It took approximately 8 hours (give or take) to make the rotating meal plan. Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? But it has been *so very worth it*. We finished round 1 and this past weekend marked the end of week 1 of round 2. We haven’t followed it *exactly* and I know that this coming week we won’t follow it exactly either. I haven’t had to spend time *thinking* about what to make for dinner. I just have to go over to the binder, open it up and look to see what’s on the menu for this week. By making it 6 weeks long, I hope to be able to take advantage of buying in bulk and buying only on sale and in the long run saving money. I can also do bulk cooking and make life even easier but I think that is a topic for another day.
So here’s what I did step by step to create a six week rotating menu dinner menu plan of meals my family would actually eat.
Step 1: I asked honeybear to help. We gathered the children together and he stood at the white board. Honeybear divided the white board into sections labeled: Beef, Chicken, Bean, Soup and Misc. Then we brainstormed as a family, while Daddy wrote our choices. I vetoed anything that they came up with that “sounded good” but that was not “tried and true”. I wasn’t about to put *new* recipes on a rotating meal plan just because they sounded good. Once we had several choices for section I typed them up into word documents so that I would have them if I wanted to swap things around at some point.
Step 2: Decide on a theme for each day. Some theme ideas I had heard before “leftovers”, “fun night”, “cook’s choice” “kid’s choice” or perhaps “breakfast for dinner”. Another option is to assign by “main protein”: beef, chicken, bean, vegetarian, fish. Some that we have done in the past include “Taco Tuesday”, “Tortilla”. Taco Tuesday wasn’t just tacos but I liked the name. And the Tortilla night was more of a wrap as it was summer. We’d grill some meat and veggies and wrap it in a tortilla. We decided to blend an “ethnic” theme into our rotating menu plan. We love Asian style food and Tex-Mex/Mexican has really grown on my children. We eat Pizza every week. We want to eat a bean or vegetarian meal each week and we want to eat soup one night a week.
We went with these for our “themes”
Tuesday: Tex-Mex/Mexican (formerly known as Taco Tuesdays)
Friday: Pizza Night
The above is a picture of the color coded index cards. Once I knew where they went, I wrote the week number in the lower right corner. On the back, I put possible side dishes and notes and grocery list for that meal.