Menu Planning in a Small Kitchen

8:34 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Now, you may be wondering why I am starting with menu planning when there's so much more organizing that can and should be done in the kitchen. The reason is simple:

The main point of the kitchen is to feed your family!

You can't feed your family if you don't know what you're going to cook!

Ok, maybe you can. But I bet if you do, you end up eating processed foods a lot more than you'd like to admit! We did too, before menu planning became part of my week.

How do you get started menu planning?
It can seem like an overwhelming task- you have to come up all that food you're going to eat, make a grocery list for a week (or more) in advance, and how do you know what your family is going to want to eat on a particular day?

Don't get overwhelmed! The simplest way to start menu planning is to keep a notebook on your kitchen counter and write down a meal every time you eat it, and what all you used in cooking that meal. Then, after a couple of weeks, you have a nice little list of foods your family enjoys along with a shopping list, so you just repeat!

If you're more into instant gratification, you still need to start simple. Gather up your favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, and supper and put them all together in a binder. You can decorate it if you want, but it's not necessary- just give it a home somewhere that's easily accessible for both cooking and planning (You may need to move that part of your home management into the kitchen unless you want a workout dashing back and forth to check how much vanilla extract is left when you're making out your grocery list!)

Now, get a piece of paper and divide it into 3 rows: Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper. Or you can print out my personal favorite (the one pictured below) from here. Flip through your recipe book and as a meal stands out, write it down and pick a day. (Be sure to check your calendar to see what you're doing that day so you'll know if you will have time to cook that particular meal!)

As you decide on meals, open the cabinets and see if you are running low on the ingredients, and add it to your shopping list.

Now, for the clincher: Take those recipes out of the binder as you find them. Move them all to the front. That way, when you are standing over the stove at 6am with sleep in your eyes, you're not hunting for that crepe recipe that doesn't need to sit over night that you planned on cooking that morning!

See? It's not complicated at all! Before long, you'll be able to plan as you go instead of devoting an entire block of time to it once or twice a week! And being ready to USE your kitchen is the first step to having it organized, regardless of size, for your family!


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