I try to use a shelf-stable food storage item in every meal. Somehow. It's not that difficult. If you stop thinking of food storage as only wheat, rice, and dry beans, the possibilities are endless. Think of breakfast cereal, soup, even tortillas. Canned black beans, applesauce, or popcorn. Change your thinking of food storage as ONLY long-term foods. Get away with your dependency on the grocery store. Your home store is the best place to start shopping.
I can easily look at our Master Menus to plan out my weekly menus. As I do, I think, "What do I have on hand in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator?" Or "What's in the pantry now?" "What haven't I used in a long time?" "What's in the freezer?" Then, if I really want to do a menu that I don't have something for, I look at the grocery ads and decide if it's worth shopping for those extra ingredients. I honestly think I save over 50% of my grocery budget when I have a plan. Without it, I find myself in the store multiple times a week and spending too much money. If you don't have a plan, you really don't have a plan to save money.
Then I add breakfast, lunch and dinner menus to My Menu Plan worksheet. Yours does not have to be typed. Just fill in the blanks on the pdf copy below.
Of course I can change things around. I may use Monday's menu on Thursday. But having a plan makes life pleasant! It keeps the cupboards, fridge and freezer stocked. My teenage daughters are happy because Mom is going to have something substantial for them to eat when they come home from a hard track practice. I like it, because it's a time saver. I don't wonder what in the world I am going to make at five o'clock at night. Sometimes my kids buy lunch at school. But I still write down lunches on My Menu Plan at the beginning of the week, add the items I need from the store to my grocery list, and I stock my cupboards. I can use the items they didn't use for another week.
Obviously, if you want to hunt for new recipes each week, do that on your down time. Not your planning time (my planning day is Sunday). Unless you a have a lot of time on your hands. Try new recipes, and if they become a family favorite, add them to your Master Menus. Or if a meal becomes tiresome to your family, add a new one. The possibilities are endless!
I hope you find my list of Master Menus and My Menu Plan worksheet useful as you create your own. Don't feel you need to add all the cute graphics. Just start with a list of 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 14 dinners. Expand if you want to like I did.
Goal #5 - Create a list of family menus using short-term and long-term food storage items
Goal #6 - Start using your menu plan each week
My Master Menus.pdf (just updated!)
(You may print these items for your personal use.)
My Master Menus Blank.pdf (just updated!)
My Menu Plan blank worksheet.pdf
Make Food Storage Part of Your Household Routines
My Fridge List