September 29, 2009

Menu Planning

Mostly I just plan dinners. We go with whatever the mood strikes for lunch. Sometimes it's leftovers, mac & cheese, sandwiches, soup, whatever we have. Breakfast is usually oatmeal with the occasional cereal bowl when we want to mix things up. We live life close to the edge.

I do have a binder with all my recipes in it. I keep it in the kitchen. It's pretty cool and well organized.

Here's the concept: 

My binder has different sections for chicken, beef, pork, soups and beans, sandwich and bread, and desserts. I print the recipes onto regular paper and put them in page protectors (so that food splashes wipe clean)
  At the front of each section I have baseball card sleeves to hold a card with the recipe title and a short list of ingredients I need for shopping (things I don't typically keep stocked in my pantry).

*Small index cards cut in half fit the baseball card sleeves perfectly.
Above is a section that just has index cards. I use these to track how many "Quick Meals" I have on hand. Sometimes when I make a meal like lasagna for dinner, I'll make two and stick the extra in the freezer. I like to keep a bag of fish sticks or chicken nuggets on hand for when our day explodes with the unexpected.

I go through each section and pull out the meal cards that I want to use for the next week. I typically do this in the kitchen so I can go through the cabinets/fridge at the same time and make a shopping list.    


At the very front of my binder I have a zipper pouch (holds pen, note pad, and supplies to add to my binder as we try new things) and an empty baseball card sleeve.   I slide this week's meal cards into the sleeve.

As I use this weeks cards I take them out and put them back in their section where I keep the recipe.   When I'm not planning our meals we usually have a cycle of about 5 recipes until we burn out on something. There isn't as much variety. It's hard to be creative when you wait until the last minute everyday.
***The idea for the recipe binder is not my own. Melissa introduced me to it during one of our HK Makeover challenges.

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