The Master Menu: Menu Planning Basics


I don’t know if it’s just me but there are times when we eat the same meals over and over for weeks. When that happens it’s usually because I simply cannot think if anything else we like. One night after staring at a blank sheet of paper far too long trying to come up with some new ideas, I decided to make a master list of all the dishes we like. I gathered cookbooks, hand scribbled recipes, links I had bookmarked, and anything else that had a recipe or meal idea on it.

After a couple of hours of looking and typing I came up with a chart very similar to the one below:

By making this chart I ensured that each member of my family would get a favorite meal  every week.  We were able to enjoy recipes that I had only made once or twice before because I had simply forgotten about them. It minimized wasting food by allowing me to plan dinners that took the same ingredients and that could be reworked from leftovers.

{click picture to enlarge}

I have created a Master Menu Chart for you to use. It has 45 dinner slots allowing for a few seasonal and special occasion meals as well as spaces for breakfast, lunch and snacks/desserts.  If I get requests I will make one that is dinner only with spaces for main dishes and sides.


Your assignment for this week is to create your master menu either using the printable or make your own. Ask your family what their favorite meals are if you get stumped.

Coming next week: Take a Look at Your Week: How to match the right meal to the right night.

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  1. […] it all together: Menu Planning Basics So you have your Master Menu and you know what your week looks like so we’re ready to make the actual menu. Your going to need […]

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