Modern Parents Messy Kids is a blog I recently started reading. She has some great ideas as well as a link to a 6 week meal plan with shopping lists. Now that’s organized! How about you, do you find it helpful to make a weekly menu?

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