Cooking Resolutions: Menu Planning

by Becky Elmuccio on January 7, 2013

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Menu planning is something that I started doing a couple of months ago in order to help me to stay focused when I shopped at Whole Foods each week. I realized this summer that I got a little overexcited about what I saw at the farmer’s market and Whole Foods and ended up throwing fresh foods out when they spoiled at the end of the week. I also have been working to revamp our pantry by using the Food Expiration Date App that I mentioned a few months ago.

Between the planning and the app, we have started to curb how much food waste we have, but I would like to take it a little further. I would love to use the menu planning to help me set some budget goals and continue to shop for in season, local and organic foods.

Kelly over at The Centsible Life has some great inspiration and resources for 365 Day Meal Planning. Planning for a year is not quite where I am yet, but it is a goal for which I would love to shoot. I’ll be taking a look at her templates and seeing how I can best use them.

I’m an Organizing Junkie is the Menu Plan Monday mecca and starting in February, it will be where I link up my Menu Plans. I look forward to checking out other folks’ plans and see what recipes are worth giving a go.

Finally, there was this Pinterest inspiration about a Freezer Crock Pot Cooking Day from Loving My Nest. Can you imagine getting all of your slow cooker prep for 34 meals done in one day and she does it for under $150? I’m curious to read more and attempt even a fraction of it at some point.

So, what are your cooking goals or resolutions for the New Year? Are you a menu planner? What tips do you have to share?



 

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria January 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

I meal plan and have been since the spring. I like it because it helps me think of using freezer foods and leftovers better. It’s hard because my family doesn’t have a variety of foods try are willing/able to eat so I will snit I someone’s make 3 dinners :/

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm

My goal is to squirrel away a bunch of money to get a second freezer so that I can make more casseroles to put away.

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Emily January 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I menu plan, too. More to eliminate the chaotic dinner time than for anything else. I love knowing what I am going to cook for my family ahead of time, it does save money. Particularly if you coordinate your menu with the sale items at your local store (which I do not do.).

I’m looking forward to following along with you and hopefully finding a few great recipes, too!

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Thanks, Emily! I do need to look ahead and see what Whole Foods has on special so that I can plan out my meats.

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Krystyna @ Spring Mountain Living January 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I have a resolution to get (& stay) organized this year. I need to be taken under your organization junkie wing!!

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Ha ha! Just trying to get it all together and simplify.

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Trina Peruski O'Boyle January 7, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I am a meal planner and have done it for years but then I get lazy and busy so the meal planning goes to the waste-side. I started a new one for 2013, its going to keep us healthy and organized in the kitchen. One tip I have for meal planners is to go through their pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you already have then head to the web or your favorite cookbooks to see what meal plan options you have using food that you already bought, it saves you money and helps from things going bad.

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm

We’ve started to shop the pantry first, Trina. It’s a great tip to get started and see what you have before you spend another dime. I am going to give it a try to make that Kale soup that you have listed this week.

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Stacy Uncorked January 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I really need to do some sort of menu planning – usually I just wing it by the day. :) It’d be much easier if the hubby didn’t have an odd work schedule that changes each quarter, but I’m sure I could do a ‘work around’ to that… :)

Chase Gimme A Break & Kiss A Little Longer, the Best Part of Waking Up is I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing and Shake It Up!

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Casseroles! Make a one pot meal and put any aside that you need to.

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Barb @ A Life in Balance January 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Dh and I made our menu plan together on Saturday after taking a break for 2 weeks. I pushed myself to write down breakfast and lunch ideas, even if I don’t stick to them.

I’ll check out the Food Expiration app. I hadn’t heard of that.

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm

It’s a pretty basic app, but I like the alerts it sends to help with planning.

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Noelle (@singerinkitchen) January 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I wish I could menu plan but I simply can’t. I have to since I have a baby coming in the next 6 weeks. Arghh!

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Barb has a good template on her Frugal Local website and so does Kelly on Centsible Life. Good places to try to get started.

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Shai Smith January 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

I need to learn how to cook before I can plan meals, but these are solid ideas/resources – thanks for putting this together!

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm

My pleasure, Shai! What types of things would you like to learn how to cook?

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Shannon @ GrowingSlower January 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

There was a time last year when I was doing really great with menu planning. It really helped us use all the food that we bought to the fullest. For now though, it’s just a crazier time in life where I just don’t have the energy. I hope to get back to it someday soon. I certainly helps safe money which is another resolution for the year.

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I hope you have a chance to get back to it Shannon. I feel like it’s bringing us a lot of peace when it comes to making our food decisions.

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Tamara @ Silent Springs January 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I am a total meal planner. Sundays my family sits around and decides what we want to eat for the week and on which days. Sometimes the days change around. but basically i do all the shopping for the week on Monday. It’s great.

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I am loving it too, Tamara!

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Latte and Legos January 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Oh my gosh I am super horrible about planning meals. I basically look in the fridge and somehow manage to create something edible out of whatever is in there. I come up with the most awkward concoctions. Most often I get no complaints though! I need to plan more…

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Becky Elmuccio January 7, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Good to hear that you are good and coming up with creative options!

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CelloMom January 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I totally get Latte and Legos’s approach: in the summer I cook around whatever comes home from the CSA. My latest trick to minimising food waste: I make a little _less_ than what I think we will eat. Usually it works out just right. Besides, CelloDad and I could stand the occasional thin meal :-) . The very worst that happens is that we make ourselves a piece of (GF) toast to supplement.

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Chrissy January 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Hi! thanks for following along with me on FB! I’m excited to have found another Meal planner! :) Can’t wait to read more, I’m following you on FB now.

Chrissy
http://www.thetaylor-house.com

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