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How do you do meal planning? - Page 2

post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
Just a quick update.

You all inspired me to get a grip on our meal planning. I haven't yet been able to get too fancy with it (RubyWild and Desdamona you sound soooo organized!) but I am planning 7 days at a time and grocery shopping off a list. Because there are days when dh will need to work late or I am too pooped to do any cooking, I give myself 2 "outs" each week - in other words, I'll buy food for 5 home-cooked meals and then will buy like 2 nights' worth of Amy's burritos or frozen pizzas, and just do that and a quick salad. For some reason psychologically I like knowing that I have an out so to speak and it makes it more fun to cook on the nights when I do. I know... crazy.

The other thing that has really helped is that I now have a meal planning folder that I put that week's recipes into, and I clip that week's menu to the outside of the folder. It keeps everything together in one place so I'm not scrambling at the last minute digging a recipe out. I assemble all my recipes on Sunday morning and go based on the ingredients to tell me what to buy that day at the store.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
The other thing that has really helped is that I now have a meal planning folder that I put that week's recipes into, and I clip that week's menu to the outside of the folder.
That is a great idea. I use a lot of recipes from the internet and don't print them in advance. One time I had volunteered to make some cakes for a local group, and when I went to start them, my internet access was down! Woops.

I am loving this thread. My "system" is not very systematic. One thing I've learned is to pay attention to how many perishables I'm buying compared to how many non-perishables. I used to come home sometimes with all perishable foods, so for the first few days, we'd be trying to eat everything before it spoiled, and then we'd be out of groceries. Now I make sure I only buy what we can eat before it spoils (*why* did it take me thirty years to figure that out?!) and make sure to eat the recipes that have perishable ingredients before eating the shelf-stable or frozen foods.
post #23 of 37
This is how I do it...

Saturday mornings we go to the library, where I grab a few issues of Vegetarian Times and/or a new cookbook. Next we head to a tea shop, grab a pot, and while DH makes lists of general things to do (he loves lists), I peruse the cookbooks and write down at least 5 meal ideas, complete with shopping lists. Then on Sunday, we go shopping for the week and get everything we need.

Sometimes I'll end up planning meals around a certain ingredient that we have too much of -- fresh broccoli, for instance -- or something that's going to go bad soon if we don't eat it. Or if we go to the farmer's market on Saturday morning, maybe a vegetable will catch my eye and inspire a meal (or meals).

Bizarrely, I end up planning which meals go where around my workout schedule. On yoga days, I'll make something easy (or something that DH can do), because I need to do yoga before dinner. On days I lift weights, I can spend a little more time in the kitchen.

I do try to plan it so that I can re-use ingredients and cut down on prep time... I'll make lentils one night, flavor some for tacos, then use the rest in a shepherd's pie. Mashed potatoes one night, potato scones the next.

We usually end up having one pasta dinner, one soup/stew dinner, one crockpot dinner, one casserole, and at least one ethnic meal. (The stews get frozen and taken out for lunches during the work week... DH will eat the leftovers on everything else.) On Saturdays we usually have leftovers, and on Sundays you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want... just so long as you make it yourself. We do keep frozen Amy's meals in the freezer, just in case we need a quick, no fuss meal.

As long as I can spare 10-15 minutes on a Saturday, I can usually whip out a week's worth of meals pretty quickly.
post #24 of 37
Quote:
If I could design a software program, it would store all my recipes plus a base/standard grocery list, and I could select from my recipes and it would auto-populate the grocery list for me. (Can you tell I used to be an IT project manager? LOL)
Youe desing it and i will buy it and use it -- sounds totally cool....I am doing an on-line search for meal planning shareware, I will let you know if i find anything.

Aimee
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimee21972
Youe desing it and i will buy it and use it -- sounds totally cool....I am doing an on-line search for meal planning shareware, I will let you know if i find anything.

Aimee
Mac users can take a look at A Cook's Books. Busy Cooks is a program that works on Mac or PC; it costs 17.99, but a free trial is available. I googled "free recipe management" and got lots of results, but I'm not familiar with any of them. Is anybody currently using a program that they like?
post #26 of 37

Those of you with your recipie/grocery lists. . .

Is there ANY way you might be willing to share those? Like, if you have them digitally, would you be willing to email them? Or if you have printed versions, would you copy/mail them? I would totally pay you for the cost and your time!!
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by christapolis
This is how I do it...

Saturday mornings we go to the library, where I grab a few issues of Vegetarian Times and/or a new cookbook. Next we head to a tea shop, grab a pot, and while DH makes lists of general things to do (he loves lists), I peruse the cookbooks and write down at least 5 meal ideas, complete with shopping lists. Then on Sunday, we go shopping for the week and get everything we need.
OMG can I have your life please?!! This sounds heavenly (and organized to boot). What a nice way to do meal planning!
post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimee21972
Youe desing it and i will buy it and use it -- sounds totally cool....I am doing an on-line search for meal planning shareware, I will let you know if i find anything.

Aimee
I am seriously thinking this could be my new at-home business lol!

Let me know what you find re: meal planning software. I would spend $30 on a meal planning program no problem to get this under control.

Off to fantasize about an auto-generated grocery shopping lists.
post #29 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PixelDust
Mac users can take a look at A Cook's Books. Busy Cooks is a program that works on Mac or PC; it costs 17.99, but a free trial is available. I googled "free recipe management" and got lots of results, but I'm not familiar with any of them. Is anybody currently using a program that they like?
And just like that my hopes of being a frazzled-mom-turned-software-genius-millionaire dashed.

(but I love the Busy Cooks concept. could use a zippier interface though )
post #30 of 37
Thread Starter 
I just tried out Busy Cooks for free.

It's terrible. It doesn't do half the things my dream software would do. No grocery list generation, and weird mandatory folders in which to store/organize your recipes, such as "Meat from the Oven", and "Meat from the Grill". Ewwwww. Where's "Meat from a Can" when you need it.

So I retain hope after all.
post #31 of 37
I found these while searching -- i think they all have free trials -- i have not yet had time to look at them

10 minute "first thing morning nap" today -- not 60+ minutes and the day went down hill.

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/fil...,52079,00.asp#

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/fil...d,47051,00.asp

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Others/...e-Cookin.shtml --- I am not a compute person, is this one a program (free standing) or not?

I'd like to have one as icon driven as possible -- not text driven. but that is just me

This one looks really kinda cool too -- but as far as i can tell, no shopping list --

http://www.nutritionanalyser.com/rec...pe_manager.htm

I'd say you should create one -- I'd guess it wouldn't be too complex (One of my 11th graders created -- in Access -- a database for credit at the school i worked in that did transcripts, emergency contact and family data and schdules and linked all the student data together for each student so i didn't have to re-enter everything a million times -- wouldn't think be something somewhat a kin to that??). You have as many bata test users as you need right here.

Aimee

A
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
Benji'sMom -- please share! HOW do you do this? This sounds exactly like what I need. If I could design a software program, it would store all my recipes plus a base/standard grocery list, and I could select from my recipes and it would auto-populate the grocery list for me. (Can you tell I used to be an IT project manager? LOL)
I'm a recovering programmer, myself. Pleased to meetcha!

I love using Radium Technology's Living Cookbook ( http://www.radiumtechnologies.com/pr...ngcookbook.asp )

I've had it for a couple of years now (free upgrades in perpetuity). It'll store the recipes, allow you to print them, search on them (great feature!), etc. Plus, it has a meal-planning calendar, and it'll generate a shopping list from that. It has an inventory-tracking feature, too, but I've never gotten the hang of using it.

They offer a free trial. Give it a shot and see what you think.

KC
post #33 of 37
I have just 2 cookbooks, and a very simple eating lifestyle. We have the recipies i know we like and here recently there just wasn't enough. i was SOO bored of chicken and ground beef it was horrible. finally added a few more things to the menu. I suggest having at least 20 different main dishes that you like. Have those earmarked in the book or printed as long as you can find them easily.

I use microsoft excel (spreadsheet) and just make the boxes big enough to hold the day of the week and the food item and then a box under that has a rough recipe, like for mex. burritoes it has spanish rice, steak chunks, cheese, tort. i made these up so i don't have exact measurments for stuff but if its a complicated rec. or uses ingredients that you don't use much you can put 1 lemon or thyme leaves or 1/2 c. xxxx indian sauce. that way you just adjust your menu each time (i do bi-weekly and coincides with paydayes) and you print it out, have a pen and paper and go through it and put what you need, compared to what you already have. you'll know that you don't want to buy all of the fresh tom. right now cause they would go bad and be a waste or whatever.

we have leftovers but my dh eats them for "breakfast" (he works during the night and gets home when i get up) so i don't get to eat them for lunch. i just have easy lunches. home made pizza pockets (see you use the leftovers from pizza to make these with reg. tort. shells), sandwhiches, pot pies, whatever is easy and single serving (dh is asleep by then). i also print the calendar from the spreadsheet and put it on the fridge. you can take a look at it and know whats for dinner, pull out the meat or decide that you want to have tomorrows dinner tonight instead (i am pg and don't want certain things certain nights...) but i still don't have to think!! love that part!!

excel is a little hard to get everything organized and to fit on a piece of paper and of course you still have to look at your cookbook for the exact recipe (if its something hard like that) and its still a little manual labor but you don't have to pay for it!!

hey where can we post or look at recipies? is there a certain part of the forum dedicated to that?

hope this helps!!
post #34 of 37
Quote:
I love using Radium Technology's Living Cookbook ( http://www.radiumtechnologies.com/pr...ngcookbook.asp )

that looks cool
post #35 of 37

Software & Websites

Ok, the Living Cookbook seems cool, but I'm confused by the grocery list function. Maybe I"m just challenged, but it seems really hard to read. I'm not sure what each of the sections are. . .

In another direction, check out:
The Six O'Clock Scramble at http://thescramble.com/

Shop N' Cook at http://www.shopncook.com/adgrocerylist.html

There's another one like the scramble (both were featured in Mothering!), but I can't remember the name and can't find a link. I checked them both out and liked the other one better, as I recall. Still, cost. . .
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmgarda
Ok, the Living Cookbook seems cool, but I'm confused by the grocery list function. Maybe I"m just challenged, but it seems really hard to read. I'm not sure what each of the sections are. . .
Not quite sure what "sections" you're talking about - I don't use the feature often - but the grocery list can be customized to display by aisle in your grocery store (maybe up to three different stores? I don't remember.) So I bet you could arrange it with sections that make sense to you, if you want.
post #37 of 37

Living Cookbook

Hmmm. It seems like a program with a lot of functionality if you have the time to learn it and set it up. Woe that it were so!

In the meantime, I'll just keep with people's postings here and see what I can make happen. I'm doing the pantry challenge, so it's helping a lot.
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