Tuesday, October 11, 2011

bite 02 : start menu planning

Even though I've been planning our dinners in advance for many years, I chose this project as my second 'bite' because I really needed a refresher. Figuring out our meals and making the grocery list to go with it has become my least favorite chore. It was time to rethink the process and there were three things I wanted to do :

1. Clean out my recipe binder. The last time I purged and organized it was before Parker was born and there were so many recipes that I either never tried or didn't make anymore. Not only did I take out all of the unused recipes, but I took them all out of their page protectors. Yes, they keep the papers clean but they aren't conducive to making notes or modifications. Out they go.

2. Make a current list of all of our dinner options. My goal was to make a list of one months worth of dinners with no repeats. I don't like that feeling of "oh, didn't we just have that?", so I squeaked out 31 meals, including one pizza night, one new recipe and one dinner out. I'm going to try it out this month and see if I can make every single dinner, with no repeats and little temptation to go out. Another idea that I really like is to plan your dinners to be from the same category each week. Like pasta on Mondays or Mexican on Thursdays. We love pizza here and someday I hope to learn how to make my own pizza dough. I think it'd be fun to have a homemade pizza night each week.
3. Rework my chalkboard meal planner. After using it for several months, I was started seeing what wasn't working for me. I had forgotten some dinners when I typed the original magnet labels so I decided to make a new set and hand write them all. Now if I see that I forgot one, I can just fill in a new magnet and they will still match. No more inconsistent, some-are-typed, some-are-written magnets. I also didn't like storing the unused magnets in the business card page protector in my recipe binder. They would slip out of place and I didn't like digging through them to put the new weekly menu up on the chalkboard. So, now I'm storing them in an empty egg carton. I cut the top off and I'm using the divided sections to keep the magnets categorized - pasta, chicken, soup/chili, breakfast, etc. Cheap + easy! I could have done something crafty to make it pretty like spray paint it, but this is good enough for now. I just keep it in a cabinet anyways.
Hopefully tweaking these few things will make meal planning simpler and more enjoyable. Do you plan your dinners in advance? What works, or doesn't work, for you?

You can read about my first 'bite' : establish an evening routine : here.
You can purchase your own copy of Simple Mom's One Bite at a Time here.

1 comment:

  1. OMG I would love to have 31 different meals to have for the month! I might need to check out your recipes! We have lots of repeats and over time forget about some old but good recipes...I should probably figure a process like yours out sometime soon.