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The "Monthly Menu Plan" is WORKING!!

Last month, prior to my return to work from maternity leave, I decided to create a monthly menu and recipe plan.

I’m not going to lie—preparing it was a LOT of work. I went through three recipe books (Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats–A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners: A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook, Semi-Homemade Cooking by Sandra Lee, and Betty Crocker Cookbook) and picked a few websites clean for ideas. (Mostly Food Network, All Recipes, and Betty Crocker.)

But, if you’re on a budget, don’t have a lot of time to cook, and have picky eaters, a monthly recipe plan is your best bet.

I copied recipes out of books, printed them off from websites, and placed them all in sheet protectors. Then I arranged them in a binder using tabs that numbered 1 to 31, one for each day of the month. Each Sunday I go shopping for the next weeks’ dinners, so I have everything on hand. (No more running to the store after work!)

I also created a “Family Dinner Calendar” and hung it on the fridge so that everyone would know what was for dinner on a particular day.

And I have to say that IT WORKS.

Hubby picks up the kids and I drive straight home and get dinner started. It’s usually ready by the time they are all cleaned up and wound down from the day.

If a recipe is a disaster (it’s happened once already), we can just grab something out of the freezer like chicken tenders or have grilled cheese sandwiches. Having the recipes in the sheet protectors is also good for this—I can drop notes in about how the dinner turned out, if I added any special touches, or if substitutions were necessary for the next time I prepared the meal.

I also have a second “green” binder that I’ve been using to collect recipes as I see them so I can use them later on. I’ll use the green binder to save recipes that I’ve already tried as well.

Pulling it all together took a few days. There was the recipe research, the arranging of dinners (so we weren’t having chicken four days in a row), and then the copying and stuffing into sheet protectors. Now that I’ve done it once, it should go a lot faster in the future.

I may have paid someone to do this for me . . . would you pay for a service like this?


One Response

  1. This is a GREAT idea! I am going to have to try this!
    Thanks!!! =o)

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