Long-term menu planning: My new menus

Rosemary Thyme Game Hen

I just finished editing our new menus for after the new baby's born. The last time I had done any serious menu planning was 2 years ago, before Eliyahu was born. Since that time, we've added quite a few recipes to our repertoire, and it was definitely time for something a little more updated!

Before I share the actual menus, let me tell you how I went about making the menus. I doubt that my particular menus would be perfect for any other family besides us, but sharing the general idea and tips for writing out a long-term menu might be helpful if you're not sure where to start. :)

First, I made a two-week "Easy Meals" menu, which contains my easiest meals -- either meals that are just plain easy (like grilled cheese!) or else meals that are easy for me because I have ingredients in the freezer or pantry, already prepared (like spaghetti and meatballs!). I'll use this easy menu for the first month or so after having the baby, which should allow me to relax on meals and not need to spend too much extra time in the kitchen. :)

For the rest of the menus, I decided to plan a 12-week menu. I planned dinner for each night, and one different soup for each week. To begin, I made a list of our favorite main dishes. I made a list of all 12 weeks, and started filling in the days' meals. If it was a recipe we like, but don't want to eat too often, I just put it down once. For meals we really like (like pizza!) I planned them every 2 weeks or so.

I also made a list of some breakfast ideas, and we'll decide on breakfast each day or week. Lunches will be leftovers or else something from my list of lunch ideas. I also have a list of sides/breads. And, I always make a cooked vegetable or salad with the meal. :)

I won't follow these menus exactly... I'm sure I'll be adding in things that we get on sale/in season (especially in the summer, with all of our garden food!) or making special meals for guests. For this reason, the menus will probably last longer than 12 weeks. :)

Easy Menu 1

Taco salad
Grilled chicken quesadillas
Pizza
Spaghetti and meatballs
Cheesy chicken vermicelli
Rice lasagna
Chicken rice bake

Soup/side: Wheat Berry Soup


Easy Menu 2

Pizza
Grilled burgers
Sunshine casserole
Spaghetti and meatballs
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Macaroni and cheese
Oven-roasted chicken


Soup/side: Cornbread


Menu 1

Pizza
Grilled burgers
Meatza pie
Farmhouse chicken
Taco salad
Philly cheese steak wraps
Taco pizza

Soup: Beef vegetable soup


Menu 2

Spaghetti and meatballs
Oven-roasted chicken
Grilled chicken quesadillas
Shepherd's pie
Incredibly easy taco pie
Pizza
Lasagna

Soup: Veggie bean soup with spinach


Menu 3

Cheesy veggie chicken pasta
Easy chuck roast
Balsamic thyme chicken
Pepperoni roll
Taco salad
Grilled chicken fajitas
Cheesy chicken vermicelli

Soup: Potato soup


Menu 4

Pizza
Grilled chicken salad
Oven-roasted chicken
Chicken stuffing casserole
Spicy grilled steak stir fry
Grilled burgers
Rice lasagna

Soup: Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup


Menu 5

AGK's organic chicken fettuccine
Spaghetti and meatballs
Chicken squash bake
Italian beef and beans over pasta
Taco salad
Pizza
Macaroni and cheese

Soup: Italian Meatball Soup


Menu 6

Shepherd's pie
Oven-roasted chicken
Saucy broccoli chicken bake
Chicken pot pie
Three-cheese baked spaghetti
Lamb gyros with tzatziki sauce
Chicken rice bake

Soup: Corn chowder


Menu 7

Pizza
Sunshine casserole
Grilled burgers
Easy cheeseburger casserole
Taco salad
Spinach rice casserole
Cheesy chicken vermicelli

Soup: White chili


Menu 8

Spaghetti and meatballs
Spicy meatball sandwiches
Oven-roasted chicken
Easy three-cheese enchiladas
Authentic spanish rice with beans
Pizza
Rice medley

Menu 9

Quiche
Stuffed shells
Broccoli and cheese mina
Chicken pizza
Taco salad
Italian cream cheese chicken
Meatloaf with baked potatoes

Soup: Wheat Berry Soup


Menu 10

Pizza
Chicken parmesan
Oven-roasted chicken
Spicy sweet pepper steak
Chicken lasagna
Grilled burgers
Crockpot pizza

Soup: Chicken Noodle Soup


Menu 11

Chicken squash bake
Pastitsio
Fried chicken
Easy salisbury steak
Taco salad
Pizza
Cheesy chicken vermicelli

Soup: Black and white bean chili


Menu 12

Spaghetti and meatballs
Enchilada casserole
Stuffed chicken breasts florentine
Oven-roasted chicken
Spinach manicotti
Grilled chicken sandwiches
Easy chuck roast

Soup: Chili


Breakfasts:

Breakfast sandwiches on homemade bagels
Waffles with strawberry syrup
Whole wheat berry pancakes
Challah french toast
Cinnamon apple french toast
Cinnamon crunch granola
Granola
Italian scrambled eggs
Breakfast burritos
Omelettes
Orange julius
Smoothies
Oatmeal
Cream of Wheat
Easy baked oatmeal

Lunches:

Chicken salad sandwiches
Chicken ceasar wraps
Chicken pasta salad
Hot chicken sandwiches
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Chicken fried rice
Oriental chicken salad
Chicken alfredo over pasta
Egg salad sandwiches
Cheesy whole wheat vegetable calzones
Baked nachos
Simple beef gravy supper


Snacks or lunchbox items:

Whole wheat cinnamon graham squares
Pumpkin spice bread
Breakfast grain muffins
Banana pineapple bread
Banana bread
Lemon-glazed gingerbread
Oatmeal buttermilk muffins with raisins
Pumpkin butterscotch muffins
Cinnamon raisin biscuits
Banana chocolate chip muffins
Tabbouleh
Energy Bars


Sides/breads:

Bread bowls
Italian garlic bread
Yellow rice
Italian cheese bread
Pita pockets
New year's apple challah
Homemade wheat bread
Spinach tortillas
Hearty herb bread
Italian garlic knots
Cornmeal crescent rolls
Grilled cheese loaf
Challah
Cornbread
Pumpkin dinner rolls
Tomatoes and black beans over pasta
Summer squash casserole
Baked beans
Colorful sauteed green beans
Cheesy potatoes
Parsley potatoes
Gourmet potatoes

Comments

Tammy, when is the new baby due? I missed that somehow.

Where is your baby going to sleep, do you have a cute room ready?

Tammy, how do you work the soup or side that you have listed with each week into your meals? Do you just make a big batch of soup and eat on it off and on during that week?

Tracy in NC

OH, I need to do this...my baby is due in less than 2 months, and I don't even have my son's bed converted back into a crib yet! I wanted to have some casseroles and such cooked up, but since we homeschool(I have a 4th grader and a kindergartener) I haven't had time! And with my husband over the road truck driving...argh! Wonderful ideas though....

I LOVE to see how other women plan their days and menus! Thank you so much for taking the time to type that all in!! I will be busy printing soon.
I plan my meals by the month and try to stick with
sunday-roast
monday-chicken
tuesday-breakfast
wednesday-beef
thursday-pasta
friday-pizza
saturday-'good' beef (if steak is on sale)

I also make a pot of soup every week and bread about every other day, and make my own 'chex mix' with different healthy snacks I through into a old ice cream tub. I also boil a dozen eggs to have to snack or salad.

We have the same breakfast and lunch and snack the same day every week and get enough for the month.
Ex- monday -breakfast- eggs, fruit, toast
-snack-yogurt and pretzels
-lunch-ham and cheese and salad
-snack-fruit (maybe with cheese)
-dinner-chicken dish, bread, salad, dessert
-snack-hard boiled egg and 1/2 fruit
Of course it does change depending on sales and left overs but this is what I try to stick with. We follow the same menu almost monthly,but now since finding this site I am going to have to try MANY new recipes!!!

Wow annonymous (last one)I don't think I could eat the same thing everyday for lunch and snack.

I don't snack. But I give my children fruit or veggie sticks. And maybe once and a while for a treat some pretzels. None of us are big on dairy because we all have sinus issues. So we try and limit our dairy intake.

We eat a lot of fish. And tons of fresh salads, and only poultry no pork or red beef. (I'm happy to have cut out the red beef, since now they are attributing red beef, and processed foods to some cancers)

I already have one vegitarian daughter (and she's 3 1/2). Maybe one day we all will be!

I like to change up my menus and make it a surprise as to what we are having. I always have fresh/frozen soup, and always a salad w/the lunch meal (a small one, if we are having soup). Our biggest meal is our lunch. I pack my husband's lunch w/a hearty meal. Not just fruit or sandwich, but a good meal, it's what people consider a dinner meal.

Bread, it depends, we aren't huge bread people. If we had soup, salad and bread we would be done. lol So we generally don't fill ourselves up w/bread.

OOOPs. I must of worded it wrong. What I ment to say was every monday for lunch we have ham and cheese sandwiches and a salad, every tuesday we have peanut butter and jelly with fruit, every wednesday we have egg salad and soup, every thurdays is hot dogs (healthy choice brand), noodles and veggies, ect ect...

I think i would get sick eating the same thing every day too!!!!!!!LOL!!!
Sorry for my wording...typical me...LOL
I love your plan to and the one Tammy does-always FULL of ideas.
Trish

Well I'm certainly glad you don't have the same thing everyday. lol

For hotdogs...it's best to get a brand called Hebrew. They aren't loaded w/the junk that normal hotdogs are made of. They are also kosher. We don't eat hotdogs either, but thought I'd pass that along.

Tracy, the soup listed is either for lunches or else to go along with one of the main meals listed... on whatever day I take the time to make the soup. :) Joshua likes soup, but doesn't like having it for a main dish. :) The main reason I have a soup on the actual menu is so that I don't forget to incorporate the various soups we like, into our meals! :)

Trish, I have heard of others using that sort of menu plan (i.e. a different meat/food for the different days of the week) and I think it'd be a great way to have variety but not so much stress about menu planning! :) I imagine our menu planning will change as our family grows, as well...  :)

I have heard some comments about hot dogs being kosher. Excuse my ignorance, but what does that mean? Is it related to pork. I have read alot of family dont eat pork and was wondering why.
About a year ago I started making my own cleaning supplies, about 6 months ago stuying herbs instead of medicine and now am focused on what we are putting into our bodies.
This site has been sooo helpful to me. I thought I was alone in areas God was leading me to and am so glad I am not. Thank you all!
Trish

Hi, Trish! :)

Hmmm... the term "kosher" is talked about on this page. (That page is not my site or anything.) A food is marked "kosher" (there are various symbols for"types" of kosher -- K, K with a circle around it, U, etc...) so the consumer knows that it was made/processed according to certain methods.

Joshua and I don't follow a rabbinical kosher diet, but we do follow the Biblical food laws about clean and unclean foods. :) 

It is interesting to read your menues!
I think, we in france, tend to have much more vegetables with our meals or salads...but we have much simpler breakfasts! These give you a lot of work!

I've fallen way off the good wife/mom horse. I've been sick & I'm in my first trimester. So morning sickness is keeping me down. I was super mom up until 2 months ago & now I can't seem to get off the couch. I'm finally feeling a little better. We went from baked breads & home cooked meals to eating out & junk food.
Any ideas? I'll try out the recipes.

Hi Tammy,

I love the idea of having an easy meal list! I plan on making one for myself to have for this summer, when I am crazy-busy studying for the bar. Of course, it's much easier to have an easy list in the summer, when there is access to fresh produce from farmer's markets! :)

Take care!

Finally! A website with menus I have actually heard of and eaten as a child! I love that your ingredients are simple. It helps teach the kids to love the taste of the good food and not the salt or sugar!

I love your list of 3 month menus -- I had written so many of them down that I finally just gave up and decided I am going to follow the same 3 month schedule!! You did all the work and I wanted to take the time to write to you and let you know that it made a difference in my life and I appreciate it!

I have been praying for help to answer these kinds of questions in my own life and you have really been a blessing for me and my family!

God has really blessed you with a lot of wisdom =)Please continue to share it!

Dawn from Dallas, TX

I think that palnning out your meals makes life alot easier.Yyou have some great menus here thanks for sharing them

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