This October menu plan has plenty of cool weather recipes AND a free monthly menu printable to inspire your own monthly meal planning.
We have finally been blessed with a few days under 80 degrees, which got me all excited to come up with a meal plan for cool weather dinners. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been craving a crisp autumn day and a nice hot bowl of soup!
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Why Create A Monthly Meal Plan for October?
You might wonder why I bother to plan an entire month’s worth of dinners at once?
Well, between working and blogging and LIFE, I simply don’t have much time to think about meal planning. I sit down ONCE to do monthly menu planning, and I make it EASY.
For details on how I do that, read my post about how to plan a monthly menu that works for YOU.
In case you don’t know me well yet, my life philosophy is pretty much always MAKE IT EASY. My meal plans definitely reflect that.
The October Menu Plan
No, there aren’t 31 meals listed here. Sometimes we’ll eat a favorite dinner more than once. I’ve also left open nights for leftovers and restaurant dinners. I make the larger, more complicated dinners on weekends.
The highlighted links you see in the menu will take you directly to the website for each recipe. I’m always pinning new recipes, so following my Pinterest board for main dish recipes is a great idea if you’re looking for dinner inspiration.
1. Grilled BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters
2. Grilled Cheeseburgers
3. Grilled Bratwurst
4. Outdoor Fish Fry, homemade onion rings
5. Baked Ham Shank, carrots, potatoes
6. Homemade Pizza
7. Canadian Cheese Soup (Yes! It’s been toooooo long!)
8. Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole
9. One-pan roasted smoked sausage, chicken, potatoes, carrots
10. Smothered Baked Chicken Burritos — Be sure to use her Shredded Chicken recipe and add these “refried” beans. (If I’m short on time, I will substitute a bag of thawed frozen burritos baked with a 30-oz can of green enchilada sauce & cheese. Totally processed food, but easy enough for anyone in the family to throw together.)
13. Smothered B/S Chicken Breasts
14. Roast Turkey Dinner, mashed potatoes
15. Easy Chicken Parmesan Bake (My very favorite easy dinner!)
17. Roast Pork Loin w/Mushrooms, mashed potatoes
18. Pastor Ryan’s Pasta Carbonara
19. *crockpot meal* General Tso’s Chicken, fried rice
20. *crockpot meal* Slow Cooker Lasagna
21. *crockpot meal* Red Beans & Rice
22. *crockpot meal* Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs (If I have time to make everything from scratch, I will use this recipe: Swedish Meatballs )
24. Pork Chops & Scalloped Potatoes Casserole
26. Cabbage Roll in a Bowl Soup
27. Baked Chili Dogs (I kind of can’t believe I even listed this, but it looks like a fun dinner that my family would love.)
Monthly Meal Plan FAQs
I get quite a few of the same questions about my monthly meal plans. Here are some answers that should help.
What to serve with these dinners?
Most of the dinners on my list don’t have a side dish listed.
This is because it’s either an all-in-one dish, or my plan is to serve raw or roasted vegetables with the main course. Sometimes that’s a couple of bags of fresh or frozen green beans tossed with oil, chopped onion, salt & pepper — roast on a sheet pan (I use this one) for about 20 minutes at 450F. (See? EASY)
How much do we spend on groceries for a month?
When I first wrote this post in 2016, my monthly grocery spending would naturally land around $400, some months a little more or less. This amount fed 3 adult-size people very well.
Updating to account for 2022 prices and the fact that my husband now does quite a bit of the grocery shopping, we spend about twice that amount.
Doing one big monthly shop at Aldi and only popping into the local store once or twice for milk and fruit can save at least $75/month compared to shopping weekly.
Related post: How to Grocery Shop for a Month
What do we eat for breakfast, lunch, and snacks?
Breakfast – Not much. Sometimes I’ll make a crockpot of steel cut oats for the week or my husband will make eggs and bacon on the weekend, maybe once or twice a month. Once in a great while my son will eat a banana for breakfast.
Honestly, I used to try pretty hard to get my boys to eat a ‘good breakfast’ in the morning. Eventually, I had to admit defeat. Breakfast just isn’t our thing.
Lunch – Leftovers, pb&j, lunchmeat sandwiches, crackers & cheese. I’ve also been slightly obsessed with chicken and tater tot wraps for the past few months. So delicious!
When my younger son was in school, he was responsible for packing his own lunches. I made sure we always had bread, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, and fruit — oh, and bottled water. I’m honestly not quite sure what he packed for lunches, but I do know that I didn’t have to think about it — so it was all good in my book.
Snacks – Fruit, crackers, nuts, tortilla chips.
I usually do not make desserts. If we’re REALLY craving something, I’ll make rice krispie treats or some chocolate pudding to use up milk.
What do I use for planning meals?
I keep these monthly dinner ideas as a base. Then, when it’s time to plan, I grab my Essential Meal Planning Printables to keep myself organized and make the process EASY.
More Meal Planning and Meal Prep Inspiration
Meals For November – A Hearty Menu of Cozy, Beefy Dinners
Quick Food Prep Routine for a Week of Easier Meals
March Menu Plan And Grocery Goals
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Post updated July 11, 2022.
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9 thoughts on “October Menu Plan – A Month Of Cool Weather Dinners”
I love new recipes. Thanks for all the ideas and links
Hi Mary! I’m glad you could find something useful! 🙂
You have done well with the monthly budget/menu. I am sure it would help and give ideas to many trying to cut back on their spending.
Bloggers Pit Stop
Julie this post was among the most clicked on The Bloggers Pit Stop. Look for a feature on Friday. Well done.
Thanks, Kathleen! I’m looking forward to visiting again this week!
This is great!! I used to do menus like this when the kids were at home. I love your list! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up!
Hi Helen! My 14-year-old loves knowing in advance what we’re having for dinner. 😉 I imagine things will change with the coming years, but for now it works for us. 🙂 Thank you for visiting!
When I was a young mom I used to plan menus out by the month. For a short while I even did once-a-month cooking. Now, I’m more into once-a-week cooking. $400 for 3 adults is a great grocery budget. Applause for training your son to live an independent and empowered life by teaching him to take responsibility for his school lunches. ^_^ As a mom of older sons, I appreciate it now having slacked in this area myself. It’s not all bad, just a little harder.
Hi Sara! The things we learn the longer we are parents, right? 😉 Thanks for saying my grocery budget sounds good… sometimes it seems like we are still spending so much more than we should be. (Hmmmm… maybe a post series idea there…) Thank you for your thoughtful comment!