Monday, 27 February 2012

Menu Planning

I tend to jump from being a menu planner to being a fly by the seat of my pants kinda cook. I AM mainly organised, but some reason, Christmas always seems to put me out of the habit for a while - OK, a long while!
But I am back on board now and thought I would share how I do it.
Now food storage and preparedness is a large part of my thoughts on this topic, but I will not go into it too much as there are many, many other sites out there.

Food Storage Made Easy - a very easy site to navigate, lots of checklists and a free Excel spreadsheet to keep track of your storage.

Everyday Food Storage - great recipes, lots of organisation tips to help you get the best out of your food storage. I will be making this banana cake recipe tomorrow as Aldi had bananas for 89c a kilo today!

 It is certainly worth doing, even if only for a little peace of mind when you cannot get to the shops due to a sick child, broken down car, whatever. As I have been busy with other things lately, I haven't done a big grocery shop for the last two months and we have been living on our stored items (just had to get milk, fruit and veg). It is just really handy to not have to be always worrying about whether there is enough toilet paper, or running out of something and having to rush to the shops. So even if you are not right into preparedness, I think it would be worth while to plan to have a three month supply of basic items.

To plan my menu for the week, firstly I go through the fridge, fruit bowl, etc and see what desperately needs to be used up. Make a list of these and note any ideas.

Next, I pull out a selection of cookbooks, magazines, wherever you find recipes.

I particularly like ones that are arranged by season or month.
I will make a list of any recipes I would like to try out.

Then I start the menu for the week. I always include a combination of old favourites and new ones.

Once the menu is planned, I write down the ingredients I will need. I just keep a running list as I go through the recipes. So, I list the ingredient and then mark off how many I will need.  
For example, eggs normally appear a few times, so I just make a mark next to 'Eggs' each time I need one.

Next step is to work out what I already have on hand. I have an Excel spreadsheet listing all the stocked items. I know, I know, I used to be an accountant in another life!!

Then a shopping list can be made.

I am planning to keep this more organised as I find if I have not planned dinner ahead, it all just gets too hard!

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