I plan menus on Sunday, before I go to the grocery store. I start by considering the weather (do I want to turn on the oven in this heat?), what's on sale, and what I have on hand. I usually ask my husband for ideas, and he's usually no help at all. I also consider any special events.
So, okay, now I'm thinking something like: It's going to be super hot this week, I have hamburger in the freezer that I ought to use up, chicken's on sale, and I have a meeting Wednesday night.
So, I need either something really fast or a crockpot meal on Wednesday. And salads or stove-top meals will work better than something I have to bake. And I want a chicken meal, a ground beef meal, and maybe a couple of vegetarian meals to round it out.
Then I just start browsing recipes, either in cookbooks or on line, looking for recipes that fit my week and sound good. I write the days of the week on a piece of paper, and as I find recipes I write them next to the day, along with the cookbook and page number. I have a separate piece of paper that I use for my grocery list, and as I look over the recipe, I write down any ingredients I'll need to buy.
I also have some stand-by's for when I just can't think of what to make--stir fry is always good.
I post the menu on the fridge when I'm done.
This sounds way more complicated than it really is.
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