Do you have a rotating set dinner menu/framework?

With the kids pretty much on their own, we plan less. Although might still do a red sauce/meatballs or chili on Sunday for dinner and lunches and maybe to freeze. But we shop a couple times a week, so we have more flexibility.
But we are all over as far as what we eat. And often try new things.

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This morning I had to run some errands and stopped off at the grocery store for cucumbers, that I needed.
I checked the clearance section to see what meat was on clearance and found two large thin cut steaks. I just made one for Sunshine for her lunch… might freeze the other one for a later date, but yes I’ll adjust lunches/dinners to whatever I can find on sale.


Thank you, and yeah. My older sister - what ya gonna do? She’s come to have high expectations of me (and reciprocates when we’re visiting her, subject to her budget which we both understand and respect).


$5.70 per meal for sauerbraten is a steal.

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We did fish on Fridays for a while here and it always felt like a relief to me not to have to plan for that day.


well, if it did a 1,000 day rotation, might work for me . . .

anyone in a college meal plan or anyone in the military has experienced ‘the cycle’
DW does a week out plan - and she does do beef-chicken-ork-fish-vegetarian -etc plan, but not the dishes . . .

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Prob $6 per meal if you figure in the red cabbage and spaetzle which you cannot fail to make for sides.


Funny you should say. My college kids biggest complaint is the same food, all the time. He could cook more, but dorms aren’t really set up for that.

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I am a serial repeater - lol. I find the process of planning the weekly meals cathartic. It also helps insure we’ll use up whatever might need using up before it goes off.

We do like to eat seasonally (we grow most of our own produce). I also like to cook from pantry staples - my days of collecting unusual and seldom used spices, condiments and ingredients are behind me.

We like to eat what we like to eat. I spend a lot of time looking at recipes, always looking for ways to combine the types of things we have available for new and different results. It’s an enjoyable process.

That said, I do plan every week (we RARELY eat out), and most nights dinner is met with enthusiasm. I do not like standing in the kitchen wondering what to make on any given night (don’t have time for it, frankly), and meal planning nips that in the bud.


I don’t have a regular rotation nowadays. We had a definite weekday dinner menu rotation when the kids were at home. That was necessary with two working parents and two kids. I swear it is sometimes all a blur.
Our dining schedule at home is wonky. One constant is we try to eat a dinner together at 5pm, no later. Somstimes that is just a few times a week. Nowadays, I cook some favorites and some newbies. Morning meals are usually ‘get your own’ or sometimes brunch, later. For the rest I factor in: what’s on sale, in season, the weather and sometimes I’ll peruse the recently reorganized 50 year collection of recipes for ideas. It is always an adventure. No food budget, I do shop carefully and economically. If I splurge, it is for a birthday dinner or a holiday meal. Thanks to the changes Covid brought around, I shop once or twice a week, linking errands. Thanks to Covid and the ‘supply chain’ issues, etc. I have to visit several different stores to get what I want or need in those trips.


I too am a repeater. I have a lot of recipes I Iove and cook often. Some depend on the season. I try to vary my proteins so I don’t have chicken two days in a row. I love trying new recipes I get from fellow Hos, F&W magazine, the internet and cooking shows, some become favorites. I usually only shop once a week. I try and keep a variety of proteins and fresh veg but don’t really have a set menu in mind unless I need special ingredients for a new recipe.


That is true. And we very rarely go out for meals cause I enjoy cooking so much. I was looking at trying my hand at sushi and it would probably cost me around £20 ish for 5 big rolls with lots of fillings. That money would get me one or two rolls at most to buy at a restaurant.


We have certain favorites at casa lingua that are repeated whenever we crave them, but I never plan any meals more than one or two days ahead. I like to be spontaneous and follow our whims and moods when it comes to cooking, so generally decide in the morning what we’ll have for dinner - or as late as the afternoon.

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Love this topic because it’s fun to read what works for others. Like some of the other posters here, a lot of meals depend on what we get from our CSA share in a given week. It’s a cook with what we’ve got situation during CSA months (June through November for us in Massachusetts). So it’s more like recipes or preparations in a seasonal rotation, and I’m always looking for new ideas.

The CSA influence spills over into other months because of root crops like squash, potatoes, carrots, and onions, and anything that makes it into the freezer.

In the non-CSA part of the year I get reckless and cook based on what looks best in the grocery store and farmer’s market, LOL.


My pattern is fish at least once a week, soup once a week, and meat (or fish)/veg (from frozen or salad)/starch combo’s at all meals, varying the mix/match on the starches – rice, sweet potato, pasta, potato in various preps. Also a rotation of raw fruit as sides/dessert - such as red grapes year round and varieties of apples in Fall/early winter. Most recipes make enough for 2 (or more) meals for us 2, so I plan which day those will get eaten or immediately freeze the extra to avoid waste. We have favorite meals/dishes that get repeated every couple of months interspersed with at least 1 new recipe weekly.

I do plan both lunches and dinners every week, primarily to be sure to use up leftovers, produce I’ve got on-hand, and what’s already in the (overstocked, again…) freezer and pantry. I always plan the sides as well as the main. It’s made a huge difference in lowering stress-levels and freeing up mental time to browse recipe websites (for future ideas), read for fun, and do the volunteer work I enjoy.

One of the things I did earlier this year as I made a determined effort to empty the freezer was to just make what I had on the plan for that day, no matter how uninspired it felt as I started. Now I once again do more day-swapping but still make what’s on the week’s plan sometime during the week.


I like to do that, too. Not too long ago I spied a package of ground meat that looked like pork. The label just said “Meat” and was priced at one dollar for about a pound. I took a chance, and it was pork. Well worth it!


Wild but wonderful.

The grocers I visit never seem to put meat on clearance anymore, although 20 years ago they would. I chat with some of the butchers and the meat manager at the closest store. They said the company will either sell at full price or at sales price for items the corp has put on sale that week. But anything remaining on sell-by date is still at full price, and then if it doesn’t sell it gets pulled that night. Maybe they got sued by someone who got sick or something.

They’ve got other top-down weird practices. When they break down a full ribeye into standing rib roasts, beside trimming some of the top fat they’re required to cut the bones off, then tie them back on with butcher twine. So I have to go bug someone to prep me one but not cut loose the bones, ignoring the case stacked with pre-prepped SRRs.

Their sirloin subprimals come with the picanha (aka sirloin rib cap/rump cap/rump cover, culotte) but they only ever have picanha in cryovac packs direct from the distributor. There’s never any picanha that they’ve cut from the sirloin subprimal. I asked why - they grind it.


This is a crime, IMHO. But that’s what the corporation says to do with it. The only steaks they get from the whole thing are the over-large mislabeled “top sirloin” steaks (mislabeled because they contain both the traditional top sirloin and the smaller “baseball” cut). The rest becomes ground sirloin.

When they break down chuck, it becomes roasts and grind. They never try to separate out the Denver or Sierra steaks, and only rarely will cut some chuck roll steaks.


Wow! I haven’t heard of coulotte steaks in many years. Sierra cut is a new name to me, I suspect it is new nomenclature for something I knew before. Sometimes when I come across a cut from an old recipe, I have to look up the ‘new name’. The seven blade roast I have been used to purchasing to make enchilada or soup meat is reconfigured I can’t find it at our anemic grocery stores anymore (at a reasonable price). Coulotte, flap, Delmonico, tomahawk, hangar…so much to learn!

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Yeah, I have to look up names half the time. Some of them are rebranding, some are new cuts. I believe Hanger is a newer cut - IIRC someone like the Beef Council funded some university(ies) to come up with new exciting cuts and that was one of them. ETA - just looked up the Denver steak origin and it has a similar story from about 15 years ago.

Tomahawk is just rebranded bone-in ribeye, plus leaving the longer rib “handle”. Delmonico is generally ribeye and apparently that name for the steak was popularized by a NYC restaurant of the same name.

I think sierra is newer but not sure - maybe I don’t see it much because it’s kind of a pain to get out. But because it’s a lot like flank, but from the chuck, I have seen it called “chuck flank” on youtube how-to videos.

Youtube is where I learned to break down the whole sirloin, sirloin tip, round, chuck. I don’t know where I’d be without youtube. :grinning: I once messed up the tumblers on my front door’s deadbolt and a guy on youtube taught me how to break it down into all the tiny pieces and reset it, taking me about 20 minutes. A locksmith wanted $250.


According to my room mate and our dotter, YouTube is great for their car repair tutorials, too!