24/7 MOMS

Monday, January 17, 2011

Make Life Easier... Plan Out Your Meals!

Make Life Easier... Plan Out Your Meals!
By: Deanna Gemmer
24/7 MOMS Writer

I love to sit down and plan out meals for the week before I go to the grocery store. This helps with my food budget, as well as the frantic “what’s for dinner” rush in the evenings. I don’t attach meals to a specific day, instead pick 4-6 meals for the week and then in the morning or afternoon decide which one feels best for the day. Sometimes I’ll ask my husband for his opinion before he leaves for work so I can take meat out of the freezer or put the food in the crock pot.

Usually when I sit down to plan meals I pull out 5-7 cookbooks and just start flipping through recipes until I find one that looks good, or one that we’ve tried before that we liked. I’ll put a sticky note on that page, write down the recipe name and ingredients needed, and set that cookbook on top of the microwave for ready access when we’re set to cook.

But this system isn’t working for me anymore. For one, it takes too long. For second, I need a list of go-to recipes my family loves and I love to cook. In one place.

So when I stumbled on this blog post today I had a whole new burst of inspiration. Time to gather some supplies and get to work on putting my favorite family recipes all in one binder.

And printing out extra copies of this grocery/meal planning list to put right in front so they’re ready when I’m ready to plan? Brilliant!

A lot of my favorite recipes come from online sources (print out!) or magazines (tear out!) that can easily be put in the binder. But what should I do with the recipes in my beloved Better Homes & Garden book, or any number of other hard-backed cookbooks on my shelf?

A few ideas:
1) If you have the time, why not type out those recipes on your computer, print out, and put in the binder?
2) If you have a scanner or copier in your home, scan and print the recipe for your binder.
3) Keep a few sheets of blank paper in the back of your notebook. Add a handwritten note about the recipe, where to find it, and if you can, add a simple 4x6 picture you snapped before serving it to your family. (If you’re anything like me, I NEED a picture of a recipe before I’m even interested in attempting it!)

I’m moving at the end of the month, but once we are settled I fully plan to tackle this project. I can’t wait to have all our favorite recipes all in one place!

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Anonymous Toni @ A Daily Dose said...

You know this would be great to keep in your coupon binder if you have one! Then you can see what you are planning and look through your coupons when you are shopping to save money :)

January 17, 2011 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger mandy said...

Love the idea! I do something similar, and one thing I've found that's really nice to have for your binder recipe sheets are the plastic sheet protectors to slip them in. Get the ones that are clear on both sides, then you can put two recipes in, back to back. I'm a messy chef (and so is my two year old), so this keeps me from having to print out or write out the recipes more than once. :o)

I'm also a little bit type A about organization (just a teensy weensy bit...), so I bought some of the tabbed notebook separators so I could organize the recipes and find them quickly--I think either alphabetically or by main ingredient (i.e. Chicken, Pork, Beef, Pasta, Salads, Desserts, etc) works great. Keep the articles coming!

January 17, 2011 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Thanks so much for featuring my idea. I've loved reading your spin on it too. Good luck with the move!

January 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Deanna said...

My husband also suggested if you have a smart phone you can capture the recipe pretty easily with a scanner app.

And after writing this article I was so inspired I went through all my magazines, tore out the recipes I wanted to try, and organized them. Can't wait to pick out a cute notebook to put them in once we move!

January 21, 2011 at 6:29 PM  

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