It has been a couple of years since I created a monthly menu plan. I've been working off of a scratch sheet of paper making a weekly menu plus grocery list, which I suppose I'll still need to do for my grocery list. A friend was sharing recently how she was struggling with what to cook for her family every week. I had given the her women quite a few new chicken recipes already, which her family adored and I went on to share what I used to do, making a monthly menu and solving that 'what are we going to have for dinner' craziness.
Planning a monthly menu means I sit down one time, uninterrupted, for a couple of hours. Pull out those recipe books, bring up that food Pinterest board, open up those cookbooks, and re-visit family favorite recipes. With your family schedule in mind (traveling, date nights, dinner's out to eat, ball practice, etc...) begin plugging in meals on a monthly calendar.
I use a calendar template strictly for my menu.
I added in desserts for our evenings with our small group. I included those travel dates which will impact what we eat - at home or out to eat. I included visitors, because that too would direct what we eat for dinner. I added in a few older favorites we haven't had in a while which I can 'see' more clearly when creating a monthly menu versus a weekly. Having a Taco Tuesday quickly filled in those days. Having a regular fare on a specific day makes it easier to create your menu. For instance, one could have a breakfast for dinner day, or Friday's are pizza night. Or Mondays are meatless. Endless possibilities.
I haven't made a new recipe in awhile so I incorporated a few I've been wanting to try into September's menu as well. Please note: It was with intention that I included Jalapeno Popper Chicken twice in one month!