I’m entering June with renewed enthusiasm for menu planning, because I’ve learned through trial and error this past year that following a menu plan is critical both to staying on budget and spending less time cooking. What makes menu planning difficult for me is that initial investment of time where I have to consider which meals to plan for which day, and what ingredients I need for each meal. Since I don’t have a lot of extra time (who does?), I’m sitting here at 6:40am in the morning creating June’s menu plan. But I know that the investment of time is worthwhile, because it beats the 5pm panic of not knowing what to cook for your family. I like to plan dinners a month ahead, because it seems to take less time overall than sitting down once a week to figure out dinners. But, I’ll stick to giving you weekly menu plans as that’s a little less overwhelming to read about. And I should mention that this week I’m going to include lunches and breakfasts in the plan, too.
Monday: Pasta with turkey, tomatoes and olives, with salad on the side. This is a delicious recipe from the fantastic Joy of Cooking (1997 edition), which I cook in the pressure cooker for 11 minutes instead of simmering on the stove for an hour. You may notice this is the same dinner as in last week’s menu plan- I ended up not making it last week, so it got bumped forward to this week.
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! I’ll make the tacos with pork carnitas (from Costco).
Wednesday: Grilled salmon with white rice (made fresh) and swiss chard sauteed with butter and soy sauce (from a batch that I froze).
Thursday: Beach Night! I’ll heat frozen burritos, then wrap them in foil so that they stay warm while we drive to the beach. I’ll also make a green salad and pack it in individual stainless steel “bento box” containers. I really recommend beach nights as a weekly tradition- we’ve been doing this almost every week and it’s been so fun. If you don’t live near a beach, find another scenic spot, like a cliff, lake, river, or even a rooftop.
Friday: Pizza night, with salad on the side. Made with this easy homemade dough recipe. But this time, I’m going to try making individual pizza pockets and freezing the extras for later use.
Saturday: Burger Night. I’ll use ground beef (from Costco) for the burgers, and serve them with a side of sauteed carrots and parsnips (from a batch I made a two months ago and froze). I’ll also include a green salad.
Sunday: International Night. Doing South American this week- I’ll make chicken mole (recipe again from the Joy of Cooking) and serve it with Wednesday’s leftover white rice, along with corn tortillas and a green salad.
I don’t have days of the week assigned for lunches, but here’s what we’ll pick from:
- Turkey & cheese sandwiches (turkey and cheese bought in bulk from Costco)
- Burritos from the freezer
- Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches
- Homemade pizza pockets from the freezer
We do eat fruit with every lunch- I usually buy Fuji apples, tangerines, and now that it’s summer, melons
Here are our breakfast options this week:
- Instant Oatmeal, fruit and slice of cheese on the side
- Homemade cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, fruit
- Pumpkin Flax Granola, fruit, slice of cheese
- Bagel and homemade goat cream cheese (4x protein and half the fat of cow’s milk cream cheese- I take goat chevre and mix it with cinnamon and agave nectar), tangerine, hard boiled egg
- Challah bread with butter (I bought a big loaf on clearance, cut it into chunks, and froze it), fruit, hard boiled egg
What’s YOUR menu plan this week?