Skip to main content

How to Plan Your Menu and Grocery List


There is nothing new about menu planning and making a grocery list, however a lot of my friends and family think it's hilarious that nearly every Saturday or Sunday they'll see a facebook update from me that I'm menu planning.  Then, when I explain my process for planning and shopping they look at me like I am certifably insane.  What they don't realize is planning and preparing for the week makes EVERYTHING about the process so much easier.  Especially now with a baby that I'd rather cuddle with and watch "walk" then spend extra time at the store.

I realize everyone has their own way of doing things and it may take awhile to find an approach that works for you; I know it certainly took me awhile!  Once you establish a plan that works for you, trust me, you'll be so happy you stuck to the trials of finding a system.  Not only does it save you time in the end, it encourages creativity in the kitchen and, probably most important for many of us - it saves you money!  When you walk in to the grocery store with a set list you'll be much less inclined to just browse through the aisles and throwing random stuff in the cart, which certainly adds up.

I. Menu Planning
- First I like to list out any evening plans during the week, such as: tickets to a sporting event, plans with friends and family, etc.  This ensures that I plan accordingly for the amount of time we have to cook and eat, or that I'm not planning dinner on nights we won't even be home!

- Next I like to check out what I have in the fridge/freezer/pantry as well as what is on sale at my local grocery store.  If I notice I have a lot of chicken stock in the fridge that I opened 10 days ago I want to make sure to plan on making a soup that will use that up!  Also, say ground turkey is on sale for $1.50 a pound - you better believe I'm buying some!  Not only will I plan on using it during the week, I'll also buy some to keep on hand in the freezer.


- Now comes the fun part - planning the meals!  Once I know what I have to work with (weekly plans and what I already have in the house) I start looking for inspiration.  I like to check out blogs, cooking sites and cookbooks to get inspiration.  I also use this time to look over what we've eaten recently so that I can either avoid - or add -  a certain dish to the menu plan.  TIP: I also like to check out the forecast for the week as well - especially during the change of the seasons - to make sure I'm taking advantage of nice weather, or not planning a hot soup when it'll be unseasonably warm.

II. Creating Your Shopping List
- Once I list out all of the meals we'll plan on having that week, I need to start a shopping list.  I like to just go down the list of meals and start a running list underneath of what I'll need to buy for each meal.  If I need to buy things for multiple meals I just indicate that where I originally wrote the ingredient.

- Once everything is listed for dinners, we need to make sure not to skip out on the rest of the meals.  Next I like to add snacks, breakfast and lunch foods, plus sale items to stock up on to my list.

- Now that my shopping list is complete, I like to take it an extra step that only takes about 3 minutes at home, but without doing so I spend an extra 15 minutes at the grocery store.  On the other side of the page I list out everything I need to buy in a rough order of the store.  For example, I start the list with all of the produce I need to buy since that's at the front of the store.  From there I add the deli items as they're next, the butcher and so on.  Voila!

- Grab your reusable shopping bags and away we go!

Whew, now that I've shared my plan of action - share with me how you plan your meals and grocery list.  Are you as Type-A as I am?  Also, what are you planning on having this week?  Always looking for inspiration :)

Speaking of Type-A though, it's really only with lists that I'm this overbearing.  Usually I'm pretty chill, though I do develop routines that I stick with, just out of habit.

Comments

  1. So funny because I kind of do the same thing. I used to post my shopping lists and weekly meals on my blogs (if you look back to older posts or search for them on there). Even though I haven't posted my meals in a while, I ALWAYS right down all of the ingredients in order that they are in the store: Produce/Herbs, Deli, Bakery, Meat, Grocery, Seasonings, Dairy, Frozen I write the headers and underline them and then write everything I need under each header. It makes it so much easier once I get in the store and I don't forget anything this way!

    april@Party of Five
    http://www.mealsforreal.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've got you beat. :) I have a Microsoft Word document saved in my computer with a list of each of the grocery aisles. To make my grocery list I just type what I need under each aisle and print it out.
    and...I have an Excel document with each of my recipes and the ingredients and amounts it calls for. I have it set up so that I can filter the recipes by ingredient. So if I have some green onion that I need to use I filter by "green onion" and it pulls up all of my recipes that use that ingredient. :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

A fabulous vanilla cupcake recipe is something everyone needs. EVERY.ONE. Not just bakers. Not just parents that host a lot of kid parties. Everyone. I've tried several, and many have been phenomenal. Then I tried Amy Sedaris's after finding the recipe online, and it was above and beyond the best vanilla cupcake I've ever made. It was an easy batter to make, baked up beautifully, and most importantly - tasted amazing. Regardless if you have never made vanilla cupcakes and need a recipe to start with, or even if you think you have the best - give this one a shot. You will not be disappointed! Vanilla Cupcakes Ingredients: 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 cups flour 1 1/4 cups milk Directions: - Preheat oven to 375 degrees. - Mix butter at medium speed until smooth. Mix in sugar until well blended. - Add eggs, mixing until fully

White Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse Filling

OK, so, while this recipe was the result of me literally quick thinking at the grocery store rushing around to pick up a few ingredients over Easter weekend, I came up with a fantastic cake filling, in my humble opinion.  I love the cake fillings at Costco and wanted to make a variation on that.  This is really semi-homemade but oh so good!  It's rich, creamy and decadent.  Even my husband loved it, and he's not really a cake fan.  It was so easy to make too! White Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse Filling Ingredients: 1 package Jello Pudding - Cheesecake flavor 1 8-oz. container Whipped Cream Cheese, softened 1 8-oz, container Cool Whip, thawed 3 oz. White Chocolate, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla Directions: Beat softened cream cheese and vanilla with mixer until well blended and light (a few minutes). Beat in pudding mix until fully incorporated. Stir in melted white chocolate. Fold in thawed Cool Whip Allow to set in fridge for a few hours, but don't let it get

Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

I don't experiment much with chili because it rarely goes well for me and my family. I've slowly adapted my chili recipe over the years, but I've still always used canned chili beans, with a flavored sauce. I've been wanting to try regular beans (whether canned or dried, I wasn't discerning, just didn't want the sauce), so off to the Googles I went rather than trying to recreate the spice blend from my normal canned beans. Because I was originally planning to make chili in the Instant Pot, that's where I focused my search. Thankfully the recipe I decided to try was adapted from a Slow Cooker recipe, because life got in my way and I wasn't able to make the chili the night before as planned, and I wouldn't have had time to use the pressure cooker with my schedule that day. What drew me to this recipe was the simplicity of the ingredients. And lack of jalapeno. Because somehow nearly every time I plan chili I forget to buy a jalapeno, even if it