"It's such responsibility having a minister's family to tea. I never went through such an experience before. You should just see our pantry. It's a sight to behold….We're going to have two kinds of jelly… and three kinds of cookies, and fruit-cake, and Marilla's famous yellow-plum preserves that she keeps especially for ministers, and pound cake and layer cake and biscuits as aforesaid;…." ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.
I enjoy meal planning and creating my shopping list from my meal plans. I find it keeps me organised and helps me save money when shopping for groceries.
I use Microsoft OneNote to record my menus and the recipes related to those menus. Here is some information on Microsoft OneNote if you are interested. I divide my menus into Summer and Winter categories. Under each category I have a number of menus that I rotate to ensure variety. I continually add to these menus as I find recipes both my husband and I like. Currently I have five weeks of meals planned for summer and five for winter. I am working on increasing the number of weeks for which I have planned menus, to provide more of a selection. I also like to include one or two baking recipes in the weekly menus as well.
I use these menus as the basis for writing my weekly or fortnightly shopping lists. I do not adhere slavishly to these menus however. Firstly I check the fridge, freezer and pantry to see what I have on hand. Then I make meal substitutions on that week's menu to use up what food I have. This saves money and prevents waste.
There are many different methods one can use for planning meals and grocery shopping, and my way suits me. Another method that caught my eye was the "Do something foodwise - yoursite for sustainable food" website. This Australian website has been designed to, (in their words,) "create a more sustainable approach to the way that we grow, distribute, consume and dispose of" food. The website has a meal planner and in the "recipe room" you can select ingredients and search for recipes based on the ingredients selected. This is useful if you have food on hand that you want to use, and need help coming up with a recipe. If you like a recipe you can add it to your meal planner and the website generates a shopping list for the recipes you have selected. The site will then email the shopping list to you if you so choose. The website has recipes by chef's such as Maggie Beer (I bought her book "Maggie's Kitchen" last month. I think it is awesome!), Fast Ed and many others.
Do you have any methods you like to use for meal planning and grocery shopping?