Menu Planning Mini Challenge

I’m challenging myself (and you!) to a little MENU PLANNING MINI CHALLENGE this week!  Follow along on Instagram for each daily challenge.  I’ll be showing you my completed challenge in our home ‘live’ as it’s completed each day and sharing a couple posts throughout the week as well.

Menu Planning Mini Challenge - Clean Mama

The premise is that with about 15 minutes each day, we can put a little menu planning in place that will carry us through the busy months ahead. Menu planning is a huge time saver but if you don’t have time to start, it’s probably too much.  This week let’s get started and get a menu plan – I’ll have a fresh menu plan for you later this week with simple and easy recipes that’ll get you started.  I’m linking up some posts here that will be helpful if you’d like to check out what I’ve said before on menu planning.  I’ll be posting all of my live progress on Instagram so follow along or peek over there each day.

Make sure you sign up for my posts too!  I’ll be posting about menu planning this week as well – don’t miss a post!

Ready for a mini challenge?  Here are the tasks for each day:

MONDAY – Take a couple minutes to Declutter cookbooks – donate any cookbooks that you no longer use.  Keep cookbooks that you love and use.  If you have a couple extra minutes, put a sticky note or tab on any recipes that you might want to put in the meal rotation.

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama


TUESDAY – Sort through any loose recipes and/or recipe binder – I love my recipe binders – they are one of my favorite organization tools.  BUT, sometimes I end up with a stack of recipes that I haven’t filed or haven’t made (good intentions, right?). Today is the day to go through any recipes that you need to file, make, or toss.  If you don’t have a recipe binder, go through recipe cards or your online recipe keeping method.

How to Create a Recipe Binder System that Works via Clean Mama

WEDNESDAY – make a list of family favorite recipes – If you’re looking for a method for menu planning, start by making a list of family favorites.  Try to come up with 20-30 favorite recipes – use this list as your base to start your menu planning.

4 Ways to Add Structure to Your Menu Plan via Clean Mama

THURSDAY – Make a menu plan for the coming week – free printable!  Make your menu plan for the coming week – need some help with ideas, start with your family favorites list and/or check out these posts – Busy Week Menu Plan(1) + Busy Week Menu Plan(2).


FRIDAY – Make a grocery list and grocery shop for the coming week – these are in my shop if you’re interested (individually or as a menu planning kit)

Everyday Grocery Shopping Lists - Close-Up - Clean Mama copy

I love doing mini challenges – here’s the last one I did – Fall Organization Mini challenge.


  1. Thanks for this Becky, it’s just what I need right now. I’ll also try to work on the mini challenge, we’re right in the middle of moving into a new house (from a 5th wheeler, after fulltime RV’ing for 11 years) 🙂

  2. Thanks for this mini-challenge. I have to say I use your menu planner every week from the Home Keeping Society it is my favourite part of my planner but I am really bad at hoarding cookbooks that I make nothing from and I do have loads of recipes floating around in magazines so I will take up your challenge and try and get some inspiration for this autumn. My challenge will be to try and not repeat too many dinners (for easy laziness) in a month by sorting out some new recipes to try rather than ooh and aah at them in the book.
    Looking forward to joining you on instagram too.

  3. Oh boy do I need this! Most nights I have no clue what to fix ????

  4. I’ve been meal planning for years. I also taught classes at our local library.
    Three other tips: 1) Use the grocer’s sale flyer to help you make menu plans for sale meats, etc.
    2) You need your family calendar with you. If you have soccer practice, dance and scouts in the same night, you won’t have time to cook — it’s probably a slow cooker night…if your husband is traveling, you don’t need standing rib roast…if you have a late-evening charity meeting, it’s a sandwiches night. You have to include your family calendar in the meal planning or it won’t work.
    3) Have your plans make use of fresh produce sooner than later. Even with the best storage techniques, you don’t want to assume your asparagus will last 6 full days or the bagged salad will make it. Use that up sooner than later in your planning. Your goal is to never throw out produce.

  5. I’ll try my best to follow. However, my husband having a odd schedule of work, I often eat alone and two or three times a week I will plan a dinner that he might enjoy or take as lunch the following day.

    So, I’ll at least declutter my cookbooks.

  6. I believe there was a reason you bought a specific cookbook & I don’t believe in owning just a handful of cookbooks bec somebody told me I SHOULD have X#. I have well over 200. I have gone through many stages of cooking from single, to committed w/children to single, to married, and we’ve worked weird shifts … sure its easy to give up, cook what you know. Don’t get rid of cookbooks! Schedule trying 1-2 new recipes each week, that’s 52-104 a year! You don’t have to put only 1 main course in the oven, try 2-3 different ones. Freeze leftovers as single portion meals or make double for family night, means less nightly cooking too. I’ve cooked through all the recipes in my magazines and most of my cookbooks. You can too, it takes time. I’m not perfect, I still collect recipes & have more cookbooks to try before I decide to donate them.

    • I agree with you to an extent. Some times we were given cookbooks or went through a particular cooking phase and now we have no use for them. We should keep the books we love and try new recipes from them like u said, but donate the others.

    • I have a cookbook collection – check out my post on Instagram today ( but I only keep ones that I love. I’ve definitely had a couple dud cookbooks that I just didn’t like the recipes that I made or maybe it was in a cooking phase. Keep what you love and use or keep everything or go digital – do what works for you and your family!

  7. I have one “gripe” with menu pages. I need a column to tell me where my recipes for the day or meal are located.
    If I want to make that special sloppy joe recipe that is unusual but really great I know it is in one of my cookbooks but which one, what page and what is the actual title of the recipe? I always end up going back to a legal pad, writing out my plans and making notes about what cookbook, recipe title and page. Then if it is crockpot, needs a lot of advance preparation or special ingredients. My hubbie keeps telling me to just set up a database, but that takes time and I would have to learn how to set up a database!

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