Tuesday Tip: Skeleton Meal Planning

I’ve talked a lot about meal planning here, but I think it’s one of the best ways to save money!  And it just makes life so much easier.

You’ve learned how to plan your meals using the sale ad, but here’s a way that takes the guess work out of it.  I find that “skeleton planning” helps structure my thinking about meals and encourages me to incorporate a variety of cooking styles and foods into my week.

Typically, my weeks look like this:

Monday – Sandwiches, Salads, or Soups
Tuesday – Crockpot
Wednesday – Dinner Out
Thursday – Chicken or Pork
Friday – Ethnic delight
Saturday – Fish
Sunday – Mexican

This is why:

I have class late on Mondays, so it’s just easier to throw together something that doesn’t require cooking time.  Wednesdays are babysitting days and I’m never at my apartment.  Thus, it’s Panera night!  I love cooking ethnic food, especially Indian or Thai, but it often takes some extra time.  Friday’s are perfect and Mr. Q’s favorite.  Mr. Q’s family does Mexican on Sundays and we’ve started the same tradition around here.

How you can do the same:

Think about your week.  What are your busy nights?  What nights do you have more time to cook?  Do you have any traditions of your own or are you trying to work a certain food group into your menu more often (i.e. fish)?  Use this to come up with a “skeleton plan” for your meal plans.  When you sit down each week to think through the meals, you’ll find they come a lot easier.  Use what you have in your pantry and the sale ad to come up with a more detailed plan for the week.

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