December 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday | December 2010 Printable Menu Plan


I plan my family's dinners in five week blocks to maximize my savings at the grocery store and minimize my stress at dinner time. You can read more about my strategy here in my Q&A post here.

I also answered several more questions about how I plan my big ol' menus and how I stockpile shop the weekly sales with coupons; my goal is to get the best deals on items for my monthly menu plan for the lowest cost.  For more Q&A (because you're just dying to know, right?), click here.

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A new month starts today - can you believe it's December already? Where did this year go?!?

With a new month comes a great new chance to get a handle on your time by creating a simple monthly menu plan. And during the busy holiday season that is December, it's even more important to find ways to save time and lower your overall stress and menu planning is a great tool to do both of those. We all have more than enough to do this month, right?

I've got my December menu planned and published as a printable Google Doc.  I sure hope it's helpful to you!

Click here to view and print TNFM December 2010 Menu Plan.

As for how I come up with recipes for my monthly menus, I shared with you a few weeks back my MELLY list (Meals Everyone Likes List {for} Your {family}).  You can read that post right here; for a printer friendly list of the recipes (with links to the online recipes) on my MELLY, click here.

If you're new to menu planning,  I encourage you to make menu planning your New Year's Resolution for 2011.  The three keys to saving time AND money with menu planning (imho) are:

:: Having a master list of dinner recipes that fit your family's budget, palate, and your time available for food prep.  

:: Creating a personal stockpile list based on commonly used recipe ingredients from your master list of dinner recipes

:: Combining coupons & sales to restock your pantry & freezer with those personal stockpile items when you can get them for rock bottom prices. 

If planning a month at a time is too daunting, try two weeks.  If you're totally new to menu planning, aim for one week.  Start with a realistic goal for *you*, keep records of your plans for future reference (either on paper or on your computer), and remember to challenge yourself when you've mastered your first goal - either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. 

And be sure to check out the Menu Plan Monday links over at OrgJunkie each week for more inspiration.  If you're a blogger, post your own MPM (this is a great way to create an archived record of your menu plans) and link up, too!

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