Friday, July 31, 2015

A Month of Dinners: Menu Plan for August

Make your month a little easier by planning all your meals at once.  

Month-of-Dinners-Menu-Plan-August-tasteasyougo.com

I'm still floored by the amount of support I received after announcing my decision to temporarily suspend my weekly menu plans. The truth of it was, I just needed a break.

Planning our meals for the week was really helpful because it eliminated the need to have a nightly conversation that started off with "So... what do you for dinner?". It was the writing up of a weekly blog post to share our menu plans that became a huge PITA, especially now that we have an infant in the house.

I kept asking myself the same question:

How could I continue planning our meals AND have time to share the menu plans on the blog?

To find the answer, I took a cue from my motherhood playbook. Adjusting to being a new parent has forced me to look at things differently, and, above all, it's taught me a whole new lesson in efficiency. It made perfect sense to see if I could find a way to cut out some steps in the menu planning process.

After some thought, I realized that it seemed wiser (and more efficient!) to budget time for organizing our meals once a month rather than doing it once a week. Now that I've seen the light, I'm excited to share some benefits of monthly menu plans, general guidelines for creating menu plans, and our menu plan for August.

There's a lot to go over, so let's get started!

Why Monthly Menu Plans Rock


Planning a month's worth of dinners requires a bit more time upfront, but it ultimately saves you a lot of time down the road. For me, this means I only have to search for inspiration on my favorite blogs or in my collection of cookbooks or in my file of saved recipes I've pulled from magazines once.

Planning for a month at a time can also save you money at the grocery store through bulk buying. If you're a diligent shopper, you can watch for sales and be on the look-out for specials on items that you'll need in a few weeks.

Plus, say you're going to make multiple meals in one month that call for browned ground beef. Buy the meat in bulk, cook it all at once, and then portion it out for the individual meals. Refrigerate any meat you plan on using within a few days and freeze the rest for later.

In short, creating a monthly menu plan can save you time, money, and work.

I'm honestly shocked that I didn't start doing this a long time ago.

Guidelines for Creating a Menu Plan


I create our menu plans on the computer so I can utilize the search function, but if you feel more comfortable with using pencil and paper, then go for it. If you don't know where to get started, here are some general guidelines -- appropriate for monthly and weekly menu plans -- that I follow:

  • Make note of any special events (birthdays, anniversary, dinner parties, etc.) and holidays. This way, you can decide whether you want to mark those occasions with a certain meal.

  • Plug in regular meals that you have every week. For us, I try to stick to Meatless Mondays and Friday Pizza Night. And, well, the occasional Taco Tuesday sneaks in there every now and again, too. ;-)

  • Look at the days/afternoons that are particularly busy and plan easy meals on those nights. This is especially helpful when you're trying to cook dinner around multiple schedules. For example, when Stephen is traveling for work, it doesn't make sense for me to make complicated meals for just me. On those nights, I'll stick to meals that I can put together in 20 minutes or less.

  • Plan Leftover Nights. No one will think less of you, I promise.

  • Add meals for the remaining nights, alternating meatless with meat or varying the proteins from night to night.

The important thing to remember is that this is just a plan. It's not set in stone. Things come up and Life Happens, so be flexible and comfortable enough to alter the plan over the course of the month if you need to.

Menu Plan for August


Now, without further ado, here's our menu plan for the month of August!*

SAT 8/1: Simple Chicken Cacciatore over Egg Noodles

SUN 8/2: Creamy Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp and Peas
MON 8/3: Chile Baked Salmon (from Willow Bird Baking) with Roasted Asparagus and Wild Rice
TUE 8/4: Leftovers
WED 8/5: Stephen's Choice
THU 8/6: Mexican Stuffed Peppers from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook
FRI 8/7: Pizza with Spinach and Mushrooms
SAT 8/8: Grilled Chicken with Fiery Pomegranate Sauce, Jasmine Rice, and Steamed Snow Peas

SUN 8/9: Italian Sausage and White Bean Stew
MON 8/10: Quinoa Salad with Sourdough Croutons
TUE 8/11: Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms, Steamed Broccoli, and Buttered Egg Noodles
WED 8/12: Stephen's Choice
THU 8/13: Linguine with Grape Tomatoes, Garlic, Fresh Basil, and Olive Oil
FRI 8/14: Pizza with Bacon and Caramelized Onions
SAT 8/15: Dinner Out

SUN 8/16: Dinner Out
MON 8/17: Healthier Eggplant Parmesan
TUE 8/18: Dinner Out
WED 8/19: Stephen's Choice
THU 8/20: Pasta with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts, and Lemon Zest (from Cooking Light)
FRI 8/21: Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil
SAT 8/22: Leftovers

SUN 8/23: "Big Salad" with Chopped Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Carrots, Bell Peppers, and Hard-Boiled Egg
MON 8/24: Angel Hair Pasta with Cauliflower from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook
TUE 8/25: Ground Turkey Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning
WED 8/26: Stephen's Choice
THU 8/27Cuban Pork and Black Bean Stew (from All You) with Rice and Tortillas
FRI 8/28: Pizza with Broccoli and Mushrooms
SAT 8/29: BLT Sandwiches and Mom's Potato Salad

SUN 8/30: Spicy Chicken Milanese with Tomato Salad and Parmesan
MON 8/31: Spinach and Gruyere Quiche with Mixed Greens Salad

* I originally published our menu plan in a nifty-looking table. When I saw that the table didn't display well on mobile devices, I came back to reformat everything. My apologies!

What do you think about our new monthly menu plans? I'd love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below!

Taste As You Go Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate product links. Clicking on the links may result in my being paid a commission based on product sales. Regardless of commission, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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