M.O.M Meal Planning from 'At The Cookery'

Our Naptime M.O.Ms Cook Contributing Foodie ~ Miranda from ‘At the Cookery’ Blog

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I was so excited AND nervous. When she was born I had many of the same feelings. Excited for her to have finally arrived BUT nervous. I kept wondering how I was going to deal with two children.

How would I clean the house....
How would I take the dog out....
How was I going to cook dinner.....

Then I read somewhere about doing a meal plan. The original article I read talked about doing a weekly meal plan. I was mesmerized. I thought, "now there is something I could never do, I am not that organized....".  Then my Mom went home after being with me for two weeks, my Mother In Law went back home and I was also alone. I was ALWAYS having the four o'clock freak outs - I would not think about dinner at all and then all of a sudden BAM, I needed to have SOMETHING to make for dinner. Of course by that time I would not have any thing thawed out OR would not have half of what I needed to make something specific. We ate alot of chicken nuggets and macaroni-n-cheese during this time.

I decided to give the meal planning a shot. How much worse could it be. I started going through my cookbooks and on a random piece of paper I picked out 5 or 6 recipes...allowing for at least one night that I knew we would do leftovers.

That first week went pretty well...I also realized that my grocery shopping was much easier because I had a list of everything that I needed. I also spent LESS, which my husband loved! Before I knew it I was doing up to two weeks at a time. I started buying random magazines that were chock full of great recipes. 

I gave myself two requisites for my planning; 1) the recipe had to be simple, something I KNEW I could make, and 2) that my family would actually eat, my son can be a bit picky. Suddenly I had all these random magazines lying around. I had to take action. I found an old 3-ring binder and I some page protectors and my meal planning binder was born.
It was great. I would rip out the recipes that I liked and slip them into the page protectors. The pages would stay dry while I was cooking and I had everything right there on one page. I decided to buy a couple subscriptions to magazines that I kept buying;
Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, and  All You. Then I ventured into the Food Network Magazine (which is my FAVE), I also bought a few Cooking Light, which is a great magazine if you are looking for extremely healthy recipes.
These days I have 4 binders...one for entrees, one for side dishes, one for desserts, and one for breakfast & breads. I also have worked up to doing a whole month of planning. I love it. It saves me so much time AND money. Whenever I get a new magazine I go through it that very day, pull out whichever recipes I like, read any articles that catch my eye and then I pitch it. No use adding to crazy amount of clutter
already in my house.
At the end of the month I sit down (after the kids have gone to bed), get my binder out and I pull out a month's worth of recipes. I always allow myself one or two days a week for left overs or what I call Free Night's. I put the recipes at the very front of my entrees binder and there is my whole month at a glance. Once I  have made the recipe I pull it out and put it at the back of the binder. Works great!
I also upgraded my random piece of  handwritten paper to an actual calendar that I made on the computer. The same night I pull out my recipes and I sit down at the computer and type it all up. Once it's printed I slap it up on the fridge and it's there for everyone to see....including my third, my husband. No more "what's for dinner...".

So if you are having the "four o'clock freak out" I suggest you give meal planning a try! Start out small, pick out things you LOVE to eat and then go for it. I will make your life easier, trust me! 

You can follow our foodie M.O.M Miranda on her blog: At The Cookery

1 comment:

  1. love this! I do the same thing. I am still trying to find more recipe pages with the sticky film! Need to put this whole recipe book thing on Evernote!