Menu planning was a love hate relationship for me. I needed a menu. I *wanted* a menu. Especially when it came to making a grocery list…I saved way more if I knew exactly what to buy. And I loved knowing exactly what was for dinner that night. Or, if plans changed, I would just switch a meal from one night to another, knowing I had what I needed in the house. Menus are awesome like that.But I really, really, really didn’t want to *make* the menu.
I have gone through several variations of menu crutches, including creating a restaurant style menu with all of our favorites, and even a menu divided by main dish ingredient. And then there was the ‘save-all-the-menus-and-reuse-them’ plan that sounded good, but never got done. <grumble, grumble, grumble.>
Finally, I decided “today is the day!” I sat down with my weekly plan and came up with this 6 week Summer Meal Plan. This is just main dishes, so you can get creative with what is on sale or in the garden for sides. Also, don’t look at this as a fixed, inflexible plan…think of it as a guideline to take the work out of meal planning, and then fit it to your calendar, resources, and local sales. It’s infinitely flexible.
One of the things I built into it was theme nights, so that I would have an easy meal solution on our busiest days. I also noted the ingredients that you could double up prep-work on to save you time later in the week. No sense in browning ground beef and washing the skillet twice, ya’ know?
Since I used my favorite recipes, you may not find this very helpful. If you’d like to try your hand at making your own 6 week summer menu, just choose 6 ‘themes’, and find a few favorite dishes for each theme. It’s really not as hard as I’d built it up to be in my mind.
So, here it is. My masterpiece of menu-making…the 6 Week Summer Menu!