Meal Planning Booklet

When I was growing up, my mother made sure we had some sort of home cooked meal nearly every night.  She was very diligent about this.  Consequently, she would take the time every week to plan the dinner menu on a little slip of paper while making the grocery list.  I didn’t think much about it then, but now I realize how impressive her commitment to meal planning was because every magazine and every organizational blog recommends doing this as a way to get organized and save money.

Now that I’m back to manning the home front, that means I’m in charge of dinner most nights (admittedly, pregnancy is starting to catch up to me, so “making dinner” sometimes means giving a sad look at my husband when he comes home from work and asking him if he can make the planned dinner).  Since I’ve started to understand the value of meal planning, I try to write the dinner menu on our dry erase board before my weekly shopping trip.

For the most part this method has worked well (I used it on vicarage), but I realized that I was having problems remembering dishes I could make.  My mom saved her menu slips for reference and as a nanny, I wrote down the meal plan in my nanny planner.  But with the dry erase board system, I had no way to reference what recipes I had used in the past.

After spending way too long thinking of a meal plan the other day, I finally had an idea.  First, I cut up index cards into thirds and punched a hole for a ring.  On the front card, I color coded the meal categories I use.

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After that, I brainstormed all the meals I knew my husband and I liked and wrote one meal, color coded, on each card.

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I also didn’t bother to check my spelling.

If I didn’t have the recipe memorized, I made sure to note where to find the recipe.

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I then hooked it onto the refrigerator for easy access.  Ta-da!

??????????The idea behind the little booklet is that I have easy access to the meals I can make for dinner.  When I’m preparing the weekly meal plan, I can say to myself, “We’re not doing anything with chicken yet this week.  What can I make?” and then flip to the section with chicken meals.  Also, because of using a ring, I can easily add new meals to the booklet.  I’m pretty excited to use it!

How do you meal plan?

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