03 June 2007

Menu-Plan Mondays

I stumbled upon a blog called "Organizing Junkie," the author of which hosts something called "Menu-Plan Mondays." In essence, every Monday, people link to a post on their blog with a list of what they're planning to fix for dinner each week.

I've been doing this--planning meals by the week--fairly faithfully for a while now, after growing tired of the daily battle of "What on earth are we going to eat tonight?" I usually just write my plans in my calendar, and then I have a guide to go by. To be truthful, it doesn't always work out that I use every menu idea for that week, owing to abundances of leftovers or changes in plan or changes in cravings or weather, but it's nice to have it in black and white every day. And it's really not that hard to do--for me, what works is an Excel Spreadsheet that I've formatted with categories of food (Beef, Poultry, Pork, Sides, Veggies, etc.), which I use as a master menu from which to pluck meal ideas. It only takes me about 10 minutes a week to plan, which saves me endless hours of staring into the freezer looking for dinner to jump out at me. It also makes grocery shopping far more efficient--I can pare down my list or even tailor my meals to what's on sale that week. So the beauty of it is twofold. At least.

Anyway, I checked some of the plans listed on the blog (orgjunkie.blogspot.com), and felt inspired by ideas from people who are not in a rut--or are clearly not in the same rut I am in--and thought I'd add my two cents' worth. I don't feel compelled to add my name and menu items to the massive list on Orgjunkie's blog, especially since some of my ideas were culled from blog posts alredy there, but I thought I might post them here. If nothing else, it's a gastronomic record for future enlightenment.

Spinach and Sausage Ravioli "Lasagna"
Homemade Brothers' Bread

Ham and Cheese Panini with Cucumber Ranch Cream Cheese

Asian Pork Tenderloin
Steamed Peas or Broccoli

Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Pasta Salad with Spinach and Feta

Italian Beef
Garlic and Parmesan Potato Wedges


April said...

yum. I wish I could come for dinner instead of have to cook my own.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I've been doing that for years--maybe the orgjunkie stuff is genetic?! Usually, though I do a couple weeks' plannning at a time--that usually provides enough menus for a whole month. Often, I look through Cooks Illustrated, Light and Tasty, and Gourmet to get ideas for new stuff. The Kraft free "Food & Family" magazine comes out quarterly and has some great seasonal ideas. It takes all the drudgery out of cooking, and I hardly miss going out to dinner-I can fix something just as tasty & imaginative at home, and it won't cost a whole week's pay to eat. Great ideas you have there, missy.