Two weeks ago I discussed a bit about how I make a menu... well I forgot to include some items! So the basic way I plan a menu is:
1. Get my Produce Co-op Basket
2. Make 2 lists - one of what produce that we had leftover and the other of the produce that is new.
3. See if there is anything in my fridge/freezer/pantry that needs used soon
4. Make a list of dishes I want to make to use the produce (and the things that need used up.) Some of these dishes are carried over from the previous week if I did not make them...
5. See what food categories are missing
6. Fill in the gaps
7. Make a shopping list for everything I need.
8. Go grocery shopping once per week.
So last time I talked in depth about pretty much everything, except that when I fill in the gaps, I typically like to use the grocery store ad to see what is on sale that week. I especially do this for proteins! If there is a really great sale on meat, even if I don't plan on using it that week, it always gets added to my list. I bring it home and freeze it for later use. Another thing I do is typically look at the managers mark-downs (reduced for quick sale) to see if there is anything that is a good price that I would use. Just because it is marked down does not mean that it is a good price to me. I will not pay more than a certain amount per pound! That amount differs every place we live based on how much things cost.
Before I started getting the produce co-op basket I would plan my menu around the weekly grocery ads. I would look through the whole ad (from multiple stores) to see what was on sale and list the items that I would like to use and then create a menu from that. Most of the time I tried to go only to one store, so I would try to only put items on my menu from one sale. Basically it is because I'm not the best at sticking to a list so I tend to spend more than I planned when I go shopping! Occasionally if there were great sales at two places, I would make an extra trip...
What tricks for planning your menus have worked best for you?
Here's what we had this week:
-Ham & Cauliflower Quiche (2 nights)
-Thai Cabbage Chicken - I actually used a whole head of cabbage this time and it was just fine.
-Roast, green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy, pineapple (at my parent's house)
-Ate out (2 nights) *we tend to eat out more when I'm pregnant...
-Leftovers from eating out