How to Make a Food Menu
How to Make a Weekly Menu
Making a menu can be very beneficial when you have a busy lifestyle, because you don’t have to worry about what you are going to make for breakfast, lunch, or supper, because it is already decided for you. My mom taught me this trick when I first got married, and it has turned out to be very helpful, especially since in am juggling being a full time college student, work full time, and have a house to keep clean.
Before you can make a menu, I have all found that the easiest thing to do is to go through all of your cookbooks and write down the name of the recipe you like, the page number, and the title of the cookbook onto a index card and place it in a recipe card holder. You should do this for every cookbook you have, and for every recipe you like. This makes choosing recipes much easier, and you get a better variety of foods and you are able to use all of your cookbooks this way. You also need to make sure you have dividers for your recipe card holders, with titles such as, sandwiches, pastas, poultry, fish, pork, beef, casseroles, cookies, desserts, cakes, soups and salads, appetizers, etc. The number and type of dividers you have will all depend on the amount and types of recipes you have. I have six recipe card holder full of recipes, but I have been doing this for 3 years. You will start out small, and trust me, it will grow.
Now that you have all of your recipes ready to make your menu the first thing you need to do is sit down with all of your recipe cards. My mom and I make a monthly menu, and then split it up into weeks, that way, you only have to spend time picking recipes once a month instead of weekly. Because we don’t like having to choose what we are going to make, we pick the first few recipes out of every section to make for that month, then once you have made it, you put it to the back of its section. This allows you to try a large variety of recipes instead of making the same things over and over. Depending on the number of meals you have to make and the variety of meals you like, you will choose a different number of recipes from each section. This becomes the same every month once you figure out how you like to balance your meals.
Now that you have your recipes for the month, it is time to make a grocery list. Yes, you are going to make a grocery list for the entire month, but don’t worry, you won’t get all of them at the same time. This is just to make sure you buy everything you need. All you need to do is go through every recipe and write down the ingredient you don’t have. And that is your monthly grocery list.
For my family, I choose seven poultry dishes, six pork dishes, four fish dishes, six casseroles, four sandwiches, four Mexican dishes, eight breakfasts, ten side dishes, two desserts, one cookies, and one cake. We eat supper every night and take leftovers for lunch at work. I only choose ten side dishes, because I like to make the plain old ordinary sides too, like mashed potatoes, rice, butter noodles and things like that, and I don’t need recipes for those, so I just make sure I write them on my weekly menu. I choose eight breakfasts, because every Saturday and Sunday I make us a nice breakfast. I also like to make one dessert a week, so I choose four different dessert/cookie/cake recipes. As you can see this gives you a great variety of foods.
Now that you know what you are going to be making during the month, it is time to split them up into weeks. You do this so you know what groceries need to be bought each week. Just like with choosing your monthly menu, your weekly menu needs to have variety too. You don’t want to be eating all chicken dishes one week and casseroles the next, so grab the top recipe of every category until you have the number of recipes you need to feed your family for one week. This too helps you from having to make decisions. Remember, casseroles don’t need side dishes, so you will have to pay attention so you plan enough sides for recipes that need them.
Now you can make you first weekly grocery list. How I do this is I get the weekly ad from our local grocery store, and if they have meat on sale that I am needing anytime during the month I put it on my list so I can get it for a cheaper price and freeze it if I don’t need it right away. Buying family size meat packs also helps save money. If there are any other sales on foods that I am needing during the month that has a decent shelf life, so things like canned goods and bread, since bread can be frozen, I put them on the list too. Every time you put an item on your weekly list, make sure you cross it off on your monthly list, so you don’t buy it again when you don’t need to. Make sure you go through every recipe you are making that week and write down the ingredients you need, crossing them off of the monthly list at the same time. Now you are ready to get groceries, and will be set for one week.
But before you are done, you need to decide what you are going to make each day. This helps you know if you need to have meats thawed out so you can thaw them the safest way, in the refrigerator. This also allows you to plan ahead for nights that you have to make a quick meal, so you can make your sandwich for the week that day, or have something going in the crock pot so it will be ready when you get home from work, and you can eat and do whatever you have planned for that evening. Now remember, things will come up that you may have to switch you menu around, but that is what white out is for.
I hope that you find this as helpful as I have, it is a time saver, and allows you to try many new recipes.
By, Crystal Wade