Plan Ahead…

If your workplace is anything like mine, there is ALWAYS food around.  Not just food but the best kind of food, Junk. Cookies, Cakes, Spaulding’s Doughnuts, candy baskets, bottomless coffee cups, Sonic Happy Hour runs, Friday Breakfast Club. It seems like more days than not I’m desperate for a hot, well-rounded dinner when I get home from work.  I hate nothing more than coming home ravenous for “real food” with not a veggie in sight or a dinner idea in mind. It’s just that much more tempting to head back out to blow your hard owned monies on someone else’s cooking.

It didn’t take us long to realize that the 5:30 zombie-esque, pantry raiding situation was not for us. That’s where the planning began. I planned dinner for the whole month and that wasn’t easy but it’s so worth it in the end. It may be time consuming at first but as you learn your cookbooks and how to navigate your favorite recipe sites it should get easier.

1. Print off a blank Calendar.  I used iCal but you can find calendars online as well.  Like here.

Here’s and example of the one I made. {I used two cork message board tiles that I already had to put on the back of this door.  The calendar goes there as well as recipes I clip out and want to try but don’t want to commit to my recipe box yet!}

2. Scour your recipe books and online recipe sites for dinner ideas. The thing I look for when searching for recipes is for ones with basic, non-perishable ingredients I already have.

  • As you find things you like, flag the pages with post-its and bookmark {or print} the pages on-line.
  • You’ll also want to start a grocery list of ingredients that you need to get at the grocery that you don’t already have. {This list can get intimidating, but we’ll address how to conquer it tomorrow.}

3. After you flag a page or print off a recipe and write down the ingredients you need, choose a place for it to go on the calendar. You don’t have to commit to having that dinner on that particular day but it will help you stay on track.

4. On your calendar you will write down what you’re cooking and reference the recipes.  So say for example, I’m putting down BBQ sandwiches, Baked beans and chips. I might write “BBQ, BB and Chips {Good Foods Fast, p112}” Note: I just made that reference up.

5. Continue to add to your calendar and don’t forget to add in some of your easy favorites.  We like to put those things down for days that we know we have commitments later that night. Less stress is the goal here.

We didn’t do weekends because they’re harder to plan for, like if you will be out of town, eating out with friends, etc. etc.. We also find that we’re not as hard pressed to figure out something quick.

• We should have a calendar filled with 20-25ish dinner ideas!

• We should know exactly where to reference the meal when we are ready to prep and cook.

• We should have a complete grocery list for an entire month of food.  {Don’t forget to add all your basics!  I don’t know what we would we do without our butter, milk and cheese slices around here.}

Tomorrow we’ll jump into the grocery list and try to save some moo-lah!  See you then!

One thought on “Plan Ahead…

  1. Great ideas! (For some reason I can’t see most of your pics on the blog today other than the calendar pic.)

    I do something similar in our food plans when I get around to making a calendar – I usually just do a week at a time though. ;) I even have started a little recipe box – each card references a cookbook recipe and then I jot down ways I revised the recipe. That way I don’t have to go digging back through cookbooks to find something I liked.

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