Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Chatter: Menu Planning Ideas from our Faithful Readers

Three of our faithful readers shared some super menu planning and grocery list organization tips. All three ideas will save your sanity and add to your savings.

Dianna wrote, "I was frustrated with meal planning, looking through my cookbooks week after week to plan the grocery list/dinners for the week so I decided to take index cards and as I went through every one of my cookbooks. Then on the index card, I wrote the recipe name, cookbook name, and page number, and category (chicken, pasta, fish, meat, pork, soup, etc). I then sorted all the index cards by type and when I go to the grocery store, I just go through the index box, grab a few cards in different categories, look up the recipes and make my grocery list. It makes it a lot easier than going through cookbooks week after week, and varies dinners a bunch."

Ashleigh shared, "1) has a pad of paper with perforated grocery list on right hand side, and Mon-Sun list on left. I have been using this to meal plan for at least 5 years. 2) Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely is a cookbook with fairly easy, seasonal, totally nutritious but not like all straight from the CSA strange ingredients, and is organized by season and by weeks in each season. It then has a grocery list at the end of each week one may copy. 3) This along with 2 new recipes from Martha Stewart's Everyday food each week will both keep you inspired without being tired, keep the family eating well and not turning down the food, and can you believe it- is actually economical. Then go to the store very Monday and Friday rain or shine, holiday or not and I promise, you'll be a less-stressed mama with a few extra dollars for that new shirt you want but don't know it yet!!

Last, but not least, Sheila suggested, "I picked up a cookbook a couple of years ago called Cheap, Fast, and Good (published in 2005) by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross. They write the Desperation Dinners column that some newspapers carry and I think they have a couple of other cookbooks by the same name. They have some pretty good suggestions for saving at the grocery store and a bunch of recipes that are really geared towards families. The recipes are really straightforward and use mostly common ingredients and they're also healthy for the most part. It's pretty good for simple, every day cooking. Also, it's fun to read! Check it out!

Thank you for these super ideas!

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What are your menu planning strategies? How do you attack your grocery list?

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