Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Menu Planning - Relieving Stress, Not Creating It (Even for Singles)

A note about the menu planner... I shop once every two to three weeks. So when I edit my YGS menu I make sure there are about 8 meals for two weeks. This is so I can be flexible. Some days nothing on the menu looks good and I just want plain old tacos. Or, as happened above, someone may drop by and nothing on the menu works for them. Sunday, I made that delicious cranberry relish, I grabbed a chicken breast and plopped a couple tablespoons of cranberry relish in there for a marinade. It wasn't on my menu, but it will be dinner tomorrow night. When menu planning, don't get caught up in specific days or missing a planned recipe, this is not the point of menu planning.
It's food, you've got your whole life to eat it!

I already mentioned You've Got Supper (YGS).  This is my "go-to" menu planner right now.  Many of the recipes have pictures and reviews from other "customers".  Also, many recipes have suggested sides, or options for switching out ingredients.  (This is how I learned I can substitute tumeric for saffron, until I can convince myself to blow some cash.) Servings are roughly 4 to 6 people, so I just write "Half Everything" on my grocery list that prints.  I do love YGS, but I do use a few other sites for my filler recipes.

Pillsbury Cooking for Two http://www.pillsbury.com/Recipes/Cooking-for-Two
     This isn't actually a menu site, but it does have some great recipes scaled down.  It is helpful when I am trying to re-portion something.

Make Dinner Easy http://www.makedinnereasy.com/
     She sends out an email on Saturdays that contains the link to the menu.  The menu is posted for two weeks, last week's is still up when you get the new week.  She includes sides on most of the meals.  Also she has some great tips in her menus too.  Even if I don't want to use the recipes I like to check out the tips, like how to get rid of that extra zucchini.   :)

Everyday With Rachael Ray http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/Weekly-Menu-Planner/chicken-potpie-and-more
     I just signed up for this one this week.  I will have to do a review after a few weeks on the plan.

Monthly Menu Planner  http://www.monthlymenuplanner.com/about.php
     Like the name suggests, this site gives a whole month of recipes.  It is a little much for me since there are meals on every single day of the month.  But if you are up for it, a great way to plan ahead.

Weekly Dinner Menus  http://www.weekly-dinner-ideas.com/weekly-dinner-menus.html
     She has 8 menus that she cycles through.  I know a lot of people like this method because they can stock up on things they will use regularly.  Her recipes are generally scaled for 4 servings.  She doesn't provide sides, so keep that in mind, and add them into your lists.

Thanks for reading!!!

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