Menu Planning

Hosted by Karen Feinen
Group active since Sat, Oct 10, 2015

I find that it saves time and money to base my shopping list on a week's worth of menus, so I'm always on the lookout for menu suggestions. Here is a place to share your menu ideas and discuss menu planning.

Menu items that require a recipe should be followed by an asterisk* and the recipe should be posted within a couple days. If you ever find a recipe hasn't been posted yet and you need it sooner, please feel free to message the person that posted the menu (including me). Also, if you have a comparable recipe that you think would work well, don't hesitate to post it. This also goes for those dishes that don't indicate they have a recipe. If you find a good recipe for one of those, please go ahead and share that too!

Joey Wolf
Oct 18, 2015

Veggie Soup

It's turned chilly in west central Illinois, so there's a pot of veggie soup simmering on the stove, gonna fix some seasoned saltines to go with here shortly. Hubby is having a bout of GERD, so low fat is the menu for the for next few days.

Pat Duran
Oct 12, 2015

meal planning...

When planning a meal always try to make it colorful,different textures and flavors.
Avoid serving more than one starchy food.
Make sure it is seasoned well.
Serve hot foods hot...and cold foods cold.
Introduce a new food every once in awhile so that you are not always serving the same food combinations.
Serve a light dessert with a heavy meal, and be sure it is a compliment to the meal; and a filling dessert with a light meal.
If possible use a few garnishes to make food more attractive...
Always plan your meals for your family as though you were planning for company...

Karen Feinen
Oct 12, 2015


I'm so glad to see our group seems to be off to a good start already!. I love some of the ideas I've seen posted too.
I also am down to cooking for two like a couple of you have mentioned, but I find it so helpful, and keeps things interesting (and me motivated) when I've got a menu system going. Also with only the two of us, the meals I cook often stretch over a couple days. Sometimes the leftovers serve as lunch, or sometimes it just means I have less to do the following night. In those cases, I might be motivated to prepare a special dessert to go with the leftovers. It's true though, that often I find that some dishes taste even better a day later. :)

Renée G.
Oct 12, 2015

Thank you Karen

...for starting this group.

When I had a family to feed, I always planned menus for a month - not only did it help me to know what to take out to thaw on Monday night to cook on Tuesday. I could be sure to have all the ingredients for each dish for the week, before I made my list and headed to the market instead of just hap-hazardly picking up some of this and some of that...get home and still not know what was for dinner.

It also helped me to put the days' dinner menu on the blackboard I kept in the kitchen. Saved having to repeat to each of the six kids then hubby, too - What's for dinner. Just look at the board!

Now that there are just two of us - I've grown lazy about doing that, but you have given me inspiration to start again. Even cooking for one or two is easier with a little advance planning.

View photo

Maggie ^O^
Oct 12, 2015

My Basic Menu Planning Ideas

I used to plan out menus for a month at a time ... you kind of had to do that raising 5 kids!

As a group we put together a "menu" of dinners and posted it on the fridge. The menu included the main dish as well as the sides and even a sweet treat for after dinner. The weekends also included breakfast and lunch.

We all chose a favorite meal and that was incorporated into each month one time.

Then there was a group favorite and that was in there at least once but more often than not it was asked for twice.

I had the quick and easy meals like spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf etc that happened every week.

For example every Tuesday was meatloaf night.

I found that by doing this everyone knew what was for dinner, my shopping list was super easy and because I had a solid list I saved money by not just grabbing stuff.

As those kids got older and began eating at the homes of their friends I also noticed that they would scan the menu before asking if they could eat with a friend.

Even thought there are only 2 of us now, reflecting back on how well that worked I think I will try to do that again.

Oct 12, 2015

Good morning!

I just saw this group & thought , what a great idea! All of us get stumped on what to make for dinner at some point.
I thought I would share my strategy to solve the "we just had that" problem. I Keep a running list of what we have every day, so I can space things out & throw in a new recipe. I've been doing this for about 2 years. I also make notes on there for "favorites" & less successful ones.
Hope this method helps someone else!
Have a great day!

Maggie ^O^
Oct 10, 2015

Great Group Idea

I used to do this many years ago. It ended that "what's for dinner" question, it made it so much easier to just do dinner and it saved a lot of money.

I'm glad to see this group and hope it is very successful !

Karen Feinen
Oct 10, 2015

Seven-Day Menu (Autumn/Winter)

I found this list of menus in a daily newspaper from the month of December.
Dishes with an asterisk* have a recipe which I will post within a couple days. If you ever find I haven't posted a recipe and you need it sooner, please feel free to message me. Also, if you have a comparable recipe that you think would work well, please feel free to post it. This also goes for those dishes that don't indicate they have a recipe. If you find a good recipe for one of those, please go ahead and share that too!

Sage and Wild Mushroom Pork Chops*
Parsley buttered potatoes
green beans
dinner rolls
Store-bought (or homemade) Boston Cream Pie
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough pie for Monday

Flashy Fish Tacos*
Yellow rice (from a mix)
Avocado slices
Leftover Boston Cream Pie

White Corn Chili*
Mixed greens salad
Baked tortilla chips

Barbecued Lentils*
Brown rice
Lettuce wedge
Instant pistachio pudding (made with low-fat milk)
PLAN AHEAD: Make enough lentils, rice and pudding for Thursday

Lentil Soup: Add leftover rice to leftover lentils, thin with fat-free chicken (or vegetable) broth and add any leftover vegetables on hand.
Spinach Salad
Open-face Cheddar toast
Leftover pudding is dessert

Reuben Pirogi Bake*
Pickled Beets
Store-bought (or homemade) cheesecake
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cheesecake for Saturday

Beef Tips Over Couscous*
Romaine salad
Whole wheat rolls
Top leftover cheesecake with warm cherry preserves