Monday, January 30, 2012

Credit Crunch: My Weekly 3-2-1 Menu

If I walk into the grocery store without a plan, I am likely to start tossing things into my cart simply because I am hungry or I see something that looks good at the time.  Of course nine times out of ten, I get home and those impulse buys get forgotten the moment they get put away.

With my meals planned out, I only buy the items I need for that week instead of getting suckered into purchasing everything that catches my eye.

Traditional weekly menu plans weren't working for me.  I needed to find a way to be very flexible in order to accommodate my daughter's ever-changing schedule.  I also didn't want to be stuck with excessive leftovers.

One day it dawned on me that I didn't have to cook elaborate dinners for every night of the week.  I didn't have to make a recipe and then eat leftovers for the next four days to use it up.  I also didn't have to designate specific nights for specific meals.  All of that may work great for a different family, but it wasn't working at all for mine.  I needed something much more simple, and my idea for the 3-2-1 Menu Plan was born.

The concept is so simple, I really don't know how it eluded me for so long. Each week, I only plan to prepare three dinner recipes.  Two nights we eat leftovers or something incredibly simple like sandwiches. One night I pull something from my freezer, which I keep stocked with meals I prep in advance, and other quick things like frozen pizza or Lean Cuisine dinners.  That leaves one more night per week that isn't planned out - to allow for eating out or visiting with family/friends.

Here is my 3-2-1 Menu for this week:

3 Dinner Recipes:
Greek Salad
Roasted Shrimp with Thyme with steamed brown rice and broccoli
Crock-pot Pork Loin Chops with mashed sweet potatoes

2 Leftovers/Sandwiches Nights

1 From the Freezer night: Corky's Ribs, with coleslaw and cornbread


  1. I have decided that the best way for me to save money is to do my shopping online. I make menus for the week and then only buy what I need to execute them. Not being in the shop means I am not tempted by any offers etc. I am only buying what I am going to use and using what I bought! xxoo

  2. I miss being able to grocery shop online! It was absolutely the easiest way to get my groceries when I lived in London. I agree - it saved me a lot of money because I could easily see my grand total before I checked out. It was also so nice to just run into the kitchen to double check on an ingredient I wasn't sure I needed, and then run back to my computer and continue my order.

  3. What a great plan!! I too hate a fridge full of uneaten leftovers!! I love being able to pull freezer meals out each week!! So nice!

  4. Thank you Renee. I have found so much inspiration on your blog - I will be trying a lot of the recipes you have suggested and I love your method of prepping & freezing half each week. I hope to incorporate some of your techniques in the weeks to come :)