As you go about your week, preparing the meals from your menu plan, you might start to accumulate leftovers. This is another aspect of the family-feeding process that takes time to develop. Leftovers are wonderful.
With practice, you will learn to actually PLAN for leftovers for the purpose of turning them into another meal. Or you might plan leftovers in order to save up some extras in your freezer. For example, whenever I cook chili, I make a gigantic batch on purpose. We have found this to be one meal that improves with time! The first day, we eat the chili as is. The next day, we either just have leftover chili, or I add the chili to pasta or use it to top a baked potato. Then, I freeze all the rest in meal-size portions. I cook once, but we eat up to four times!
If you make something and end up with enough leftovers for one meal, you may choose to just eat that the next day, or another day that week. In which case, you will be ignoring one of the meals on your menu plan. When this happens, just move the “ignored” meal to the NEXT WEEK’S menu plan, and you’ve got a head start!
You might also want to keep a running list of meals you are adding to your freezer.
There might be other circumstances that pop up throughout the week that cause you to stray from your menu plan. This is okay. Just revise your plan and keep track of what you still have on hand.
Just a note: I always keep old menu plans. They are useful when I’m lacking inspiration. I look back on old plans for meal ideas when I just can’t seem to think of anything. You might want to set aside a binder or special notebook or box of some sort for keeping all your menu plans.
Also, the same goes for recipes. As you plan your menus, you may start to incorporate some new recipes. Print them off or write them out and keep them. Organize them. Reuse them! Make notes on them – ingredient substitutions you made, revisions you would try next time, notes about how many servings the recipe actually made, etc.