Simplified Meal Planning

How many times have you menu planned and gotten home only to find you didn't get enough of an ingredient?  Have you wanted to simplify your menu planning?  Well, this may help you out.  My menu planning has slowly evolved since we got married.  I started out just buying bits and pieces but not having meals.  Then, I started making lists.  Then computer lists, and even printing recipes weekly.  Problem is wasting paper, and feeling disorganized.  So I decided to simplify and organize things, using a small notebook, contact paper and 4x6 note cards.

Ready to get started?

Things needed:  small notebook, 4x6 note cards, and clear contact paper.

These are what my cards look like.  You could definitely do some googling, or use pinterest to find recipe card templates.  You can fill some out on the computer, or write them out.  Neither of these things worked for me.  My handwriting is big, so I can never fit everything on a card.  A lot of templates just didn't have the layout I wanted.  I decided to make my own.  These are color coded as well.  Purple is pasta, red is main course, orange is dessert, green is mexican, and blue is bread/dough.

This is my chicken alfredo card.  The front has all the ingredients.  This is just the set up that worked best for me, so you could change it if you'd like.  For me, I can look at this, and easily see what I need and how much.  Switching colors back and forth also really helps to keep things organized.

This is the back of my card.  Again, alternated colors between steps so it would be easy to cook and not lose my place.

Next step is to cut contact paper a little bigger than your note cards.  You'll trim it later so it's no biggie.

Carefully stick the contact paper to the first side.  I just stuck it on the note card and table top.  The contact paper I used was amazingly forgiving.  It didn't stick too much, so was easy to peel off the table.

Next, flip it over and do it to the other side.

Then, just trim the excess away.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Quite the stack, isn't it?  Well, I still have quite a few MORE recipes to go through!

Next I picked out a meal we'd be eating.  Then wrote the ingredients I needed down.  I also added amounts as well, but that isn't shown here.  The other thing I love about this is it solves the "I don't know." dilemma.  Anyone else have that issue?  You ask the husband what he wants for dinner and he says, "I don't know."  Then you plan, buy and he wonders why you aren't having roast!!  Using these cards I can pull them out, go through them, and pick whatever sounds best for dinners.  I write it in my notebook, put it in my purse, and off the store I go!!

Growing Home


Whitney said...

What a fantastic idea for "laminating!" I've never considered using contact paper in such a way. Thanks for sharing!

Torrie Sorge said...

I think I could kiss you right now (I won't, but I sure could!)!! I have been pulling my hair out looking at meal planning templates, phone apps, calendars, grocery lists and more for weeks now, trying to find a concise/organized way to plan, organize and shop for our meals. I've gotten so frustrated I have barely cooked in 2 weeks! Thank you so much for this helpful advise. I'm so excited to get started!!! :-D

MariaM said...

This is SUCH A FANTASTIC IDEA! I keep recipe cuttings but most of the time they've got pictures, are not always easy to read! I've already started sorting out the recipes I don't like to throw them now I have to sort out the rest : one notebook for desserts, another for main course etc... your idea is so great and the recipes are so clear.Thanks for sharing!