Thursday, January 28, 2010

think about it Thursday...

Today I am thinking about how hard it has been for me to plan, shop and cook dinners for my family....

So about a year ago I over heard a couple of women talking about how hard it is to choose, plan, shop, and make dinners for their families...totally a topic I struggle with I kinda sorta listened for a little of the women said, "I have decided to assign a theme to each Mondays are breakfast for dinner, Tuesday is Italian, Wednesday is Mexican, Thursday is leftovers, etc..." I heard this and somewhere in the frustrated part of my mind a light clicked on! I could do that! So a few months ago I put my thoughts about that idea into action. I thought a lot about how much I HATE trying to figure out what to make for dinners, how much I HATE grocery shopping, and how much I would LOVE if this process was easier! So here is what I came up with:

I go grocery shopping every 2 weeks so the amount of meals I need to plan for is a lot...

  • I chose 7 recipe themes
Italian, Mexican, Breakfast, Crock pot, Random, Casseroles, and Soups
  • I made a list of all the recipes that we like and placed them into my categories
  • I then went through each recipe and wrote down the ingredients that I don't normally have in the house at all times (this is another part of the planning struggle for me...once I pick what to make I HATE digging out the recipe for each meal and trying to figure out what I need)
  • Then I created CUTE 5x7 cards in Photoshop with my lists, printed them off at Wal-mart.

Can I just say that using my cards to make my list made my meal planning a SNAP!! It took half the time it normally does before I go out the door. I am so pleased. It WORKS!!!! Instead of needing to plan 12-14 meals it was so fun to pick 2 of each category (some how groups of 2 seem less daunting) and then right underneath each meal are the things I more pulling recipes! And the great part about creating the cards in Photoshop is that I can add more recipes and print off a new card super easy too!

Here are my cards on a simple small black clip board that I used E6000 to glue 4 strong magnets to the back of so that I could hang it on my fridge.

This is my meal planning/list command post. (we have a stainless steal fridge so nothing sticks to the front...) I have my meal clip board, a pen, and it wouldn't be my house if I didn't have sticky note pads. The blue one is only for writing down my shopping list. Anytime I notice I am out of something I write it down. Food items on the left...non food items on the right. (yep...I am a little crazy when it comes to organizing things...) When I am ready to go shopping I pick my meals and write the ingredients on my list as well. Hooray!!! It totally works. (also...see the orange sticky note? That is where I write the list of what meals I have ingredients for and plan on making during the 2 weeks. Assigning a theme to each day works great, but sometimes I just don't wanna cook pancakes/breakfast on Monday and so I can just pick something else off the list!

January is the month for organizing and starting can you make your meal planning and shopping easier?

Think about it...


  1. I am a meal planner and have since the Hubs and I got married 6.5 years ago, even without any kids! I just couldn't go to the store without knowing what I was buying for dinner. I don't know how people do it! We shop on Sundays for a weeks worth of dinner - Fridays we eat out and Saturdays are make your own and Wednesdays we go to my in-law's. So we plan for 4 nights. I made up a planner for my household that I bound so that when I'm really stuck I can flip through it and get ideas from previous weeks. :) I have it available as a free download on my blog:

  2. I am motivated an ready! Just need to open photoshop, and pick my cute paper!! :) Can't wait to have my clip board hanging on my fridge!

  3. I keep a whole calendar where I sit down and write out the foods for a month. It helps so much on time. But even better we cut down our grocery spending to about $70 a week! I also write in when we are going out to eat & where. I never thought about printing out my own recipe cards, I can't wait to get started!

    p.s. I am sooo doing a clipboard like yours!

  4. I love that you do this. I have a similar system, just not as cute. I am seriously loving your recipe blog though. You are such a good cook! The pesto and sugared grapes brought back good memories of Aggie Village!

  5. Dinner-deciding is on my list of hates! Luckily I don't have any kids and my hubs is pretty easy to please. I feel like a bad wife because we eat cereal so twice a week at least:)This is a great idea! Gonna try it out.

  6. We are meal planners, too! It makes life so much easier!
    I do love your system and it is so pretty!!
    We do order pizza out every Friday night!! A free cooking and it doesn't break the bank for a family of 5!

  7. Great idea! Now you're going to have to share your recipes. The Candy Crockpot Chicken and Enchilada Casserole caught my eye.

  8. I have all of my recipes up on a blog.

  9. We also are meal planners....I try to do a month in advance. I have a large desk style calendar that I have taped to the front of the fridge, not nearly as cute as your system, but not as trashy as it sounds. We write the meal at the bottom of each day. I have tried to do a theme style the only ones that have stuck are Taco Tuesdays, soup night, and Pizza Fridays (which is not every Friday). I do like the photo designs tho...way cute way to organize...might have to give that a whirl.

  10. OMGosh...what a clever idea! I'm now in the process of creating my own recipe cards. This definately should make meal planning a ton easier (and maybe even fun)! Thanks for sharing!


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