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Recipe organization and menu planning


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#1 MamaKim

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 02:27 PM


Before I went back to work, I was so organized when it came to keeping my recipes organized and menu planning. I am a recipe-aholic. I clip them and print them and save them and I am completely overrun right now. I have binders that I organize them in broken down by category but even that is just too much to keep up with for me. I keep thinking online would be great but to transfer all these recipes (not to mention those I have in my recipe box) would be a daunting task.

How do you store recipes so they are easy to use, easy to find, etc.? And how does your storage system facilitate menu planning? Up until about a year ago, I religiously menu planned before grocery shopping every week. Now I am usually winging it from a few ideas thrown together in my head and I either end up missing a crucial ingredient to make a certain dish or buying items I don't use.

Help! All suggestions welcome! :D


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#2 Mom to Jack and Anna

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 06:30 PM

I use an app called Paprika. There's also a Mac program and it syncs together in the cloud so you can get it on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You can input recipes yourself, or for recipes online, you use the app's browser to go to the site and just click "save recipe". You can categorize and make your own categories and rate recipes. It also has a menu planner so you can assign a recipe to a day, and it generates a grocery list so you just click "add to grocery list" and it does. That said, I usually do my menu planning and list making on paper or dry erase board. Sometimes we have things that don't require a recipe, and I buy things that aren't for a recipe. So I sit down once every two weeks with my app and plan meals, leftover nights, takeout nights, lunches and breakfast, keeping in mind what I will need to freeze because it won't be used until the second week and frontloading meals calling for fresh produce. I also note what to buy from Whole Foods and what I have a coupon for (and how many i need to buy). Then I go to Whole Foods and Kroger and I'm done. Sometimes I do a list electronically. I like Cosi for online list/calendar because it lets everyone log in and add items or appointments.
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#3 MamaKim

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 06:44 PM

Wow, you are really organized! That's great. I may check out that app. A lot of recipes I have I can find online so that would be easy to add. Maybe if I started by just adding our favorites (and the most easy!) it would help break things down.

I am going to go through and weed out some of the recipes we have never tried too just to scale down the amount of recipes I have. The only problem with that is, when I read them again they sound so good that I put them back in the "to try" pile. :lol:

Honestly, the menu planning part would be easier if my recipes were organized. I can't really plan two weeks out because of DH's crazy travel schedule, but planning a week out, even if something gets thrown off if he's not home, is doable for me. I love feeling prepared for the week and lately it just hasn't been happening on a regular basis.

Thanks for sharing what works for you!
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Kim Posted Image --
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. ~ the Demon of Screamin', Mr. Steven Tyler
 
 
Married to my college sweetheart, Lou, since 4/27/85 Mom to Sean Patrick, 6/30/90 Posted Image and identical boys, Brian John and Craig Francis, 7/6/94 Posted Image
 
 
Our furbaby, Piper Rose, 4/13/03, (a Cairn terrier terror)
 
 
 
 
 
 
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#4 moski

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 07:08 PM

Rachael, is that only a phone app, or it there something online that you can use?
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#5 Mom to Jack and Anna

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 07:15 PM

It's phone, there's a Mac program, and there's a cloud component. I don't know if the cloud part means online access.
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Rachael
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#6 Mom to Jack and Anna

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 07:20 PM

You can look it up at www.paprikaapp.com. Looks like it's just iPad, iPhone, and Mac.
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Rachael
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Born February 3, 2008 at 37 1/2 weeks
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#7 moski

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:58 PM

You can look it up at www.paprikaapp.com. Looks like it's just iPad, iPhone, and Mac.


Thanks! :( I want to find something like that. But no fancy phones here.
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#8 Mom to Jack and Anna

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 05:50 AM

I'm sure there's something similar that's Internet based.
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Rachael
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#9 rissakaye

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 08:05 AM

I'm not good at using the internet based stuff. I hand write out my menus and shopping lists.

With your over-abundance of recipes, I would probably start by organizing a "favorite" area for recipes. That could be it's own separate binder of the tried and true favorites or a small section at the beginning of each binder for the favorites in that one. After that, I personally don't add new recipes into my binder until we've tried them. I wouldn't get anymore recipes until I had tried and weeded out some of the old ones.

To pick recipes, I use my calendar. If it's a night where I need to go on auto-pilot, it's an old favorite. If I have plenty of time for a new recipe, we get to try something new.

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#10 Leighann

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 08:57 AM

I am envious of you organized ladies who menu plan. I'm sure it would be much easier for me in the long term to do this, but I just haven't put the effort into it. I have a giant binder in a drawer in my kitchen that is overflowing with recipes that are rarely used. I am usually scrambling at 5pm to get something on the table by 6pm. I will check out that paprika app for my iPad though. Looks very interesting!
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#11 MamaKim

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 12:59 PM

Marissa, that is a great idea! Leighann, you are describing me at least several nights a week lately. Hence why I started this topic!
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Kim Posted Image --
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. ~ the Demon of Screamin', Mr. Steven Tyler
 
 
Married to my college sweetheart, Lou, since 4/27/85 Mom to Sean Patrick, 6/30/90 Posted Image and identical boys, Brian John and Craig Francis, 7/6/94 Posted Image
 
 
Our furbaby, Piper Rose, 4/13/03, (a Cairn terrier terror)
 
 
 
 
 
 
And on the eighth day God created ^(A)^EROSMITH . . . Posted Image

#12 Julie L

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 08:13 PM

I have a weekly template that I made on my computer. Breakfast and lunches don't change much. The first thing I do is fill in all the activities we have during the week. Then I look at how much time we have for making dinner. I plug in meals accordingly. We tend to have a pattern - 2 nights with chicken, 1 pasta, 1 fish, and then either pork or beef on the 5th night. The weekends I plan more intensive meals, especially if I'll have more time to cook. We have a list of favorite meals that I work off of during the week, then on the weekends I try out new things.

I use the menu to make my shopping list. I have a master list of the things we use all the time saved on the computer and I just add any extras. We also keep a dry erase board list where we write down items when we run out so that we don't forget to put them on the list.

DH is home earlier than I am, so he does the actual cooking during the week. It makes it easier for him if he doesn't have to think about what to make, he just follows the plan.
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#13 MamaKim

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 10:58 AM

Great ideas, Julie. Thanks!
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Kim Posted Image --
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. ~ the Demon of Screamin', Mr. Steven Tyler
 
 
Married to my college sweetheart, Lou, since 4/27/85 Mom to Sean Patrick, 6/30/90 Posted Image and identical boys, Brian John and Craig Francis, 7/6/94 Posted Image
 
 
Our furbaby, Piper Rose, 4/13/03, (a Cairn terrier terror)
 
 
 
 
 
 
And on the eighth day God created ^(A)^EROSMITH . . . Posted Image

#14 MamaKim

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 05:39 PM

Step 1 down: I went through my collected recipes and weeded out a bunch. That will help me drastically! Next step: trying out the Paprika app to see if it's a good fit for me. *whew* Feel like I am starting to get a handle on it all. Drinking a cosmo to help me through! Posted Image

Edited by MamaKim, 08 October 2011 - 05:42 PM.

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Kim Posted Image --
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. ~ the Demon of Screamin', Mr. Steven Tyler
 
 
Married to my college sweetheart, Lou, since 4/27/85 Mom to Sean Patrick, 6/30/90 Posted Image and identical boys, Brian John and Craig Francis, 7/6/94 Posted Image
 
 
Our furbaby, Piper Rose, 4/13/03, (a Cairn terrier terror)
 
 
 
 
 
 
And on the eighth day God created ^(A)^EROSMITH . . . Posted Image

#15 Jen620

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 12:08 AM

I have 5 weeks of recipes organized into 5 lists. Each list, along with the recipes, is in a page protector and they are in all in special binder. I also made a list of all the things needed for that particular week of cooking with little check boxes. Every single ingredient needed for the week is on there. If I have it on hand, I check if off before I grocery shop.

Each list has 7 meals, but one list might last over more than 7 days if we eat leftovers or need to eat out one night due to schedules.

I make the meals up (when possible) the night before and leave DH cooking instructions on our white board. Or I'll have him chop the onions or cut up the chicken. He gets home before I do, and until this week, dinner had to be on the table at 5 because we had to leave for soccer at 5:45 four times a week. Having things planned and ready has been extremely helpful since I went back to work full time in August.
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