Friday, January 18, 2013

Meal Plans Made Easy (well...easier, anyway)

It's that time again.  Time to sit down and plan a menu and grocery list for the week.  Does your head start to pound?  Your palms get all sweaty?  You just dread this time?  I've been there.  I know how you feel.  So, take a deep breath...I'm here to help!  I've come up with a way to plan menus that works for me, and with maybe a few changes, you can make it work for you, too!  So, grab your supplies, and pull up a chair, because here we go!!!

Wait!!!  Did you say supplies???  What supplies????  Here is what I gather up to work on my menu plan:

1.  My menu template and a pen.  The menu template is basically a calendar for the month.  Yes, I plan for the whole month at a time.  Usually middle of the month before (I'll explain why later).  You can do it weekly if that works better for you.  Here is my basic template, or you can make your own.  I "fancy" it up a bit for the month because I display it on my fridge.  Do whatever you want.

2.  My calendar.  I can't keep everyone's schedules in my head, can you?

3.  My recipe files.  I use a program on the computer called SousChef to store my recipes.  If you have a Mac, I highly recommend it.  I've used it for years and it does everything I need - stores my recipes with a photo, communicates with the iPad which I use in the kitchen, emails recipes.  I also don't use paper cookbooks much, but I do have some magazines (Taste of Home is my favorite) and I use the internet to find others.  So, my laptop and a stack of magazines is all I need for this part.

4.  My cooking co-op meal picks for the next month.  I'll write more about co-op another day, but this is a great way to get freezer meals each month.  I typically have 7-10 meals per month.  If you don't have a co-op, you can do a freezer cooking day on your own, or just skip this part.

5.  Paper or an app for your grocery list.  I'm an app-girl.  I personally like Shopper on my phone for grocery lists.  I can even sync it with my husband so he has the list and can stop on the way home if I need him to.   That way I don't forget my list when I go to the store - I always have my phone!

OK.  So take some time and go find all of your supplies.  My next post, we'll start planning for February!!! :)

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