Once you get into the habit of meal planning for the week, you may want to get a little more ambitious and plan for a longer length of time, like a fortnight (2 weeks) or a whole month.
How to Plan for a Month
1. Print a calendar – I like to print out a month calendar to fill in my meals. In this way I have right in front of me the placement of weekends, holidays, birthdays, etc.
2. Survey your freezer and pantry – I’ve been keeping a good record of my freezer inventory this month (more on that later this week), so I know what we already have. I plugged those into my calendar.
3. Plan some new meals based on current sales - I don’t know what will be on sale in the coming weeks, but I know what bargains are available now. So, I’m going to stock up on the proteins that I know I’ll want for my September meal plan. I’m also going to make a list of side dishes that I might want to keep my eyes open for in the sales.
4. Cook ahead if possible – One of the reasons that I’m planning the whole month is to save myself some time – planning time, shopping time, cooking time. One way to maximize on time savings is to cook ahead.
Since I’m also going to be doing some freezer cooking this week, I was able to place those meals on my calendar, incorporating the dozen meals I have left in my freezer with the new ones I’ll be adding.
Even if you don’t do a BIG cooking day, having a monthly meal plan will help you think how you can cook once and maybe eat three times from the same amount of work.
Our Monthly Meal Plan
While “the plan” is always subject to change, I have a road map for the week’s ahead. For September, my “plan” is as follows:
1.Southwestern Grilled Chicken, Rice, Salad
2.Pasta & Spaghetti Squash w/ Red Sauce, Foccaccia, Green Salad
3.Touchdown Chili, Cornbread, Veggies and Dip
4.Chili Dogs on Homemade Buns, French Fries, Fruit Salad
5.Beef Enchiladas, Beans, Rice, Green Salad
6.Pizza and Chi-Chi’s Salad
7.BBQ Sandwiches, Potato Salad, Veggies and Dip
8.Grilled Tri-Tip, Baked Potatoes, Green Salad
9. Sauerkraut and SpareRibs, Boiled Potatoes, Bday Cake
10.Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Steamed Broccoli
11.Carnitas Soft Tacos, Guacamole, Beans and Rice
12.Taco Soup, Indian Shuck Bread, Green Salad
13.Pizza and ChiChi’s Salad
14. Lasagna, Pasta w/ Sausages, Foccaccia, Green Salad
15.Bernie’s Grilled Chicken, Grilled Veggies, Salad, Quick Seasoned Rice
16.Roast Chicken, Garlic Potatoes, Green Beans
17.Summer Rolls – no, it’s not summer – but these are easy and delicious!
19.Beans and Rice
20.Pizza and ChiChi’s Salad
21.Pasta w/ Red Sauce, Green Salad, Garlic Bread
22.Hamburgers on Homemade Buns and French Fries, Veggies and Dip
23.Potstickers w/ Dipping Sauces, Rice, Broccoli
24.BLTs, Potato Salad
25.Pasta w/ Meat Sauce, Corn Muffins, Green Salad
27.at the G’parents
28.Taco Salads, Fried Ice Cream
29.Shredded Beef Enchiladas, Beans and Rice, Green Salad
30.Chicken Stir-fry w/ Sauteed Rice Cakes (an experiment w/ Asian ingredients)