November Menu Plan (I’m trying something new…)

Repeating Menu Plan

I’m trying something new this month with our November Menu Plan. Some might call it boring. Predictable. Or even uninspired.

That’s okay. I’m hoping I’ll be calling it “the easiest month ever” by the end of it.  (You know those times in your life when you just need it to be a little easier? This is one of those times.)

So, here’s the deal: For the month of November, I’m making one five-day plan and just repeating it every week. That’s right — every Sunday thru Thursday, we’ll be eating the same thing as the last Sunday thru Thursday.

You may be wondering just what inspired me to revert my menu planning to the creativity of a school cafeteria? Well, here’s the thing: I realized that Thursdays are currently the easiest meal day of my week. That’s because I know, my husband knows, and the kids know that Thursdays are Pizza Night.

I always have the ingredients in the house, and if I don’t – it’s easy enough to run out to get them. I’m not wasting time looking up recipes or tripping over myself to try something new. I just go on “auto pilot” and get dinner on the table.

We’ve really been struggling ever since our move with menu planning. Between the chaos of moving and the disruption of the chagim, we’ve fallen into some bad habits. I know full well that menu planning makes my life easier and saves us a ton of money; and yet, the plan too often lately has been “fly by the seat of our pants.”

So this month, we’re stripping it down to the basics with the following “repeating” menu plan:

Sundays – Spaghetti & Meatballs (last night, I made garlic rolls, too – fancy!)

Mondays – Crockpot roasted chicken (I’m trying the Happy Housewife’s method this week, and using her suggestion about chicken stock for my Friday night soup) with mashed potatoes & salad

Tuesdays – Cauliflower & tofu over quinoa (My kids actually love this and it takes all of 10 minutes to prep it and get in the oven)

Wednesdays – Crockpot Chili (my husband makes dinner on Wednesdays 🙂 )

Thursdays – Pizza Night

We always keep frozen broccoli and salad fixings in the house, so we can fill out our plate with veggies.

In addition to simplifying the process of meal prep, I’m also hoping that it reduces our need to go to the grocery store. Do you know the best way to save money at the store? Stop going to the store! With this plan, I know what I need for the whole month, so I can buy enough ground beef on the 1st of the month for the next four weeks. Really, it’s kind of like minimalism meets meal planning!

Last night at dinner (over our plates of steaming spaghetti and meatballs), I shared the plan with my family. They kids were amazingly receptive — I think it’s true what they say about children craving routine. I also told them that we can change things up in December, if they find that there’s something they don’t like about this new system. (Ideally, every month would have a different five-day rotation anyway.)

Now, I realize that the foodies among you are no doubt rolling your eyes at this crazy idea, but maybe a few of you will be nodding along with my rationale.

Have you tried a repeating menu? Does it get too boring or do you and your family appreciate the predictability of it? More importantly, has it made your life easier?!




  1. I do try to shop twice a month and once a month at Sam’s Club because it does help me to budget. I shop based on what is on sale and I prepare meals around any leftovers from Shabbos or another meal. Also some nights I am home later than others and therefore would need to go to a quick preparation meal on those night. So my family also does not like a repeat menu. I am also a foodie.

    • Mara Strom says:

      I hear you on the quick prep thing, CK. That’s partly why so many of the items are crockpot friendly. Between appointments and sports schedule, we don’t usually get home until after 6!

  2. I like it 🙂 I do a modified version of this Monday-Thursday nights. Monday night is some kind of grilled or roasted chicken or meat, potatoes or rice, and veggies (whatever comes from the farm or is on sale), Tuesday night is tacos or fajitas, Wednesday is stir fry and Thursday is some kind of pasta dish and/or fish. Helps me plan out the week.

    • Mara Strom says:

      Themes are great, too – also helps to minimize the trips to the store, since you have the basics on hand to make those dishes.

  3. Where do you put leftovers from shabbos on the menu?

  4. I f you ever need menu planning help or recipe ideas…you know where to go! 😉

  5. I’ve contemplated a 2 week rotation, but I can’t seem to implement it. I definitely need to do something though, because like you said the fly by the seat of my pants method does not work out so well. I love the idea of a set menu plan because I realized it’s the planning part that I hate the most, but I think I’m afraid I’ll get to bored. I also feel like the kid activities are really interfering with my ability to get dinner on the table. Why do all their activities always seem to be right in the middle of the dinner hour! Add into the mix that I started homeschooling my 5th grader a few weeks ago and I feel like I’m losing my mind.

    • Mara Strom says:

      Oh my gosh, your plate is full! I hear you on the kids’ activities. One of the reasons our menu plan is heavy on the crockpot meals is so that I don’t have to make my kids wait until 8 pm to eat! As you can see, my five meal rotation is hardly gourmet. It’s simple, but good (and filling) food. If you want permission to go easy on yourself, you’ve got it! I alway say that a menu plan doesn’t have to be fancy – it just has to be planned. So even if “scrambled eggs” is on the menu one night, that’s a-okay! Also… the adjustment to homeschooling takes a LOT of time and patience for everyone. Please be patient with yourself during this transition! <3

  6. I’m right with you on the five day rotation. I don’t think it’s crazy at all.

  7. My meal plan structure:
    Sundays- leftover
    Monday- crock pot chicken (sometimes with rice, sometimes with other random veggies)
    Tuesdays- haven’t figured them out yet
    Wednesdays- ground meat- when I have zero time, it’s just tacos and I actually keep corn chips in my freezer and use those instead of the premade shells
    But other times, I make ground meat with pasta and I double the pasta because-
    Thursdays- pasta/minimalist dinner night

    • Mara Strom says:

      Best nugget out of this whole thing — I can put corn chips in the freezer! Who knew?!

      • Oh my! Do cornchips keep fresher in the freezer?
        Last few times we bought, they were not too fresh, ..

        we should be allowed to taste before buying 😉

  8. With this plan you could probably cook once and freeze for the month as well. Especially the meatballs.

  9. I’ve been doing the same weekly plan for a few years and now finally 1 out of 4 of my children got sick of it. The other kids still love it. Wednesday night is the only one that I alternate with. Otherwise, this is my menu (not necessarily the healthiest):
    Sunday. Leftovers. Monday. Hot dogs
    Tues. Ground meat. Wed. Diff each week
    Thurs. Baked ziti (once in a while frozen pizza). Once in a blue moon I change the schedule and the kids react different ways. The only thing I struggle with are side dishes

    • Mara Strom says:

      Wow, good to know this crazy plan of mine might have some “legs” to it! Good to hear how it’s been working in your family.

  10. I also do themes. Well, I try to.

    Sunday – leftovers from Shabbos
    Monday – Crockpot something, usually chicken
    Tuesday – Milchigs or parve – mac and cheese, baked ziti, lasagna, pizza, shakshuka, omelettes…
    Wednesday – Ground meat – meatballs, tacos, stuffed peppers, shepherd’s pie
    Thursday – deli sandwiches (or omelettes, depending on what we had tuesday)

  11. I have done the same meals for years. I have a rotation that always leaves me with leftovers of one portion for the child (or husband) who does not like the next nights meal. ie. I have one who doesn’t like chicken, one who doesn’t tolerate dairy well, one who hates meat, and one who doesn’t eat fish.

  12. I must admit — rather than shrinking in horror, I kinda love this. I am all about making dinner as simple as possible (in theory!) and I find that the weeks that I don’t post our menu on the kitchen whiteboard are the weeks we spend the most on food — and our meals become the least healthy.

    We’re trying Whole30, today is day 2, so meal planning is even more crucial than ever this week — dinners are planned here: – but I have been paying attention to planning breakfast and lunch too. I can see this system helping for the rest of the month.

    I’ve toyed with the idea of a weekly theme, i.e. Mondays become a salmon dish, Tuesday a crock pot dinner… etc but I have never actually locked that in. Love this. Good call. Thanks!

  13. Does having meat every week become expensive? I assume Shabbos leftovers dont make it for lunch the entire week, what do you do for those? BTW – love the idea and trying to work out the details to see how I can make it work!


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