1. Plan different types of main dishes for different days of the week. Ideas for meal types include: soups and stews, salads, sandwiches, ground beef, roast beef, chicken and poultry, variety game meats, quick and easy, Mexican, Italian, Oriental, casseroles, vegetarian.
  2. Plan realistically. Develop a repertoire of a few dishes that can be prepared twice each month and with ingredients that are easily available. Make a shopping list for two weeks, for one month double ingredients, for two double it again and for three months double it again. So for example, 1 can of black beans for a recipe used 6 times in 3 months means you buy 6 cans of black beans. Don’t be afraid to switch menus and days for variety.
  3. Plan on paper and save your plan. Remember as you use ingredients, add them to the list for replacement.
meal planning

Photo: RustyBuggy.com

Three Month Supply Dinner Menus


  • Tuscan Bean Soup
    2 cans diced tomatoes
    2 cans cannellini beans
    14 oz. chicken broth (or bouillon)
    Olive oil, garlic, onions, parsley & oregano
  • Tuna Macaroni Salad, canned vegetable
    small box of macaroni or other pasta shape 
(equals 1 cup dried pasta)
    2 cans tuna
    sweet pickles
    eggs, boiled
    onions, dill, parsley
  • Spaghetti, fresh greens for salad
    spaghetti pasta
    spaghetti sauce or canned diced tomatoes, olive oil, garlic
    ground beef, pork or textured vegetable protein
  • Chicken & Rice, vegetable
    chicken pieces
    onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup
  • Chili
    kidney, black or great northern beans
    canned tomatoes, chili seasoning, onion, garlic
    ground beef or textured vegetable protein
  • Salmon Patties, vegetable
    canned salmon
    cracker or bread crumbs, egg, seasonings, onion
  • Macaroni & Cheese, canned vegetable
    Macaroni pasta
    canned milk, flour, onion, butter
    multiple choices of cheese (cheddar, cream)


  • Taco Soup, cornbread
    canned pinto beans, kidney beans or black beans
    canned tomatoes, onions, corn
    ground beef or textured vegetable protein
  • Tuna Casserole, vegetable
    macaroni pasta
    3 cans tuna
    2 cans peas
    cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise
    bread crumbs or cheese topping optional
  • Sloppy Joes, canned vegetable
    Manwich® mix
    ground beef
  • Chicken Orzo Soup, bread
    chicken pieces, broth
    onions, celery, carrots
    orzo or other pasta or rice works too
    canned peas
  • Hummus with Pita and Olives
    garbanzo beans
    tahini, lemon juice
    garlic, parsley
    Pita and olives
  • Bean & Burger Casserole, canned corn
    canned pork & beans
    canned tomatoes, onions, bacon, cheese
    ground beef
  • Potato Soup, bread
    bacon and seasonings

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