Why I Do a Weekly Menu

So, for the longest time I was a lot like many of you are–I just got the basic sorts of things that I knew my family would eat during the week, and if I ran out of something or found I was missing an ingredient for a recipe in the middle of the week, I’d run out and get it…and end up making three or four, or on a particularly bad week, FIVE trips to the store, between me going during the day and my husband stopping on the way home from work.

After doing this for, erm, the first 3 years of my marriage, I found out that one of my smartest friends made a menu every week (well, for her it was more like every month), and then she made her grocery list based on that.  Then, she knew everything that she would need and could get away with making only one trip, with only an occasional emergency run for ice cream or some other random item that she forgot (we all do it).

So I said to myself, “Self, you should totally do that.”

So I did.

Ever since that day, I’ve noticed that when I don’t make my menu, my evenings go something like this:

  1. Look at the clock, realize it’s half an hour before it’s time to make dinner.
  2. Try to decide what to make for dinner.
  3. Go through 4-5 recipes until one strikes my fancy.
  4. Start getting things together to prep.
  5. Realize just in time that I’m missing one crucial ingredient.
  6. Dither about whether to try and substitute something else, run out to get the missing ingredient, or just scrap that plan altogether and start over.
  7. Scrap the plan.
  8. Repeat steps 2-7 two more times until I have success, or give up and make grilled cheese.

On the days where I have my menu planned (and I’ve shopped for it), my evenings go more like this:

  1. Look at the clock and realize it’s half an hour before it’s time to make dinner.
  2. Think to myself, “I’m so glad I made my menu.”
  3. Wait 30 minutes, consult the menu and get started on what I picked for that day, confident that I have all the ingredients and that I won’t have to decide what to make today because I decided last week.

So, for those of you who are lazy like me and don’t want to deal with making your own menu (at least for now), click here and steal one of mine.

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