Do you menu plan for 2 weeks or the month?Wow - now that's a loaded question! I know of many bloggers who plan their meals down to how much ketchup and mustard they need, and then use that menu as their shopping list. They swear that this saves them lots of money and time.
I am starting to think I can save more money if I go for the month.
I, on the other hand, do not do any sort of menu planning. Don't get me wrong - I've tried to in the past and it just doesn't work well for me. My meat and produce purchasing revolves around what's on sale, and as you know, there are some weeks there aren't any good sales. Also, my schedule changes on a daily basis, so it's hard to tell one or two weeks in advance if I'm even going to be home...never mind what I'll be in the mood to eat that night!
Instead I do the "stock the house and see what happens" method. I stock the freezer when meat and chicken are on sale and buy enough fruit and vegetables to get us through a week or two. I also try to have the pantry and fridge stocked with the veggies, spices, and other ingredients I need to make the "default" side dishes that both the kids and I like.
Every morning, after breakfast, I go spelunking into the freezer for a dinner protein. As I peruse the selections, I ask myself, "What's in here?, "What's in the fridge?", "Any leftovers that we need to eat?", "What did we eat the last couple of days?", and most importantly, "What am I in the mood for?". Once the protein is selected, I pick a couple complimentary sides and (TA-DAH!) dinner is planned.
Yes, there are those rare times where the morning is crazy and I forget to take something out. Those are the nights we have "breakfast for dinner" (eggs, sausage, and fruit) or one of our "emergency meals" (frozen leftovers). Thankfully, those moments are getting more and more rare as dinner prep is now part of my routine.
So, what about you? Do you menu plan? How do you do it? Does it save you money and time?