The worst part about planning a menu is the part where you have to sit down and plan out what’s going to go on the menu.
I hate that.
I used to sit down every week, and relive the agony of ‘What’s for dinner?’ for an entire weeks worth of meals. While I’m not hugely fond of this, it does enable me to only grocery shop once, and majorly relieves the feeling of dread that settles on me at 6:30 if I haven’t planned anything. So it’s a necessary evil.
This summer, I gave myself a gift. I sat down and planned out 6 week summer menu, which I used all summer for my weekly dinner plan! I rotated through it several times, and we never got tired of the variety. It was easy to just plan side dishes based on what was locally available. And it saved my time and sanity! I would flex meals to fit our calendar, matching the ‘easy’ meals with busy nights.
I balk at any sort of system that locks me into a ‘have to’ cycle, but this was just enough of a structure to make meal planning simple, while staying flexible enough to keep it fun.
Now that the weather is turning cool, I’m ready to move on to soups, stews, and roasted veggies and meats. Bring on the fall and winter meals!
Skillet Cheeseburger Helper (THM S) is a family favorite!
In this plan, I planned 8 weeks of dinner meal ideas, plus a bonus page of ‘special occasion’
recipes, and ‘easy week’ menus for busy times when I need to keep it
The *asterisks* reminds me to buy and cook extra of certain ingredients that I’ll use later on in the week for other meals. That was a feature that saved me lots of time this summer as well.
Here is my 8 week menu of fall and winter meals. Even if you don’t enjoy the same recipes and foods, you can use this as a springboard to sub your family’s favorite dishes. It makes meal planning SO much easier!
PLEASE NOTE: This menu was created prior to the THM book being published, and uses the recipes our family enjoyed at the time. Please feel free to sub your own favorites in, using this basic framework…it’s a format that has worked really well for me. Here’s a free printable weekly menu that I use for THM menu planning in this post.
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So, I’ve told what my favorite foods are for the fall…what are you most looking forward to making and eating?