Each week after I shop I plan the week's menu. That may seem backwards, but I save a lot of money by selecting the meat and vegetables that are on special that week, when I started with the menu I had a really hard time keeping my total under $220.00. I try to keep certain staples on hand, like coconut milk, jarred tomato puree and paste, fish sauce, chili powder, etc. If the fish I buy that week lends itself to curry, it's easy enough to grab some lemon grass, a lime, and some fresh ginger. If the best bargain on beef is chuck roast, I can grab a bag of mixed root vegetables. I try to favor ruminate meat since I believe it has the best fatty acid profile, and I make my protesting family have fish once a week, even the vegetarians. From a health standpoint we should eat fish 2 or 3 times a week, and eat more of it when we do, but my family would mutiny if I tried it, so I compromise. I have to make a vegetarian and a meat protein for each meal, so every menu has both, but if you want to cook along with us, by all means, pick one or the other, not both. The basic schedule is:
Sunday: whatever looks awesome at the store while I shop. This is the night for steak, whole roast chicken, or maybe takeout. All bets are off. Budget is not an issue. Sometimes I help the kids bake homemade bread or rolls. Sometimes I make a batch of gluten free muffins or scones for treats for the week. I almost always make a milky dessert, mousse, pudding, pana cota, or something to use up the leftover dairy from the week before. We often have my parents over, in which case I ask them to bring fruit and a salad.
Monday: fish, rice, vegetables (soak beans for tomorrow, take out hamburger to thaw)
Tuesday: Hamburger/beans, corn muffins or biscuits, salad (take out pork for tomorrow)
Wednesday: Pork (or beef or lamb) usually in the crock pot, potatoes with cheese sauce or other vegetarian protein topping, steamed or stewed or sauteed vegetables (take out hamburger and soak beans for tomorrow)
Thursday: Hamburger/beans, taco shells, tortillas, or rice, vegetable that goes with the meal (take out chicken for Friday)
Friday: Chicken/tofu, rice or sweet potatoes or baked squash, vegetables
Saturday: Beef or lamb pot roast/roast/stew, egg based entree like soufflé or frittata, root vegetables or roast vegetables, salad or sauteed vegetables
Desserts: we eat a lot of fruit, pudding, or nuts with chocolate for dessert or bed-time snacks. I don't generally plan those ahead.
Weekday kid school lunches: (My husband and I take leftovers, come home early enough to eat at home, or take simple snacks, like cut up vegetables, GF crackers with cheese and meat, etc.)
Monday: bagels or sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, beef jerky for my older meat eating son.
Tuesday: fried rice or cheesy rice with leftover rice from the night before, fruit, cheese.
Wednesday: vegetarian left-overs in thermoses (often bean soup,) fruit, carrots.
Thursday: potatoes and vegetables in cheese sauce in the thermos, or cream based soup, fruit
Friday:rice and beans in the thermos, yogurt, fruit, summer sausage or jerky for older son.
Weekday breakfasts: my older son and I have pre-diabetes/high insulin/insulin resistance, and we both have a strong dawn effect, or high morning blood sugar, and are extra insulin resistant in the mornings, so we usually eat meat, eggs, and low carbohydrate vegetables. My vegetarian kids have a very irritating aversion to eggs in the morning, so they often eat yogurt and homemade granola for breakfast.
Monday: eggs and sausage or bacon, yogurt and granola, fruit, veggies
Tuesday: oatmeal in the rice cooker, eggs and veg.
Wednesday: sausage and vegetables, yogurt and granola
Thursday: rice pudding or oatmeal in the rice cooker, eggs and veg
Friday: Granola with milk, left over meat or eggs for me
Weekend breakfasts: I don't plan these ahead, since we have time and energy to make it up as we go. My husband often makes popovers for the kids, and we have boiled eggs and lavish fruit plates with some GF scones or sauteed veg for me. Omelets and Frittatas make a frequent appearance. Sometimes I just have cheese, fruit, and some GF crackers while the rest of the family sleeps in, and we start our day with a late brunch that has rather more lunch than breakfast.