Saturday, February 7, 2015

Meal Planning 101 - Part 1

As a mom, let's face it - we operate a small restaurant!  And every restaurant runs more smoothly with a menu!  In this post, I will help you create a menu for your home.  But don't worry, this menu is for the chef's eyes only - this is a VERY small restaurant where only the chef gets to decide what's for dinner! Ha!

This is a first of many posts in my meal planning series.  I LOVE to have a dinner meal plan put together well ahead of the day that I actually cook it.  I know for many, the question of "WHAT'S FOR DINNER?" is a real source of stress.  My hope is to simply and gradually eliminate dinnertime stress!

And first up is my "Dinner Menu Ideas" Planner...

Download the documents below HERE.

This page is blank in case you have completely different categories than I have listed.  If need be, just print this page as many times as you need and write in your own sub-categories.

I also added a page to put breakfast and lunch ideas as well:
I don't usually plan out breakfast and lunch but rather keep most of the ingredients to make these items always on hand.

This page is the binder cover...

And this is for the spine so you can find it amongst your cookbooks!

The easiest way to decide what to make for dinner is to refer to a list of meals that you cook frequently and that your family enjoys (at least MOST of them, as picky kids don't count!).

I'd fill out the list for you, but it would be of no use for you to have a list of things MY family eats and enjoys and that your family would not.  However, if you are in need of some recipe ideas, I do have all my recipes posted on my recipe blog HERE.

Here are some suggestions of how to fill out this list:
  • Go through any cookbooks or recipe cards you have and pick out dinner meals that you make for dinner.
  • Are there any recipes you use from the backs of products you buy?  Add them to the list.
  • Include recipes that you know by heart or that you don't use a recipe for (something like tacos, for instance).
  • Find all your meal recipes and ideas you have saved online - Pinterest, blogs, etc.
  • I'd suggest hand writing in your list and maybe even using pencil.  That way, when you want to add to it as you find more recipes, it's simple and if you ever find recipes that you just don't prefer anymore, erase them!
  • Some other sub-category sections would be "Pasta" or "Dessert" or even "Breakfast" (we occasionally have breakfast for dinner) if you usually plan desserts with your meals.
Once your list is filled out, place it in a 3-ring binder (my 1/2 inch binder has sufficed).  I keep mine in sheet protectors just to keep it nice, but that is optional.

Now, what I do with this binder is any new recipes I find AND end up actually cooking AND liking enough to make again, is I print off a copy, add the name of the recipe to the list, 3-hole punch it and file it alphatbetically.

Make sense?  Hopefully this is a first simple step in meal planning 101!  Find my Meal Planning 101 - Part 2 HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this! I'm going to try it out. I've been wanting to get more organized with my meal planning and the binder seems like it will help. I have good weeks and not so good weeks. I've been wanting to get everything in one place. My recipes are scattered and messy--so I'm hopeful about your method. Thanks again for sharing!