Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Meal Planning System

My system for planning is....

I start with my excel spreadsheet. It has 3 tabs....meal plan with spaces for each meal, prep, supplements and my husband's schedule.

I put in our schedule for the husband's work, church, meetings, eating out, etc.

I check the frig and make a list of available produce/leftovers/dairy that needs to be used/etc.

I also have an inventory of my freezers and pantry on hand. I keep a well stocked pantry with the basics we always use (beans, canned tomatoes,
coconut milk, GF baking supplies)

We also have some freezer basics....ground beef, ground sweet sausage, ground lamb, whole chickens, shrimp, frozen broccoli, peas and corn, corn
tortillas, lots of different kinds of stock. (trying to think of it all....I have a spreadsheet....I would be happy to share)

I move meals that we didn't make (but still want) to the next week.

I have two large 3 ring binders for recipe ideas......
1) KerryAnn's menu mailer ( and
2) recipes I have printed and family favorites.

I keep the ones we haven't tried yet in the front and file the ones that we want to keep behind dividers. I start
flipping thru for ideas. I try to fill in breakfast first...cause those are easy after I move the meals over.

If I have an ingredient that I can't find something that I like off hand and want ideas....I pull up Kerry Ann's recipe archive first (
Karina's GF Blog (, and then or (usually Alton Brown or Paula Deen)

Then just start picking things that sound yummy...keeping in mind...... ways to use leftovers and what we have on hand. Such as cooking lots of
rice....for a dinner, then rice pudding for breakfast and maybe leftover rice in another meal. I also like to double meals to put things in the
freezer such as cooked rice, casseroles, etc. So I add in a reminder to package up leftover/extras for the freezer.

I have a tab on my excel spreadsheet that is a shopping list so if I find an ingredient that I know we will need...I flip over and add it to the list
while I am planning.

I put in soaking grains, defrosting meat, prep for crockpot along the way.

I then pull out (or print) all the recipes for that week, put them in plastic sleeves (if they aren't already) put them in the small weekly binder.

I print the meal plan and insert that in the cover of the weekly meal binder.

Then I usually do a quick flip thru to make sure everything necessary has been added to my shopping list. Then print the shopping list....put that in my purse.

Let me know if you have any questions.



Lorissa said...

Loving your blog ;) Thanks for the posts on TFOAMC!

MrsKamorri said...

This blog is just great! I am amazed at your mad skillz ;) I cannot WAIT to see your 3 week new baby menu plan. That is always such a hard time for me, when I know I should be eating better than ever and can't summon the energy for much more than frozen pizza and cheerios. I'm not pregnant at the moment but always hopeful.

You've inspired me to get down to business with my own menu planning. I think I'll use yours as a baseline and make changes according to my own pantry, freezer and budget.

Oh, and what are "cheese dreams," pray tell?

TraditionalFoodsMama said...

Oh Cheese Dreams....they are a family tradition. I need to type up the recipe....but basically they are a french toast/grilled cheese. Then you serve with lots of butter, maple syrup and powdered yummy.