Click the image to enlarge

Let’s face it, school starts in a few days, the summer is coming to a close and you need to get back into a routine for the fall and winter months. Why not make it easier by getting started on your menu planning now? Here are some tips to get you started with some recipes from a previous post on saving money by utilizing your kitchen pantry staples.

  1. Start with the current year spreadsheet, just make sure that it has tabs for each month for easy navigation.
  2. Decide how often you want to cook dinner during the week. Personally, I don’t cook everyday, even though I like cooking, I just don’t have the time as I’d like to at this point. So I cook every other day, leave leftovers so that we can have something for the in between days. IF you choose to cook everyday, great, if not that’s fine too.
  3. Enter your meals in each day/cell of the spreadsheet based on your time schedule and level of difficulty. During the week I like to add meals that will take no more than 1 hour to completion because I truly hate slaving over a pot.
  4. Research meals that take no more than 30 minutes from start to completion, these will be a life saver when you have those unexpected derailments and just need to whip something up quick and easy.
  5. In the notes section, add your WEEKLY shopping list of the things you need to purchase. You can start by adding Week 1…Week 2…and what have you…this way you know exactly what you need to buy at the start of each week. You can also find print shopping list templates here.
  6. Extra: Add recipes to your spreadsheet like this: Right click on your day/cell, click on insert comment, a text box should pop up, then copy and paste your recipe or make adjustments as needed. Hit enter and your done. Hover your mouse over the cell and VOILA you now have your recipes within the cell for easy reference
  7. Email your spreadsheet to yourself or print it out to put in a folder for safe keeping. I like to email mine since that works best for me.

Now for the good stuff:


Click the easy button, pass go and collect ready made recipes!

I found a neat site where users can find recipes by entering an ingredient or keyword. This can be the main ingredient in your recipe or if you have a few items in your pantry and not sure what to do with them. The results give you the recipe and the fat calories, carbs and protein count for each serving. You may need one or two extra ingredients but overall the recipes are pretty basic.

Here are two of the recipes I came across:

Baked Garlic Lemon Chicken

Homemade Beef Stew

Check out a search I performed here for of all things “basil” and “tuna”, I got some pretty tasty results:

(Click to enlarge)



Why menu planning?

  • Saves time and money
  • You put more thought into creating healthy meals and not last minute fast food options
  • You can buy in bulk knowing what you’ll be having for dinner two weeks from now
  • Discover new recipes that are healthier and faster to prepare

Here’s the previous post where we shared the basic kitchen staples. Now it’s your turn, share your favorite recipe that you can whip up within 30 minutes to 1 hour.