A month-long menu plan

Every once in awhile, I go ahead and menu plan our dinners for the entire month. When I’m getting busy in another area of life, it often helps to simplify another area – and our menus are an easy place to do that.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

As usual, I rotate between daily themes, but instead of doing a two-week plan like I normally do, I’ve done a complete four-week plan for August.

Notice that this month still follows my general routine here:

  • Mondays: Mexican
  • Tuesdays: Pasta
  • Wednesdays: Asian/Stir-Fry
  • Thursdays: Crock Pot
  • Fridays: Homemade Pizza and Dessert
  • Saturdays: Something New
  • Sundays: Something Easy

Week One

Monday, August 4 – enchiladas, beans, and rice
Tuesday, August 5 – dirty risotto and salad
Wednesday, August 6 – honey-glazed chicken stir-fry with white rice
Thursday, August 7 – Crock Pot minestrone soup
Friday, August 8 – pizza, salad, and peach cobbler (from the Salt Lick)
Saturday, August 9 – 30-Minute one-pan chicken and veggies
Sunday, August 10 – baked potatoes with grilled veggies and cheese

Week Two

Monday, August 11 – taco salad
Tuesday, August 12 – chicken fettucine alfredo and salad
Wednesday, August 13 – Pacific Rim stir-fry
Thursday, August 14 – Crock Pot chicken tortilla soup
Friday, August 15 –
pizza, salad, and brownies
Saturday, August 16 – end of summer vegetable and fresh herb casserole
Sunday, August 17 – grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Week Three

Monday, August 18 – chicken fajitas, beans, and rice
Tuesday, August 19 – spaghetti and salad
Wednesday, August 20 – pineapple chicken stir-fry with white rice
Thursday, August 21 – Crock Pot red beans and rice
Friday, August 22 – pizza, salad, and baked bananas with ice cream
Saturday, August 23 – chicken caesar salad
Sunday, August 24 – chicken noodle soup

Week Four

Monday, August 25 – tacos, beans, and rice
Tuesday, August 26 – This is my birthday, so my husband’s in charge…
Wednesday, August 27 – honey-glazed stir-fry with white rice
Thursday, August 28 – Crock Pot chicken and sausage gumbo
Friday, August 29 – pizza, salad, and jacked-up banana bread
Saturday, August 30 – grilled chicken and nectarine salad
Sunday, August 31 – broccoli chicken soup

I’ve linked to recipes where I’m able, and for those recipes I’ve created myself, I’ve added them here to Simple Mom. I’ve created a new “recipes” category, so if you’d like to find them for future reference, check over on the right-hand sidebar.

Photo by Adam Kuban

All of these recipes are easy, and many times, they’re make ahead and freezable. You’ll also notice our menus are heavy on the chicken – beef is very expensive here, and while chicken isn’t super-cheap, it’s the least expensive meat around here.

Yes, there will be times when this plan will be tweaked – we’ll be invited somewhere for dinner, the market won’t have peaches, I’ll get sick again and my husband will take over. But having a month-long plan means getting to put a big, fat check mark on my to-do list, and I like that.

I’ll still go to the farmer’s market weekly, and hopefully the grocery store only twice (every other week).

What are your dinner plans this week? This month? Today? Are you up for making a month-long dinner plan? Have any good recipes you think everyone should know about? I’d love to see them! As always, you can find my recipes in my delicious cookbook.

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I enjoy reading your blog. I’ve bookmarked you in my favorites. I am writing to invite you to join in the fun at the blog my sister-in-law and I keep…The Chocolistas.

    We, The Chocolistas, are holding a Name That Chocolate Dessert Contest…August 4 – 16….with prizes! We’d love for you to participate.

    Come and join the fun!


    Deborah’s last blog post…Southern Style Pecan Fudge…thanks Little Bird Creations!

  2. I loved the sound of the Honey Glazed Chicken Stir Fry so have bookmarked that for future use. My menu plan for August is already more or less complete (I do mine fortnightly and am now working on the plan for the next fortnight) but I’m sure it’ll appear on the table during September 🙂

    Sharon J’s last blog post…Six Years of Change

  3. @Sharon J – I usually do mine every two weeks as well, but I felt a smidge ambitious this month. 😉 Actually, if this turns out well, I’ll probably go ahead and pretty much repeat this in September. We’re pretty easy-going eaters around here.

    And yes, that honey-glazed stir-fry shows up all the time around here. Super easy, healthy, and good.

  4. I think I am in love. Your site is so awesome. Someone mentioned it in passing saying that you reminded them of me (ubber organized). My goal is to really get organized and have my house where it runs very smoothly. I have a 2 year old and hope to have another in the next year.
    My biggest challenge is meal planning. I never thought of ‘themes’. I have been doing Monday – chicken, Tuesday – Salmon, Wednesday – turkey/beef, Thursday chicken, Friday ……….well I run out.
    I am so excited to try this plan with themes and do it for a month. I am trying the habit thing for a month also.
    My habit is to get up and have my quiet time with God and do a devotional before anyone else gets up. Otherwise it won’t get done.
    You rock, Simple Mom.

    • Patricia Bunch says:

      Amen to you Julie. I started the Bible First years ago reading my Bible as soon as i’m up. works great. Thanks

  5. One of my favorites:

    Spinach Pie

    This Greek-style dish can be assembled and then frozen for up to three months. When you’re ready to bake, it can go straight from the freezer into the oven.

    ½ cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
    4 medium onions, chopped*
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    Coarse salt and ground pepper
    6 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
    ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    ½ cup plain dried breadcrumbs
    2 teaspoons dried dill
    8 large eggs, lightly beaten
    8 ounces frozen phyllo sheets, thawed and thinly sliced

    1. Make the filling: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and 2 teaspoons salt; cook until garlic is tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

    2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in spinach, feta, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, dill, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Fold in eggs until combined.

    3. Divide mixture evenly between two 9-inch springform pans or two 9 ½-inch deep-dish pie plates; press firmly to flatten.

    4. Make the topping: In a large bowl, gently toss sliced phyllo to separate, and then toss with remaining ½ cup oil until coated.

    5. Divide phyllo between pies, covering the tops evenly and completely. (To freeze, cover pies tightly with plastic wrap, being careful not to flatten topping. Bake within 3 months; do not thaw first.)

    6. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake until heated through and topping is golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes for frozen pie (30 minutes for unfrozen pie).

    Note: To assemble the pie, press the spinach mixture into the pans, making even layers; then cover the filling completely with phyllo dough slices.

    *I only used 2 onions. Four just seemed too many. I guess it depends on your taste.

    Source: http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood/recipes/Spinach_Pie.html

  6. My husband and I took an inventory of the deep freeze and the pantry yesterday and planned a month’s worth of meals based on what we had.

    If thing go right, and I’m going to try my best to make them go right, we should be able to spend a hundred dollars and eat for the entire month of August.

    I never thought about blogging it. Maybe I should?

    Michelle Pendergrass’s last blog post…Help Me Decide (photo contest)

  7. Hi! I stumbled onto this site last week and I am really enjoying it! I think the {simple} aspect lead me in! I’m a working mom and {simple & organized} are my 2 middle names!!! Anyhow, you certainly are inspiring to do a MONTH LONG menu! I usually plan weekly and sometimes that can be tough. This summer has been really hard, with us all home (hubby & I are teachers) and our kitchen remodeled…the only menus I saw for 3 wks were at restaurants!! {BUT} When I go back to work, this may be something I’ll try! Thanks again!

    Lynne@Our Happy Home’s last blog post…MPM – Week of 8/3

  8. What a great idea! I tried to plan based on a daily “theme,” but it didn’t stick.

    Nichole’s last blog post…How does your garden grow?

  9. @Julie – You’re funny. I’m not uber-organized, but I wish I was.

    @Karen – That sounds amazing! I’d have to substitute the Parmesan cheese, but otherwise, I can get everything. I love spinach and feta!

    @Michelle – You should most definitely blog it, and then share the link here in the comments. 🙂

    • Stephanie says:

      simple mom , im trying to lose weight and make meals that are good for my 6 year old son , are your receipes calorie friendly ?

  10. I have a similar way of cooking. I start on Sunday and make a couple of meat/meatless protein main dishes and double the recipe. I then base the rest of the weeks menu and shopping list around these base ingredients and what is available in the garden or at the local farmers market. This is part of my weekly blog site posting “Sunday Supper.”
    Thanks for the additional ideas.

    Angelia’s last blog post…Sewing

  11. Can I just copy the rest of your month??? Sounds fantastic!

    The Frugal Momma’s last blog post…Recipe Links from 8-4 MPM

  12. I love your site! Great job on the menu. I’ll be rereading it closely when I do meal planning next Sunday.

    Kimberly’s last blog post…Company’s Coming!

  13. you. are. awesome.

    thanks for sharing!

    Jenny’s last blog post…Fun Day

  14. @Frugal Momma – Absolutely! That’s why I posted it.

    Also, check out Org Junkie on Mondays for tons of menu plans submitted by lots of folks.

  15. Great minds think alike. I am working a planner for the month so we don’t have to worry about that with Ethan’s school year starting next week. I plan on posting it, just need to sit down and get it done!!

    Amy’s last blog post…MomAdvice Monthly Recap: July ’08

  16. Test test… I’ve been told the comments section isn’t working right now. If you can see this, then it worked for me! 🙂

  17. wow – a month long plan – so impressive! we totally struggle in this area, and just this weekend sat down and did a 2 week plan, which was HUGE for us…might move up to a month plan sometime in the future as we get a little better at this…thanks for the inspiration!

    I also printed out your daily docket last night and filled it in for today and so far it has been so helpful – thanks much!!!

  18. Wow. This list is amazing. Just getting one week of meals planned is a challenge for me!

    I love the idea of having a general theme for each day of the week and I will be referring back to all of these great recipe links often.

  19. Also, thanks for the link to my risotto!

  20. @Beth – Sure thing! Your risotto is a hit around here – even the 3-year-old will eat it!

  21. I like the idea of the same theme for the day of week. All very doable.

    I am going to try and plan for a week or two and hopefully try for month.

    blogversary’s last blog post…help a sista or two out

  22. I love this idea too. But I am curious as to how you make it all. Do you have a system for how it will all play out? You know, I see some people who have plans where they use the same chicken they made Mon for a recipe on Wed. Or they pre-chop everything beforehand. Or they plan recipes based on what needs similar ingredients. I often get stuck with the whole plan thing because I get overwhelmed with figuring all that out. Thoughts?

    Jill’s last blog post…Responsibility Meltdown

  23. @Jill – I roast a whole chicken on Mondays, and that can usually last us around two meals. Sometimes I’ll do two a week, or sometimes a few chicken breasts. 9 times out of 10, our recipes call for diced chicken, so I try to stockpile this in the freezer (we’ve got a small deep-freeze).

    Just about all my Crock Pot recipes can be doubled and portioned out to freeze for future meals. And I wrote about how I do the pizza dough and sauce in the link provided on those days.

    Hope that helps! I’d love to hear how others “prepare” for their meals.

  24. Thank you! I am new to motherhood and menu planning so I really appreciate all these tips. I have also started doing a crock pot night to simplify my day. About one night a week we also do “Brinner” (Breakfast for Dinner,) since our schedule doesn’t allow for morning meals together. I’ve found this to be an easy and cheap meal plan. I read your blog religiously. Keep up the great work!

    Wendy’s last blog post…What’s in a Name?

  25. Love it!
    I do a rough draft of our meals like the basics meats for the 30 days and then each sunday make a plan what to do with those meats. It works well when I get all our meats from Costco.
    Thanks for the links to the recipes, more to add to my list.

  26. You make me so hungry I want to eat my laptop. 🙂

    Most of my meals consist of fruit, yogurt, eggs (lot of eggs), bread, tuna, oats, and a pasta here and there (when I feel very naked-chef-like).

    The life of a single guy…

    Francois’s last blog post…Financial Freedom Quick Tip #17: Buy now and save! Whatever.

  27. wow! thank you for posting this! I love that you put links to the recipes you are doing, because there were quite a few that I would love to try. I also love that you are using recipes from “a year of crockpotting” which is my new favorite cooking site. Thanks again for posting this!

    Amiyrah’s last blog post…Meal plan Monday!

  28. I might have to link to this on my kitchen blog http://www.HalfAssedKitchen.com

    Great ideas.

  29. I like this idea. I also like the idea of themes: that makes planning easier, certainly. “Something new” night sounds interesting, and gives you room to play.

    I was doing Menu Plan Monday while school was in session, but summertime is much more relaxed, well, less scheduled, well, different. School starts again for all of us this month, so I need to revisit meal planning. This might be a good way to do it since things will get quite hectic in about a week.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  30. Hi,

    I don’t go as far as planning my dishes a month upfront, but I always planned a week ahead. It made my shopping easier and less expensive. The latter because I only went shopping once, hence refrained from buying unnecessary things every time you walk in a grocery shop.

    When I got married, my wife didn’t have that habit, so every evening, just after dinner, I got the same question: “What would you like to eat tomorrow?” A tough question to answer with a full stomach. So I talked her into making a weekly list together. And now she’s spreading the word to her Turkish relatives and friends 🙂

    I thought I read that you were living in Ankara, but that doesn’t seem to influence your dish choice. I can barely see any typical Turkish recipes, or do I overlook them?


  31. yummy fish tacos again.

    i plan out one week in advance based upon what is going on that day. busy day = simpler meal. day at home = more elaborate meal. insane day = takeout.

    J 🙂

    LobotoME’s last blog post…{ ready set, go & giveaway }

  32. Thanks so much for sharing this!! I’ve wanted to do a monthly menu for forever but wasn’t sure how to do it!

  33. Totally hijacking you menu and and making it my own. Thanks for the delicious ideas and the many, many hours figuring out what to eat for the next month 🙂

    lisa’s last blog post…Lady In Red

  34. Wow, the planned-theme-days idea is totally Brilliant! I always planned by the week, but recently started to try to do 2 weeks after starting my Home Management Notebook. I’m using my google calendar for my meals now, and it works great, so thanks for that tip too!

    nicole’s last blog post…Farmer’s Market Finds

  35. YUM-O!
    Saturday, August 9 – 30-Minute one-pan chicken and veggies
    SOUNDS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! I’m going to add this in to my list for the weeks to come!!!! Easy too!!!!
    I like the whole 1 pan thing!!!!

    This is my first week to join in! I love it! FUN FUN!!!!!

    Jeannie’s last blog post…Menu Plan Monday

  36. i’m with Lisa, i’m just going to borrow {copy} your menu plan for September..would you mind..its so awesome and full of things we all like. Now if I can just find someone to shop and cook for me I’m made!

  37. I love the idea of having a different theme each day! Brilliant! I think I might visit your list often when I need ideas. In fact, I might just copy the whole month 🙂

    Thanks so much for the ideas. Nothing like someone else doing the leg work for you!

    Stephanie’s last blog post…Swim Lessons

  38. I started doing your Google/del.icio.us menu planning, but instead of repeating just two weeks let it fill in indefinitely. I also did 4-5 week “rotations”, for example today’s meal appears again in 5 weeks. This post help me fill in a LOT of blank spaces. I made my menu calendar public if you want to check it out. Still WIP filling in blanks, but I love how easily it can be adapted.

    Nicole’s last blog post…Finally finished

  39. I am new to your blog and I’m enjoying surfing around. 🙂
    I just completed a monthly menu for my family too – for the very same reasons you listed! It is such a relief to know what’s for dinner – even if plans change on the fly – at least you’ve got a PLAN, so you can adapt whatever happens!

    Angela’s last blog post…Menu Plan Monday

  40. A new reader delurking to say what a great idea.

    Karen’s last blog post…She’s back

  41. I love that you serve easy meals on Sundays. I grew up always having a bigger, nicer meal on Sundays so I only felt obligated to continue this on with my family. The thing is though I work full time outside the home and my mom did not. I want Sundays to be a day of worhip and rest not of cooking and cleaning. I plan on starting easy meal Sundays this week.

    Denise’s last blog post…Two sets of Jones’

  42. I like the way you have a “theme” for each day of the week.

    I try to always make monthly menus. They make life easier. I have my August menu up now with lots of recipes. My theme for this month was basic and frugal (for me at least.)

    Stephanie’s Mommy Brain’s last blog post…Basic Menu Plan for August 08

  43. Wow it looks great! Thanks for all the recipe links 🙂

    Org Junkie’s last blog post…Menu Plan Monday ~ August 4th

  44. Peach cobbler from the Salt Lick! How wonderful!

    Laura’s last blog post…cocoa coconut granola

  45. When I don’t have tomato sauce I just puree a can of whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes. Works well for me and I don’t have to add water.

    Thanks for the list, I think I’ll have to try some of these!

    Andrea’s last blog post…Quietly Listening

  46. This is fantastic! I think we’ll be trying the end of summer casserole next week. Monthly menu plans wouldn’t work very well for me, I try to plan our menus around what is on sale, so it’s a weekly plan for us.

    Jenn’s last blog post…Wonderful News

  47. Great post as usual. I’m going to try some of your recipes.

    I really enjoy all the great tips you share, and I want to thank you for your series on Dave Ramsey. I had never heard of him before reading about him on your blog. I immediately fell in love with his philosophy, and purchased The Total Money Makeover. I’ve always enjoyed being “frugal” but never really had a plan to follow. His book is doable, and I’m living like no one else, so later I can live like no one else. My father grew up during the depression, and always told us “If you don’t have cash, you can’t afford it.” Luckily I listened to him. My dad is no longer with us, and I feel like Dave Ramsey’s words are my dads. Just wanted to thank you for your great info. It really helps a lot of us.

  48. thank you for linking to my site so many times in your meal plan—which sounds delicious, btw. I’m glad that you are using your crockpot so much–on a “normal” year, we have crockpot night in our meal plan, too.


  49. Good for you, getting so much planned! I can`t ever seem to manage a whole month at a time. I do make and freeze meals, though and when I`m in the mood, I whip up a lot at once to ensure I have food for those not-so-easy nights. 🙂

    My sister and I have a blog where we write about shortcuts and food tips, as well as recipes. Here`s a fun recipe that I just invented the other day for my kids . . . not a meal, but a fun snack to keep them busy while you`re making the actual dinner!

    Genesis’s last blog post…Tip of the Day #7

  50. I am so glad you included recipes in this menu plan. Thanks for this resource. I really want to incorporate more crock pot use in my dinner preparation– it is so nice to throw some things together in the morning and… that’s it!

    Jessica @ Practical Nourishment’s last blog post…How To Make Lacto-Fermented Pickles

  51. Oh man, I am so borrowing your menu! I hate menu planning, and everything you have on here looks delicious!

    Thanks for posting it!

    Lynnae’s last blog post…We Interrupt this Tightwad Tuesday for a Big Announcement

  52. I made the 30 min chicken last night and it was great and super easy!! Thanks for the recipe

  53. This was a really fabulous blog post. I’ve been researching and reading EVERYTHING about menu planning and it wasn’t until I read this and your previous that I finally had my own light bulb go off. It helps, too, that I’ve been planning weekly for some time and finally have some really good dishes to rotate. It’s easier to stick with what you know in the case of menu planning.

    So, my lightbulb was this: I have so many recipes in books, files, on the computer, shoved in recipe boxes with no order whatsoever. Now, per your idea, I have created daily themes and each theme has its own folder for those recipes. So, when I sit down once a month with a glass of wine and my cook books, the files will be there and super easy to access.

    I have created a month-long menu … didn’t get it posted for today’s menu planning Monday. Darn!

    Shawn’s last blog post…The Daring Group Writing Challenge

  54. I know that you posted this one a while ago, but I just came across it this moring and I have to say, what a great idea to use a particular theme for each day of the week dinner! That would make planning so much easier than just randomly thinking of meals to serve. I think that I am going to borrow your idea 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Stacy´s last blog post…Been Hiding Out…

  55. If I wanted to go buy everything that I’d need to do this, any idea of what all I should buy? How much space it would take to store that much food for 30 days? Should I just step through each recipe or has anyone done something like that already?

  56. I absolutely LOVE your site! I love this menu! Thanks so much for sharing!

  57. jennylyn gantan says:

    Hello. I need your help. KIndly help me formulate a one month menu planning for geriatric and that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.thanks

  58. hey,,, i lobk my propkzzz

  59. what is the contribution of food establishments of our economy?

  60. I completely just realized that we have the exact same birthday! How cool!

  61. Thanks for the great menu ideas. I am going to give some of these a try. I have never planned out a week or month or anything but I think a planned menu will help us from eating out as much (because we can’t “find” anything to eat) thus save us money!

  62. Great blog!

    Thought you’d like to know about our Menu Planner on http://www.bigoven.com. It lets you drag and drop recipes onto a calendar, then create a grocery list that’s sorted by aisle. There are over 200,000 recipes on the site, and you can see the reviews and tips from other cooks. Hope you have a moment to try it!

  63. I realize this is a few years old, but I must say I love this menu! I have a hard time coming up with ideas for meals and this menu, unlike others I’ve looked at, contains family friendly meals that all sound super easy to make. Thank you!

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