Monthly Menu Plan: January

It’s time for another month of menu planning!

Rather than planning my family dinners night by night, or week by week, I’ve taken the habit of planning out one menu for an entire month. This makes my grocery shopping much easier since I’ve already decided what dinners I’ll be making, I only have to pick up the ingredients missing for that week and the very regular cast of breakfast and lunch foods.

And the looming nightly dinners are now much less intimidating. No longer having to stand in front of the refrigerator scratching my head, trying desperately to figure out something nutritious and delicious to make for dinner? Love that. And by doing this monthly rather than weekly, it leaves more time for life in the days in between. It isn’t rocket science, and thanks goes to Simple Mom who inspired me with this idea.

So here’s my menu for the month of January:

Week One

Monday: chicken strips, sweet potato fries & sweet corn
Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo w/ grilled chicken and Caesar salad
Wednesday: Hamburgers w/ choose your own sides
Thursday: *BBQ Chicken Teriyaki w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
Friday: Grilled cheese & pepperoni w/ clam chowder
Saturday: Book Club – I’ll be out for dinner
Sunday: Swedish Meatballs

Week Two

Monday: Steak & Cheese Sandwiches
Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs w/ Texas toast & Caesar salad
Wednesday: *Beer Battered Fish w/ mashed potatoes & veggies
Thursday: *Orange Chicken w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
Friday: Grilled cheese & pepperoni w/ chicken noodle soup
Saturday: Still haven’t decided – any ideas?
Sunday: Homemade spinach & Alfredo pizza

Week Three

Monday: *Beef toquitos w/ blue corn chips and salsa
Tuesday: ABC pasta w/ garlic and olive oil, with Caesar salad
Wednesday: Hot Dogs & Macaroni & Cheese
Thursday: *BBQ Chicken Teriyaki w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
Friday: Grilled cheese & pepperoni w/ beef stew
Saturday: Meatball Subs / w provolone cheese
Sunday: Enchilada style Mexican pizza

Week Four

Monday: chicken strips, mashed potatoes & corn
Tuesday: *Gnocchi w/ marinara sauce, with texas toast & caesar salad
Wednesday: Mozechilli Casserole
Thursday: *Orange Chicken w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
Friday: Grilled cheese & pepperoni w/ tomato soup
Saturday: GAME NIGHT homemade pizzas
Sunday: Make Your Own Burritos

* Trader Joe’s Freezer Food

That’s it for January! Remember, the most important part of this process is flexibility – make a plan, but  don’t get eaten up about it if you decide to switch things up – maybe your dinners for Wednesday and Thursday need to be switched for a week or you make plans at the last minute – that’s fine – this isn’t homework, so it shouldn’t feel like it – the whole goal is to make YOUR life easier! So have fun with it!

If you’re making a menu plan for the month of January be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post in the comments section below.

Giveaway Alert: Six Chances To Win Reusable Shopping Bags

Do you use reusable bags when shopping? Do you want to start? Head over to Simple Mom asap for a chance to win one of the six reusable bags she’s giving away! Bag brands include:

Shop Wise Bags

• Perks – These durable oilcloth bags are shaped just like traditional grocery sacks, so they fold up nicely and stand up well. I’ve been using mine lately to cart around diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes for my kids in the car. And I love all their great patterns and colors.

• Giveaway – One reader will win a set of three high-quality Shop Wise bags!


Perks – These bags are much bigger than they seem. They hold so much stuff, and they’re easy to fold up and secure with the velcro tabs. They’re pretty, too.

• Giveaway – One reader will win a set of five Envirosax bags!

B. Happybags

• Perks – These high-quality, durable canvas bags can hold a lot of stuff, and their wide openings mean I can toss big things along with no problem. Plus, they’re adorable.

• Giveaway – One reader will win four B. Happybags!


• Perks – These are mesh bags, which are perfect for produce. They fold up tiny, so you can hold multiple in your purse no problem. I’m so impressed with how durable they are – for as lightweight as they are, they can really hold some heavy stuff.

• Giveaway – One reader will win three ACME mesh bags from!


Perks – I love how this micro bag folds up securely and easily, and its medium-sized shape holds things neatly. We use ours to tote books and crayons to and from the car.

Giveaway – One reader will win a micro RuMe, a 13 ounce Earthlust bottle, and a Wrap-n-Mat from Mama Goes Green – all things I use and love!

Flip & Tumble

• Perks – These bags scrunch up nicely, and the colors are great, too. The 24-7 bags wads up into a ball, which means you’re carrying an instant toy for small children – and I love the felt shoulder pad, because normally bags and purses are always falling off my shoulder.

• Giveaway – One reader will win one 24-7 bag and two Loopt bags!

Interested? Head over to Simple Mom to enter the contest today!

October’s Month-Long Menu Plan

A few months ago I decided to start making a month of menus (idea inspired here @ Simple Mom) to end the dreaded nightly “what in the heck should I make for dinner?” debate. I think it’s a wonderful idea and I think my husband would agree. Even when he does come home at night to find me half passed out on the couch after a long day of chasing a two year old around the apartment and learns he’s making dinner, he at least doesn’t have to scrounge for something to make – I’ve got a menu. And most nights I make dinner, I swear.

And I’ve had a lot of people tell me it’s a good idea here in blogland, too, so I’ve decided to make this a “meme” of sorts – I’m challenging you, my readers, to make a month-long menu plan also. If you’d like to play along you can put my handy dandy so clearly self-made button on your post, in your sidebar and anywhere else you’d like. And be sure to comment here and let me know you are playing because I’m too lazy to put up a Mr. Linkey. 😛

So here’s what’s cooking this month. First, the weekly theme

Mondays: freezer food-ish
Tuesdays: italian night
Wednesdays: all american meal
Thursdays: soup & sandwich
Fridays: stir fry / skillet meal
Saturdays: pizza night / mexican night
Sundays: something easy & preferably light

Week One

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie (Mrs Budds)
Tuesday: Gnocchi, Red Sauce w/ Ground Beef, Garlic Bread
Wednesday: hot dogs, beans, macaroni & cheese
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chicken Noodle Soup
Friday: orange chicken, basmati rice & asian veggies
Saturday: Spinach & Feta Pizza
Sunday: Breakast Pizza For Dinner (I got this recipe from Sues2u2 @ My Musings in a comment on this post – if you have a recipe you think I should try, just leave me a comment in this post)

Week Two

Monday: COLUMBUS DAY Chicken Strips, Potato Wedges & Corn on the Cob
Tuesday: Fettucini Alfredo w/ broccoli & grilled chicken & caesar salad
Wednesday: hamburgers w/ choose your own sides
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Clam Chowder
Friday: BBQ Style Teriyaki Chicken, basmati rice & asian veggies
Saturday: Popcorn chicken, sweet potato fries & corn on the cob
Sunday: Enchilada Style Mexican Pizza

Week Three

Monday: Frozen Pizza, mozzarella strips & jalapeño poppers
Tuesday: spaghetti & meatballs w/ caesar salad
Wednesday: Steak & Cheese Sandwiches
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chili
Friday: orange chicken, basmati rice & asian veggies
Saturday: It’s Game Night at Chez Momma, so we’ll do a cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza and two spinach feta pizzas and maybe some homemade breadsticks, too? I might even make a dessert (maybe)
Sunday: Swedish Meatballs & egg noodles

Week Four

Monday: Frozen Apps: Potato Skins, Mozzarella Strips & popcorn chicken
Tuesday: multi colored spiral pasta w/ garlic, olive oil & caesar salad
Wednesday: beer battered fish, mashed potatoes & carrots
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Italian Wedding Soup
Friday: HALLOWEEN (we’ll pick something up while we’re out)
Saturday: 1st of NOV build your own burritos
Sunday: Baked Brie wrapped in philo dough w/ cherry preserves