Gotta give a shout-out to my mother-in-law here…I was watching her when she wasn’t looking and stole an idea right out from under her.
(*It wasn’t that exciting in real person, I’ll admit. It sounds fun that way though, doesn’t it? *wink*)
During our visit a couple of weeks back I noticed her putting away a recipe in a binder full of plastic page protectors…and I thought “Duh. How easy is that?!” And so I was inspired to make a recipe binder for Chris and I. I think it will be incredibly helpful as we plan our meals and bi-weekly grocery shopping trips, and the rule of thumb is going to be that a recipe has to be tested & approved before putting it in the binder. It will kind of be like our kitchen playbook.
Of course, in typical Heather style, I had to go buy some adorable scrapbook paper and doll it up. Chris said he thought it looked a little “overdone,” to which I said…”Perfect. It’ll be just like my cooking then.”
What do you think?…
Inside I used dividers to split up the recipes into the basic sections…appetizers, main dishes, sides, desserts, and drinks.
While we’re on it, and since this is “The Kitchen Diaries,” why don’t I go ahead and share how we meal plan / shop.
I’m a teacher, which means I get paid once a month. Since both of my parents are teachers, and I was a single workin’ lady (NO, not that kind of working lady!) for 3 years before I got married, I’ve had some practice at stretching a paycheck out over 4 weeks.
<On a slight side note, once when I was in elementary school myself I overheard two teachers talking about payday. Without realizing it, I blurted out “Yes! Real food!” Hehe…turns out no matter how Mom tried to camofluage it (i.e. – “picnic”), sandwiches are just sandwiches.>
Now that Chris and I have joined forces, budgeting and meal planning is much easier, as he gets paid every two weeks. Basically I think of what our weeks are looking like, where we’ll be on the weekends, etc. and count up how many meals we’ll need to make / eat at home during that time. Since we’ve cut our eating out way back, we usually only plan one eating out night per couple of weeks, and we try to use our date money to fund that little outing. That means usually we’re planning for somewhere between 15 – 18 meals. (Lunch at our house is typically sandwiches or leftovers…not a lot of cooking happening at that time.)
After that we go through our recipes (about to become a lot easier, thanks to the binder!) and write down our meal options. We’ve got a few fallbacks that appear pretty much everytime…spaghetti, chalupas…and I’ll be the first to admit that the rest of the list isn’t very original. Too starchy, too much that is tomato based…but we’re working on it.
From there I make a grocery list based off of those meals, adding in the staples that we’re almost out of and the toiletries we need. In case you missed it, here’s a great link where you can customize a grocery list. Then all you’ve gotta do is check off the things you need and go shopping!
Once the meal list is posted on the fridge and the pantry is stocked, we’re ready to go. We just choose what we want each night, bon appetite, then mark it off the list. It’s the easiest way we’ve found and makes me a more effective & accountable shopper.
Now if I could just get the coupon thing going to help save a little money…
What about you? How do you plan for meals and shopping?
KEEP CALM & SHARE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES WITH ME!
P.S. – Remember D’s binder? Turns out it was a wedding gift from her Aunt, and she’s been collecting recipes in it for over 37 years. How sweet is that?!