Weekly Menu Plan

by | Mar 1, 2012 | Food | 13 comments

You all know you’re supposed to plan your weekly menu, make your grocery list, and go shopping once a week. You spend less and don’t go nuts when you realize it’s 5:30 and you have nothing but rutabaga in the house.

But, as I’ve said before, I’ve come to hate making dinner. The kids are always hungry and hanging  on me and whiny. And often complaining about whatever it is I’m cooking.

So in a fit of brilliance I came up with this posted weekly menu. The dinner plan for the week is clearly posted, so the kids can check the wall rather than bug me. And I can plan the week much better.

First I made a sheet that had the days of the week on it (and I made it look a little like a diner menu to make my 50s-kitsch-self happy). Then I brainstormed all our dinners, because we don’t actually make that many different ones. There are kid favorites on there, like macaroni & cheese, but also more grownup dinners like Indian Feast or Mediterranean Platter. I tried to be a little more vague so that each item could mean several different meals (like “Pasta”). I also made one called Fancy Dinner, which means I get to make something that no one else will likely be excited about (tofu in mango sauce, or something like that) and everyone has to try it. If they eat it, they get dessert (Fancy Dinner is the only night we get dessert). Fancy Dinner also covers holidays and birthdays.

After I made up the big sheet and all the dinner ideas, I laminated everything and stuck Velcro squares* onto them. I keep all the meal ideas in the (sad, needing-to-be-replaced) envelope taped to the wall under the menu plan. Every week we eat almost the same exact plan, but I do change it a bit sometimes.

The kids still complain and get frantically whiny at 5:00, but it’s definitely calmer now that we all know ahead of time what we’re having for dinner.

P.S. Be sure to notice my gorgeous Stacey Cramp calendar next to our menu. It makes me so happy.

*I feel like half my life is organized in terms of laminated paper and Velcro squares these days.


  1. Sylvie

    Remember those kids you used to babysit after school and they had a weekly menu and the kids would walk in the door and say “Oh no, not meatloaf!” or whatever.

  2. Julie

    Yes. I mocked it then, but I revere it now! (We also didn’t really have the kind of household where we necessarily needed a weekly menu plan, since it was just the two of us. Although maybe you wished for something like that so you didn’t have to figure out what to make?)

  3. Christina

    It looks great! Now if I only had a robot that would choose what entrees to have that week, make a list and then grocery shop for me…

  4. Julie

    Yeah, I want that robot too. I think it’s called a paid staff of 12.

  5. emily

    do you own a laminator? what do they cost? I dream of a laminator since school days…makes things look so cool and done.

  6. Julie

    I don’t have a laminator, because Dave has one at work. If he didn’t, I’d buy one. They can be pricey ($50? $75?) but you can get deals on them occasionally, I think.

  7. emily

    the closest I’ve come to this is tortellini tuesday, and I have to say, the amount of comfort I get on tuesdays with the flash of knowledge that WE KNOW WHAT’S FOR DINNER and EVERYONE LIKES IT and I DON”T HAVE TO THINK about it is a VERY big amount of comfort indeed. so why I haven’t gone the one step farther and made just one or two more “fixed” dinners I don’t konw! (I think the ridiculous reason is taht I couldn’t come up with alliterative names…though suddenly meatloaf monday and falafel friday sound pretty good. except no one likes falafel. fruit salad friday? frittata friday? we like frittatas! wittles wednesday? waffles wednesday? wittengenstien feast wednesday? fishstix friday? thoroughly thoughtful thursday? thrice-cooked leftovers thursday?) well, some good work done here, maybe I will get a laminator dammint! lvoe your diner font!

  8. Julie

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be alliterative with the day of the week, if you just make it alliterative (and therefore fun) unto itself. We used to have Freezer Food Fun a lot, which was fish sticks and tater tots. I discontinued it because I felt gross afterwards, but you could pick something that works (pizza?) and make, um…Pretty Palliative Pizza. No. No one wants that. You know what I mean, though.

    The meals everyone in my family likes are tacos, pizza, and pasta. I bet they’d like Frittata Friday. (Alternatively, I suppose you could have Pizza Paturday.)

  9. Susannah

    May I suggest Make-Your-Own Mondays, years from now? My mom did this (though not w/laminated menu and alliteration) and when I realized she was serious I panicked first–what will I eat?! and how??! and then really enjoyed it. I think I was ten.

  10. Nancy Fairweather

    to replace envelope (hardworking, and dedicated, and ready for retirement), please consider locker accessories or cubicle wall accessories. there must be a ton of little compartment like boxes that could be attached to your corkboard (probably from the dollar store) Woo HOO! Dollar store expedition!!! *runs out to Dollar Store* Sweet calendar, eh?

  11. Nancy Fairweather

    by the way, we also have Russian night, when I serve Srevotfel.
    (spell it backwards, big family joke)

  12. Julie

    Nancy, that’s hilarious! I love it. Though it wouldn’t work here, since we rarely have enough to make Srevotfel an actual dinner meal. It’s just someone’s lunch (and therefore no real reason to be festively named).


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