Sunday, February 7, 2010

My New Meal Preparation Planner

I was thinking about the idea that everything in my house should have a home. I was looking at my hot spots, places that collect paper and junk. I have two in my kitchen, one is my frig door and the other is on the end of my kitchen counter. I decided I wanted to find a solution to the one on the counter I want that area to stay clear. So I looked at what was in the pile and is was mostly recipes, to do lists and shopping lists with a few other things. I have had binders for my recipes but they always get over loaded and end up become impossible to find things in.

I've been talking on my kitchen blog about developing the habit of prepping for dinner right after I finish breakfast while I'm still in the kitchen. Because I wanted to take best advantage of that time I started thinking about what I could prep or even cook during that time and I started to think ahead about what I wanted to have for dinner and other meals.

My 3 freezers had gotten beyond me being able to find things in them or knowing what was in them. I've done inventories before but didn't keep up with them. So I decided to reorg my freezers and do new inventories. I immediately started to use things that I now knew I had and where to find them.

In the past I have never been good at meal planning and all those plans out there never worked for me. I had given up on the idea. I thought about my freezer inventory and decided that if I put it in a meal planner it could be the basis for a lot of my meals. I also have info. that I could use to make my meals healthier and cheaper that I thought could go into this planner.

Next I looked at all these recipes that were in my hot spot. Some of them were things I had tried and wanted to keep. Some were recipes I thought I wanted to try and hadn't. Some were recipes I was working on tweaking. I came up with the idea of having 4 sections in my planner for the 4 weeks in a month. My plan is to put any recipes I print up or find in the current week and at the end of the month when I start over again on a new month I would look at what was left after I pulled out the recipes I had tried. If I hadn't tried a recipe I would probably dump it, but I did give myself another option a seasonal section.

In the next part I would have 4 sections Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. I would put recipes in here that weren't used because they were seasonal. This would be one way of getting me to use seasonal produce more. There are just some recipes that are better with fresh seasonal produce. When each season came along I would try and use those recipes and the ones that didn't get used would be dumped.

Finally the last section is a Working On It section for recipes I'm tweaking.

Recipes I liked and wanted to keep would go into a Tried and True binder, used only for recipes I know I wanted to make again often. Hopefully that will keep the binder from getting overrun with recipes.

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