How to start planning meals.
1) Make a list of types of food your family enjoys...i.e. Chicken dishes, Beef dishes, Fish dishes, Vegetarian...etc... The Chicken list may include Chicken Kiev, Chicken enchiladas, roasted chicken and rosemary, onion potatoes.
2) Check out Money Saving Mom or The Krazy Coupon Lady for freebies and coupons. Look in the mailer Sale-flyers or online for a sale flyer to your local grocery store. The cover page is going to have to best deals. If you need to save money and don't mind going to several stores, shop each store's cover page sale items and don't buy anything else in that store. Stores market the cover page as a way to draw people into the store hoping they'll buy more than what's on sale. The store often loses money on the cover sales or breaks even. Good to keep in mind. Once you have found items on sale, meat or produce...then you can look at your tried and true recipe list of what your family likes and see what other ingredients are needed for that dish, taking in account whether you may have some of those ing. already on hand.
3) While reviewing your recipes, write on a scratch piece of paper a grocery list of ingredients you need for your dinners, and then think about breakfast, lunch, and snack foods you can buy at the store too. Snacks are easy in our house, fresh produce, orange, apple, carrot, celery, or nuts and dried fruit, and occasionally I'll bake something like muffins or *gulp* brownies...yes, we are bad sometimes. For your scratch paper a "green" way to recycle is by keeping your junk mail envelopes and using them as scratch paper, they work really well for keeping coupons inside too!!!
4) Plug 7 dinner recipe titles in your meal planner on your daily schedule(see cleaning house page). One dinner for each night of the week.
5) Be diligent about keeping the kitchen clean, because no one wants to cook in a messy, cluttered kitchen. Clean the Kitchen as you cook and quickly after each meal. You may be too tired, but you'll have a more gratifying rest at night knowing your Kitchen is clean. Also make sure you look at your meal plan a night or 2 before so you can soak beans or thaw meat.
Please view my other blog- http://www.thisisthetaste.blogspot.com/ -for more ideas and information on meal planning.