Simple Meal Planning Tips that will help you save time and money!
A couple of weeks ago I posted my free meal planning printables. I called that step one in meal planning, and today I’m here to talk about the last step. Ok, so I hope that you printed off those printables, and I even suggest that you save at least the first two on your computer in a file somewhere, or pinned them on a Pinterest board for you to refer back to again and again. Because today I need to talk to you about how I use the Our Favorite Recipes printable to make meal planning easier.
I want you to sit down by yourself, or with your family, and write down what your favorite recipes are. These are recipes that you are already making for your family, or perhaps these are recipes that you made one time months ago, and you sort of forgot about it, but your kids loved it! These are your family’s favorite recipes, and you will need to pull from these for your meal planning!
My list looks something like this….
As we continue, you’re going to have to do one of two things. A) Create a board on Pinterest, if you haven’t already, titled Recipes To Do, or something similar. Or B) Grab a folder and get ready to print out all the recipes you want to try out, and stash them there. If you need some ideas for dinner, check us out on Pinterest. I have tons of recipes!
Ok, so now that you’ve created your Pinterest board or gotten a folder, it’s time to search for recipes to try out. Because I’m in the kitchen a lot, I like to prepare simple, fast, with minimal clean up dinners. I set out on Pinterest when I’m looking for new dinner ideas, and search “one pan meals”, “one pan”, “sheet pan meals”, you get the idea. I scroll through and pin the ones I really think that the whole family would enjoy. If you’re not pinning, you can Google the same, just print the recipe off when you come to it, stash it in your folder, and we will talk about making our menu.
If you look at the week, you have seven days that you could potentially add a dinner idea to. However, realistically most families eat out once a week. This is the night that I have titled left overs. Chances are we end up with at least enough leftovers to carry us one night a week. It could be that your kid wanted cereal for dinner, and not that baked flounder (**cough Kelsie cough**). Whatever it may be, we are going to title one night a week leftovers/eat out. NOW – just because you have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, yada, yada on that menu, doesn’t mean that those days are set in stone! They are not!! I move my days around ALL the time. I just simply will slash out the day of the week that I ended up cooking that recipe from. Maybe I had One Pan Chicken and Broccoli, but didn’t have chicken thawed out, so I ended up making hot dogs instead. It’s ok! You can make Friday night’s dinner on Tuesday.
You’re going to fill in 4 days of the week with your favorite recipes, and the other 2 days you’re going to add new recipes. Unless you have a huge list of family favorites, then you can do 5 days of your favorites, and only add in 1 new recipe.
If you don’t have leftovers one week, and you don’t end up going out to eat, make sure that you have something quick and easy to throw together. These are the nights we do sandwich’s, grilled cheese, breakfast for dinner, etc. You could even buy something like hotdogs and buns, and freeze them for a night like this specifically. We always have hot dogs and buns frozen just in case for whatever reason we didn’t have leftovers, and we didn’t go out to eat.
Next up is how to write out that grocery list to make sure you have everything that you’re going to need, without running to the store 5 times a week!
To make my grocery lists, I do one of two things. I have a small magnetic notepad on the fridge that we add to as we run out of something, like peanut butter. I always add these to my list last. First, I make my grocery lists straight from the recipes. I go down through each recipe list and make sure that I have whatever spices I need. Most of the time I do. Now I go through on my grocery list and write down what I need. If a recipe calls for chicken, I used to write, for example, chicken, I would put hash marks beside indicating how many pieces of chicken I need. Since I've been doing this for a very long time, and we buy our chicken from Target in a bag in the freezer section, I know how many pieces are approximately in the bag, so I can write down the number of bags, depending on the meals we eat with chicken that week. See, it's really just that simple! I like to use a magnetic clip to hang my menu and copies of the recipes for that week on the fridge. It makes it so much easier!
So that's how I make our menu and grocery list. Next I'll show you how I setup my recipe binder!