We (and with we I mean my boyfriend and I) tend to eat the same thing over and over again. Our weekly groceries were mostly the same and we had too many conversations about what we should cook for dinner. I have some great cookbooks and a ton of cooking magazines at home and I pinned so many recipes in the past which I hardly used. And because we went shopping without knowing what to cook there were too many groceries that went into the garbage. So something had to change.
At the beginning of the year I bought the book Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. I felt so inspired by the fact that she kept a meal planner for so many years. And isn't it fascinating to look back and see what you were eating? So I decided to start writing down what we will eat the following week. Well it worked very well... for about three weeks and than I felt back in our old pattern: buying almost the same things each and every week while at the same time not knowing what we will eat.
Months passed and nothing changed. But then, back in September I came across this awesome blog post by Natalie and knew, it was time to start with this project again.
First, I went through all of my cooking magazines and ripped out all the recipes I wanted to keep. Then I scanned them. I have now a few different folders where I keep my scanned recipes. Everything is in one place and easily accessible.
* favorite Granola recipe by 3191milesapart
Second, I created a binder where I keep my favorite recipes we make often.
Third, I bought a cheap notebook and wrote a plan for the following week. We do our weekly shopping on Friday so I decided to plan the week from Friday to Thursday instead of from Monday to Sunday. I started our meal planner in mid October and every Wednesday I sit down and plan the following week.
These are the steps I'm going through while planning our meals:
- I write down all the appointments we have during the week where we won't eat at home
- I add at least one basic dinner we love to eat and already know how to cook. These are things like Spaghetti pomodoro, Ebly with vegetables, vegetable gratin, ...
- Now starts the fun part: I go through my scanned recipes to find something I want to cook. I ask my boyfriend if there is something he would like to eat next week and I go through my few cookbooks. If I still don't have evertything filled, I go through my Pinterest board. I make sure that I only pick recipes that include ingredients which are in season.
- I create our shopping list.
All these steps take around 30 to 45 minutes. It seems like a lot but in the end it made our life so much easier. There are no "what shall we eat tonight" conversations any more and we only buy those groceries we also use. I love that our fridge is now empty every Thursday evening.