I have gone back and forth about menu/meal planning. I love the newest way that I am organizing my meals. I subscribe to an amazing magazine called Cook's Country. It comes every other month and there are many recipes in it but in the middle there are 8 thirty minute meals. Every single one I have made is amazing. So on the days that I meal plan (usually Monday) I get out my magazines and my recipe index. Last year I started a word document (my index) with four columns. One for chicken, one for beef, one for non meat and one for soups. Under each heading I put all of the meals that we love to eat. This way when I meal plan I see everything and I am not faced with the "I don't know what to make" question. Back to the planning...I usually pick around 10 meals, which is normally two weeks of meals for us. I make a list of 10 meals that I want for this rotation. Then I make a list of all of the ingredients that I need. I put the list of meals on my board in my laundry room and each day I choose what I am in the mood to make/eat that night. It has really worked out well and it has saved me from needing one thing and having to take all three kids out.
We are very selective in what we eat so I get food from a lot of different places. We get our produce from a co op and I know what is on the menu for the week on Friday. I have been using that to help with my meal planning too. I order my beef from a farm and it gets delivered to me. I doubled my order this year and I am hoping it will last me at least 6 months. I get all of my chicken from BJ's and the rest of the stuff comes from Trader Joe's. It has been really helpful for me to have all of my meats in my freezer and ready for me to take out in the morning.
How do you meal/ menu plan???