About menu planning-again (with help from The Food Nanny)

Have you heard of The Food Nanny? You can watch the episodes online at BYUtv, and I am hooked! (Thanks for the introduction, Janene!) Each episode features Liz Edmunds (real-life mother of 7) entering the home of a family who needs their dinnertime to be rescued. Some of the real-life issues the show has covered include picky eaters, dinners on a budget,  and crazy schedules. Not to sound like too much of an advertisement here, but I really connect with the Food Nanny and I agree with her when she says “Family dinnertime is the most important time of the day.”

So I’ve watched her shows and I checked out her cookbook from the library, and I’ve been making some changes to our dinnertime. Mostly in the area of menu planning. Nearly two years ago I shared my method for menu planning. As was evidenced in that post, my method for menu planning usually evolves every year or two, and so….it’s been evolving again the last few months.

This is my new personal cookbook. Isn’t it cute? It’s a photo album that has been sitting in a box for about 5 years, waiting to be used.

After my last major round of menu method organizing, I have my recipes printed and laminated on these cute recipe cards.

However, I got tired of flipping through the ring to find the recipe I needed, so I thought the album would be a good way to view my recipes. I decided to organize my cookbook by themes. I was inspired by the Food Nanny who suggests planning Monday as Comfort Foods, Tuesday as Italian, Wednesday as Meatless/Fish, etc.

After some thought, these are the menu themes that work well for our family right now:




Meat & Potatoes

Soup/Slow cooker

Quick & Easy/Fun Foods


I haven’t completely designated a specific day to correspond to each theme. Generally Tuesday is Pasta, Wednesday is slow cooker, Thursday is Mexican, and Friday is always leftovers or something fun because it’s the weekend and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! But having the themes laid out like this helps me tremendously when it’s time to plan my menu for the week, so I can get the variety in our menu that our family appreciates.

Then I organized my recipes into each theme night, and placed them in my cookbook in the appropriate section. Some recipes overlap (Italian chicken bowties could be pasta or slow cooker), but the system generally works well for me.

I then spent a few hours printing the new recipes I have discovered lately (those gals at Our Best Bites have given me a lot of good food lately!) Actually, I’m still working on this–I’ve got two more to add after this week.

Now all of my menu planning tools can be found at the front of my cookbook, with the recipes to follow.

I also have a section in my cookbook for Breads and Baking (like muffins), and of course Sweet Things (I still need to add the BYU Mint Brownies recipe to that section).

So far the cookbook is working out great. It’s much easier to plan out our weekly menu, conquering the first stage of a successful family dinnertime. If you haven’t seen The Food Nanny, be sure to check her out.

Next mealtime goal: improving table manners and etiquette!

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4 thoughts to “About menu planning-again (with help from The Food Nanny)”

  1. Good for you! You always impress me.

    I’m sure that one of these days I’ll get my menu planning act together and I’ll be so glad I finally did and wonder why I didn’t do it sooner… 🙂

    I’ll have to watch The Food Nanny–I’ve heard about her from a few different ladies lately.

  2. So glad that you’ve enjoyed her – I did too! I can’t seem to commit to a scheduled theme each night, but I enjoyed her enthusaism and love of family dinner time. Our Best Bites (thank YOU for sharing them with me!!) is motiviating me too. I’m making some BYU vs UF basketball cookies to give to the neighbors tonight. ha ha ha!

  3. I love Our Best Bites, and thanks for letting me know about the Food Nanny. Got it to DVR for me, woo! Love your cookbook, and how organized it is. I use a big binder with plastic protectors, but it needs help:)

  4. Just watched the Food Nanny episode with the firemen. She made a pasta dish with penne pasta, Italian sausage, green beans and red potatoes. To add potatoes to a pasta dish is just plain dumb. Why the added starch??? Not needed at all.

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