Making a menu.

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January 20, 2014 by Piece of Pie and a Dash of DIY

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I’m a stay at home mom.  I love to cook.  BUT I hate grocery shopping.  Loathe it I tell ya!  But I’ve recently started a new trend at my house.  It’s made life so much easier, well the part of life that concerns food and dinner and cooking and grocery shopping.  It has not helped the part of life where I’m trying to explain exactly what an informational book report is to my seven-year old.  UGH.  But it takes the hassle out of deciding what we will eat each night and makes grocery shopping a little more bearable.  I always had this idea in my head that making a menu was too restrictive.  Turns out, it’s the opposite.  Life changing!!!  🙂

Here’s how it works for me.  I go through our existing groceries, ask my family what they’ve been craving and hop on to good ole’ trusty Pinterest.  I only grocery shop every two weeks, so I try to have 8-10 dinners on each menu.  Included are a main dish and a side or two.  There is at least one leftover night.  And I always throw in an easy night.  Hot dog, peanut butter sandwich or frozen pizza.  We ALL have those nights with practice, games, church, working late, extra homework or maybe mama NEEDS to NOT cook, just drink.  Wine.  🙂 After I’ve made the list with all of my other constant must haves such as fresh fruit, peanut butter, cereal etc. I check to see what I need for each individual meal.  Example: Homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese.  I have bread, cheese, sugar and italian seasoning.  But I need butter, tomatoes, onions, garlic and chicken broth.  Jot that down.  I usually use a lined sheet so I can keep each meal straight on my list.  (I’m aware that this sounds so time-consuming and possibly, probably a little Type A of me)  That’s it.  Work your way down the menu, listing what you’ll need for each dinner.  I don’t stress about deciding on dinner and then realizing I don’t have everything I need.  It’s saved money too.  I am throwing away less food and not buying anything on a whim that will stay in my freezer or pantry for a year.  No more being a “short order cook.”  My kids are realizing that the menu is it.  I’m not making anything extra.  Dinner is what it is!!!  By making a list I feel like I am more adventurous with new foods and keeps us out of a food rut!  Another perk, no roaming aimlessly at the store deciding what to buy!

If there is a night when you just aren’t feeling the menu keep things like frozen shrimp, pasta, canned tomatoes, black beans, broth, cheese and rice on hand so you can whip up something more appealing.  A few more tips I’ve learned:  buy frozen vegetables and meat in bulk when they are on sale.  Use them on the next menu cycle and save even more money.  Also, double up on a recipe every couple of weeks.  Throw one in the freezer for a rainy day.

I hope this helps!

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