Well I think I've come up with a better way to menu plan and make sure I've got everything I need for that weeks menu. I took 3X5 cards (that I already had on hand for the twins for school) and wrote one meal on each card. I then wrote every item I need to make that meal (not the actual recipe, just the ingredients). I color coded them for each meat with a pen, so black is beef, green is chicken, blue is pork and red is other (seafood or the recipe doesn't call for meat). So for my stuffed shells recipe it looks like this
shredded mozzarella cheese
So now when stuffed shells is added to the rotation I look in the pantry to see what ingredients I already have on hand and what I need to buy gets written down on my grocery list. I will let everyone know how well this plan works out for me. I'm hoping I will be much more organized now.
My other tip for shopping the grocery store is go on-line for the store you shop. Most stores allow you to view their ad on line and you can click on the things you want in the ad to create a list. Then you can follow the tabs to add the other items not on sale to your grocery list. When you print it out, most stores organize the list by isle. So you only go down the isles you need and you know exactly what isle everything is in. So when you're in isle 9 you know you're going to get your pasta, sauce, rice and beans. Make sure to take a pen to cross the items off as you go. If you're shopping with a little helper, have them help you with the isle number or how many of the item you are looking for.