Sunday, August 3, 2008

Inside Scoop: My Menu Planning System

Here's a quick tutorial on how I plan our weekly meals, keep track of foods that I need to use soon, and use seasonal recipes.

A couple of years ago I started placing my menu plans onto an electronic calendar (goes all the way back to July 2006). On each day I make a new calendar entry for the dish I plan to prepare and inside the entry I make a note of where the recipe is located, from what magazine and/or the website link along with any other tips or suggestions that I want to include.

When I find new recipes I add them to the calendar: if it's a time consuming recipe I place it on a weekend, if it's a big portion I allot it for two dinners worth, if it's seasonal I place it in the appropriate month, if it's a dish I want to share I place it on a date when I know we have company over, etc.

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Each month I print out the calendar displaying what I plan to make (I make weekly adjustments as I plan for the following weeks grocery items). Behind the calendar I place the recipe print outs in upcoming order.

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Most of my recipes come from other websites, so I typically print them out. Once I have made a recipe, and if I really liked it, I file it in one of two recipe file boxes. I have broken out the categories below.

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Categories of 1st File Box - I break out the different sections by color

  • Breakfast (orange)
  • Red Meat (green)
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Turkey
  • Pasta with Meats
  • Pasta with Veggies
  • Vegetarian Dishes
  • Soups
  • Leafy Salads
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Slow Cooker
  • Side Dish - Rice (red)
  • Side Dish - Casseroles
  • Side Dish - Veggies
  • Side Dish - Salads
  • Side Dish - Breads
  • Cakes (purple)
  • Pies
  • Crumbles,Crisps,Cobblers
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Fresh Fruit Desserts
  • Custards
  • Dessert Breads
  • Gelato,Ice Cream, Sorbets
  • Dessert - Other

Categories of 2nd File Box

  • Previous Menu Calendars (yellow)
  • Spice Blends
  • Dressings/Marinades
  • Miscellaneous
  • Spa Treatments
  • Party Plans
  • Christmas
  • Thanksgiving
  • Halloween
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Holiday - Other
  • Diet Tips
  • Beach (blue)
  • Appetizers
  • Drinks
  • Pickling
  • Pumpkin Recipes
  • Cranberry Recipes
  • Homemade Dog Goodies

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Kath said...

WOW you are super organized!! I do a similar plan in Google Calendar (meals are in purple!) and note where the recipe is, but I don't plan nearly as far in advanced. We've been slacking off with meal planning lately and will get back on it this fall :)

Amy said...

okay, this is really super impressive.