In all the craziness that comes with being mom to three, having my own small business, and being wife to a husband with his own business, there are a few strategies I use for survival and sanity. I wanted to share one of my biggest time-saving tips today. It helps me keep a schedule and a hot meal on the table, even on the days that go “all wrong”!
I make a one month menu plan.
It takes an hour/hour and a half at the beginning of each month, but it saves me hours searching for recipes I want to cook each day, and I know I will have all the ingredients I need. There’s nothing more frustrating than figuring out what you “feel like” cooking, only to run to the cupboard and find you don’t have the ingredients.
Here’s how I do it.
I make myself sit down and think of around 20 meals at the beginning of each month (or pay cycle – that’s never consistent when you own your own business). These meals are hand-written on a piece of copy paper. I’ve been asked before what my menus are, so here is this month. (Follow the links to print off the recipes if you wish):
Hamburger Gravy with Mashed Potatoes
Ham and Split Pea Soup
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Chicken Rolls and Pasta Salad
Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Red Sauce Enchiladas
Cheddar Soup with Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Sesame Seed Chicken
When my 20 meals are decided, I place them to my left, and place a blank copy paper on the right. Then I break down my meals into a grocery list, which of course, is written on the paper to the right.
And then it’s done!
I put that list in my purse for shopping (I also buy a month’s worth of food at a time; almost. I have to replace milk/eggs/fresh produce each week). I put my 20 meal ideas in a binder that holds my favorite recipes (maybe it will turn into a cookbook for you guys someday?).
I like the simple, hand-written list “approach”. It lets me choose a meal that night anywhere on the list, rather than having a meal set in stone on a certain day of the week. However, if that would help you out, I found a fantastic print-out via Mommy-Tracked. It’s the “eat sheet“, and it will let you break down your meals and grocery list by week. Start slow, maybe with one week, go up to a month if you wish.
I tell you, it’s saved me a million times! There’s no greater waste than indecision, right?
Go get ‘em, moms!