The hardest thing I have always found about planning menus is taking all the ingredients I have and planning a menu based upon the ingredients in the pantry. My goal this summer was to try to reuse the items we already owned and limit our shopping trips to once every two weeks. It means trying to plan more efficiently ahead of time and then trying to actually use the items we have in our pantry.
Tools I used:
Google Calendar. I have set up a separate Google calendar for Dinner, where I list what we are planning for meals over the next two weeks and then it syncs with mine and my husband’s blackberries. I put in the notes a link to the recipe if it is online or a note of where I can find the recipe.
I also use SuperCook. It’s probably one of the best tools out there. I list all of the items I have in my pantry and then I put them in. I then list things I don’t want to use. So Ham, Pork, Bacon, etc. is on the exclusions list since I keep kosher. The website is great if you are part of a CSA (community supported agriculture). I really had no clue how to cook chard or kale the last few years ago.