Meal Planning: The Kitchen Notebook

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Do you feel like you are spending way too much time in the kitchen. I may have a solution for you.

Do you have a kitchen notebook? Not a place where you stash random recipes that you hope to try someday, but a notebook designed to make meal planning and weekday dinners easier? To help you save loads of time cooking in the kitchen? Here’s what I do for myself and recommend to clients:

The Details:
A 3 ring binder with information inside designed to make your life easier in the kitchen.

Pages I have in my binder:
1. My current Weekly Menu Plan plus blank weekly calendar pages
2. Checklist of Dishes I am Trying to Eat More Often
3. A List of My Favorite Go-To Recipes (Often we forget about favorite dishes and end up making the same 10 things over and over.)
4. Quick, Easy, Simple Tried and True Recipes.
5. New, Easy Recipes I Would Like to Try (I often tuck these into the back pocket of my binder until I know they are winners.) If those recipes have been there for a few months and you haven’t tried them yet, toss them or put them somewhere else.

Other suggestions for notebook pages:
6. A  list of staples to always have on hand. This comes in handy when you are trying to make dinner at the last minute so you ditch the meal plan and pull out the quickest recipe you can find knowing you keep all the ingredients in stock. Cool huh?
7. A list of family food allergies and preferences.

This notebook needs to be streamlined and organized. The goal is to use it as a tool to make meal planning and cooking easier and more efficient. The more we can remove friction and extra steps the easier your life in the kitchen.

The recipes for your quick family favorite dishes. These are the dishes you know are winners, you almost always have the ingredients on hand for, and you could almost make them in your sleep. This notebook is not the place for your grandmother’s slow cook braised beans or her homemade bread. That can be in a different notebook that lives with your cookbooks. If you have some favorite quick recipes that are in cookbooks I encourage you to copy them and put them in your Kitchen Notebook.

When used regularly, having a Kitchen Notebook can be super handy. No more rummaging through cookbooks or the pantry trying to pull together something to eat when you are already tired and hungry.

The beautiful thing about it is other family members can use it and find something to cook if you are running late. It’s all organized for them. They look at the meal plan and make the planned meal or look through quick recipes and choose something with ingredients that are probably already in the pantry.

This can really help reduce the times we order takeout or pull a frozen pizza out at the last minute. A bit of planning on the front end can support our health goals, and our financial ones, on the back end when we are hungry and tired at the end of the day.

I hope you try it!

If you are interested in more strategies, I just opened up my Free 10 Days of Vegetables with Breakfast Mini-Course.

You can sign up for it here.