Monday, July 5, 2010

How Do I Plan My Menu?

Planning a menu is a two-part deal - 1) planning it, and 2) shopping for it.  So how do you make sure you get everything you need?  This is how I do mine...

First of all, I take a look in my pantry to see what I have.  I also look in the freezer.  Then I sit down at the computer with a spiral notebook.  I start researching and looking for recipes.  If I know I have a pound of red beans in the pantry, I look for a recipe that can use those beans.  Red Beans and Rice sounds good, so on my notebook I'd write:

1) Red Beans and Rice

Next, I need to know what ingredients it takes to make the meal.  I write down everything, so it looks like this:

1) Red Beans and Rice
1 lb red beans (dry), 1 (4oz) can green chilies, 1 tsp cumin, 3 cloves garlic, 6 cups cooked rice
2) Ham and Onion Bowties
8oz bowties, 10oz cooked cubed ham, 4T minced red onion, 4T pickle relish, 2½T mayo, 2½T cider vinegar

Once I have my menu planned out, I take my notebook to the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.  I'm going to go shopping at home first.  There's no sense buying duplicates if I have it at home.  Now I start crossing out what I have here at home.

1) Red Beans and Rice
1 lb red beans (dry), 1 (4oz) can green chilies, 1 tsp cumin, 3 cloves garlic, 6 cups cooked rice
2) Ham and Onion Bowties
8oz bowties, 10oz cooked cubed ham, 4T minced red onion, 4T pickle relish, 2½T mayo, 2½T cider vinegar


After I've crossed out everything that I have here at home, I circle or highlight what has not been crossed off yet, like so:

1) Red Beans and Rice
1 lb red beans (dry), 1 (4oz) can green chilies, 1 tsp cumin, 3 cloves garlic, 6 cups cooked rice
2) Ham and Onion Bowties
8oz bowties, 10oz cooked cubed ham, 4T minced red onion, 4T pickle relish, 2½T mayo, 2½T cider vinegar
  
Now it's time to make up my shopping list.  For these two recipes, I only need pickle relish, so on the list it goes.   If it's something I know I've written a few times on my menu planner, like an onion, I use ticker marks to determine how many I need.  

Pickle Relish
Onion || ½cup ||| ¼cup

That means I need 5 onions and a ½ cup and ¼cup, so 6 onions total.

Keep going until you've got your list made.  Now, if you use coupons, check to see if you have any coupons for what you are going to need to buy. 

That's it - that's how I get from the menu plan to my shopping list without all sorts of duplicates or (worse yet) missing a necessary ingredient. Easy Peasy!

No comments:

Post a Comment