Creating a Monthly Meal Plan: Step 1 – Collecting Recipes

In a previous post, I shared how our family was going to set up a monthly meal plan rotation in order to save time and energy in the coming stressful months.  I wanted to share with you exactly how we are doing that.

Step One- Collecting Favorite Recipes

What you’ll need:

  • Cookbooks and recipe files
  • Sticky notes
  • Pen
  • Large flat surface for holding sticky notes (whiteboard or poster board)

The Process

1. First, you need to decide how many different meals you will need.  We decided to plan on coooking 7 evenings a week (you may decide to plan on eating out a certain number of times each week). And our meal plan rotation is for 4 weeks, so we need 28 different recipes. (Our meal plan rotation is just for dinners because we eat leftovers for lunch the next day.)

2. Determine if/how you want to vary your weekly meals.  I chose seven different categories of recipes: beef, chicken, pork, fish, pasta, stews/soups, and crock-pot recipes. (Notice how that’s seven different categories – one for every night of the week that we wanted to cook.) These different categories were to help us make sure we had variety in our weekly meal plan.

3. Start collecting recipes. We went through our favorite cookbooks and recipe files to find our 28 recipes. When we found a recipe we really like, I’d write it on a sticky note with the following information:

  • the name of the cookbook
  • page number
  • any special ingredient from the recipe that I don’t ususally keep on hand (e.g. fresh cilantro)

4. Group sticky notes into categories. As we collected recipes, we temporarily posted them on a whiteboard. I put different categories of recipes (see #2 above) into different columns. As we came close to finding 28 recipes, having the recipes in columns helped us see if we needed more recipes in a certain category.

The Result

Now you have the number of recipes you need organized into categories of your choice.

The Next Step…

Scheduling meals

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