Now that you all have your {cute} menu displays as discussed last week, let's get down to the meat and potatoes of menu planning!

When I used to sit down with my pen and paper and try to come up with 7 meals for the week, I always seemed to have 3 or 4 meals that were so similar- burritos one night, tacos the next, enchiladas 2 days after that etc. Or I seemed to be using a lot of the same ingredients for all my meals- Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Fettuccine, Chicken Sandwiches... chicken, chicken, chicken!!! One day I came up with the idea to set a theme for each day of the week and it has turned out fantastic! Themed days not only make the planning easier on me, but it also adds variety to our meals. I simply came up with a name for every day of the week that describes what type of meal we will have that day. I like a good alliteration only because its easier for me to remember!
Here is what I do:
My family is a big lover of all things Spanish style, but I like to make sure we have tacos, enchiladas, burritos or quasadillas only once a week!
This night is one of the busiest nights of the week for us, so if I want to pull the "Honey, lets order out" card, I do it, but also it means we can make meals that are "Take Out Foods." For example, my family loves pizza, but we make it more than we order it. I love a good pizza idea- French Bread Pizza, Bagel Pizzas etc- but even a frozen Freschetta would do well on Take Out Tuesday. It can also be a night where Rob grills some burgers- not quite McDonalds Take Out, but much better tasting, healthier, and still I don’t have to cook!
I love trying new recipes and try to do at least one every week. Wednesdays are the days I will experiment with some of the recipes I have wanted to try.
We need a night each week where we allow ourselves to lay low and go easy. (Ok, so maybe we need 3 or 4 nights of easy meals each week, am I right?) I am a sucker for something that takes little time to prep and cook, things you can throw in a Crockpot that morning when you have energy that are ready to be eaten at dinner time. Thursdays are the days I decided to cook those easy, quick "Set it and Forget it" meals.
Every family has their favorites, so why not treat each other to a good meal at the end of a long week!?
Eating what you would typically consider "Breakfast Foods" at dinner time. I love waffles or French toast for breakfast! And these meals are easy to make and easy to do without if we get busy and can’t make it home in time for dinner.
I am lucky- we go to my mom's house every Sunday and she cooks the main course while I bring a salad. I try to mix it up a bit and get more creative than a fresh garden salad... though I will be the first to admit I often bring a bag of "Fresh Express" with a bottle of Ranch and call it good.
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You don’t have to use alliteration to plan your days- this was just so I could remember my plan easier! Big Dinner Sunday, Leftover Monday, Casserole Tuesday and Pizza Wednesday work well too! You know your routine and which nights are craziest for you, so plan around them!You will be amazed at how easy your meal planning will become if you can plan out your days. It will add variety to you meals and save you time during your meal planning. Give it a try, I dare ya!
Join me back here next week when we will discuss our final step in menu planning:

Stephanie Dulgarian is the creator of Somewhat Simple. She is married to her best friend and a mom of 4 kids living Arizona, USA. She loves ice cream, autumn, Sunday naps, traveling, game nights and shopping. She is not a fan of unloading the dishwasher, Peeps marshmallow candies, mushrooms, and she despises laundry more than anything else in the world!

A few of her favorite creations on her blog include “Let's Celebrate Board“, “Master Bedroom Collage” and “The Dry-Erase Glass Calendar