Create Your Own Menu (Part 1): Assess Your Needs
Yesterday I introduced a new series “Create Your Own Menu” to help all of you understand the menu creation process and potentially do it on your own. I hope that you will enjoy this series and find it most helpful. Let’s get started.
1. How much do you need?
The first thing that you need to do is determine how much you and your family will consume over any given month. Do you eat breakfasts or just cold cereal? Do you need lunch items or are you okay eating leftovers? How many dinners are enough?
When I set out to create Once A Month Meals menus I decided on 3-4 breakfasts items that would be doubled giving us 6-10 breakfasts. I chose 4 lunch items that would end up giving us 8-10 lunches. And 8 dinners that would produce up to 16 total dinners. All of this for a family of 4.
Now I am not a family of 4, I am actually a family of 2 (now one toddler and a newborn). However, I was building a blog for readers and decided that my average reader would likely have approximately 4 eating family members. You may have more you my have less.
In our case, I plan on giving several of the meals away that are made because I know that the quantity made is much more than we will eat in a given month. And we also eat much of the leftover dinners for lunches which often give us lunch items that can be given away as well.
In general, we don’t eat a hearty breakfast but I also took into consideration what I was reading on the blogosphere and realized that many families DO consume pre-made breakfast items. Thus, the breakfast menu.
If your family doesn’t eat homemade breakfast items than you likely aren’t going to want to breakfast on your menu. Take these things into consideration when building your menu.
2. How many are in your family?
As I mentioned above, my menus here are all based on a 4 person household. If you have 6 people you may need to make larger quantities. If you have less people you will want to make more.
3. Consult Your Calendar?
Your monthly calendar is a great tool for assessing your families needs. Even though there are only 16 dinners each month we often have leftovers, frozen pizza *gasp*, an occasional dinner with friends, a church dinner once a week and the occasional dining out experience. Which is why there is more than enough for us. Our meals last us about 1.5 months if we make and eat them all on our own. As I mentioned above we donate some. What are the trends in your family? Take a look at your calendar to see.
4. Time in kitchen?
The last thing that you want to consider is how much time you want to ultimately spend in the kitchen. If you do the math above you will find that the Once A Month Meals menus makes 15 recipes total. This will produce 8-12 hours in the kitchen, depending on your work speed. If you don’t want to spend that much time in the kitchen or you want to start out slower, you will want to pear down how many total meals you are making for the month. If you are considering more than 15 recipes than you need to realize you will be spending more time in the kitchen.
Overview Questions – Assessing Needs
1. How much do you need?
- Breakfasts = #?______
- Lunches = #?______
- Dinners = #?______
2. How many are in your family? _____
3. Consult your calendar:
- How many meals a week do you dine out (or would like to limit yourself to)? _____
- How many meals do you have dinner at friends/families/church? _____
- How many meals a week do you count for leftovers? _____
- How many meals a week do you eat convenience foods (or want to limit yourself to)? _____
- What else? _____
4. Time in kitchen – how many hours are you willing to spend? _____
Please feel free to direct questions in the comment section below. However, keep in mind that this is a multi-part series. Please review upcoming topics to see if your question will be answered shortly. Thank you.
Future “Create Your Own Menu” Posts:
- Part 2 – Researching Sales Items
- Part 3 – Planning Recipes
- Part 4 – Finding Recipes
- Part 5 – Selecting Recipes
- Part 6 – Evaluating Quantity
- Part 7 – Creating a Grocery List
- Part 8 – Creating Instructions
- Part 9 – Substitutions & Equivalents
- Part 10 – Creating Labels
- Part 11 – Bringing It All Together