Saturday, October 2, 2010

(Organization) System Saturday-Meal Planning and a PB Apple Dip Recipe

I continually struggle with how to best organize my recipes and make meal planning easier and quicker.  Currently my system is to try to plan out my meals over the weekend for the following week, Monday through Friday and  then make my grocery list according to what I have scheduled for dinners for that week.  Then I go to Sam's/Costco/grocery stores on the weekend.   I try to avoid grocery shopping during the week because I don't have  much time between homeschooling and evening activities.  So my recipe books that I refer to for meals are all lined up....

But, then I have a stack of recipes from magazines and written on papers and stuffed in boxes (very unorganized so I think this post could be called Dis-Organization Saturday!)
So like chore charts and lesson planning, I know there are a million ways to organize meal planning and recipes, but I just haven't found the system that will work for me and that I can be consistent with.  I have written and re-written a meal planning "schedule" a hundred times, it seems, to try to decrease the time I spend on my weekend meal planning, but I get distracted (with the kids or another "project").

My "goal" is to be able to write out a month's worth of meals for each week and then just recycle this list the following months, but for some reason I always end up spending time each weekend flipping through books, magazines, and papers trying to figure out what will be for dinner the following week.  I have a list of recipes that we have tried and liked that I tend to make over and over again so this helps with planning, but not for trying to have a good variety.

Do you have a good way you organize recipes and meal planning?  Please tell.  I would love to get some ideas and tips!  I am determined to get this area of my life under control :)

Since I am posting about my (dis) organization with meal planning and recipes, I thought I would share a great, quick and yummy Peanut Butter Apple Dip recipe that I got from an older Collector's Edition of Taste of Home's Quick Cooking magazine.

Peanut Butter Apple Dip
Mix together:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (I use an 8 oz. container of whipped cream cheese because it's easier to mix with other ingredients)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk ( I usually use 2%)

After you mix the above ingredients, cut up red/green apples into wedges and serve.  This recipe is so easy and yummy and someone always ask for the recipe when I serve it. (I am someone who looks at a 20+ ingredient recipe and gets easily overwhelmed with having to track down all those items in my house or in a grocery store, so I'm a big fan of any (delicious) 5 ingredients or less recipe, like this one.   Enjoy!

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Unknown said...

Good morning Tracy! I have the same problem with meal planning. We tried this one, and it worked for a while. You already have a list of your favorite meals, so fill in a calendar spreading these meals throughout the month. Then fill in the other days with meals you want to try. If they work out well add them to your fav list. After a few months you will have more meals to fit into the days. After a year it will be easier to plan months ahead. Also, I schedule my proteins for specific days so there are no questions on shopping day or from family like, "What's for dinner." Saturday: Chicken (usually a whole roasted chicken), Sunday: Beef, (usually a roast), Monday: Spaghetti, Tacos, Hamburgers, etc., Tuesday: Leftovers, Wednesday: Pork or Fish, Thursday: Chicken (any recipe), Friday: Cooks Choice. I don't know if that helps, but it works for us. I voted for you on both PF and MB. :)

Hi Lynda!
Thanks for your help! It sounds like what I have tried to do and tried to stick with, but I always get off course depending on what is going on with our schedule. I'm trying to have breakfast for dinner on Thursday nights, pizza on Friday nights...etc. I'm glad I'm not the only mom that stuggles trying to get in a menu planning routine :)
Have a good day! Thanks for the votes! I left a comment on your giveaway winner post and voted for you on both sites too! :)

Hi Tracey voted for you today:) good luck with the organization. I need to do that too as it seems I make the same meals over and over again. by the end of the day I am not very creative with my meal planning

Thanks Anna-Marie,
I've been clicking votes for you too! Yes, getting creative with meals drains me after a long school day!
Happy travels! Catch up with you soon! :)

Tena said...

omg.... drooling over here!!!


Hi Tena!
Glad you like the recipe :) I hope you get to try it soon! It's a keeper, for sure! Thanks for your visit and comment!
Have a blessed day!

Mom2Seven said...

Oh, Tracy... I think we all struggle with this one! My husband travels during the week, so I try to keep it simple... quick, easy, healthy! And, the meals are pretty much the same week after week... although, I do like to shake it up once in a while (pancakes or something else fun). I always cook "big" on Sundays, and that is when I try out new recipes as well as old family favorites. I also have a master grocery list (by store) which I print off and then check off. I might have to add a few things to it if I am trying something new, but it is a pretty comprehensive list.

Have a great evening! I'll go vote now!

~~Annita +JMJ+

Hi Annita!
It's great hearing your menu ideas! I wish I could master this ever present challenge, but I will someday!
Thanks so much again for your visit and votes :)
Have a blessed week!

Unknown said...

This is a challenge! I have tried having a "theme" night for most nights and that seems to work pretty well. Here is my fall meal plan:
I don't always stick with it, but at least I have a framework for the week/month. Finding time to grocery shop is always a big issue. I don't like going on the weekend b/c it digs into that family time and every place is so busy - but taking all the kids during the week is hectic too! I would like to get on a twice a month schedule...maybe some day!

Hi Jen!
Thanks for your link! I checked it out and left a comment under your meal post :) Your organized plan looks great! I'm determined to get organized when it comes to meal planning and your ideas are helpful :)
Have a blessed day!

Hello! I enjoyed reading your blog and I have to say that meal planning is an essential part of life with four children! The dip recipe sounds yummy! We will have to try that one. Thanks for sharing.

Ginger said...

Hey Tracy. That dip looks yumeeee! I posted about how I do meal plans a while back. But like everything gotta stick with it. It does work nicely though WHEN I use it! :-) Here's the link:

Ginger said...

And uh...Costco has a frozen food section. Whaaa??? Is that wrong?!? We had hot pockets tonight. I'm a wonderful homeschooling Mom huh?

HI Ginger!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Great to hear from you! I will check out your link for sure :) Thanks! And oh we love Costco frozen foods and refrigerated meals like the London Broil in a box! Yummy and easy! Yes, you are a wonderful HS mom! :)

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