Monthly Meal Plan


I always wish I was more organized, perfectly frugal and fantastically healthy about all things food and meals.

You know, like:

…do all my cooking for the month in a day….

….only buy on sale, following the 6 week sale patterns of grocery stores….(and then stock up and bring extras back to my perfectly organized food pantry)

….whittle my grocery bill to practically nothing because I use coupons and coordinate my meal planning with said sales)…

…have a plethora of frozen meals on hand to give to new mothers or others who might need one…

….regularly introduce new nutricious meals that my family loves…

Well, I can dream, can’t I? When it really comes down to it, I value different things. I’d rather read and study than comb  for new recipes on-line or get good sleep so I’m emotionally happy and available to my family than cook elaborate meals with clean-up time that extends late into the evening. So, basically I like to keep it pretty simple. We’re fairly frugal, pretty healthy, and have decent variety. And I’m o.k. with that for now.

One thing I have incorporated is meal planning. Not all crazy with apps and such (you’re much cooler than me if you do that), but just putting a little forthought into our monthly dinner eating plan so I can spend less time doing that right before I’m rushing to the store. In case it helps you in any way, I thought I’d share….

Developing A Monthly Meal Plan

  • Make a list of and review your favorite and well-used recipes and meal ideas. I wrote them all down and have about 50 or 60 dinners that I make and like.
  • Classify them by category. I did mine by the type of protein: (beef, chicken, pork, vegetarian, etc)
  • For every week, pick about one meal from each category and put them into a monthly table (I used a Word document to create mine).
  • I cook dinner no more than 4 or 5 times per week. (Some meals will make enough for two or more nights, and a handful of nights per month we’ll have a social event or will eat out.
  • Each week I loosely follow the following categories of meals:
  1. a pasta
  2. a soup
  3. a meat and potato
  4. ethnic (ish)
  5. vegetarian
  • I try to add a new recipe or two every month.
  • There’s plenty of flexibility to switch meals around as sales, time and preference present themselves.


That’s it! If you have any tips  you’d like to share, I’m open!






  1. Nicole Harlow says:

    I like your idea of a master list of favorite recipes. What we do in our house is I schedule my grocery run each week and plan for the evening before to be grocery list making / meal planning night. I sit down with my calendar and look at our week. For nights where I know we will be busy / rushed or home late with little meal prep time, I plan something easy or something that can be made in advance or pulled out of the freezer. For nights with more time, I plan a more elaborate meal or try a new recipe.

    I keep our meal plan in an app called wunderlist which is basically just a checklist app that I use for lots of different things including this. I put in the days and the planned meals. I then make my grocery list based off the meal plan. The nice thing about using the app is I can easily scroll through my meal history to see what I’ve made recently to give me some ideas when I’m coming up blank.

    I recently started working on organizing all my recipes in Evernote. I put them in there with tags like the type of meal, main ingredient, ethnic variety, etc. Then I can search by tags for recipes. I didn’t want to have a huge investment of time up front to organize the recipes, so I’ve just been adding them as I use them a week at a time. The thing I like about Evernote is it offers a web clipper so if I find a recipe online that looks good, I can clip it right into evernote and stick the tags on it to find it later.

    • Nice, Nicole! I’ll have to take a look at those apps. (You ARE cooler than me). I also want to transfer my recipes on-line…so far, it’s just been just via the blog! 🙂

  2. I would love to know more about your couponing strategies!

    • Jennifer- they’re pretty bad at this point. Something to work on for sure! I have read up on some and understand that the stores’ sale cycles are usually on a 6 week cycle, so if I could be savvy enough to stock up on what I use when it’s on sale, I think it’d really reduce my grocery bill… (but I haven’t gotten that far yet). If I ever do, I’ll be sure to post about it! 🙂