3. Use recipe cards to display your upcoming menu for easy access.
Then you can pull the cards right out and take them with you to the grocery store as a pre-made list.
Get this menu board here.
6. There are lots of streamlined online planning tools to help you organize your meal planning.
7. Try setting up nightly themes to help you come up with ideas.
Taya K of Simply Frugal uses these theme nights when she’s stumped on new ideas.
Some easy theme ideas include:
-Stir Fry Night
-Breakfast for Dinner
-Scrounge Night (more tips on how to do a scrounge night below!)
10. Master the ‘scrounge’ night for when you don’t have time to make a whole meal.
This can come in many forms, including ‘leftover night,’ ‘feed yourself night,’ etc. It’s especially useful towards the end of the week right before you go grocery shopping.
Pro tip: Label all your leftovers so it’s easier for everyone to pick what they want. Get these printable labels here.
12. Make extra servings of the most versatile meals to use on leftover night.
To avoid the ‘leftover night glumness,’ learn how to re-invent the meals instead of just reheating.
13. Spend time adding new meals to your repertoire.
Planning meals in advance can start to feel tedious when you’re using the same meals every week. Take time to browse websites or cookbooks for new ideas that will bring excitement back into the planning.
Here are some of our favorite recipe sites:
- Food Gawker (for general food and recipe porn)
- Simple Bites (for kid-friendly recipes)
- Little Leopard Book (for creative takes on old recipes)
- Dinner: A Love Story (for frugal and family-friendly recipes)
- BuzzFeed Food, of course!
14. Use weekly sales to help you pick which meals to make.
If chicken is $1 per pound one week, that’s a great reason to make your favorite chicken dishes! Check your local supermarket circulars for upcoming sales. There are also great apps that help you match your local sales with recipes, like this one on iTunes from Food.com.
15. Pre-cook parts of the meals in advance.
Save time during the week by cooking anything that can be cooked early on one night. Roast chicken, brown ground beef, stew tomato sauce, blanche vegetables and then mix-and-match them in several meals throughout the week.
Learn how to master the art of vegetable blanching here.
21. Keep your pantry stocked.
Nothing’s worse than having everything for your menu except that one crucial item. Having a stocked pantry means you’ll always have something to replace anything that you forgot at the store, and it will make weekly shopping trips that much easier. Check our this post from Life in Grace on what you need in the perfect pantry.
22. Organize your fridge to create ‘food zones.’
Having an organized fridge wil help you save time when you’re cooking, and save you money when things don’t get hidden in the back and go bad. Create food zones like the ‘sandwich zone’ and the ‘leftover zone’ to help keep things easy-to-find.
See how to get a deep clean over at TidyMom.
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