For a while now, I have been posting my montly menus on Facebook. Well, I decided to create a blog so that more people will have the opportunity to check in and hopefully be inspired. As for the name of the blog, Sherri's Sanity, that is what montly menu planning is for me; my sanity. With 3 young kids, I do NOT have the patience for the clock to turn 5 and have no plan for dinner, it just adds to the craziness to the "witching hours" (those insane hours at the end of the day where we, moms, try to jam-pack 4 hours worth of stuff into 2) I HATE the hours of 5pm-8pm. BUT I have found that in my (almost) year of planning monthly menus, I have been so much less of a headcase during that time. When mom is happier, hubby and kids are happier. AND their tummies will be filled with yummy homemade food; even better!!Now, this blog will definitely take time to put together. Once again, I am a mother of 3 small kids and although I wish I could just sit down and crack it all out, that just isnt going to happen. So, check back often and I will try and keep things rolling. :) Another thing that fills my bucket, so to speak, is crafting! So I'm sure that will come along on the blog shortly too. Happy planning!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 2012 and the basics

Happy New Year!! I have lots of goals to still set for this year, how about you?? Hopefully one of yours will be to start planning your dinner menus!! :)  In our house we keep breakfast and lunch pretty simple. I will probably create a general post for that later on.  But I have already sat down to make my dinner menu and will try my best to jump on the blog and add recipes, pictures, etc. as the month and year goes on. You can ALWAYS email me at sherrilyn21@hotmail.com with questions and I will do my best to get you what you need.

Now, don't be fooled. I RARELY stick to the exact menu. Things like my mood and other wrenches always get thrown into my way. BUT, because I have it all down on paper and get all my pantry and freezer items purchased at the beginning of the month, there is lots of wiggle room to switch things up :)

Here's what I do when I sit down to plan.  I print off a blank calendar (you can find online) and sit down with my previous menus for inspiration.  Always keep your previous calendars, it helps soooo much.  I'll also open up my favorite cookbook or website.  In my case it's Back to Basics by Barefoot Contessa and www.ourbestbites.com (they also have a cookbook, but the only copy I purchased I gave to my mom). And a pencil. Erasing happens a lot!

Ok, moving on. So I have my calendar, cookbook, pencil, shopping list and previous calendars handy.  I also know, pretty much, what I have stocked up in my freezer and pantry.  Backing up...in our house, I get my food budget money (cash only so we stay in budget!) twice a month; on the 1st and 15th.  I shop for the entire month of pantry and freezer items that are on my dinner menu on or around the 1st.  Then, on the 15th, I shop sales. Meat, cereal, snacks and staples. If a particular item is a steal at the beginning of the month, I suppose I would buy it then...but I tend not to even look at the ads because I have already devoted so much time on planning. Once again, moving on. So I sit down and start filling in the days. One day per week is usually devoted to double cooking; make enough for 2 meals and freeze one for later. So, then, one day is devoted to eating a freezer meal (in our case, for soccer practice night). I also don't cook on Saturdays. Saturdays are either for date night or leftovers. As I fill in a meal I will immediately write down the items I need on my grocery list.  For the first week that will include produce. For weeks following, the produce list will go on it's own list, by week. Is your head spinning???  You will find your own groove once you start. I just hope that what I do can be inspiring to you :) Maybe a list will break it down

Week 1: dinner for entire month, week 1 produce, milk
Week 2: Milk, produce for week 2
Week 3: Stock up on sale items, milk, produce for week 3
Week 4: Milk and produce for week 4

Blank Calendar
shopping list
cookbook or other references
previous calendars

For us:
Tuesdays: Double cook
Thursdays: Freezer meal
Saturday: day off, leftovers or date night

I have even seen some people devote Mondays to sandwiches, Tuesdays to chicken, Wednesday to pasta etc....this method doesnt work for us. But it might for you, so I wanted to throw it out there.

So with all that being said, here's my monthly list. Remember, I am serving a family of 5.

Swedish Meatballs
Pesto Chicken Wraps
Broiled fish and veggies
White Chicken and rice (3-4 chicken breasts, 1 pkt dry ranch dressing, 1 block cream cheese, 1 can cream mush soup, cooked in crock pot, serve over rice)
Veggie and hummus flatbread
Pot Roast
Lasagna, garlic bread and salad
Beef taquitos
Ham and funeral potatoes
Waffles and fruit
Thai Curry noodles
Chocolate Chili, cornbread
Coconut Chicken and rice
Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries
Chicken Cordon Bleu, broccoli
Meatballs (freezer), green beans
Homemade pizza
Fajitas, chips and guac/salsa
Pork chops, corn and Autumn salad
Chicken noodle soup (boil 1 C each chopped carrots and celery, 1 pkt dry Italian dressing, 3 bay leaves, 4 cups broth, 2 cups water, add 3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed, cooked egg noodles)
French dip and chips (good ol' McCormicks Au Jus packet, with roast cooked in crock pot)
Lasagna (freezer)
Steak in mushroom sauce (1 pkt dry onion soup, 2 cans cream of mush soup, roast, cooked in crockpot) over rice
Butternut Squash soup with croutons
Chicken rolls, mashed potatoes

Happy planning!

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