How to make your very own menu/ recipe plan and shopping list
Select the menu
First, decide how many days you want to plan for. Looking at a long-term calendar helps; take into account activities where you will not need a meal (eating out, church suppers, etc.) Write that number in the top right corner of your page.
Select recipes you will use. As you write down the name of each recipe, also write how many meals it will make. This is the number of servings divided by number in your family. Stop when you reach the number of meals you need.
Plan the shopping list and the workplan
Go through each recipe one by one. If the ingredient is not already on your list, write it down with a tally mark for each unit you need; if it is already on your list, just put down more tallies.
At the same time, make a list of the processes - all the chopping, dicing, grating, browning, all of the things that you will want to combine on cooking day and do in advance to make assembling the dishes easier. Put the processes and amounts on your work list. This lets you get a full total for each item. Items might look like this:
onions, 10 cups: slice 7 cups, dice 3 cups
chicken, 20 breasts: 10 whole, 10 cooked and shredded
Last but not least, plan the order of work by checking which recipes need the oven or other cooking source and how long. For example, if I didn't precook my beans, I have to start them right away, so they will be ready in a few hours. And if I can only bake 2 9x13 pans at once, and I want to cook 5 pans plus a turkey, I better figure out what order I should prepare in- or I may decide to make a different dish that can be simmered for one of my choices.
Simplify your work
For chopping, you want to arrange it so you wash up as little as possible. You can use a food processor for most chores, starting with veggies, mildest flavored such as celery first, all the way to onions and garlic. Then give the processor a good wash and dry and grate cheese (again mildest such as Swiss to strongest such as sharp cheddar to minimize cleaning between ingredients). Then proceed to bread (crumbs or cubes). Meanwhile, cube any cooked proteins such as ham, meat, or tofu.
For the precooking, try to group like processes together as much as possible, to save stove space, dirty pots, and time. For example, cook all of the ground beef you need at one time. I even sauté bell peppers, take them out, onion slices, take them out and then sauté diced onions in the same pan.
Save freezer space by storing foods in plastic zipper bags, pressed as flat as possible, and remove as much air as possible. If you have to freeze part while the rest waits, put the waiting bags in the refrigerator or into an ice chest full of ice. This way you really can store a month's worth of meals in the small freezer above the refrigerator!
To reduce the clean-up afterwards, clean as you go. While you wait for something to simmer, load and run the dishwasher or wash a few dishes or utensils, or wipe the counters.
Leave the kitchen safe for the morning rush, but leave heavy cleaning for the next day. You've done enough for today.