Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Meal Planning

I hope that you have heard of Clean Mama, because if you haven't you  need to stop over right away!  If you had heard of Clean Mama, did you follow along with her Meal Plan Month back in September?

I just found her myself, so if you haven't found her yet, your not too far behind!  But what I love about Clean Mama is that she shares tips and tricks on how to keep your life organized and some what clutter free!

I wish I had found her for Meal Planning Month, but love that I can browse through the whole month at once!  I am loving and trying oh so hard to Meal Plan.

Here's what I did:

Printed off this freebie from her site, then printed off a blank calendar off my computer.

Then sat down and filled out the freebie, and did a quick freezer inventory.

Once I had an idea of what was in the freezer, and an visual idea of what we liked, I started to randomly plug into my calendar.  There is not a right or wrong way to do this, but it was definitely a challenge. I didn't want to have the same thing week after week, and know that we normally stray away from chicken umpteen times a week. So, I tried to plug a chicken, beef and pork meal each week and then filled in from them.  

Then I thought about ingredients, say we are having Scalloped Ham and Potatoes, I think of a recipe that will use the shredded cheddar cheese like Quesadillas or Mac and cheese. And try to spread similar items out.

Once I had my weeks planned out.  (I only did Monday through Friday, and weekends are typically full of events, and whatnot.)  Then I worked on planning my groceries out next!  This has actually been the best part of all for me. I used to jot down a list right before going to the store to just have to run out during the week for one stinking ingredient. Not so anymore!

I actually sit down and right a list for every thing I would need for every meal of the week. Then when it comes time to get ready for the store, I pull my list out of my binder  (where I have began to store my meal planning sheets, extra paper, grocery lists, recipes I want to try, etc) and cross off items we already have. Then I add in the basics to the end, milk, eggs, bread, yogurt etc.

It's nice knowing whats for dinner, and if were not in the mood for something we have switched days around too. It's also nice to have everything in one spot.  I created a binder for Cook, Clean, Craft, Gift and Misc.

Do you meal plan? If so, what are your favorite tips?