Part 3 of the menu planning series continues with meal rotations. The idea is that you plan your menu only once per season and rotate meals each week. Start with writing out all the meals your family enjoys. You will probably be surprised to find that there are really only 2-3 weeks worth of meals that you prepare regularly.
Write the days of the week down the side of an index card. If you already know that you have an event on a specific day each week (such as dance class every Thursday), use that information, and last week’s calendar cooking topic, to choose a meal from your list. Then start filling in the rest of the days with your choices. For maximum savings, plan only the main dish and fill in side items as the sales allow.
Since you will have planned your meals weeks in advance, you are not working each week’s menu around the sale items. For the meat sales to save your family money, you will need to stock up on the items your family uses regularly every time they are a deal. Clean out your refrigerator and freezer each week to be sure things are not going to waste and give yourself the storage space you need.
The problem with meal rotations occurs when the scheduled meal does not work with the day’s events. You will need to be flexible, trading meals when necessary, to fit this idea into your lifestyle. Don’t forget to review your meal plan regularly, adding seasonal favorites (i.e. chili in the winter, bbq in the summer) and removing meals that didn’t work well for your family.
Check back next week for creative ideas to finish our menu planning series.