Meal Planning Made Easy

28 Aug

Does this sound familiar?

It’s 5:00 and you open the door to the fridge, “darn it, I’m such a goober.  I have no idea what to have for dinner tonight.”  The fridge isn’t completely empty but at this time of day your brain seems completely incapable of deciding which items from your fridge and which items from your cupboards could be good enough friends to make a good meal for the evening.  So you stand there and stare.  Wishing one of 3 things:  That dinner would magically make itself, that you had your own personal chef, or that the Mr. would come walking in the door with dinner in his hands.

Well in the unlikely event that one of those wishes come true for you…go have a party for yourself.  For the rest of us, it’s time for things to change.  Set aside one hour each month for planning a master menu! True, it will be a painful hour (at least it is for me).  But once it’s done you will love yourself (and so will the Mr. and/or the kiddos) for the rest of the month.

Plan out 30 meals that your family loves (give or take a few depending on your lifestyle and preferences) and write down the recipes for all of them on index cards.  Organize them into an index card box and you now have the recipe ready to grab each day.  This also makes grocery shopping much easier; just transfer the ingredients for that week from your index cards and run to the store on a very full stomach (we all know what happens when we go grocery shopping hungry).  If you follow this method you will have only had the same meal 12 times in a year.  If that is too dull for you and you want a gold star for over-achieving, go ahead and make two master menus and switch off every month.

Here is what my master menu looks like:

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And here is what it looks like filled out:


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I like to print my sheet and laminate it so that I can just fill it out each week with a dry erase marker

How do you do your meal planning?  What is effective for you?


2 Responses to “Meal Planning Made Easy”


  1. Time Management « Mother's Niche - September 3, 2012

    […]  Create a Master Menu.  Find 30 different meals that your family loves and assign them a day.  If you repeat this menu […]

  2. Mother's Niche - October 9, 2012

    […] so remember my posts on meal planning and time management? Combine both of those posts with this one and you just might begin to enjoy […]

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