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Acquire approximately 30, 3 x 5 inch index cards and 2 small rings to hold the cards together, and your family's favorite recipes.

  1. Review recipes. List family's main course favorites. (Approximately 28-30.)
  2. Determine which day of the week a particular menu would be the most suitable by considering your family's pattern of activity on various days of the week. Which days lend themselves to heavier or lighter meals? Which will be touch and go?
  3. Arrange these dinner menus into groups of seven, each for one day of the week, keeping in mind the time needed for preparation. (May want to include the preparation and cooking times on your card.)
  4. For example:

    Sunday dinner is planned to cook slowly while family is attending church meetings. Roast beef, crock pot dinners, etc. would be this day's meal.

    Monday dinner is planned to be cooked up quick and easy, because it might be a busy cleaning day. Make it a stew, meat pot pie or a one dish meal night.

    Tuesday dinner is a good time for soup or a hearty sandwich. This may be your laundry day.

    Wednesday is poultry/fish night--the family's favorite fried or baked recipe. Try tuna or salmon croquettes, halibut filet or fish and chips.

    Thursday is an eggs, cheese, legumes and pasta night. How about cheese enchiladas, stuffed pasta shells, or quiches.

    Friday is planned to be fun for the children where they have a hand in it--pizza, pigs in the blanket (Kolaches), tacos.

    Saturday everyone is coming and going. A great day for bar-b-ques, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.

  5. Prepare a 3 x 5 inch card for each day of the 3-4 week period headed with the words Week #1 Monday, Week #1 Tuesday, Week #1 Wednesday and so on till you get to Week #4 Friday, Week #4 Saturday.
  6. Write the complete menu for the day's main meals, listing along with the main course suitable vegetables and fruits and salads to give variety and nutritional balance.

  7. When all of your daily menu cards are written, prepare a shopping list for all of the things needed to be purchased for each day. Type another 3 x 5 inch card with the list, heading it "Shopping list for Week 1", Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.
  8. Punch holes in the menu cards, place them in chronological order, and hold together with small rings. Attach the shopping lists.
  9. Now use it and enjoy Menu Planning Made Easy.


If use simple recipes such as white sauce, include that on your menu planning card. OR write the recipe book name and page for fast reference.

Many include your "Fast Meal" list for days you don't have time to prepare the one planned, and let your children prepare the meal.

Watch the sales at the grocery stores. You may want to adjust meals per sale items. Shop the sales. If cream cheese is on sale, stock up and freeze if it will go in a baked main course. Check the expiration dates. Most dairy products last up to 5 days after. Make reference to all recipes you use that uses cream cheese so it doesn't spoil while you are trying to remember. Place that list in the front of your cookbook. Do this with other items.

BE FLEXIBLE. Allow for traditional meal favorites-birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

Prepare two full meals at the same time, then only eat one. The next day eat the previously prepared meal, but make up another one for the following day. Be a meal ahead. OR freeze the extra meal for days when very little time to prepare a meal. Spend a Saturday a month making freezer meals.

Try out new recipes but only when you have time to do so.

Buy in bulk those items you use a lot of, be sure to store properly.


Another Meal Planning Idea

Write down recipes that fall under each category.

Main Dishes

Quick Meals


Once in a While Dishes


Side Dishes




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