Meal Cards

by Nicki on July 31, 2009

in Managing Time

One of the ways I take the annoyance out of the meal-planning/grocery shopping routine is with Meal Cards. I’ve been using these for a few years now and they have really helped me out. I’ve mentioned them before but I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce the idea on it’s own today.

I’m not a really creative food person. I don’t have the envious talent of finding things in the pantry and creating something new and fantastic on a whim. It just doesn’t come to me. (That’s why I like RecipeZaar) I am a decent cook though. I just need to have a good idea.

Enter- Meal Cards. Here’s what I do: I write the name of a meal I know our family likes on the top of an index card. Under the name of each meal I write the ingredients needed to make it and where the recipe is located (online, cook book). Then, each time I think of another meal we like or we try a new one that we end up liking I add another card. They are like recipe cards but easier. I’m sure you could do an easy version of this in a spreadsheet. I just like the ease of being able to grab an index card right out of the box the moment I think of it.

meal-card

So, when I sit down each week to do my menu planning I grab this little stack of cards, pick out some meals, check the listed ingredients and add the ones I’m lacking to my grocery list. It’s like it does the thinking for me. I don’t have to look up each recipe to see if I have all the ingredients because the information is all right there.

Here’s that Shepherd’s Pie recipe that Kelli asked for :)

Why I do what I do ~ I had to make a trip to the grocery store tonight for a forgotten ingredient (it happens to the best of us). It was just Chloe and I. We began walking through the parking lot when Chloe froze, began to tremble and pointed ahead saying, “Mommy, save it” in the most desperate tone. Frantic, I looked ahead in the busy parking lot and saw nothing. A little panicked, my eyes open a little wider, I ask “Save what?” She hoarsely responded, tears filling her eyes, “my grape.” I peered about 20 feet ahead of us and saw a small grape, gently rolling through the parking lot away from us. Holding her hand I gracefully chased it down and ‘rescued’ it. She stopped and looked at me. “I need it,” she whimpered. I looked at the grape, to say it was caked in dirt would be an understatement. I told her it was too dirty and I’d have to throw it out but I’d buy some more in the store. That one just wasn’t good for eating anymore. She began to cry right then and there, not the bratty-child cry (we all know that one), she began to cry the broken-heart cry. I melted. I rubbed the graped on my jeans, put some spit on it, rubbed it again, wiped it with my shirt until it looked shiny again and handed it to her. Her eyes lit up, she ate it and I prayed she wasn’t ingesting motor oil. Go ahead – judge me. There are worse things :-) Have you liked Domestic Cents on Facebook yet?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Beth @ Smart Family Tips July 31, 2009 at 8:44 am

This is a brilliant idea! I have a hard time remembering which meals are my family’s favorites and it takes forever to search through my massive collection of recipes.

I’ve been trying to do more meal-planning lately, and cards like this would be a great help. Thanks for the idea.

Also — I love the story about the grape; I’d have done the same thing. :)
.-= Beth @ Smart Family Tips´s last blog ..Eating Better =-.

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2 Kelli M July 31, 2009 at 10:35 am

OK I would LOVE to hear how you make shepherd’s pie (even though you don’t have a recipe). I’ve been wanting to try it, but can’t find a good recipe.
P.S. HILARIOUS story about the grape!
.-= Kelli M´s last blog ..13.1 miles? What the heck was I thinking?! =-.

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3 liz August 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm

This is a really great idea. Now that I am working I feel like my brain is fried afterward. Having a cheat sheet like this would make it a lot easier to get into the kitchen as soon as I got home.
.-= liz´s last blog ..Photos… short on time version =-.

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4 Amy August 1, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Girl, you are so sweet! Thanks for commenting on my post at Kingdom First Mom.

THIS is a fabulous idea! I LOVE it. It is so simple; and like you said, it “does the thinking for you.”

Awesome.

And, I LOVE the grape story. I have chased down many a snack (or pacifier!), myself, only to wipe it off and hand it back to the sad/screaming/bloody (giggle) child. It’s just easier that way.
.-= Amy´s last blog ..Weekend Freebies =-.

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5 Trudy August 4, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I really like this idea. It is just my husband and I now, but we still have a hard time deciding what is for dinner.

My uncle always said that we had to eat a little dirt before we die. I always kept that in mind with my son.
.-= Trudy´s last blog ..Six Word Saturday – July 25, 2009 =-.

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6 Michelle December 28, 2009 at 6:49 am

The grape story had me in stitches. I’m not a mother, so one day I’m sure I’ll appreciate it.

As I’ve been pondering ways to cut back and build my emergency fund, I know that the grocery store is one of those places where I spend too much. I sometimes come up with recipes that require a lot of ingredients or expensive ingredients.

I’m going to make some meal cards and in addition to listing the ingredients, I think I’m going to add their prices too. I need to eat simpler and cheaper.

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