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Meal Plan Part 3 – Putting It All Together!

I was determined to get a meal plan organized for my household before my maternity leave came to an end. With a toddler to include in mealtime and a baby to distract from mealtime, I felt it was important to have an organized method to go about getting us all fed a decent meal each night. No more coming home and saying, “What’s for dinner??”
I am happy to say that our meal plan did indeed get implemented just before my leave came to an end and it has been working great for several weeks now! It makes cooking and grocery shopping alike so much easier!
I’m going to present our meal plan to you in 3 parts.
You can find Part 1 here: Recipe Book.
And Part 2 here: Menu Board.
This is part 3!
So where are all of these meal ideas coming from that we’re writing on the menu board and finding in the recipe book?
From my master list of dinner recipes!
But let me back up just a bit for a moment.
Back in July I mentioned that I was working on organizing our household and shared the above picture with you. Every.Single.One. of the above items has played a major factor in that.
You may recognize the dry erase sheets. The rest include (from left to right) a new coupon book, a store loyalty/gift card holder, a flippable paper pad, and a magnetic organizer.
What I won’t be focusing on in this post are the coupon book and gift card holder, but believe me when I say they have helped immensly in my organizing, and indirectly in my meal planning.
Okay, back to the meal plan master list.
I sat down and wrote out all of the meals that I currently make and other meals that we enjoy but rarely eat because A) I forget about them or B) they are buried in the piles of recipe books we own.
I came up with 40 meals!
28 for me to cook…
…and 12 for the hubs to cook!
Oh yes, my friends, daddy does NOT get out of cooking around here.
He actually enjoys it so its not that much of a chore for him. So he is responsible for at least 1 meal per week.
The flippable pad contains all of the ingredients needed for each recipe. It.Is.Awesome!
I use this to make my grocery list each week. It has made everything soooo easy!
The numbered master meal list transfers well to the ingredient list. Each set of ingredients is super easy to find via the number system. In the above top photo you can see that I also wrote the number and name of the recipe in the colored tab. It makes flipping through the book to find what I’m looking for very simple.
I also have left myself open to finding new recipes to try and possibly even add to the master menu list. If I happen to feel like I have some extra time when I’m planning the week’s meals (which is usually on Sunday) I can go in search of one of the multiple recipes I have bookmarked on the internet.
Now maybe those numbered tabs make a little more sense on my recipe book. 😉
Remember its full of the recipes that I don’t have memorized.
Here is the set up in my kitchen.
(Don’t pay any attention to the actual decor on the walls or shelves. I’m still in the processing of decorating!)
The first arrow points to where my meal master list and ingredient book live.
The second arrow points to my recipe book.
The third arrow points to my menu board.
So let’s do a recap of the items needed for my meal plan…
1. Master List of Meals
2. Ingredient Book (from Target)
3. Dry Erase Marker & Eraser
4. Magnetic Organizer (from Michael’s?)
5. Recipe Book
6. Menu Board (from JoAnn’s)
You may have noticed I only chose 5 meals for my menu plan, and they aren’t assigned to a particular day of the week. Things come up. Plans change. By only choosing 5 meals a week and planning the day before which to eat, it leaves our schedule flexible since you never know what may come up. Plus, we are bound to have leftovers from one or more of the meals so no need to plan new meals for 7 days a week!
So this meal plan took quite a bit of initial investment of time, but now putting together our dinner plans has become a cinch!
What do you think? Is this something you could use for your family?
Is it adaptable for your use?
What would you do different?
I’m curious to know what you think about it!
pantry door trim
And it appears the overwhelming decision from y’all is to go with no trim on the pantry door!
So that’s how I’m going to leave it for now. Once I get the black knobs on and paint the hinges we may give it another look, but with the holidays coming up before long, that project is probably a little ways off. 🙂


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Monday 19th of September 2011

Great system it is, Where did you get the gift card holder? I definitely like the door without the trim. It is eye catching and looks beautiful. doğumgünü hediyesi


Saturday 17th of September 2011

What a fabulous idea! I already made a dry erase board for my meals and was trying to figure out how to better organize things. Thanks for the ideas!

Jenna Roy

Wednesday 14th of September 2011

I have a similar system in place. The one difference is that I break down my shopping list into non perishables that I can buy in one big monthly shop, and then 4-5 smaller weekly shopping trips. If something I usually buy in the monthly shop is not available, or the price isn't to my liking, I can hold off till next week or the week after to see if I can get a coupon, or if I can it on special in another store.


Tuesday 13th of September 2011

Michelle, I love the idea of the master list and flip book with the recipes. I am on a productivity kick right now and this is something I know I would like to try!

I hope you can join us at It’s a Wrap Link Party at Artful Rising with your great post.

Cook Clean Craft

Monday 12th of September 2011

I'm still trying to work out a menu planning system that works for me. This has given me a few more ideas. Thanks!

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