One of the things keeping me sane this fall is my monthly meal plan. I used to plan by the week, I've tried a two week plan but as summer was winding down and I had a very busy looking fall ahead of me I decided to go big. One whole month in advance. I should also mention that I'm a semi-couponer. I occasionally buy a Sunday paper (currently I get the paper delivered on weekends) and I cut them out when I do. I am not super couponer but I will shop around and use what I've got. I've not noticed a huge savings by planning a month ahead but it has come in handy on purchases I've already planned on making.
It's nice to know ahead of time because I can buy my meat when it is on sale and stock up. Some weeks I only have to worry about buying bread/milk/yogurt. Other weeks are bigger weeks but it all makes up for each other. I haven't had to do too many middle of the week stops at the store, it eliminates a lot of takeout during the week and we have a lot of variety since we've planned ahead.
I don't cook every night and I'm not married to the menu. I always have eggs and toast or spaghetti on hand for the nights that it just isn't going to happen. It has made dinner time/morning prep a heck of a lot easier. We make a huge dinner on Sunday night and have Monday leftovers (who wants to cook on Monday night???) and usually freeze some from that meal too. Which is awesome to have a nice hearty meal during the week that wouldn't happen without freezing ahead.
I also do not plan anything for Saturday's unless my husband specially requests something and Friday's are usually leftovers or pizza. Of the homemade version or the takeout.
Here is what is on tap for November...
1st - Leftovers
3- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with biscuits
4th - leftovers
5th - Skillet Chicken Parm
6th - Beef Stew and biscuits (we made this last month and froze two dinners worth, this is the last dinner)
7th - leftovers (we will have a hodge podge of soup/stew/chicken parm leftover so we will share or decide what we want)
8th - Pizza
10th - Cheesy Taco Soup
11th - leftovers
12th - Sloppy Joes (another frozen meal from last month)
13th - Chili (frozen from last month)
14th - Leftover Chili and grilled cheese
15th - Taco Pie
16th - Pan Fried Pork Chops
17th - Whole Chicken Dinner with Stuffing and Green Bean Casserole
18th - Leftovers
19th - Southwestern Chicken and Rice
20th - leftovers
21st - something with hot Italian Sausages possibly a skillet lasagna
22nd - Pizza
24th - Baked Potato Soup
25th - Leftovers
26th - Pulled Pork (frozen from last month)
28th - Thanksgiving
29th - Eggs/Sausage/ Toast
30th - Another Thanksgiving
Do you meal plan? How do you find your recipes? I linked some of the ones I found on pinterest/blogs I follow. I will admit to making them my own though and highly suggest that when you are looking for recipes for your family. Especially when they look intimidating! One step at a time!