Why You Should Plan your Menu by Type instead of by Day


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I’ve been rearranging lately
I’ve come to realize that planning a menu by days of the week is useless
I have done it that way for years
And I usually write down what we are having Monday
And that goes well
And then Tues I follow the menu also
But then Wed, eh I do something else
And then barely look at it the rest of the week
This I think is a reflection
Of my busy days
Weekends are the craziest days
Week days are calmer and more organized
So why do I plan every day the same?
Despite all my best intentions
There will be a day where I’m like:
What the crap? It’s 5pm already? What are we having for dinner?!?
That’s at least once a week despite any well thought out meal schedule
Especially when everything on the menu requires a brain and forethought
And some days I have neither

Or there will be a day I just don’t feel like cooking at all
and just want to eat something and get on with our lives
Why does dinner have to be such a huge event?
(I mean my kids are fed and back to their stuff in less than a minute,
why do I stress about it?)

So here is my new board:
You can have it here: Type of Meal
I’ve found it’s easier to plan a REAL menu this way
(one that will last us for two weeks)
Because it makes me think of a variety of meals
Instead of planning what I am in the mood for right then
Because then TOMORROW
When I’m in the mood for Tacos
We will only have stuff for Soup
And suddenly it feels like we have to go grocery shopping again
Even though we just went…

On Pinterest I used to have just one board called “Main Dishes”
And it had around 600 pins on it
No kidding haha
So I thought it was time to get a little more specific and make things a little more usable
And lately I’ve been revamping them into categories
Now I have the following “Dinner” boards and it’s been so much better
I know Pinterest gets a bad rap sometimes
But it really is an excellent resource
That probably doesn’t get used WELL enough
It gets used…but using it to help me actually feed my family
And help us not just eat Mac n’Cheese every night
Now that is the trick…

So here are the different categories I made:
(click on the highlighted title to see the whole board)
Dinner: A Healthy Twist
This is a link to all those “sub” lists
And ideas of how to make my diet better
Things I should do more often
Dinner: Casseroles
Who invented these?
Probably big families, right?
A one stop meal
Everything included
Whether you like it or not 🙂
Dinner: From the Crock pot
I love it when I have it together
And those days I usually do the crock pot game
It’s easy, it’s organized
And you have all day to do the dishes before you get tired 🙂
Dinner: Just for Kids
Have you ever made the spaghetti noodle thing?
I have, it’s so fun
Here are foods that are fun for kids
Things I should do more often
Especially when the husband is working late
Dinner: Pasta and Rice
Does anyone else do this?
Pasta or rice is like an either/or
You can interchange them in almost anything right?
So I thought they could be a co-board
Things to make out of pasta or rice
And ingredients could be anything
Dinner: Salad
It’s summertime and so salad for dinner? YES.
It’s cold, it takes some nice relaxing chopping
And there is dinner
And I usually keep it all separate so everyone can just choose their own
Dinner: Tacos
I live in California
And can I just say?
We have the best Tacos in the country
And there are so many kinds!
Easiest thing ever and I am in love
Dinner: Sauces
You ever see those recipes for that amazing BBQ sauce?
Or Alfredo sauce? Or salsa?
I see those and I think of all kinds of things I want to try
And then I forget I have them
So I made a whole board for them
Sauces to try for dinner
I guess it’s kinda like planning an outfit around your new shoes?
Dinner: Sandwiches
Quesadillas count as sandwiches, just so you know
I am the worst at this
I see these ideas for sandwiches
And they look SO GOOD!
So why do I feel like such a slacker making them for dinner?
This could also be part of the Lunch board I guess
But hopefully this will help remind me to make these
Dinner: Something with Beef
This category is sometimes difficult
Technically you could put any of these in other boards as well
I put these here because I thought Beef was the pivotal item involved
No matter how it was cooked
Dinner: Something with Chicken
We eat a lot of chicken and sometimes it feels like we do the same recipe over and over
Again, some of these could be put different places
But the key ingredient here is Chicken
Dinner: Soup
Soup is wonderful in the winter
But so many times for me, it has nothing to do with the season
It has more to do with the fact that you can make soup
Put it in the crock pot
And cook it all day
And your house smells amazing
And you feel like the best cook ever
And it’s the best meal ever
That’s my experience with soup
(at least as an adult)
Dinner: Turn on the Oven
I love to bake
Why do I not do it more often?
And why does it seem like anything you bake involves pizza?
I have no answers to these questions
This is definitely something to investigate
But in the meantime, pizza is good 🙂
Dinner: We’ve got Company Coming
Am I the only one who only does appetizers for company?
Normally, this appetizer is: It’s time for dinner, come sit down
But when company comes
Whether it’s family or “real” company
I always start thinking of something more to do
So this list includes appetizers
And different fun things to do that are extra special

As well as these boards:
What’s for Breakfast?
So many times we just have cereal
And I would say more often than not
We have Breakfast for Dinner
So this is for Breakfast…
But it’s also kinda one of my Dinner boards 🙂
What’s for Lunch?
Usually we all eat at school or work
But during the summer?
Suddenly I am wondering what in the world is for LUNCH???
So this is a lot of School Lunch ideas
That I’ve been using to think of ideas here at home too
(and I’ll use them later for school lunches too)
What’s for Dessert?
Need I say more?
We all need more ideas for cookies
You can never have too many… 🙂

So…. what’s for dinner???
This is what our next two weeks looks like:

Ravioli Lasagna

Pineapple Chicken Verde

Kids: Animal Sandwiches

Ham Fried Rice


Skinny Tuna Salad

Sandwiches: Bacon Monte Cristo
Bacon Monte Cristo Finger Sandwiches

Meatball Subs

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

(only I use green sauce, not red)

Sliced Baked Potatoes

Company: Chicken Enchiladas


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