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Meal Planning Goal

I'm starting out 2011 guns blazing, I'm taking my goals seriously. No flippant goal-making over here. I'm ready to kick these goals in the tail and knock them out!

In an effort to make my #1 goal of meal planning come into fruition, tonight I sat down at the kitchen table armed with my self-made recipe notebook, my favorite black pen, several copies of this awesome meal planner and set to work.

I had a goal in mind to plan out all of our meals for the entire month of January.


I might as well have made a goal to climb Mt Everest, in the middle of winter, WHILE PREGNANT.

I mean really, the entire month of January? It's just comical.

I most definitely did not get the whole month planned, but I did manage to get two entire weeks planned.

A couple of other people mentioned that they have a similar goal to meal plan, so I decided to share my meal planning method.

You know, since I've done it about 5 times in my life, counting tonight. I'm pretty much a pro now. Heed my advice.

When Luke and I first got married, I found myself printing a lot of recipes off the internet. I had random pieces of computer paper floating all over my kitchen, so I decided to make my own notebook to keep them all sorted.

I even made a cover for the front of the binder titled "Tree Recipes" with various pictures of the newlywed couple on it.

It gets made fun of often.

I think it's cute.

But that is neither here nor there.

The tabs in my recipe notebook are:

- Recipes to Try
- Beef Recipes
- Chicken Recipes
- Crock Pot Recipes
- Desserts

Please do not make fun of my photography skills. Remember it is one of my goals to learn how to use my camera properly. Today I am focusing on meal planning, photography learning will have to wait.

I have TONS of recipes under the "recipes to try" tab so I should be good to go for awhile in the "try a new recipe every week" area.

So I sit down in a comfortable spot, tonight I chose the kitchen table. I then go through my recipe notebook, and pull out recipes that I would like to eat the next week.

Easier said than done.

It seems that when I begin meal planning I lose all ability to pick out meals, to decipher what sounds good, and memory of what I've cooked in the past.

It took me about two hours to plan two weeks. I'm hoping that I will get better at this as the weeks go by.

Anyways, I write down the meals on the appropriate day of the week, and then to the right I jot down what ingredients I need for my grocery run, and then I put said recipes and weekly meal plan in the pocket in the front, like so:

So that way when I go to cook I have my meal plan and recipes all ready to go and lined out for the week.

And tada, I've got a week's worth of meal's ready to go.

Now I just need somebody to come cook them for us.

Any takers?

I probably won't detail every aspect of my goals like I did this one, but I was just so happy that I actually did it!


  1. We meal plan the exact way! I am planning on putting a binder together within the next week :)

  2. maybe i need to try your write the meal on the day of the week and ingredients to the side...then i can go from there and search for coupons. maybe then i will plan better and save mula too!! thanks for showing us your method!

  3. thanks for this! meal planning is one of my new year goals as well, so i just may heed your advice :) let us know how it works out!

  4. WOOOOO! This is awesome. Love the binder idea! Now you have to post about all the delicious food you eat this month!

  5. Yay! So proud of you! Let me know what time to come over for dinner tonight, k? Hehe.

  6. You may just kick my butt in gear with meal planning for 2011. I am always complaining about how much we spend ordering out and that it needs to stop. You have definitely motivated me. Cheers!

  7. You go girl! I think the binder is a great idea! Can not wait to see if it works long term!

  8. Yay! Meal Planning is da bomb dot com!


    Seriously - I think you are going to love it... I hate to be dramatic (ha!) but that meal planner kinda changed my life... I make less trips to the grocery store, save tons of money, and hardly ever throw away rotten food anymore! It's fantastical!

    Have fun!

  9. I absolutely love this meal planner and I just spent an hour on The Project Girl link. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love your recipe binder! I started one for myself a couple of years ago... but of course I lost it and have no clue where it's at. Nice.

    You're gonna share your favorite recipes, right??

  11. Wow, that's awesome! I need to get better at meal planning too!

  12. I'm so bad with meal planning! I think because I work alot and I'm single I let it go by the wayside. Or at least that's my excuse. :) I just randomly throw things in my cart! Need to get better at that!

  13. I am trying to meal plan this year too!!! I was excited to read your post when I saw it on Twitter. I have a binder but it is completely UNorganized. My biggest obstacle is our work schedules and social life. We tend to eat out too much and our family business is a restaurant so we often times are not home for dinner.
    However, I am bound and determined to MAKE THIS WORK! I will be happy if saving $$ is a side effect, but I'm mostly trying to be healthier and spend quality time with the Hubbs. :0)

    Thanks for your posts, Megan! They always crack me up!

  14. love the notebook idea... i found a random one in my bedroom the other day! i'm doing this tonight!

  15. I always fail with my meal planning goals because I complicate it too much. This looks SO simple... I can't mess this up. :) Thanks for the how-to!

  16. i use the same meal planning templates and i just love them. they make meal planning a little more girly. and anything that i can create a list with makes me happy!

    happy planning :)

  17. You are so ambitious and organized. Go girl!! If I even tried to do that (which would be a challenge in itself) I would have to start in Feb just so I had the shortest month!!

  18. This is one of my goals too for this year! We're only cooking for two, and I often have class until 9pm or so during the week, so my plan will often include left-overs! :-) Also, we got a really nice slow-cooker and a wonderful knife set for Christmas so I'm eager to put them to work! :-) Wishing you the best of luck with this! :-)

  19. So here are my challenges with the whole concept of meal planning...we always end up with leftovers. Do you cook enough just for 2 people, or are leftovers built in?

    And then what if your cravings change? That happens to me ALL the time!

    Just curious if you struggle with that, too.

  20. I had a goal to finish assembling my recipe binder over my Christmas break, but never finished it! Maybe over my spring break?
    Good luck keeping up with your meal planning, you can do it! : )

  21. I have a recipe binder too! We do meal plan every week, but I want to start using those templates you have. Once on Dr Phil, a woman showed how she had planned meals for an entire YEAR! She had this big file of calendars and had a meal written on each one! Crazy.

  22. I think I might be crazy, but I actually enjoy planning our meals! I have a ton of recipes in my inbox and on the kitchen counter - I'll have to put together a binder like that!

  23. I weekly meal plan and find it saves me lots of money at the store. Now i have a set list and don't go through buying all sorts of random things. Also, thanks for the meal planner link!!

  24. I love meal planning! I usually only do one week at a time, but it makes dinner time run so smoothly! I really need to make a binder, I have all my recipes shoved in a card box and it's hard to find them. One trick I learned, that has really helped, is to make a "go-to" recipe list. I have one index card w/ the names of about 20 recipes that are easy and we eat repeatedly. When I get stuck trying to fill in a recipe, I just check the card with all of our favorites. It really speeds things up! By the way, you are going to LOVE this when Eli arrives. It's no fun running to the grocery store with a baby!


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