Dinner Planning

So here is the master plan-
Let’s start today by planning some meals out, learning how to make menus, what to do with them, and how to make a shopping list for weekly planning. Then I’ll post and hopefully you will too, dinner ideas that your family loves that are quick and affordable.

First things first: Let’s get real. If they dont like it, they dont eat it, and dinner is a circus.
(I’ll post about how to get your kids to eat later… stay tuned for that!)
Start by making a list of all the foods your family likes. It might take a good 1/2 hour, but do it and then don’t lose that list!!! Here is an example:
Corn Dogs
Corn Bread
Chicken Noodle Soup
BBQ Chicken/Steak
Chinese Chicken with Sauce
Mac n’ Cheese

Then start your menu planning: (I like to list the sides as much as possible so that I know what I can assign helpers or if I’m gone there is no question of what we have food for.)

Sunday: Spaghetti-salad-orange slices
Monday: BBQ Chicken-fried potatoes-peaches with cottage cheese
Tuesday: Nachos-strawberries-salad
Wednesday: Ham Fried Rice- Apple Slices
Thursday: Chili- cornbread- watermelon
Friday: Pizza- carrot sticks- peaches
Saturday: OUT to McDonalds if the kids get there chores done (Dad will meet us there.) or Breakfast at home if kids don’t earn it.

Now make your shopping list for this menu start by scouring your cupboards for what you already have, you may even start this way- see what you have and make a menu from that.
I use a clean sheet of white paper. I write my menus in the bottom right corner, my main list down the left side, and my list of errands in the top right corner. It just works for me this way to get everything done.

I start the grocery list with the things I know I need and go from there. For this particular menu we’ve made here is what the grocery list looks like (with a few added items). I have also excluded some items that I have on-hand, like noodles, potatoes, ect. I also list the price, and then at the end I add it up and make sure I am within budget:

Milk (2) 3.50, eggs 1.50, bread 2.50, butter 2.50, kleenex 1.50, paper towells 2.00, ranch dressing 2.00, Ragu Sauce 1.50, lettuce .78, oranges 1.50, apples 1.75, bananas .75, macncheese .75, chicken nuggets 4.00, peaches 1.20, cottage cheese 1.80, watermelon 4.50, hamburger (1lb) 2.75, chili beans .85, porknbeans 1.40, chicken legs 5.00, nacho cheese 3.00, carrot sticks 1.00… and so on…. with a total of $70 for the week.

Now, say my list monetary total comes way off budget, I just re look at my menu and see what I can make cheaper. We can skip McDonalds and go for pancakes/bacon, that saves about $10, and maybe just let the kids pick out some ice cream for $2…. you get the picture?