Happy Tuesday. One question I often have been asked is how do I meal plan? When I am out with friends we often quiz each other with “what you cooking for dinner?” One thing I have learnt that does not work (for me at least) is to turn up at the store and think that inspiration will fly out at me from the grocery aisle and say “make me.” Despite knowing this I occasionally find myself in this predicament. I do love to cook, this does not mean I am good at it, or that I love to cook all the time. I should say I love to cook when I’m organized in my life. My mother and grandmother are and were excellent cooks so they set the bar and probably started my interest in cooking . To some the idea of planning and a lack of spontaneity may take the joy out of cooking but for me it is quite the opposite, the more I plan, the more I enjoy. I have meal planned for a while and I am an avid recipe collector. I think I mentioned in an earlier blog I have a bookcase almost exclusively dedicated to cookery and baking. I do very much enjoy looking through the books in the evening and gaining inspiration. I also use websites, Pintrest and I luckily do have food magazine subscriptions. In Casa Lifestyle you will often see print outs or tear out recipes on my coffee table where something has inspired me to try it.
It was several years ago where I found I had a plastic wallet full of recipes I wanted to or had tried and very little order to them. This did not agree with my slightly organized side and my Bible was born. I mean no offense to anyone by referring to it as my Bible. It is a very important file to me. It would probably be in my top ten possessions to save in case of fire. (Fear not Mr L and Little L your above it.) It is a work in progress, I am constantly adding and editing it. It is not neat or beautiful but I think that adds to its authenticity. To me its a little like an old cookbook, I like to see splash marks over the pages it signifies love and usage, my pink Bible is like that. It is a little like me it has swelled and has had to move up a size but it is full of love and memories. I can honestly tell you that I am very proud when my family tell me something tastes delicious and Little L goes “num num num.”
I mentioned that my pink Bible is a work in progress. I will explain. I have ten dividers :-
- Recipes I want to try. If I have a new recipe I wish to try it goes in here. I aim to try at least one from this section once a week. I also cull this section regularly, if something is not a fit out it goes.
- Menu Plans. If I have a very successful week, where every meal has been a hit then I will add the plan here. If my week is crazy busy and I have had little or no time to menu plan, I have menus with grocery lists in here where I can grab and go get what I need. I try to use these only in emergencies because I like the discipline of creating new menus each week.
- Everyday Meals Meat. To make it into this section, the recipe will be tried, tested and loved. These are recipes I know how to cook and will be a hit. They are scruffy and covered in notes where I have added comments to remind me what works better. This applies to all the following sections.
- Everyday Meals Fish and Veg. Similarly to meat to make it to this section the recipes are much-loved. Fish is loved in this house but I am married to a carnivorous male who enjoys meat and fish, so vegetarian meals have to “cut the mustard” so those recipes are good.
- Everyday Meals Slow Cooker. My favorite section especially at this time of year. I have been asked lots of questions about slow cooking and I promise to do some blog posts about it.
- Starters. These next sections relate more to entertaining or special occasions, like the rest, a collection of recipes that work.
- Entertaining Mains. These recipes tend to be more complex or extravagant than everyday but they are ones I have used and work very well. This is a great idea if you have unexpected guests or recipes you can lend to friends.
- Desserts. Who doesn’t love a pudding, we don’t have them very often but occasionally if entertaining or on a Sunday I might whip something up and I have a much treasured collection.
- Baking. I actually have baking books with recipes that I am loyal too but I have occasionally found one or two that I have found tried and loved and they go in here.
- Holiday Cooking. This is full of recipes relating to holidays that I have tried and love. This is ever-expanding. Halloween cookies, pecan pie etc. I am including lots of my new US finds in here.
So that is how I arrange and organize my recipes. Do you do similar things? Do you have a system that works better? I will explain in another blog post how I actually plan meals. I also find that this system would benefit you, if you are a coupon lover or if you use the store flyers to plan your meals. Fresh produce can soon add up so having a collection of recipe means that you have something that works when pork loins are on special or there is a great price on fillet steak. I also enjoy the familiarity of it. I will share with you a little secret, it is my ambition to create a file full of recipes Little L loves so that when she flies the nest I can duplicate and give it to her and she can share with her family. I have several recipes in my file which belong to my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and take comfort in handing these on.
I will blog soon on how I actually plan my weekly meals.
Ta Ta for now.