Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Organizing Recipes & Meal Planning

IMG_4146  More nesting, ladies! As mentioned in my blog description, I was VERY naive when it came to cooking prior to getting married (okay, I’ll admit, even after getting married…maybe still). However, I was determined to figure this whole cooking thing out and I’ve been cutting recipes and trying new things for quite some time now. I’m definitely feeling more comfortable in the kitchen.
With baby #2 due VERY soon, I’m recognizing that cooking is going to feel that much more challenging…again! In an attempt to make it less of a challenge, I reorganized all the recipes I have found to be “tried and trued” so I can plan meals quicker. I had begun this form of organization awhile back, but needed to expand after adding recipes to my repertoire.
Recipe Book
Here’s the final result. A 2” binder (I think) – pictured above – with about 9 different “sections” as follows:
IMG_4153(The pictures are the file tab pages separating each  section, 8 1/2” x 11” paper with about a 3 1/2” square “cutesy” label, pictured below. Some of them don’t have the same “titles” because I had made them prior to expanding my recipes)
  • Appetizers & SidesIMG_4149
  • Salads, Soups & SandwichesIMG_4154
  • PoultryIMG_4155
  • BeefIMG_4156
  • Pasta, Fish & Vegetarian IMG_4157
  • DessertsIMG_4158
  • DrinksIMG_4159
  • Breakfast
(This was an entirely brand new section, so I don’t yet have a cute label for it yet)
  • 3 sheet protectors that house recipes I want to try: apps & sides, main dishes, dessertsIMG_4161 On the back of each section, I put an alphabetized list of the recipes in that section (the recipes are also alphabetized, for now at least). Here’s one example:IMG_4150 The recipes themselves I’ve typed on a 3”x5” piece of cardstock and put them in photo pages (I also laminated the cardstock so they stay clean when I take them out to use). Here’s what they look like and here’s a link to a sample of the photo pages:IMG_4160 I’ve even thought it’d be cool to use the side pockets for notes or comments about the recipe. Yeah…don’t know if that’ll ever ACTUALLY happen, but it’s a cool thought.
Meal Planning
Trick of the Trade #10: Meal Plan
Meal planning is crucial for so many reasons. Saves money, keeps me eating healthier, keeps the hubby happy, etc. My meal planning routine each week is to sit down with my recipe binder and my schedule and figure out what I’m going to make each night. If it’s a relatively easy week, I’ll throw some new recipes in there from my “stockpile”. I found these helpful little magnets that I use to put up the recipe cards on the side of my fridge. That way, I’ve got it ready to grab AND my husband can peek at what’s on the menu. I pull out all the cards and make my grocery list from that.IMG_4164IMG_4163Notice the pizza coupons nearby, too. I do actually PLAN to go out or order in as well. Come on, we all know it’s gonna happen! =) Hope this helps motivate you…as well as keep me motivated to continue cooking after baby arrives!  


  1. Please add me to the list when meals are being organized for you after Ali comes. You know I'd love an excuse to come out and meet her!

  2. Sounds like you need to purchase a copy of the cookbook I completed last year!
    A Guide to Simply Good Eats
    It's dedicated to moms in need of good, simple foods. Kristin has mentioned it on her blog. Let me know if your interested and I'll bring a copy to MOPS this coming Monday.


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