Managing Your Time In The Kitchen: Menu Planning Part 3

I really did not mean to take three posts for menu planning, but after covering why I menu plan, and making your plan work for you, I realized that I still had not covered how exactly I plan.

When I sit down to menu plan, I usually plan out seven to ten days worth of meals at a time. I know many people base their plan mainly on sales available that week. That is great if it works for you, but that does not really work for me. I will post more about that in the next few weeks when I talk about grocery shopping and how I shop.

Instead of planning around only what is on sale, I plan my meals based on my schedule and how busy I am.

I also base them on what I have, what I feel like cooking and eating, and what I need to use up. It takes me just a few minutes to look over everything and evaluate what will work for me that week.

Basing my menu plan on my schedule is the main thing that saves me time. If I know that I am going to be gone during the day, than I plan a quick and easy or crock pot meal. If I have more time, I plan meals that take more time to cook.

I like to try new recipes and vary what I cook. I like searching for recipes to make, so you will usually find a mix of family favorites and new recipes on my plan.

I know many people find it helpful to have a list of meals that they reference. This may be family favorites or just quick and easy meals. I usually have a list of recipes that I want to try that I can look at if I need ideas. Having a list to refer to saves a lot of time when planning.

I also have friends that have certain nights that they cook certain things. For example Monday might be Mexican, Tuesday pasta night, Wednesday pizza night, etc.  Having a plan like this makes menu planning a lot easier for many people because it takes a lot less time and thought to plan this way. It also allows some variety because you can vary what type of Mexican meal you serve.

Do you do any of these things when you menu plan?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I also plan based mostly on schedule issues – night classes, Scouts, football practice, etc. I work full time, so planning is crucial! My CrockPot gets used 2 – 3 times weekly, and is a lifesaver.

    We try to have a couple of meatless meals during the week, and generally alternate between homemade pizza and burgers/hot links on the grill for Saturdays. Sundays are quite often breakfast-for-dinner, because mornings are typically too busy for fresh pancakes or waffles. Other than that, we don’t have specific nights like “Taco Tuesday.”

    Menu planning has changed the way we cook and eat, for the better, and I can’t imagine going back to “winging it” every night!

  2. My menu plans are based too on our evening schedules and then I also consider what we have on hand (or will have on hand since I plan a month at a time – similar ingredients over a couple of meals)

  3. my menu plans are based around our schedule, basically. we have Bible study thursday nights with great snacks so we usually have a light meal that night, go out to eat one night/week, and i like to try at least one new recipe/week too. that leaves about 4 nights for leftovers and family favorites. i do use store sales and my stockpile to largely influence those meals too.

  4. During the school year, I was doing a menu plan but stopped over the summer. Now that school’s started again you’ve reminded me that it would be a good idea to revive the plan again.

    I do plan around our schedules and I like the Mexican evening, Meatless evening, pasta night etc. version because then I usually ask the kids for their requests.

    I leave the menu plan out for everyone to see and the unexpected benefit of this has been that on more than one occasion, my daughter has offered to make dinner.

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