A few months ago or so I saw Trish of Hey Lady showing off her new menu planning system. It was similar to this one. I thought about it for a few days, and decided finally I thought it (or a version of it) would work for us.
I’ve tried lots of ways to plan meals before, but before this, nothing had lasted even a couple weeks. We’ve been using this a month or so now, with good success. Ours is pretty scrappy, not prettified like the ones I’ve seen, but it works, so hey. Maybe one day I’ll get around to beautifying it. Or not.
Here’s what mine looks like.
This differs in quite a few respects from the original from which I drew inspiration:
- We wrote our strips by hand. I disliked the idea of trying to get double-sided printing to work and line up perfectly, and this let us work on the meal brainstorming / strip creation in dribs and drabs over a couple weeks.
- Our categories are our own.
- We only have one box.
- We don’t have all the things stuck to a board, all together. There really isn’t anywhere in our kitchen to hang a decent-sized board, and we had all the things required for this version already.
- We just put however many we want/need/know at a time, although we do try to make it enough food to get us through a week.
- When we’re done cooking it, we take the strip down and store it again.
I intended to at least cover the (half-)box with paper, and to rewrite and mount the category cheat sheet to the box, but I haven’t gotten that done yet.
The strip making was pretty time consuming, yes. We did it here and there over the course of a few weeks (or maybe even a month). I like that when I find one I forgot or want to add a new recipe to the mix, it’s quite easy. Each strip has the name of the meal/main dish on one side and a list of ingredients (for grocery store list writing), and a recipe location (book, page number; or online source), if needed.
We have some leftover strips of the colored paper left (we split a 8.5 x 11 sheet of scrapbook paper down the center and then cut strips), so we can simply write the new one down. But maybe not laminate it (which isn’t exactly necessary, but does add durability to the pieces) until we know it’s a keeper. Or you could write up the ones you want to try on a separate list, or a different color, and then rewrite them into the appropriate category after you’ve tried them? The laminated and unlaminated works for us, so far at least.
I’m so glad for a place that has all of the things we make in one place! One the the best aspects of this is that, if we’re completely stuck, we can thumb through the entire stack pretty quickly.
How do you plan the meals at your house?