I'm seriously not very good at menu planning. Mostly because I just look at my freezer list, decide what needs to be used, then create a meal around it. Lately, with the boxes of food left by the food fairies, it's even more difficult to plan a week or month of meals when I don't know what I'm gonna get. The food left for me must be eaten too. I also like to do what is called "planned leftovers". In case you don't already know; that's when enough extra of something is cooked so the leftovers can be used to create another dish the next day or later in the week.
Well, after giving this a little thought I came up with something that may help me with menu planning next year. I won't know until October of next year if this works or not because it will take that long to develop my plan. You may think right about now that Anita's lost it... call the men with the straight jackets.
What I have done is print off calendar pages from the internet. Everyday (or once a week) I will write down what I had to eat each day. I'll keep the calendar pages to be used as next year's menu plan. I have one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you enlarge the picture you can see that on Friday I made a pot roast with potatoes and baked loaves of bread. The next day, Saturday, I made beef pinwheels with the leftover beef. I also made beef flavored mashed potatoes with the left over potatoes and added
carrots peas to the menu. (need to change that on the calendar) I had left over mashed potatoes made into potato cakes on Sunday and added sausage to the menu. Monday the left over sausage was used to make S.O.S. to put on toast made from leftover bread I baked on Friday. Get the idea?
When I absolutely don't want to use the leftovers for another meal; I make my own hot pockets to put into the freezer. (read about it here) I can pull these out and heat them up for a quick lunch or snack.
One advantage of keeping up with this afterward menu planning is that next year I'll have a clearer list of what I would need to keep stored in my food pantry. A year's worth of meals listed that I could use to plan my food storage stockpile. For example; I'll be able to see how many times I made loaves of bread which will give me an indication of how many pounds of flour to have on hand. I'll be able to see how many times I make spaghetti so I know how much ground turkey to keep in the freezer.
Even if I don't exactly follow the menu plan sheets next year, I will at least know how many times I fix the same meals.