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4 Moms, 35 Kids Discuss Menu Planning


This week the 4 Moms are blogging about menu planning. Be sure to see what each mom has to say on the topic.

As for me, here is the part where I admit to you that the last time I planned a weekly menu was 2 kids ago.  I used to print out a neat little sheet that had a grocery list on one side and a place for daily meal plans on the other side, so the shopping and planning could be coordinated. I kept that sheet on the fridge so I could consult it regularly and plan accordingly.

It really did work well for a while, and I can't remember the precise reason I got away from that, but I suspect it had to do with diapers, LOTS of diapers, and spit up in my hair, and coping with missed nap times, and the chaos that comes with life in a large family.

My menu planning these days goes something like this:

  1. Open fridge
  2. See if anything is about to spoil.
  3. If the answer to #2 is yes, PLAN on using that in the MENU.
  4. If the answer to #2 is no, open freezer.
  5. Stare inside until something looks good.
  6. PLAN MENU accordingly.

Really, the way we do our shopping, by loading up on excellent bargains whenever they are available, doesn't allow for as much flexibilty in menu planning as just making a plan, then listing the ingredients needed and setting out to the store.

For instance, if we happen to find strawberries on sale, like I did this week, I like to stock up on those and use them in various ways before they spoil. Same thing with any produce and meats. If we find a fantastic bargain on chicken thighs and fresh broccoli, we buy as much as we can and our menu plan will be including chicken and broccoli for a while.

Of course, many of the meals can be made ahead and frozen, but I like to keep my menu planning flexible and open to what is available in the bargain bins and what is needing to be used up in my refrigerator and pantry. 

So, now that you've seen what The Slacker Mom does for "menu planning", be sure and check out what the other moms do.

Would you like to see the everything The 4 Moms have discussed so far? Click here: 4 Moms, 35 Kids - How Moms of Many Manage

Next week, The 4 Moms will be sharing about cooking from scratch and how we get it all done.

And do be sure to come the following week, on Thursday, April 22nd. You will NOT want to miss what the 4 Moms have up our collective sleeves!  A RECIPE SWAP! You will have the opportunity to share your best recipes for large crowds, and when you enter your link on one of our blogs, it will show up on all FOUR! Why, you'll practically be famous!

So, get those recipes ready that will feed a big bunch and meet me back here next week!

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    No you are not slacker mom. You are real mom and I respect you all the more for it. Menu planning is wonderful but our babies are more important. They will not remember perfectly planned meals. I cook from scratch almost every night but the nuts still get excited about cereal for supper. :) However they will remember cuddling on the couch with books. (Are we allowed to eat chocolate and read to our children at the same time? And more importantly how do we do this so they don’t notice and make you share?????) Just my two cents worth…

  2. You are too funny! = )
    I think my menu making style most resembles yours. I shop the sales, buy in bulk and then as you said “shop” in my own house. I do however have to have everything written down because I’m weird like that but I just do it one week at a time.
    Thanks for the Post!

  3. Once again, I’m floored and laughing at the similarity in our styles – all 4 of us moms, but esp. yours and mine this time. I do the stare too. Fridge first, then freezer, while calculating just how long it would take to defrost that lump of chicken and turn it into something edible and appetizing that looks planned.
    Thanks for making me feel better about my slacker ways. If we’re all slackers, then maybe it’s because our techniques work, not because we’re lazy.

  4. Rather than menu plan (which never works for me) – I always have the ingredients around for 5-6 basic meals that my family loves and are very simple. One, I know they’ll like it; two, it’s easy to pull together and is a much better choice than ordering pizza.

    When my oldest was a toddler, he would open up the cupboard or fridge and say “Ummmm….” and 12 years later, I still catch myself doing that. :)

  5. im slacker mom too:) i prefer to call us ingenious moms…not everyone can be so creative you know!

  6. Menu planning is one of the first things to go when things get hectic here. Thanks for covering this topic with a group.


  7. I’ve menu planned according to #2 also. See whats about to spoil. Actually thats how we plan our lunches…what needs to be eaten today or tossed. works for us!

  8. My self esteem just recieved a boost. This is exactly what I do. From now on , whenever there is lots of menu-talk going on in Bloggy land, I am going to just come on over here where its comfy.

  9. I like to think of myself as a nightly contestant on Chopped on the Food Network. My cupboard is my “basket” and I find it highly satisfying when I create something my “judges” love from seemingly unblendable ingredients! Too bad they dont give me $10,000 for doing it! haha! Thanks for this post! This is the way I do menu “planning” but I have been feeling so guilty for it! Now, Im reconsidering my feelings of inadequacy and am thinking of kicking my guilt to the curb. :)

  10. I prefer to call it extemporaneous menu planning. :)


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