Menu Planning

Two Week Menu Plan: How We Got Our Start

In 2006, I left the newsroom to work from home. I only had a few contacts, a few possibilities for work. We cut back on a lot of things in our budget: we went with basic cable, we stopped eating at restaurants, and as such, I had to learn to menu plan. Oh, and cook. But that’s another post in itself.

Menu planning for a two week span now seems like no big deal, but it had a steep learning curve at first. I would get frustrated if we didn’t follow my menu plan exactly. I had to learn to be flexible, to leave an empty “leftovers” day in case something needed to be moved due to accepting an invite for dinner with family or friends. I had to learn that it was not only okay but necessary to stop for milk multiple times per two weeks as well as hitting up the produce section (or the Farmer’s Market, depending on season) for the second week of fresh foods. We lost a lot of produce during that learning curve, but it’s okay. We’ve mostly learned our lessons.

Today my husband “let” me go grocery shopping with him. Usually he handles it on his own because I buy things like character shaped pretzels and all the shiny things. I behaved today, only grabbing one extra thing that wasn’t on my meticulously planned list: rice noodles for Asian meals that my husband previously couldn’t find. Big score.

I’ve been asked before to share my menu plan, but I’ve always shied away from doing so because of Foodie McJudgers. I decided to get over myself and share, just in case you’re looking for some easy meals. I think I’ll share more about this on a regular two week basis — like what I do on the nights my husband is working at the fire department, what I do on soccer nights, why we eat so early, and so on. If you have questions about menu planning, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll try to address them as I proceed with this series.

Now for our two week menu plan:

Two Week Menu Plan for September

Linkable recipes: Piergoies and Sausage with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce, Chili Tortellini, Chicken Pot Pie Crumble, Chipotle Popcorn Chicken.

Maybe I’ll also finally share some of the recipes that we’ve taken and made our own over the years, like the non-linked ones above, and share them with recipes and pictures as this series continues. I am not exactly the best food blogger, but I know that I like to read about what other families do for meal times, how they make it work.

So, for this first post again, please hit me with any questions you may have!


{Hat tip to Sassymonkey for her recent menu plan and encouraging me over the years to write about our process.}
{Chalkboard background: Big Red Clifford.}


10 replies on “Two Week Menu Plan: How We Got Our Start”

I can’t imagine NOT menu planning. Most days I work like crazy from 8:15 to 3pm (when Fish comes home) then try to wrap up loose ends until 4 when Mim comes home. Then, it’s GO TIME!!! Karate, cub scouts etc. Husband frequently doesn’t make it in the door before 7pm. With the new karate schedule creating family meal nights is a challenge, but If manage it 4 out of 7 I’m good. I use (I am not on their marketing team, just a satisfied customer). I like it because I can keep all my recipes there. If I see something i like on the web,, there is a toolbar button that auotmagically adds it to my PTE recipes list. Once I map out my recipes, PTE adds the necessary ingredients to my shopping list. I go through and check off the items I have in my pantry (i.e Rice, seasonings) then ad any items that are on sale at the Grocery Store or that I’m running low on. It’s web based, so the list is accessible from the store. It is $4.95 a month but I think it is worth it and I like that I’m supporting a family run business.
Your menu looks yummy! Fish has food sensitivities. She can’t eat gluten, Dairy & eggs. There isn’t time to make two completely different meals, so a lot of what we eat is free of these items OR, easily modified. For example, the boys both like Rice Pilaf, but she can’t have it, so I just make white rice for her. I love it when people post recipes. I’ve gotten good at modifying for our needs, so I like seeing what others eat to see if I can configure it to add to our roster.

She is 13, so at least one night, I shift cooking duties to her. ‘Tis a wonderful thing!!

Can’t wait to see more!

I make my own pierogies — but only for holidays. By this time of the year, I’m out of mine that I froze when we made them, so I have to buy them. Back home, there are pierogies sold as parts of fundraisers made by some awesome Polish women, but we’re ALSO out of those. As such, I buy Mrs. T’s and tell myself that my ancestors aren’t rolling in their graves. (Also, they’d roll if they knew I was about to put a tomato cream sauce on them as well. Shhh.)

I won’t tell if you’ll share your recipe :) Fish loves them and I’m trying to figure out a way if to make a modified version for her. She can’t eam Mrs. T’s :( and I have been known to resort to them just to get a little fix ;)

Thanks for this….I’m always on the lookout for more easy meals! I made crockpot bacon ranch chicken with roasted asparagus last night and we’re having leftover quesadilla casserole tonight. YUM.

Now that my classes have started and TeacherMan is gainfully employed I need to start meal planning. Of course I also need to get used to the only buying things I can carry on the subway instead of all the fun impulse items (cookie butter). Thanks for sharing yours maybe it’ll motivate me to actually do mine.

Thanks for sharing and keep the ideas coming! Meal planning and getting good meals on the table is a huge struggle for me. Dealing with gluten-free for Scott adds another element to making a meal that works for everyone. Someday I will find a great gluten-free pizza crust…I think I will make that a priority. Thanks!

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