Menu Planning Monday & Free Menu Planner

Every Thursday, we get a big load of food from our CSA. On Saturdays, we go to the farmers market and fill in any gaps that we feel like our CSA didn't fill for the week. Then, it's time to eat!

However, if we don't plan out what we're going to do with all of our delicious produce, I know we're going to lose some of it to rot. Food from a CSA usually doesn't last as long as food from the grocery store, because it is almost always perfectly ripe when picked. So, it's important to have a plan for how we're going to use the delicious bounty of our local harvest without letting any of it go to waste.

I used to plan a menu and then go grocery shopping based on that plan. Now that we eat almost exclusively local, seasonal foods (at least during the harvest months, when the only non-local things we eat are organic canned beans and coconut milk), I have to reverse the process. Someone else picks the food I'm going to get, and I have to be creative to make it all work for us. It's been an exciting adventure trying to figure out how to do that.

Eventually what I did was to come up with a dual-function shopping and menu planning list (as you see above). It works in either way--you can fill in all your available ingredients and then make a menu plan from those, or you can write a menu plan and choose the ingredients you'll need to buy to make it. But it's all there together so you always know exactly what food you have or need, and what you're going to be eating.

I've included my list (a knockoff of the Anthropologie style "What to Eat" and "All Out Of" notepads) at the bottom of this post as a downloadable file so that you can print it out and use it too! It's been formatted to fit a full 81/2 x 11" page so you have plenty of room for writing and can store week-by-week copies in a binder if you want.

Want to see how I do it? Below the cut, I've shared this week's food supply and the menu I made out of it so you can see what I'm talking about.

This week, the raw (ha!) materials that I have to work with are the following:

  • 6 ears super sweet corn
  • 3 lbs yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 2 ct green bell peppers
  • 1 lb green beans
  • Approx 1.5 lbs freestone peaches
  • 2 ct cucumbers 
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 8 oz bag or bunch of kale
  • 2 pints heirloom cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 Boston Butt pork shoulder roast, 3-4 lbs
  • 16 oz container of BBQ sauce
  • 3 grassfed beef soup bones
  • 1 grassfed beef tongue
  • 1 grassfed beef liver
  • 1 gallon raw milk
  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 zucchini bigger than my head
  • 2 red onions, 1 white onion
  • 4 lemons
  • 4 limes
  • 1/2 package bacon
  • 2 bags mixed greens/lettuces
  • 1 qt pickling cucumbers
  • 1 package locally made goat cheese
  • 3 cans chickpeas
  • 3 cans black beans
  • 3 cans coconut milk
  • 1 box Pomi tomato puree
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup dried coconut
Gosh... that seems like so much food! Especially when it's just for two people. Here is my menu plan for this week:

Breakfast every day is eggs. That's just how we roll. Our eggs are local, from pastured, grassfed chickens, and we love them. They're incredibly fresh and the yolks are a beautiful reddish-orange color that you almost never see in even the most expensive grocery store eggs. Grassfed, pastured eggs are much healthier than store bought. They have about 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, and include as much as 10 times more omega-3 fatty acids.

For lunch, we almost always just eat leftovers. But, I try to stagger the leftovers so that we aren't eating the same thing for days in a row. Don't know what I mean? Let me show you. 

Menu Plan: 1st Week of September


Lunch: Cucumber, black bean, and cherry tomato salad dressed with raw vinegar and garnished with a dollop of goat cheese. (Ingredients used: 1 cucumber, 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 can black beans, 2 tablespoons goat cheese. Servings: 2)

Dinner: Braised pork shoulder with BBQ sauce and a green salad.  (Ingredients used: Pork shoulder roast, jar of barbecue sauce, 1 bag greens. Servings: 8 of pork and 2 of salad)

Leftovers: 6 servings of BBQ pork


Lunch: Leftover BBQ pork with a side of tomato and cucumber salad with raw vinegar for me, and crunchy raw bell peppers for Mr. Scrimp (Ingredients used: BBQ pork, 1 cucumber, 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 bell pepper. Servings: 2)

Dinner: Tuesday night potluck w/Bible study group. Contribution: Baked zucchini fries breaded with homemade coconut flour. (Ingredients used: 2 small zucchini, 1/2 cup dried ground coconut)

Leftovers: 4 servings BBQ pork


Lunch: BLT salad with goat cheese and raw vinegar (Ingredients used: 4 slices bacon, 1 bag lettuce, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 2 Tbsp goat cheese. Servings: 2)

Dinner: Chili with sour cream and goat cheese (Ingredients used: 1 lb grassfed ground beef, 1 braised beef tongue, 2 slices bacon, 1 box Pomi tomatoes, 2 cans black beans, 1 onion, 1 ear corn. Servings: 8)

Leftovers: 6 servings chili, 4 servings BBQ pork


Lunch: Leftover chili (Servings: 2)

Dinner: BBQ pork, baked eggplant with lemon and ground almond breading, steamed kale  (Ingredients: BBQ pork, eggplant, 1 lemon, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 8oz kale. Servings: 2)

Leftovers: 4 servings chili, 2 servings BBQ pork


Lunch:  BBQ pork with chickpea salad (Ingredients: BBQ pork, 1 can chickpeas, diced onion, raw vinegar, olive oil. Servings: 2)

Dinner: Chili, baked zucchini fries, sliced green peppers (Ingredients: Chili, 1 giant zucchini, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 1 green pepper. Servings: 2 of chili, 4 of zucchini fries)

Leftovers: 2 servings zucchini fries, 2 servings chili

Saturday (We do not typically eat breakfast on Saturdays because we like to sleep in, so we have an excuse to incorporate eggs into our other meals.)

Lunch: Coconut flour pancakes (Ingredients: Eggs, milk, coconut flour, honey, baking soda, salt. Servings: 2)

Dinner: Huevos rancheros with sour cream and baked zucchini fries (Ingredients: eggs, chili, sour cream, zucchini fries. Servings: 2)

Leftovers: None


Lunch: n/a -- we eat with mother-in-law and father-in-law Scrimp on Sundays

Dinner: Liver and onions  (Ingredients: beef liver, onion. Servings: 2)

Leftovers: None

What About the Rest?

You may have noticed that there were several ingredients I didn't mention at all in the above menu plan. Some of them, like the lemons and limes, just get consumed slowly slice by slice over the week--put into a glass of water, squeezed over a salad, or what have you. I'll pass over shelf-stable foods because those just get used up as they get used up and there's no rush to consume them before they go bad, but here are the rest: 
  • 6 5 ears super sweet corn
  • 3 lbs yukon gold potatoes
  • Approx 1.5 lbs freestone peaches
  • 3 grassfed beef soup bones
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 qt pickling cucumbers
The first three things on that list have one big common component: Lots of carbohydrates. Mr. Scrimp and I are currently eating a low-carb diet. But, we aren't going to be doing that forever, and I'm not about to let that delicious organic produce go to waste. So here's the plan.

The corn will be blanched, removed from the ear, and frozen for later. I really like to have some corn niblets on hand to throw into one-pot meals like chili or soup or stir-fry.

Potatoes will store for quite some time in the dark, so those will be tucked into the back of the pantry to be saved for a later date and will probably be cooked for a pot-luck or party. 

The peaches, onions, and cucumbers are going to be canned and pickled respectively. 

Two of the soup bones will be frozen, and one will go to make beef stock, which we use for all sorts of things. We drink it straight, add it to dishes that need liquid, and make gravy out of it. Delicious.

So, in the end, that big list of food that we got was just about the perfect amount for two people, with none left over at the end of the week. I had to sit and think about some of the ingredients--for instance, how to cook zucchini in a way that Mr. Scrimp would enjoy--but in the end I found uses for them all, even the ones I don't like (like bell peppers--yuck!).

Menu Planner Download

Want to try using my menu planner/grocery list? It includes spaces for planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with checkboxes for ingredients, and a column for notating the number of servings needed or eaters expected. Because there isn't room for an exhaustive list of ingredients, I've left blank lines for filling in extras.

To use, just download the file to your computer, open it in your preferred image-viewing/printing program, and print. Easy as pie! 

I also made a Kosher version that replaces pork with fish. If you're a vegetarian, I recommend using this one because it has a couple of extra veggie and "other" options. 

What are you eating this week?

(linked at Menu Plan Monday on OrgJunkie and Take a Look Tuesday)


  1. Hey! I love your template. When I try to download the file, the file download website claims that the file is not found. :( Maybe it's something on my end, but maybe you can fix it!

  2. Ashley, thank you so much for letting me know! I moved the files to google docs hosting and they should be available now. Please let me know if you still have problems!

  3. eeee. Im having problems too. It wants to print on 4 pages and will only let me print the top half. Love the idea, though!

    1. You probably need to resize the file before your computer will print it properly. Try downloading it, opening in microsoft word, and sizing the image to fit one page.

  4. Did you design this yourself? I feel like I've seen it somewhere.

  5. Hi. GREAT menu planner... Since I live in Denmark I'd love to chance it into Danish - would you be so kind as to e-mail me an editable version? For my own use only, of course!

  6. Do you have an editable file to type into this instead of just printing?

    1. Here's an editable version that's a little different.



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