Okay Shawn - this post is for you! Shawn recently posted on his blog about his struggle with planning and shopping for their family meals. So I figured I'd put out there how I do it and if it helps - great - if not, I've exposed my Virgo dorkiness for anyone who is interested.
Once upon a time, B.C. (before children) I would stop at the little market at the bottom of the hill after work. I'd pick up something that looked good for dinner and then walk up the very steep hill home. Even after A was born I did daily shopping because it got us out of the house and into the neighborhood. Then daughter number two came along and I was suddenly faced with a two year old and a newborn who cried. A lot. And anyone who has raised kids knows about the witching hour - that hour right before dinner when everything seems to melt down. This is when I began planning our meals because I discovered if I knew what we were having for dinner I could make most of it in the morning. Even when I went back to work I stuck with it because I could do some prep the night before if I knew what was on the menu. Oh, and that baby who wouldn't stop crying? She just got her braces off:
So here is what I do - on Sundays I sit down and take a look at the calendar for the coming week. Does dh have any evening meetings? Are there any school performances? That sort of thing. I have sort of a loose "theme" for each night - only because this helps me come up with something and keeps us from having pasta four times in a week!
Monday: Italian - this is easy as there are countless pasta recipes, endless combinations for a pizza etc
Tuesday: Mexican (aka Taco Tuesday)
Wednesday: for lack of a better description it's Comfort Food - casseroles- that sort of thing
Thursday: soup, sandwiches, crockpot stew
Friday: take out
Saturday: usually on Saturday we are either going to dinner at someone's house or hosting dinner. This is a night when I bust out the cookbooks and try new recipes.
Sunday: Asian - Thai, Persian, Indian etc. This started mostly because H went through a phase of eating very little other than rice so I liked to start the week with a lot of leftover rice.
If you keep track on a calendar you can go back and easily repeat a complete week of menus. I keep a pretty well stocked pantry and often end up doing a lot of my shopping at a small, local produce store.
So there ya go.