Everyone has different levels and degrees of busy and different seasons of chaos, but taking a little time to plan out your menu will save you time in the long run, I promise! Today I have a few ways to help you take the work out of your menu planning. We’ll start small with a goal of simply crafting next week’s menu plan. Every Friday I have menu planning on my schedule in lieu of a cleaning task. I have it on my to do list, so I actually do it.

Here are a few ways you can create a menu plan:

Plan Around Themes (meatless Mondays, kids’ choice Tuesdays, breakfast for dinner…)
Cook Once, Eat Twice (this is my favorite – I cook extra every night either for leftovers or to be made into a different meal. Roast chicken on Monday turns into chicken quesadillas on Tuesday.)
Use Someone Else’s Menu PlanI’m An Organizing Junkie has Menu Plan Monday where she shares her plan and her readers link up theirs as well.
Shop Sales (I don’t do this because of the extra time it takes, but I know it’s a huge money saver)
I have a few criteria I use when menu planning for the week – lots of veggies and fruit, at least one meatless night, one salad night, pizza night makes the rotation a couple times a month (sometimes homemade, sometimes delivered), cook once and eat twice at least once, and keep it simple. The goal is to have a healthy, (mostly) home cooked meal on the table – nothing fancy.
Want to see what was on the menu this week?
Monday – Grilled Pork Chops (beer and mustard marinade)
Butternut Squash
Mixed Veggies
Tuesday – Leftovers
Wednesday – Rotisserie Chicken (a favorite cheater meal in this house!)
Mashed Potatoes
Mixed Veggies
Thursday – Turkey Taco Salad (ground turkey with taco seasoning and lime)
Friday – Veggie Lasagna (sauteed mushrooms and zucchini)
Italian Bread or Rolls
Saturday – Out for Cinco de Mayo
Sunday – Leftovers

Want to try your hand at menu planning this week? Think of a couple favorites that you can make, something easy like rotisserie chicken, and a big salad another night. (I love salad nights because it’s a one-dish meal that’s good for us too!)

Here’s a link to a couple posts I’ve done in the past about meal planning.

Any menu planning tips you’d like to share? What works for you?