Monday, July 8, 2013

Menu planning- four weeks at a time & a FREE printable

Most months I welcome the  first Saturday of the month by printing out the next month's menu plan pages (I try to always have four weeks of menu plans ready at all times).
Which means that today I'm printing out August's menu plan.
I'll also look through and tweak my July menu plans, comparing them to my updated calendar and polishing up next week's menu.

This might remind you faithful readers that I was hoping to have a year's worth of monthly menu plans up on the blog for your downloading pleasure this past week.
Yeah... that didn't happen.
Instead we were deep into our porch redo and loads of family activities.
That's how life rolls sometimes.
And it doesn't look likely to be finished any time real soon.

But I won't leave you completely hangin'.... Here's the menu plan page for August for you to download right this very minute.

When I menu plan I print out enough pages for a whole month (usually 4 but sometimes 5), I add the dates and the next step is to pull out the family calendar. Before I write down any meal plans, I pencil in the known family activities for each day in the lovely colored right hand column. This is a very important step because I don't want to plan a big family dinner on a night we're all super busy.
Meal ideas jotted down for future reference
Then I start filling in menus.... whenever the Mister and the kiddos say, "We haven't had such-n-such in awhile," I make a note of it on the last finished menu plan page's "notes" section.  I also jot down menu ideas (including new recipes) I'm thinking of in the notes to review later.

If I hit a snag when I'm planning and can't think of a meal to plug in somewhere... I'll pull out my file folder filled with past menus and reference those same weeks a year or two ago. This helps me remember what produce is in season too and our favorite ways to cook it up.

And if I still can't think of something.... then I go digging through my cookbooks and reference my Foodie Pinterest boards for some inspiration.

Do you menu plan? How far in advance do you plan? Got any great menu planning tips? Please share!


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