Recently several blog followers have asked me how I am so organized to plan out all my meals for the week. My Type A personality likes to plan ahead for just about everything. I’m the type of person who starts planning for the upcoming weekend on Monday. My dear husband, not so much. I think I drive him crazy since I’m always asking him “When are we…” and “(Insert day of week)do you want to….” questions. Now that I have two kids I’m trying to be a bit more flexible, but meal planning is a must. I hate grocery shopping. There is NOTHING enjoyable to me about it. Going to the store 2-3 times a week just isn’t my idea of fun. I also don’t enjoy having to just figure out what we are having for dinner when I get home from work. So meal planning solves both of these problems. I typically plan my meals on Saturday or Sunday morning at breakfast. Here are my top tips and must haves for making meal planning easier.
1. A small library of cook books with easy, quick and healthy meals stored in your kitchen. My favorite cookbooks these days include: Meal Makeover Mom’s No Whine with Dinner and The Mom’s Guide to Meal makeovers, Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals book 1 and 2, Rachel Ray 365 No Repeats, and Rachel Ray Express Lane Meals. I also use several online sites including Spark People, AllRecpies, and Food Network.
2. A Smart Phone or IPad- I use my Iphone for my grocery list, meal planning, and organization of my recipes. There are MANY apps out there that do these. I have yet to find one I like that does all three well. Currently I’m using the Groceries app to create my shopping list. I add items to the list throughout the week. I use the app Mealboard to store recipes and meal plan. Mealboard has a website that you can create an account for in order to input your recipes online. The website also enables you to cloud sync your recipes from your phone to the website. The recipe section of the app allows you to input the ingredients, store it in a category (pasta, poultry, side dish ect), and enter any notes about the dish. If the recipe is in a cookbook I don’t actually input all the ingredients or directions into the app, instead I will put under the notes section the name of the cookbook and the page number. It saves time when adding new recipes into the app. If I am entering a new recipe that is from an online source I will cut and paste the ingredients and directions into the app, so when I am ready to make the meal I don’t have to refer back to a particular website. Just last week I started using the Ipad for cooking. I pull up the recipe and put the Ipad on my cookbook stand instead of having to use my tiny phone to reference.
3. A Menu Board- I find that if the meals are posted in the kitchen I’m more inspired to follow my plan for the week. My menu board has evolved over the past year from a simple dry erase board to a mounted chalk board from Pottery Barn. Check out my posts here and here for more ideas on menu boards.
Here is what the Stavish Clan is eating for dinner this week…
Monday- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Slices and Sweet Potaotoes…ok this has been on the menu for three weeks now! Yesterday I even marinated the tenderloin in the morning but by the time we got home we were too tired to cook. It will be made tonight- no excuses!
Tuesday- Crock pot chicken and Rice (Facebook Recipe group) with Buttery Brown Sugar Carrots (MMM-No Whine with Dinner)
Wednesday- Pasta (Adrian’s pick of sauce), Garlic Bread and Broccoli
Thursday- Sliders on dinner rolls and Pesto Salad with Peas, Pine Nuts, and Cheese (online)
Friday- Balsamic Maple Chicken, and Couscous with Toasted Pine nuts
I also plan on making Nutella Mug Cake for
dinner dessert one night. It looks so yummy!
For meal planning ideas or to link your menu up go to I’m an Organizing Junkie.