Many of you know that I make a menu every week. But I don’t think I have ever shared how I make a menu that is always new and fresh.
Actually, I do not make a menu every week, I make a monthly menu. I like to look at the month as a whole, to make sure I do not have too many beef dishes or pasta dishes in an 8 or 9 day span. Looking at a month ahead also lets me plan around activities coming up, projects being planned, school functions or company coming to visit.
Another aspect of planning a menu is that I can add new dishes spaced around family favorites, just in case the dish turns out to be a bust. My family will either have left-overs to eat or they know a favorite is coming the next day. Oh I have made some bad dinners… trust me. You just don’t hear about them because they are not highlighted as culinary triumphs. When I read all the wonderful magazines we subscribe too, I usually have a calendar nearby and when I see a dish we might like, I pencil it in for an open day in the next month. Normally, I only like to experiment 4 or 5 meals in a month.
Almost as important as spacing your dishes out evenly over the month is to repeat dishes that were successful or dishes the family loves. I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to make a dish the family loves and then forget about it for a couple of months. Only to wonder, why the heck I don’t make it more often. I will tell you Sausage Balls are a family favorite that I forget to make until Christmas. And then I am always disappointed that I didn’t make them throughout the year. Don’t you hate that?
So ladies, whip out your March calendar.
1. Pencil in some family favorite dish
2. Pick the nights that you will need to eat out.
3. Ask your family what dishes they want to eat
4. Open your favorite cook book and try three recipes from that menu
5. If you still have openings, I have a menu posted for each week, try a couple of those recipes.
6. Can any meals you make double for the freezer and another day?
7. Do you need to do any baking? I add three to four items in a month that I might want to bake, such as, a birthday, a friend’s upcoming surgery, party food , church function, etc.
Your wallet will thank you, your family will thank you and you will feel so accomplished!!