Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Printable Meal Planner & Planning Meals

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Printable Meal Planner
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This past week I sat down to redo our menu plan, weeding out some of the recipes that we think are ‘so-so’ and adding in ones that were newer. I had to make it pretty too ~ because cute and fun can make all the difference in meal planning, right?

Guess what? I figured out how to make a meal planner pdf that you can download, fill in with your own text and save on your own computer ~ go on and try!

Using the Meal Planner

To make my meal planning easier {and to try and remember all those little meals you tend to forget about making every once and awhile}, I made up a meal chart. Call me crazy. Call me over-organized.

Label me.

But I have a chart and it makes me happy. Oddly and pitifully so.

All of the recipes that we use often ~ recipe cards, favorites from different books, etc… are sorted out by category in my planner {beef, chicken, pork, pasta, soups/salads, and other}. I keep it in my planner so that when I plan meals I can just pull it out, go over the list and plug things into our meal calendar.

Since I sort the meals out the way I plan, I can essentially just drop and drag. Once I've laid the month out, I go back to my recipe book and write out my grocery list. I put notes to know where to find the recipe (what book, etc...). Also, if the meal is one that freezes well, I noted that too - in case I want to double up a meal or have a knack to go on a cooking spree if I have room in my freezer.

How I Plan

I use my own recipes that I've gathered over the years, our family favorites and go from there. We also have some "staples" in our family meals: Sunday night is family movie night and popcorn night {with other little treats too}; Friday night is pizza night {we make our own}; Thursdays are generally leftover nights; and Saturdays are meals that I can (hopefully) make with the kids helping.

My Main Dish Menu Planner

{click on the image to get a peek at my meals}

I then look ahead at our month and try to plan based on things happening. Right now, the kids have Awana on Wednesdays and we have to be there early, so Wednesday is a crock pot meal or something simple.

Here’s a "sample" idea for how I start out:

Sunday: Popcorn
Monday: Pasta
Tuesday: Chicken/Pork
Wednesday: Beef / Crock Pot 
Thursday: Leftover
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Cook with kids

I pull out my planner, which has a month-at-a-glance page and use that for plugging in all my meals {you can also use a blank calendar that you print from Microsoft Word or whatever you have handy}. As I plug in the meals, I make sure to reference where I got the recipe from {my recipe book, or book and page number} - that way when it comes time to prepare the mail I know where to go looking for the recipe and don't have to dig around and wonder where my brain was while planning. After I plug in the meal names I go back over the list and then make my grocery list while looking at the recipes.

Essentially, is how I plan my meals monthly. I’m still working on posting more recipes to share with you all, but you can find all of the recipes I have posted in the Recipe Section of my blog.

Don’t miss my editable Monthly Menu Planner ~ another free download to help you plan your meals! You can add in the month and dates for each month you create a meal plan for and save it to use again in the future.

monthly meal plan calendar   

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me and have fun using the meal planner!

image

Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me! This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

19 comments:

  1. Love it!! And so cute....why am I not surprised?? I really like how you've set it up with the categories for main dishes - great idea.

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  2. Love it! Great idea! I don't know why I haven't ever thought of this. Thank you!!!

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  3. This is JUST what I needed since I am having such a hard time planning these days. And since this is a grocery trip weekend I will use this right away. Thank you!

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  4. Great idea and just reading over your menu ideas is making me hungry! Would you like to share some of your recipes with us?

    Thanks!

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  5. You can find several of my recipes posted here on my blog: http://www.noordinarymomentsblog.com/search/label/Recipes

    Are there any in particular that you would LIKE me to post about? :) I can always arrange that!

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  6. I'm going to try monthly meal planning. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  7. Awesome idea!!
    I've been wanting to encourage my boys to help more in the kitchen - this is a great ool!
    Blessings - LIB
    http://bit.ly/abCfzC

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  8. That is so awesome! I love this! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Such a great idea! My oldest plans our meals and makes the grocery list each week and sometimes she has difficulty coming up with an idea, or can't remember if we had that dinner recently. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. This looks lovely and quite helpful! I am having trouble downloading it though - I have tried several times but keep getting this message:

    "My_Main_Dish_Menu_Planner.pdf could not be saved, because the source file could not be read.
    Try again later, or contact the server administrator."

    ;( I'll keep trying!

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  11. This is so adorable! I think this goes great with our menu plans - thank you!!! I am going to laminate it and hang it on my refrigerator.

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  12. Love it! I tried entering in our favorites but it would not allow me to enter more then one per cell. I couldn't move to the next line.

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  13. It wouldn't let me add more than one per cell, either. And it starts it off in the middle of the cell, not at the top!
    Great idea, tho!!!

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  14. I love this! I couldn't find if you've already said this, but are the meals with *'s meals that you have recipes for in your blog? Thanks for your help--menu planning is torture for me.

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  15. I love this! I couldn't find if you've already said this, but are the meals with *'s meals that you have recipes for in your blog? Thanks for your help--menu planning is torture for me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This looks lovely and quite helpful! I am having trouble downloading it though - I have tried several times but keep getting this message:

    "My_Main_Dish_Menu_Planner.pdf could not be saved, because the source file could not be read.
    Try again later, or contact the server administrator."

    ;( I'll keep trying!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love it! Great idea! I don't know why I haven't ever thought of this. Thank you!!!

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