Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Help with Meal-Planning

When I was doing the Eat From the Pantry Challenge last month, I really had to stretch my creativity when it came to cooking. Since I was barely shopping, I had to look into my pantry and just make it work!

I decided to help myself along in the process by creating dinner-time lists. I've seen this idea in its most basic form in books and around blog-land (as I'm sure you have too), but never quite like this. It totally works for me and I thought I'd share it in case it helps one of you!

In the front of my recipe binder, I've made lists of every major "meat" category and the standard ways I like to cook those meats for dinner. The list only includes tried-and-true favorites - things I know that I can turn to. As I try new recipes (and we approve of them), they get added to the list.

This has been really helpful in preventing that 5:00 burnout!

My categories are currently:

- Chicken
- Beef (multiple forms)
- Pork/Ham/Bacon
- Turkey {for my recipes that taste better with or call for ground turkey}
- Seafood
- Meatless

Some of the recipes are in two categories - for instance, "Mac 'n' Cheese" is under meatless and the ham category because I usually put chopped ham in it but it stands alone fine as a vegetarian meal.

I put a dot by the recipes that need to be put in the crockpot, so I can easily see that option at a glance.

I'm loving this system and I don't see any reason why I'll ever stop using it!


  1. WOW! Thats a really great idea...totally going to steal this. Then I am going to put them into the handy dandy recipe binder that was another great idea. You so smart :)

  2. I LOVE it! Now share some of those yummy recipes please!! =)

  3. That's a really great idea! I do something similar...I organize all of mine by type of food (casseroles, soups, ethnic food, breakfast for dinner, etc.). Same basic idea and it works really well! :)

  4. I plan on one night each: 1)chicken 2)seafood
    3)vegetarian 4)beef/turkey 5)soup (winter) /salad (summer) and the others are leftovers or simple supper.
    Just having one selection for the evening helps me limit my wondering what's for supper. Also, I one recipe's list of ingredients that I always try to have on hand so that I am never left w/o the right things to make at least one simple meal (in my case, a blackbean casserole).Anything to make menu planning easier....Rose

  5. I love that idea. I always hate it when 4:00 roles around and I have no idea what I am cooking for dinner.
    Thanks for sharing.

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