Thursday, February 2, 2012

The meal plan!

Okay, so once you have decided which 2 or 3 cookbooks you want to regularly pull from (remember, if there are recipes that you enjoy out of other cookbooks, you could always keep a 3-ring binder and make copies of the recipes to put in your binder; I personally use 2 cookbooks and one binder), and have decided on what themes you would like to use in your meal planning, you are ready to go to the next step.

Now what you need to do is get a blank sheet of paper for each of your theme nights. My themes are Mexican (Tues), Fish/Meatless/Brinner (Wed), Comfort Food (Thurs), Pizza (Fri), Casserole (Sat), and Pasta (Sun). My husband and I go to a small group on Monday nights, so what I prepare on those nights always changes depending on what we are taking to our small group. If you have already gone through your cookbooks and made a list of the recipes you like (one of yesterday's tips), this step will be easier. On each theme page, make a small list of recipes fitting that theme that you will choose from when you are sitting down each 2 weeks (or 15 days, depending on how often you have a pay-day or choose to plan; personally, I do 15 days because that's how we have our budget set up). Beside each recipe, make a note of which cookbook it is from and what page it is on.

When I sit down to make my 15 day meal plan, I also make my grocery list at the same time. Since I have noted in which cookbook and on what page each recipe is on my master lists, as I decide on a meal I also take a quick look in the book to see what I need to add to my grocery list. 

I keep all of my master theme lists in a plastic paper keeper in the front of  my 3-ring binder.
When it comes time to sit down and plan out your 2 week meal plan, all you will have to do is go through your theme lists and find which recipes you would like to plug into your meal plan. I made up a sheet of paper that I use to write my meal plans on. One page is one week, so I use two sheets for my 15 day plan. I have listed each day of the week and noted what the theme is for each day.
I also make sure I make a note of the cookbook and page number where I can find each recipe on this page, too, so when it comes time to begin preparing supper I can easily find my recipe.

I know this may seem like a lot of work, but really if you break it down and work on it bits and pieces at a time until you have it all done, it's really not bad. Plus, this little bit of initial work really makes for a plan that is quick and easy to follow through on. If you work outside the home, having a plan like this will take the stress off of knowing what to make for dinner, and will save time on sitting down to plan because the theme night "cheat sheets" make the process run smoothly.

I hope you have found this helpful! If I have not explained something clearly enough or if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask!


Life with Kaishon said...

I am so impressed. What a great system!

*megan_elzey* said...

Thank you :) It really makes the difference between something that I can stick to and something that I cannot. Hopefully others can benefit as well!