Weekly Menu Plan + How I Use Pinterest to Menu Plan.

Menu Planning with Pinterest | Shana Norris BlogBefore I share my weekly menu plan, I thought I’d talk about the process I use to actually create these plans each week.

First of all, the essential tools:

1. Google Calendar
2. Pinterest
3. Miscellaneous other recipe sources
→ A few hard copies of Cooking Light magazine
Cooking Light’s Facebook page
→ The weekly menu plan link up at Mommy Run Faster and Fitness, Health, and Happiness

From there, I start assigning meals to each day based on the activities we have planned. For example, because Tuesdays are busy with dance and wrestling practice – and soon, soccer – those are slow cooker days.

If the younger kids will be at their dad’s, I make a meal that’s heavy on the heat factor or a particular ingredient they’re not fond of that night.

I also take into account any leftovers we might have, and assign those to particularly busy days/nights in the form of “Helpie Selfie.” (Although I reheat the little ones’ meals, making that title a little misleading. I guess I just think it sounds fun.)

Pinterest is essential since it’s my virtual recipe box, the filing cabinet for recipes I want to try. If I see a recipe in a magazine that I want to save, I search for it online and pin it. If I’m flipping through a magazine at the doctor’s office or the gym, I write down the title and source so that I can find and pin it when I get home.

I try to keep all of my recipes – past and present – in this one central location.

Because I have recipes organized into fairly detailed boards – current count: 22 – it’s easy to find filler when I have a hole in the menu.

Keeping the boards specific also means they’re smaller, so I can find what I’m looking for more quickly.

I have a separate calendar in Google for our weekly menu plan. I put each recipe into the calendar as an all-day event so it shows right at the top of each day. At the beginning of each week I merge all my calendars (work, kids’ schedule, menu plan) and print from the weekly view. That calendar is a lifesaver.

Now that we’ve covered that, here’s the plan for this week:

Sunday. Egg Salad Sandwiches with Bacon & Sriracha Jim and I decided to deviate from our traditional Sunday night dinner because these sandwiches looked so good to us. (And he volunteered to make them – he’s a gem, I tell ya.)

Monday. Chicken Tortilla Chip Casserole

Tuesday. Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Blue Cheese Slaw (via Born and Raced in Chicago)

Wednesday. Southwestern Cobb Salad (carried over from last week)

Thursday. Helpie Selfie

Friday. Chicken Pizza + cheese pizzas for the kids

Saturday. Juliet’s birthday dinner: Beef Taco Pasta, Parmesan Garlic Bread, Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans, cake TBD

What are your menu planning must-haves?

Comments

  1. I think Pinterest is our only meal planning helper. I don’t know what we did before it – no meal planning, really! Just a lot of, “What do you want?” “I don’t know – what do you want?”
    Things just look more delicious on Pinterest. I’m convinced.
    Tamara recently posted…And The Award Goes To..My Profile

  2. I love the Pinterest tutorial!! I have a question though… I find it really hard to judge if a magazine recipe will actually be good. I have begun to rely on Cook’s Illustrated and my friend Nicky. If a recipe doesn’t come from one of these sources, I get nervous. There have been so many times that I have been super excited to try something new that looked delicious on-line and it was horrible. I would love to hear what you and your readers say about truly reliable go-to sources…

    • I think one key is having a reliable source – there are just some that you know almost everything you make will be a winner. And of course that varies from person to person, family to family. It sounds like Cook’s Illustrated is that for you. Cooking Light for me. I’ve also liked pretty much everything I’ve made from Eating Well.

      As far as trying things from other sources, especially things I find more randomly (on food blogs, on Pinterest) I just kind of know what to look for in terms of ingredients, cooking method, etc. that will work for our particular tastes. And I always taste as I go and adjust if necessary.

      I still have utter disasters (had one last week … a cake that went into the trash) but thank goodness they’re rare these days.

  3. I already use Pinterest but I love love the idea of using Google calendar! Thanks for the tip.
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted…Heidi Klum for New BalanceMy Profile

  4. I think I saw you pin all these things! I don’t have a good system of organizing recipes… that was the one really good thing about my menu planning posts (RIP… sniff!) was that I could usually go back and find stuff I made that we would like to make again. These days, it’s a whole lot of pulling stuff out of the freezer and plopping it into the crockpot. Which reminds me… I need to do that!
    Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout recently posted…February: a month of good friends, dry skin, bluegrass and swimming gogglesMy Profile

  5. I love it! I should really use pinterest more often than I do for meal planning. Enjoy your yummy week!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…How I’m using Essential Oils in PregnancyMy Profile

  6. I do not yet have children but anticipate this could be useful for everyone (athletes especially) in planning what they eat relative to the workout planned! Great inspiration, thank you Shana :)
    Georgina recently posted…Scenes From My WeekendMy Profile

  7. What a great system! I use Pinterest for pinning recipes to try but I only have 1 gigantic board. Hehe. From week to week, I use pen + paper and what’s on sale at the store. Also, what ingredients may be leftover from the previous week. It’s actually getting to be more fun. For a while there, I was getting bored with cooking.

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