Meal Planning Tip: Create a Restaurant-Style Menu for Your Kitchen

002 (379x570)Late last fall, I got the idea to make a list of all the things I like to cook to make it easier to plan our meals. Seeing as I’m the type to sometimes get wrapped up in a project and take things a bit too far, the next thing I knew I had spent several hours designing and writing a restaurant-style menu. Even the descriptions are flowery. I knew that it was cheesy and over the top and was honestly a little embarrassed, but six months later I’m shocked to say that I still use it. Even my husband has remarked that he really likes referring to it when we’re talking about what we’ll have to eat. He says it feels like ordering in a restaurant!

Here’s what I did to create this easy and useful meal-planning tool:

I keep most of the ingredients for all these meals on hand so it’s perfect for picking something out at the last minute, or I can plan my meals for a whole week without the drama of a complicated grocery list. For anything that needs to go in the oven I tried to include the temperature and time in the description, but most things don’t need a lot of detail for me to remember how they’re made. If I do need some help I can usually find the original recipe by searching my pins on Pinterest.

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One page is left blank to write in new dishes, then every few months I update it by deleting items that have fallen out of favor, adding whatever new dishes have made it into the rotation, and printing out a fresh copy. I stick it up on the side of the fridge with a magnet and pull it down whenever I’m having a hard time deciding what to cook! I created my menu in Publisher, but whatever format you feel most comfortable with would work. I’ve even uploaded a PDF so that you can get a better look at what’s on my menu. Feel free to copy and paste!

To download this FREE menu, click here: menu

What is your favorite meal-planning tip?

Charlotte is mom to two-year-old Jack and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She works part time, sells vintage wares on Etsy, and also maintains a personal blog, Living Well on the Cheap, where she writes about creating a full, rich life and a beautiful home without living beyond her means. Decorating, blogging, and thrifting were the creative outlets that helped her cope with the emotional demands of her career as a social worker, and they still serve her well now that she spends most of her time caring for her son. She and her husband, Nick, both grew up in the suburbs of New Orleans, but met at LSU in 2006 and never had the heart to leave Baton Rouge. She is happy to call the Red Stick home and loves connecting with other moms.

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