Weekly Meal Planning & Recipe Gathering

I've been getting a lot of questions about what I cook during the week, where I get my recipes, which cookbooks I use, etc., so I thought I'd put it all out there.

Meal Planning:
Once a week, usually on Sat. mornings, I sit down & plan out what I'm going to eat for the week. This list used to just cover dinner, but now that I'm watching what I eat, I'm also writing down what I eat for lunch. I use a simple 2 Post-It method. Since I typically eat at my desk 4 days a week & we usually eat at home 4 nights a week, I divide the Post-It into boxes of 4. One Post-It for lunch & one for dinner. On the dinner Post-It, I label each of the 4 boxes with the day of the week I'll be cooking, then I simply write down what we'll be cooking/eating that night. Pretty easy, huh?

Grocery Shopping:
Once I have my meal plan figured out, I make a shopping list. First, I write down everything we're out of & all the usual stuff we buy once a week, i.e. milk, half & half, etc. Then I write down everything I need for b'fast, lunch & snacks. Then I go back to the meal plan & write down everything I need for the dinner recipes I'll be making during the week. Because I'm borderline OCD, sometimes I re-write the list according to product placement in the store, i.e. produce first, then canned goods, milk & cheese last, etc. It's a sickness. Also, I typically go to at least 2 grocery stores -Trader Joe's & Publix, so sometimes I divide my list by which store the food is in.

I get recipes everywhere. I used to primarily get them from cookbooks, but now that I've found so many recipe-based websites, I've been getting a lot of stuff online. I also get a lot of recipes from friends. I recently subscribed to Cooking Light. I've only received 2 issues, but I've made quite a few recipes from those 2 issues. Love Cooking Light! They also post a lot of recipes on Twitter that aren't in the magazine, so definitely recommend following them if you're on the Twitter. Here are some of the websites I frequent:

Also, I don't watch a ton of Food Network, but I do get some recipes from Good Eats & Rachael Ray (I know...).

I have some awesome cookbooks that I get a lot of recipes from. Here are my favorites:

I have had a few people recommend the following cookbook to me & it's definitely on my wish list:

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

A mere 2 years ago, the only thing I could cook was baked chicken & Zatarains Red Beans & Rice, so I've come a long way. Having a fully equipped kitchen has made all the difference. Plus, John has learned that cooking relaxes him, so him cooking a few nights a week is HUGE. He usually picks out 1 or 2 things that he wants to make, which keeps things interesting because he chooses things I would have never chosen. We definitely have recipes that we like to make on a regular basis, but we do make a concerted effort to try new things & to not fall into a rut where we're making the same things week after week. Surprisingly, I don't love to cook, so the excitement of trying new things is honestly what keeps me in the kitchen.

I'd love to hear what other people do in regards to meal planning, finding recipes, etc., so please leave lots of comments!

Bon appetit!

Recipe Organization

Just Checking the Boxes