Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Planning Our Family's Dinners

I have this thing for cookbooks. I love them. I'm the nerd at the Pampered Chef party that buys the cookbooks instead of the cool kitchen gadgets. But I simply HATE to plan menus, make shopping lists and grocery shop. So anything to streamline the process? Hey, I'm all for it. And since the price of groceries continues to rise (and rise), I have committed to only grocery shopping at the commissary. It saves money, but because it is too far away for quick trips, I have to plan well so I'm good to go for the entire week. Since it is finally time to start the change from summer salads and lighter fare to yummy cooler weather dinners, I put together a new 8 week meal menu for our family. I also include shopping lists and the name of the cookbook and page number of each recipe so it's easy to find when I need it. Remember, I have a thing for cookbooks.

Here's how it looks. I laminated each page with Scotch brand Self-Sealing Laminating Pouches so that I can make notes, cross off ingredients I already have on hand, and mark completed recipes with a dry erase marker. I use the same lamination technique for my kids' morning charts). That way I know in a glance what to include on my shopping list. It is a bit of work up front, but I tell you what, this system has saved me so much time overall.

Here is a close-up...you can click on the picture to view it larger.

My sister April also came up with a cool idea for organizing her family's dinner menu and shopping list. Check it out here. No question we came from the same genetic gene pool.

Do you have a dinner plan that works for your family??

19 comments:

condiefamily said...

Ok. I just linked to April's page and you 2 are freakin' me out! It has to be in the gene pool! I secretly admire your organization but W-O-W! If I was a millionaire-I would HIRE you to do all of this for me and the shopping(because I have a love/hate relationship thing going on with Super Walmart right now- food is a necessity but I don't like to shop for it). You continue to amaze me. You are my organizational hero.

Albanie said...

I love your way of organizing meals. I just had a binder with 8 weeks worth of meals and their recipes which was nice, but I still had to go thru and make sure I had ingredients. I like that your thing is out in the open and you can mark off things. I'm stealing it!

Our Complete Family said...

Amber, this is AWESOME! My game plan over the next few days is to use your laminating technique to make 'chore charts' for myself for each day of the week. I swear I have adult onset ADD and I literally flit from task to task, room to room and never finish one thing it seems! And this menu idea for them, too? This is so right up my alley girl! Love it!!! And boy oh boy do your menus look yummy. I want to be your next door neighbor!!! Hugs, Les

At Home In Georgia said...

Wow that sure had to be a lot of work but boy will that really make things easier. I LOVE to cook and to have lots of food on hand but hate making the lists too. Did you see Lisa Bearsons blog about her favorite place in her house and why? Love your charts!

Ashlee said...

I am so loving it. I have a way of doing my menu for the entire month, but I like your calendar idea. I may have to put my info into that form instead. Did you make it on an Excel Spreadsheet?

kathleener said...

both yours and you sis's ideas are great! my system is definitely less organized and cool--i just write the meals i'm doing for the week on the back of the grocery list i make the night before shopping and then as i make the meal, i cross it off. i know if i used yours (or your sister's), it would save some of those last-minute trips for side items that i forget to write down! can i pay you to do your system for me???!

kathleener said...

oh, and can i browse your recipes sometime? your menu looks so delicious and i'm in need of some new meals :-).

Liz said...

I do almost the same thing... but my dinners aren't nearly as gourmet as yours. I didn't list all the ingredients on the calendar, just the main dish and sides, but I like yours, maybe I'll try it for September. I love the planning ahead, makes for a much easier month!!

Melissa Bennett said...

Oh wow, that is awesome!! I may need to give it a whirl. My poor way of doing things needs much improvement and that looks like a great way to do it!! Thanks for sharing it.

kawaii crafter said...

Wow, this is far more organized then anything I do. Usually I figure out what I'm going to make for the week then shop accordingly.

Karen said...

Love this idea! Thanks for sharing.

Marisa said...

You're going to have to make sure you post the recipes for some of those, like the SW chicken and black beans-YUM. I'm so bored with cooking I will take any and all recipes I can get.

Angela said...

OK Amber, this is why I love you and will love you forever. Nothing makes me smile more than a laminated chart of any kind. It makes my cute publisher calendars with my penciled in meals for the week look very sad in comparison. When I don't work anymore, I plan to develop an access database with all of my recipes that will auto generate shopping lists and calendars. I am dreaming of that day! - Angela

Scott and Nicole said...

So I checked out April's page too, and you both are amazing. I am in a total slump and don't menu plan at all! Part of my problem is no matter what I fix, someone doesn't like it. I keep telling myself I need to plan a month at a time, but making the time to actually do it -- well, that hasn't happened yet! :) Thanks for the ideas.

Nicole said...

Wow your good. I remember having a homemaking on this once. I need to get my act together and actually do it. I plan a menu for the week, but 8 weeks would be awesome. Do you plan lunch too or just dinner? I just do dinner and lunch is kind of a free for all.

Walkers said...

Seriously, when do you find time!!! You crazy organized girl! I wish I had an ounce of your creativity and organization skills!

just jamie said...

Did you have to go and do that? Make me feel all jealous and inadequate? Sheez. It's 4:01 here. Ya' think I have any idea what we're having for dinner TONIGHT? Nope.

(So, can we come over for dinner?) :)

Bonnie B. said...

This is awesome. Much better than mine. It's usually just "Monday-McDonalds, Tuesday-Burger King.....". Just kidding. I'm not really that bad. I actually cook, but I'm usually running around last minute trying to figure out what to make. This would be so much easier.

Sonja said...

I'm absolutely stealing this idea. Thanks you for sharing your incredible organizational skills with us! :)