Let’s Talk Menu Planning: Part 5

This past week, you should have filed your miscellaneous recipes, inventoried your freezer, created a Master List, and checked your calendar.

Now you’re on Part 5! You did it!! Today you see the fruit of your labors!

Drumroll Please….

Homework 5: Menu Plan!

On my menu planning days, I get out my recipes, my freezer list, my master list, my calendar, and my computer.

First, I fill in meals from my freezer according to my schedule. I don’t want to choose something for a night we’re teaching FPU that takes an hour to reheat because we wouldn’t be eating until 8pm!

Next, I fill in meals from my Master List that I know I won’t have to fight with my family to eat. Often times, I have most of the ingredients on hand, only having to buy a couple of things to make the recipe go. For the ingredients I’ll need, I add them to my shopping list as I go. 

Then I open up my Pinterest “Grub” Board and browse the recipes I’ve pinned from web searches and hours of Pinterest browsing (It’s far too addicting). Remember to keep referring to your freezer inventory! If I have a plethora of salmon in my freezer, I scan for salmon recipes. If I have ground turkey, I look for things with ground beef or ground turkey (duh), because my family usually prefers the turkey over the beef.

When I find a recipe online that I’ve added to my menu, I PRINT IT. Make sure it only takes up one page though. You can Copy and Paste the recipe from any website that doesn’t have a “print this” button and delete any superfluous stuff to make it fit. I, for one, don’t like having my computer in the kitchen while I’m cooking. That’s just asking for problems, IMO (and yes, I’ve heard of the saran wrap over the keyboard thing, but the screen still gets all icky and I have to keep waking the computer up. No thanks.)

After I’ve found and printed a recipe, *then* I add it to my menu for the next week, remembering to add ingredients to my shopping list.

If I still have spots open on my menu, I go to my files. Again, looking at my freezer inventory, I reach for only the file of the protein I’m looking to use. Streamlined, no? I fill in the rest of those blanks with those recipes, pulling the recipe I’ve chosen and putting in in the pile of the ones I’ve printed from Pinterest.

Don’t forget about a leftover night!

Now, remember that Freezer Inventory document you made in Part 2? Open the Word Doc and under the inventory list, write your menu! Now is a good time to update the list with the changes you made during your week of cooking. Your inventory list should be in 2 columns, so adding the menu (unless you have an insanely LOOOOOONG inventory) to the bottom should still only be one page! If it isn’t, play around with the font size.

I post my menu and freezer inventory on the fridge and clip the recipes I’ll need that week behind the menu. As I use something from the freezer, as I said in Part 2, I cross it off or re-categorize it immediately.

When I make something new and we hate it, I toss the recipe. When we like it, I write down any modifications I made directly on the piece of paper and file it in my filing system. When we love it, it goes on my Master List.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? Once you have all of your recipes organized, your freezer inventoried, and your Master List written, you only have to do the last 2 steps on a weekly basis! You’ll be SO glad you did!

Did you complete this series with me? Share your menu and your thoughts in the comments below! 


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