Last week I gave you some of my simple ways to get started at menu planning. You can check out the first of this series HERE.
Because planning out your menu for the week, 2 weeks or even a month at a time can really save you money, time and stress. Most of us work around our income. If you get paid weekly, great but, if you get paid only once a month, it feels even more important to have a menu planned. Or is that only me?
What I really want all of you to realize is this is NOT about following your menu to the “T”. It is not about perfection. This is a tool to help you. It’s a reference guide.
Today I want to give you some fun and easy ideas to make your menu planning easier. On last week’s post, many of you shared some of your tips and many of those are the same as mine. I love hearing other peoples ideas because that is what this awesome world of blogging is really great for….sharing tips, ideas and thoughts to help each other. So, keep them coming!
Okay, here are some ideas that have and do help me when I plan out my menu.
- Have breakfast for dinner. Let’s face it, scrambled eggs is one of the easiest things to make and we like that!
- Have a “Baked Potato Bar” one night. This is a great way to use up leftover bits and pieces of cheese, meats, veggies. Let everyone make up their own baked potatoes.
- Have a “create your own Pizza” night. Just like above, this is a good time to use up all the odds and ends. And you don’t have to buy or make a pizza crust, use a loaf of french bread or any large loaf of bread that is marked down at the grocery store. I find that the day old bread makes a better pizza!
- On busy days, have soup and sandwiches. Early in the day you could make up a bowl of tuna or egg salad so it is already. Make a simple quick soup in the crockpot and you are now all set for whenever you want dinner. And if you can get good prices on canned soup, by all means, use that.
- Keep a couple of frozen family meals in the freezer and a bag of salad. Yup, store bought! Sometimes these are lifesavers when something comes up and your time is limited.
- Have a “Appetizer Night”. Use up your leftovers and turn them into little bites or finger foods. Get inventive.
- Have a cold dinner night. Just make sandwiches and salad or cut up veggies.
- Have a “Restaurant at Home” dinner. Pick out one of your favorite restaurants and check the internet for copycat recipes and create that meal at home instead of eating out.
- Have a winter picnic in your living room and pack up some fun but, simple foods. (Typical summer foods are fun in the middle of winter…potato salad, macaroni salad, hot dogs/hamburgers, baked beans, chips..etc)
- Pretend one night you are on a Food Network show like “Chopped” or “Iron Chef”. I think “Chopped” is a pretty standard thing Troy and I do a lot…..”open your fridge and choose 4 or 5 items and create a meal from them”
- Stir fry’s are also an easy expensive meal that you can use the weeks leftovers in.