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#1 of 22 Old 12-16-2009, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I meal plan out one month in advance. I have a large pantry (we stockpile about 6 mos. on most things and a year on some, depending on the sales that I find and what I've put up for the year) and can pretty much cook (from scratch) whatever I want whenever. I keep a master copy of ingredients I have on hand in Excel and update it when I do major shopping trips. There are certain things that are always in my refrigerator, as well (things like carrots, parsnips, celery, lettuce, peppers). From this, I have put together a master list of the favorite entrees for dinner/supper. I usually make something new a couple times a month. If it's well received, it will go on the master list and the ingredients will make its way onto the master ingredient list. Sometimes the dishes are dependent on seasonal things and since I can a lot, what I harvest in a growing season.

I have found this to make my meal planning very, very easy. If the grocery store has something on sale that would be a good ingredient in one of the entrees on the master list, I will buy it. Or if it's something in a new dish I am trying, I will buy it. Otherwise, I pretty much stick to this list of about 60 entrees and that is plenty to keep variety in our diet.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone keeps a master list of main dishes and if so, do you want to share? In a given week, I also make sure that I have some flexibility that week. If I decide to have the pasta on Wednesday instead of the chicken, I have built the flexibility into the meal plan that makes sure nothing goes to waste. I will dig up mine and post.
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#2 of 22 Old 12-16-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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I think I need something like this. I would love to see yours. Dh is on a new diet and I'm still getting used to tweaking or eliminating recipes. I was in a good place with meal planning before this and now I find myself dreading it...procrastinating and getting frustrated a few nights per week. Please share when you get the chance.

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#3 of 22 Old 12-19-2009, 07:33 PM
 
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My list isn't probably anything you haven't heard before but I would love to know your 'master entrees'.

V

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#4 of 22 Old 12-19-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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I was just thinking of this today. I would like to come up with one for us. I think we need it. I loved when I lived in the city and could just walk down and get what I wanted that day. It's not working so well now.

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#5 of 22 Old 12-20-2009, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sure I'll post mine. There didn't appear to be much interest. I thought I had about 60 dishes. I have it in Word and I numbered to list just to see how many there were... there are over 100! Some, I obviously I cook much more often than others (I rarely roast a Turkey, for example). Having this list makes it so much easier to plan out my meals. I also tend to make the lighter foods in the summer (and use my garden bounty as much as I can) and the mix in the heartier foods in the winter. I also try to make sure I have a few meals vegetarian each week and mix up the meats. We won't eat 2 beef dishes in a row, for example.

My pantry is the key. For all intents and purposes, I could probably make any one of these dishes today without going to the grocery. Eat what you store and store what you eat. Some of this stuff is ethnic that may not make sense or be in English, but it's just to give ideas. I cook almost everything from scratch.

Here's the list. It's long.

Cottage Pie
Shepherd’s Pie
Chicken Pot Pie
Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic, & Tomatoes
Soup and Salad
Pea Soup
Noodle Soup
Potato/Leek Soup
Lentil Soup
French Onion Soup
Vegetable Soup
Barley Beef Stew
Meatloaf
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Corn Bisque
Lobster Bisque
Butternut squash soup
Chicken Velvet Soup
Vol au vent (lobster, scallop or shrimp)
Gorgonzola Pasta
Tas Kebap
Chicken & Rice
Loaded Baked potatoes
Chicken and Noodles
Panini (vegetarian or meat)
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Roast & Yorkshire Pudding
Veal Oscar
Coq au Vin
SIL’s Chicken
SIL’s Chicken & Peas in Béchamel
Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
Chili in homemade bread bowls
Meat or Veggie Taco Salads & Chili Dip
Corn Flake/Parmesan-Crusted Chicken
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Stuffed Chicken Florentine with béchamel and roasted asparagus
мясо по деревинский
Chicken with Mushrooms, Sundried-Tomatoes & Basil Cream Sauce
Köfte & Rice
Goulash
Lahmacun
Bacon, Ham and Swiss Quiche
Quiche Lorraine
Potato and Sausage Hash
Chicken Salad cups
Ham and Swiss pockets
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Shrimp Scampi over rice
Salisbury Steak
Beef Stroganoff
Curried Shrimp and rice
Marinated grilled lamb chops
Roasted leg of lamb
Steak au poivre
Moules Mariniere
Lobster tails with drawn butter
Fillet of fish en papillote
Whole roasted chicken with veg
Roasted Turkey and trimmings
Chicken Crêpes
Ham and Beans
Red Beans and Rice
Savory Baked Beans with crusty bread
Hamburgers on the grill
Beef with Chanterelle Mushrooms en croûte
Pesto Pasta (with potatoes and haricot verts)
Smoky Pesto & Red Pepper Pockets
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Hobo Bundles
Bamia Stew
Grilled Steak with Béarnaise sauce
Three-Cheese Baked Eggs with Roasted Red Peppers
Chicken & Veggies over Biscuits
Grilled fish with roasted red pepper sauce
Chateaubriand
Falafal
Moroccan Chicken
Kebap
Dorowat
Pasta, Veggie & Ricotta Casserole
Pasta, Chicken & Mushrooms with Smoked Gouda Cream Sauce
Stir-Fry
Wienerschnitzel with mushroom sauce
BBQ meatballs
Frikadellen
Tacos (veg, chicken or beef)
Cheese Enchiladas
Nachos Grande
Fajitas
Burritos
Samosas
Dal Mahkni
Keema Mattar
Mattar Paneer
Bhindi Masala
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas
Grilled Chicken Salad shells
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Lasagna
BBQ Baby back ribs
Pulled pork sandwiches
Steak Diane
Vegetarian Lasagna
4-Cheese Pizza
Sloppy Joes
Beef steak au jus
Crab cakes
Eggs Benedict
Whole grilled fish
Tapas & Mezes
Make-Your-Own Pizza
Breakfast for Supper
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#6 of 22 Old 12-20-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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I think I just want to move in with you. ETA: We love indian but haven't figured out how to cook it. Any interest in running a tutorial??? I need an Idiot's Guide to Indian Cooking for Unaccomplished Cooks.

Here's most of my master list (keep in mind we are low glycemic/low carb and I am nowhere near the cook you are):

1.Pizza
2.Calzones
3.Steak
4.Italian chicken
5.BBQ chicken
6.BBQ pork
7.Hamburgers
8.Unstuffed cabbage casserole
9.Haulshki (E. European recipe with cabbage, bacon and noodles)
10.Vienerschnitzl with pork chops
11.Kielbasa on the grill
12.Kielbasa in the slow cooker with veggies and kraut
13.Goulash--various kinds since DH is E. European
14.Chicken Soup
15.White Chili with Chicken
16.Red Chili
17.Bean and bacon soup
18.Zuppa Tuscana soup
19.Split pea and ham soup
20.Julia Child's butter lubed chicken
21.Slow cooker Pepper Steak
22.Meatballs and spaghetti
23.Asian lettuce wrap salad
24.Roast turkey breast w/ veggies
25.Roast chicken w/ veggies
26.Frozen ravioli
27.Frozen cheese tortellini
28.Chicken enchiladas
29.Tacos or taco salad
30.Roast beef with veggies
31. Chicken salad
32. Sweet n savory gourmet burritos
33. Chicken with lemon and garlic
34. Ham
35.Chicken with sundried tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese in a white sauce
36.Chicken with olives, broccoli and creamy pesto over pasta (or alone)
37.Chicken paprikas
38.Chicken or beef fajitas
39.Italian sausage (grilled or used in pasta)
40. Ground turkey low carb lasagna casserole with feta cheese
41. Asian meatball soup

Happy Momma to DD (almost 3) Fall Coleslaw -- Simple Italian Stuffed Peppers -- - Fall Toddler Activities.- We Made a Play Kitchen Selling gently used books on all topics here.
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#7 of 22 Old 12-21-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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Your list/planning/preparation is amazing. I would love to see what you keep in your pantry, fridge, etc.

I have been trying to do menus, grocery shopping, la la la, but have never gotten into a groove.
THIS method looks awesome.

I would be interested in any details you may have.
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#8 of 22 Old 12-21-2009, 03:40 AM
 
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velochic, you are my idol.

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#9 of 22 Old 12-21-2009, 10:18 AM
 
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does each meal usually have a starch carbohydrate, protein, veggie?

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#10 of 22 Old 12-21-2009, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.

Yeah, the meal is rounded out with sides. For example, I don't consider green beans (legume), peas (legume), corn (grain), or potatoes (starch) to be vegetables. So if we're having one of those they don't count as a vegetable and I'll serve, say asparagus or broccoli or carrots as well. I didn't list all of my sides, but we OFTEN have rice or bulghur (cracked wheat) with our meals instead of bread. I also make some of our breads (but not all).

Violet - Thanks for posting your list. It gives me some new ideas I can try. As for Indian cooking, it seems very intimidating because of all of the spices, but it's really not. Probably the hardest part is that sometimes you have to toast the whole spices before grinding and have a dedicated spice grinder separate from your coffee grinder. Dd's favorite dish, which is quite easy to make is Keema Mattar (Ground lamb and peas). For some of the dishes, like the Mattar Paneer (Cheese and Peas), I buy the cheese from the Indian grocery... I don't make it from scratch. For some dishes, if you know the spice combination, you can combine and keep in a jar and then it's just a few steps to a complete dish. I'd be happy to help out people to cook Indian if there was interest, but it's not much different than making, say, a mother sauce and adding ingredients.
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#11 of 22 Old 12-21-2009, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObliviousAnnette View Post
Your list/planning/preparation is amazing. I would love to see what you keep in your pantry, fridge, etc.

I have been trying to do menus, grocery shopping, la la la, but have never gotten into a groove.
THIS method looks awesome.

I would be interested in any details you may have.
I do have a very large pantry. I store what we eat and eat what we store and keep a list in excel to make sure things are rotated. My dad was a child of the Great Depression and he and his mother, until she passed in the 80's, taught me the ins and outs of putting food by. Right now, I have probably 9mos. worth of most ingredients I would need to make the most basic 30 meals on my list. Things like meat, rice and beans I have over 1 year's worth. I grow a garden every year and do a lot of canning. We buy our meat by the side. We are currently eating our way through a side of beef, approx. 1/4 of a pig, a whole lamb and a few dozen lbs. of chicken. Meats are very inexpensive when bought whole. I both have these frozen and canned. I have 3 freezers and own a generator in case of a power outage. The nice thing about canning meat and meals (like beef stew, for example) is that they are ready in seconds in case you've forgotten to thaw something and you don't have to rely on electricity to keep them. The one thing I don't have in great quantities is fruit. I shop about 3 times a week for fresh fruit.

So, the keys are the master list, cooking from scratch, knowing how to substitute so you aren't running to the store all the time, and being flexible within a period of time. For example, if a meeting is moved to Wednesday and now I can't bake a whole chicken that day, I can throw together Thursday's spaghetti and meat sauce in 10 minutes instead... swap those two days. Or plan instead to do a crockpot chicken dish that can I can forget about all day. No half and half in the fridge... use a can of evaporated milk instead. Things like getting hung up on the ingredients thwarts people's attempts at meal planning because they may forget to buy something at the store.

Those are my main tips. The master list is the key to the plan. I also have the main ingredients for about 30 of these written into a spiral bound index card folio.
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#12 of 22 Old 12-22-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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Every time I try to do a "master list", my husband decides to change our eating habits. After he tells me to do a "master list". But I want to have one. I get paid once a month, so I'd like to get all my non-perishables and frozens on payday then just have to pick up fresh produce and dairy on a weekly basis.
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#13 of 22 Old 12-24-2009, 03:09 AM
 
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velochic, you are my idol.
lol, I second that. What kind of canning equipment do you have?

Also, does canning meat change the flavor a whole lot?
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#14 of 22 Old 12-31-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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This is really inspiring!

I can't say I have a master list.. I tend to look at what's open/thawed/cooked in my fridge and figure out what I can do with it.. my recipes rarely resemble each other.. I substitute and rethink things all the time..

I am a rather "experimental" cook.
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#15 of 22 Old 01-01-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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I don't have a master list, but should. Hmmm, something to work on today.

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#16 of 22 Old 01-01-2010, 03:01 PM
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I've just started keeping an electronic menu with that week's shopping list. I'm building up my master list of entrees and have just discovered the joys of the crockpot (I have 4 kiddos, the youngest is 2 mos, and we homeschool). I'm looking to go gluten free in 2010 to be healthier, lose the baby weight and get my fertility back on track. I'd love to have a database (other than in my mind) to say "boston butt roast" is on sale for .99/lb- what recipes do we have/like to utilize that ingredient.

We have only the freezer as part of our fridge

I'd love your gnocchi w/gorgonzola cream sauce recipe if you're willing to share velo! (Though in an effort to reduce carbs, I probably shouldn't be having gnocchi!)
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#17 of 22 Old 01-01-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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I am trying to wrap my brain around having a master list (on excel?) that connected to the recipes, that connected to the shopping list. Hrmmm.... More to think about.

Suggestions?
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#18 of 22 Old 01-02-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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I love the idea of a master list. In fact, about six months ago I made one. (Hmm, I wonder where that thing is...) But for some reason, I haven't made the connection between the master list and meal planning and grocery shopping. I tried meal planning for a few weeks but found that planning 6-7 meals was way too much. We had too many leftovers and wasted too much food, which defeats the goal of planning. I think we'd be good if I just planned 3-4 meals a week and then filled in with leftovers and sandwiches the rest of the week.

velochic, I really admire that you can keep all the staples on hand to make your meals. Do you have lots of food storage? How do you store all that meat? Any suggestions on making the leap from list to planning meals?

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#19 of 22 Old 01-02-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I've decided to make a type of meal for each day of the week. I'm going to group my master list into those categories. That way I have a rhythm to keep me on track. But, it's loose enough to allow me to use what I have on hand and use what comes in our Terra Organics order. (I sure hope the Terra Organics works out. I think it will be so helpful for me!)

Here is my list from my blog:

Monday-Soup and Sandwiches
Tuesday-Burritos or Mexican Food
Wednesday-Leftovers or Church Meal
Thursday-Tofu/Chicken, rice, frozen veg or salad
Friday-Pizza
Saturday-Finger Foods and leftovers
Sunday-Crockpot or Breakfast

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#20 of 22 Old 01-03-2010, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by bluebunny View Post

velochic, I really admire that you can keep all the staples on hand to make your meals. Do you have lots of food storage? How do you store all that meat? Any suggestions on making the leap from list to planning meals?
I do have lots of food storage. I have a mix of frozen and I also home can it for convenience. I do a lot of home canning.
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#21 of 22 Old 01-03-2010, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beka1977 View Post
I am trying to wrap my brain around having a master list (on excel?) that connected to the recipes, that connected to the shopping list. Hrmmm.... More to think about.

Suggestions?
To use a really simple example. Let's say you make spaghetti and meat sauce once a month. You use quart of sauce (homemade or jarred... we'll use jarred in this example), 1 lb. of spaghetti and 1 lb. of ground beef.

Master list: Spaghetti with meat sauce

Recipe: 1lb. spaghetti, 1lb. meat, 1 jar sauce

Pantry: 6lbs. spaghetti, 6lb. meat (canned or frozen), 6 jars of sauce


Now you have, in your pantry, 6 month's worth of spaghetti and meat sauce meals.

Do that with your other master list meals and you have a fully stocked pantry and can make anything you want from it. If you make spaghetti with meat sauce twice a month, double your pantry items.
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#22 of 22 Old 01-04-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beka1977 View Post
I am trying to wrap my brain around having a master list (on excel?) that connected to the recipes, that connected to the shopping list. Hrmmm.... More to think about.

Suggestions?
I just searched for "pantry software" and found this:
http://www.foodstorageplanner.com/fsp.html

looks interesting at least
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