Weekly Menu Plan

by Cate on August 31, 2008

I have tried putting together a weekly menu plan before, but for a variety of reasons, I’ve found it to be too challenging to work for us.  And by us, I mean me.  Either I forget to plan the week ahead of time, or something comes up, or I’m just not in the mood for what I planned in the beginning of the week.  But the start of a new season … a new month … and a renewed burst of organization and the desire to cook from all my cookbooks and clipped recipes, darn it, we’re going to give it the old college try again. 

With September starting tomorrow, it seems to perfect time to give this a whirl, so here’s what I’m planning this week:

Monday: Labor Day BBQ.  Hamburgers, macaroni salad(new recipe from Saveur magazine), Whoopie Pies (new recipe) and debating between Orange Dream Fruit Salad (new recipe) or Five Cup Salad (tried and true).

Tuesday: Last day of freedom before school starts, so going out to dinner, but making Raspberry Oatmeal Bars with Nick.  A new recipe to use up a ridiculous amount of jam that is in my fridge, partially mine and partially a collection I inherited from a friend that recently moved.

Wednesday: This one’s going to be a tricky one.  It’s The Husband’s birthday, Nick’s first day of school (I am the mom of a first grader!) and we have a commitment at school that starts at 6:30 pm (but luckily, it requires just one of us).  My plan is to make Pan Roasted Pork Chops with Bourbon Sauce.  It’s a recipe from my old Supper Club and The Husband loves pork chops, so I thought I’d throw him a bone.  Pun fully intended.  And for dessert, Mini Cherry Cheesecakes.  The man can seriously eat the entire batch himself, and for his birthday, I promise not to count how many he inhales eats.

Thursday: Tomato Stilton Soup with Sun-Dried Tomato-Herb Bread.  Both are new recipes, the former from Good Housekeeping and the latter from Southern Living.  Because The Husband doesn’t think soup and bread is a full meal, I will add a salad to round it out.  Baking with Nick: Making Extraordinary Chocolate Chip Cookies, a new recipe from Betty Crocker’s magazine.

Friday:The kids and I are off to Brimfield for our annual trip to the antique show/flea market, eating in Massachusetts!  The Husband gets leftovers.

Saturday: I’m not going to plan a dinner yet, since I don’t know what time we’ll be back, but Nick and I will make Blueberry Crisp, a new recipe from AllRecipes.  Might as well take advantage of blueberries while they’re still here.

Sunday: Crispy Asian-Spiced Shrimp with White Rice.  The shrimp recipe is a new one from Woman’s Day magazine, and every time the picture crosses my desk, my mouth waters.  Since it came out in March, I can’t stand it anymore and have to make it.  Baking with Nick: Raspberry Roll-Ups.  Another new recipe, this one from Parents magazine, it’s going to make good use of more jam from the fridge.

Phew!  Might be an ambitious week, but there are three nights with no big cooking, so we’ll see how it goes.  What about you?  Do you plan out a week’s worth of menus or do you wing it?  What works for you?

A year ago today … updating the recipe archives.
Two years ago … Chocolate Dipped Pretzels.
Three years ago today … Drive Your Neighbors Nuts Grilled Chicken.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

claire August 31, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Looks like Nicholas is becoming quite the little baker with mom! So much fun. My weekly plan usually only consists of one thing since I’m the only one who eats it…I eat it all week with a few random things thrown in (I usually eat oatmeal with fruit on Wednesday nights b/c I get home late so don’t want a big meal). This week will be different, though, because I start my ER shifts on Thursday…for 4 night sifts in a row…I hate those!


Tyanne September 1, 2008 at 9:25 am

I do make a menu and it helps with budgeting and also when you have had a frazzled day, all you have to do is look at the list and know what your cooking and that you have everything you need for it. Hope your menu planning works out for you.


Ari (Baking and Books) September 1, 2008 at 11:40 am

I make a menu every Saturday and for the most part we stick to it, but there are always days when we’re too tired or just not in the mood. For me I’ve found that the key to following the menu it is planning quick & easy meals for during the week and having “simple stuff” on hand for nights we’re too tired to cook. If you can make a big meal on Sunday then have in the fridge to leftovers on simple stuff night all the better!


Jenny September 2, 2008 at 5:30 am

Good for you for trying this!
If you don’t mind a suggestion – always keep one night unplanned (I do Saturdays, the hubby’s night to cook, but try to keep myself flexible for Fridays). You will find you need that one night off, so as not to over schedule yourself!
My youngest starts grade one today too, so it is milestone day for both of us!


Cate September 2, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Claire – at least the “one thing a week” is easy, especially given your crazy schedule. :) Hopefully it will get better soon.

Jenny – that’s a good idea, and I definitely plan to do that because if I’m too ambitious, I’m not going to get very far. Figure with 3 nights of no cooking this week, I’m safe … for now.

Ari – I love doing a bulk of the cooking on Sunday to set myself up for an easy week … that can be Level 2. ;)


jan September 2, 2008 at 1:00 pm

This is something that I really should do, especially since my husband has decided (once again) that it’s time for him to ‘go on a diet and eat healthy.’
The bourbon pan-roasted pork chops recipe sounds like a nice idea and something I could tweak and adjust. Is it somewhere in here?


Kristen September 2, 2008 at 2:43 pm

You are so ambitious to include sides and everything! I’m lucky enough to think the main meals out!
Looks good!


Tracy September 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm

About 1 million years B.C. (Before Children) I was The Most Organized menu maker you could have imagined–two weeks out, full grocery lists for both weeks (“big shop” for week 1, interim shop for week 2 to pick up perishables and anything we might have run out of). I LOVED doing it (I am a freak). I wish I had the time to do it now. Maybe when my twenty month old goes to school we’ll try it again! Only four more years *sigh*


rachel September 2, 2008 at 10:48 pm

We’ve done the weekly planning now for about 2 years. When its not updated or a day is left blank…I kid you not, my husband panics! He calls me frazzled because he doesn’t know what’s for dinner.

Love to know exactly what to buy at the store, it really keeps me from walking down the cookie isle when cookies are not on my list!


Cate September 3, 2008 at 12:40 am

Jan – the pork chops recipe hasn’t been posted before, but I’ll post it this week for you. :)

Kristen – trying to take the “thought” part out of the whole process during the week, thinking that might make it easier, you know?

Tracy – I totally hear you. Pesky priorities. ;)

Rachel – Two years? I’m impressed! Two days in and so far, so good. :)


jan September 3, 2008 at 8:23 am

thanks in advance, Cate… I still need to get to work on menu (or meal) planning. Since the grocery-shopping lists I make are seriously like battle plans, I should be able to handle it.


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