16 Weeks of Menus
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    “16 Weeks of Menus,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 73

    16 Weeks of Menus

    To simplify meal preparation and grocery shopping, my wife developed a system which alleviates some of the frustration of these tasks. This method of organization has saved us time, money, and unnecessary trips to the store.

    The system has as its base four months of weekly menus used in rotation. My wife planned the menus using a variety of dishes. She occasionally changes menus we have grown tired of and substitutes new ones she thinks we might enjoy.

    It is organized on unlined 4x6 inch index cards, one card for each week’s worth of menus. (If you have weekly menus for four months, you will need sixteen cards.) One side of this card lists the menus for the week. This side is divided into two columns. The first column lists the days of the week; the second lists the menu for that day and where it is found in your particular collection of recipes. (This saves hunting for it later.)

    The other side of the card lists the ingredients for each meal. Typing lengthwise, type columns for ingredients and quantity. In the columns list the ingredients for each meal and the quantity needed for the recipe.

    Cover both sides of the card with clear contac paper or have them laminated. As you shop, use a grease or water soluble pencil to cross off the items. At home, post the menu in a convenient place for reference during the week. When you are finished with the card, just wipe it off and save it for the next time you use that week’s menus.

    Another card accompanies the menu card and is used for staples and various shopping items. On one side of the card, list the basics you always need to have on hand. Include such items as vanilla, flour, salt, eggs, milk, bread and oats. As supplies dwindle, circle the ingredients you need. The back of the card is used to list miscellaneous groceries you need to pick up. This card, too, is covered with contac paper or laminated so it can be used again.

    With this system we have never had to run back to the store for missing ingredients. We avoid the 5:00 dilemma of “What are we going to make for dinner tonight?” We also can plan ahead and watch for sales on items we know we will be needing for future menus. It takes some effort to get organized, but once started, you are on your way to a more enjoyable mealtime. Curtis G. Beck, Pocatello, Idaho

    Illustrated by Beth Maryon Whittaker