Planning a Two Week Menu and Grocery List

As a stay-at-home mom with three children that are homeschooled, it is important that we streamline our day-to-day activities such as chores, school and meals. The easiest way for our family to operate is to plan a two-week menu, based on my husband’s pay schedule and plan our grocery list accordingly. This saves us a lot of money because our purchases are planned and we rarely go out to eat or buy convenience foods because our meals are planned ahead of time.

There are plenty of websites that offer valuable tips and advice for menu planning as well as some great print-outs to help you get started organizing your meals and saving you money! Some of my favorite sites include:

Darla Shine’s Happy Housewives Club

http://happyhousewivesclub.com/printables/

Darla’s site offers wonderful printables. Check out the Weekly Menu sheet as well as the Grocery List. You can use them as is – or you can use their wonderful example to tailor your own lists. Be sure to stop by their individual pages and get recipe ideas from the cooking section and terrific organization and housekeeping tips from the homemaking section.

Donna Young

http://www.donnayoung.org/household/fullsize/kitchen-planner.htm

There are some fantastic grocery shopping lists here as well! Donna Young is a perfect example of an organized woman! And the lists and tips she offers on her site are invaluable. I really recommend you grab a cup of coffee, or tea, and cruise her site for a while – you won’t be sorry!

Now, for our home this upcoming two weeks our menu is as follows. Notice, I do not have the meals assigned to a particular day. I simply have a master list of 14 to 15 dinner menu options. This allows me some freedom to switch to an easier meal on busy days, or to have something nice to serve when company comes over on short notice. I also plan 7 or 8 dessert items to serve on various evenings when we need something sweet to end our day.

Steak tips and Rice with Green Beans and Corn –  I found the recipe here: http://www.southernplate.com/2009/04/steak-tips-over-rice-and-the-significance-of-a-doughnut-shop.html  I really do love Christy Jordan’s website. Not only does she offer great recipes with a southern flavor, but she also has the neatest step-by-step tutorials with mouth-watering pictures. I think I’ll be serving this simple but very tasty dish to our pastor and his wife when they come to dinner next week.

Lentil Stew and Cornbread

Spaghetti and Green Beans with Hot Rolls

Baked Sandwiches and Potato Salad – Another great recipe from Christy Jordan: http://www.southernplate.com/2009/02/baked-sandwiches.html  

Two nights worth of Pot Pies with Mashed Potatoes and Corn – These meals I keep on the list for Wednesday nights. We go to church for children’s services and Bible studies, so we’re usually pressed to eat dinner quickly in order to be at church around 6:15 – so I keep some frozen pot pies around to toss in the oven while we fix our hair and get ready for the evening. Not really the most glamorous of meals, but it’s quick and easy – and super affordable.

Two nights worth of Frozen Pizzas –  This is another convenience item. My husband takes pictures for the local newspaper of all the high school football games. We’re pretty big on high school football in Texas. These evenings are rushed for my husband as he gets home from one job and gets ready to head out to this secondary job. And I like to kick back and watch a movie with the kids on Friday nights, so pizza serves us pretty well.

Chicken and Rice with Peas and Corn

Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Taco Soup

Goulash with Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Baked Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots and Spinach

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Bread –  I absolutely love the beginner’s bread recipe listed on this site: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/beginnersbread.htm  – if you feel like you can’t make your own homemade bread, please read her wonderful tutorial and start baking!

Our dessert options for this two-week menu are:

Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lemon Chess Pie – Christy Jordan: http://www.southernplate.com/2008/09/lemon-chess-pie.html

Pumpkin Bread

Shoo Fly Pie – Christy Jordan: http://www.southernplate.com/2009/09/shoofly-pie-and-subtitling-southerners.html

 Banana Pudding – Christy Jordan: http://www.southernplate.com/2008/07/homemade-banana-pudding-tutorial.html

 Chocolate Cobbler – Christy Jordan: http://www.southernplate.com/2009/09/chocolate-cobbler-on-tv.html

 (I told you I just love Christy Jordan’s site!)

Once I have my dinner and dessert options planned, I usually make a shorter breakfast options list. We tend to have the basics for breakfast: eggs with bacon and toast, cereal, oatmeal, breakfast rice, pancakes or muffins. I go ahead and list the options, though – so I can be sure to jot down everything for my master grocery list.

Lunches in our home generally consist of leftovers, soup or sandwiches. For families with children who pack their lunches, parents may want to list those menu options as well. I highly encourage planning lunch options. It can brighten your child’s day to have something special in their lunch box while they’re away from home during the day.

Once you have your menu options planned out on paper, you can begin jotting down all the items you’ll need from the grocery store. This is a good time to go through your pantry and refrigerator and make sure you don’t list items you already have at home. When I’m writing out this first list, I simply put it all in one big jumbled list. I organize that list into another final list later.

I know what you’re thinking, “Two lists?!? Who has time for that?” I promise you, this does not take long. My grocery shopping experience (with three preteens in tow) is a lot more peaceful if I organize my final list into shopping aisle categories such as: meat, dairy, dry goods, canned items, ect. My first list is usually one big mess. It really helps me to separate the items I need into a more organized list. All together, my menu planning and final grocery list composition takes about 30 minutes.

Our family of five eats very well, most meals made at home from scratch (if you don’t count the pizzas and pot pies) and we generally spend about $100 to $150 a week for our grocery bill. This includes cleaning supplies, pet food, homeschool materials, ect. Not bad for a family living on one income! Menu planning and detailed grocery lists are essential for any family looking to save money and enjoy meals at home together.

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