In anticipation of the insanity that is the school year, I just spent some time doing a rotating menu planner. The idea is that you think of some X number of dishes that are reasonably easy to cook (ideally X>14) then put them in a reasonable order and rotate what you’ll cook. I usually do 26. I don’t know why I choose that number, but I do. Ever thought up 26 dishes? LOL. I’ve heard people ask if you get bored when you make such a plan. Well, I don’t know about you, but if I don’t have a meal plan, I wind up cooking the same five or six dishes all the time!
It makes shopping easy. You just look at your plan, and make your grocery list from that. OLQ used to do this and I liked it. It cut food costs way down while still having tasty dinners. Most of the meals are either crock pot meals or meals that I can make extra and freeze ahead. In the case of crock pot meals, many of them I can double and freeze an extra night’s dinner for the next time it’s served. I believe in Feed the Freezer Cooking where possible. If you have a busy life, having meals in the freezer reduces the temptation to order carryout or fast food. I’ve done the Once a Month Cooking thing, but I don’t find it sustainable in the long term. I have a detailed article on what I actually did here. It might be useful. I’ll be doing the planned-overs thing mostly, with maybe a cooking session or two on a free weekend if I get a wild hare.