There's a great site called I'm an Organizing Junkie that I got this great idea from. Once a week you plan your menu for the week.
I actually plan out a month's worth at a time. This has been a great way to prepare a shopping list & has saved us money shopping for groceries. It helps me not buy a lot of things that we don't need. I've been doing this for a few months & have been posting them on my private family blog, but I thought you all might like to see it here as well.
This is the way that I organize my menu planning. I use Google calendar, & type in at 6pm (which is the time we usually eat dinner) on each day what is on the menu for dinner that night. When I know there is a concert, soccer meet or other event that night then I will schedule it earlier. This helps me know when I need to start dinner to have it ready on time as well. I usually keep my calendar from the previous month, so I can space out how often we have each meal. I do a different type of meal each day of the week (see below). Then I actually go through & do all the menu's for Monday, then all for Tuesday, etc., so I can better keep track of the type's of meals we are having & don't repeat the same thing too often. After I've filled in the whole month I print out my calendar! If you don't want to do a whole month just print a blank calendar out & then you can pencil in each week at a time. I keep my calendar on the side of the fridge!
Our different type's of meals for each day of the week:
Wednesday~something fast & easy (this is our extra busy day, so we do something like chicken nuggets, pot pies--usually frozen & not homemade).
Thursday~chicken (chicken as the main dish)
Friday~pizza (a different type of pizza dish each week: homemade pizza, calzone's, etc.)
Saturday~ "Other" (this will be anything that doesn't fall in the other catagories, like Navajo tacos).
I have a list of all the different meals that fall under each of these catagories (at least all the one's my family will eat). See my list below. I hope this might help you get started! The ones that are highlighted in a different color are linked to the recipe! I'll try to add the recipes for those that need them as I make them!
Mexican: Grandma's enchilada's, taco's, taco salad, quesadilla's, fajita's, spaghetti sauce casserole, chicken enchilada's, chicken taco's, Southwest Taco Pie, tostada's.
Pasta: fettucine alfredo, spaghetti, lazy lasagna, tuna casserole, homemade chicken noodle soup, bow tie alfredo, chicken spaghetti, cheesy chicken tortellini, chicken alfredo, chicken lasagna alfredo.
Fast: chicken nuggets/fish sticks, fried chicken, frozen pizza, chili, pot pies, hot dogs, chicken salad sandwiches.
Chicken: yogurt chicken, grilled chicken, Monday Night Chicken, chicken & rice casserole, chicken enchilada ring, soy sauce marinated chicken.
Pizza: homemade pizza, family style calzone, english muffin pizza, pepperoni pizza twist.
Other: Navajo taco's, grilled cheese sandwiches, beef stew, breakfast (cheesy hashbrown casserole, chili relleno's), potato cheese soup, baked potato bar, mock taco's, chili, hot dogs/hamburgers on the grill.
Sides: veggies, funeral potato's, oven roasted potato's, rice, cornbread, dinner rolls, homemade tortilla chips, garlic bread, french fries, tater tots, roasted potato wedges, cheesy hashbrowns, salad, fried seasoned potatos, cinnamon chips.
So here is my menu for this week:
Monday~~chicken enchilada & homemade tortilla chips
Tuesday~~lazy lasagna & garlic bread
Wednesday~~hot dogs & french fries (easy, no recipe here)
Thursday~~baked potato bar
Saturday~~yogurt chicken & funeral potato's
Sunday~~extended family potluck
If you have any questions please feel free to post a comment here.