I thought it would be fun to talk about how I make up my menus for the week. I'm not pretending to be super organized or to have the best taste in recipes in the world. My husband is a little bit of a picky eater, and I have a few things I don't like, so there are definite gaps in our recipe repertoire. I also don't use coupons regularly, so if you have the time and inclination to do that your menu planning will look different from mine.
All that said, my menu planning takes less than twenty minutes a week, and it takes me 5 minutes to make out a grocery list for whenever I find myself running an errand near a store. Right now this is what works for our crazy schedule, and we haven't starved yet :)
I have certain criteria for my meals. Monday - Thursday, they have to be quick or have parts that can be made ahead. Often we aren't home until 8pm, and I don't want to wait on a recipe that takes an hour from start to finish. The weekend, however, is when I made the more involved recipes and often do some baking. Also, I try to check store ads to see if they have things on sale. I scored a good deal on chicken a week or two ago, and now I have several chicken breasts in the freezer waiting on some godo chicken recipes (Lightened Up Chicken Enchiladas anyone?) Since I don't have time to devote to cutting and using coupons, this is one way I try to keep our grocery bills down.
Lastly, I make a grocery list. Usually I shop on Wednesdays because I am already out near a grocery store, but sometimes I make quick trips Mondays and Fridays also. Lists are easy because I can refer to my blog, follow the links, and write down anything I don't already have at home. Add that to the list on the fridge we use for staples (coffee, dog food, paper towels, etc) and my list is complete.
An optional step (which I have been bad about lately!) is blogging about the recipe after its been made and tried. I need to get back in the habit of this! Pinterest also helps out here, because any recipe we try that we like goes from the Food to Try board to the Recipe Wins! board. This way I know we like it and if I can't find anything interesting new to try (like that will happen) or we are just feeling an old favorite, they are all in one place.
Hope this doesn't bore you to death!