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Meal Planning Master List – Free Printable

meal planning master list - organize meals by category for quick planning

 

Meal planning can be time consuming – and I’m all about saving as much time as I can so I can enjoy time with my family and the food that’s going on our table! These meal planning master list were created to go along with my Weekly Meal Planner so I could quickly pull meal ideas by category and plug them into the meal planner and go.

There are often meals I forget and this helps stay out of the “same old-same old” rut we can easily get into. This list gives me a place to write down go-to breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, sides, and family favorites to keep handy when meal planning. 

Meal Planning master list example-4

There are several different versions included in the download, including ones with light grey lines (in case you are worried about keeping your writing straight) and two different layouts depending on your preferences. Be sure to look below in case you would like an editable version of the file as well! 

Editable Meal Planning Master List

 editable meal planning master list - organize meals by category for quick planning

As a thank you to my email subscribers, you’ll find an editable version of the master list available for download. Rather than writing in all of your meal ideas, you can type directly into the form, save it to your computer to edit later, and print it off. (p.s. the blue areas you see above show the editable fields in the file.)

Simply check the footer of your email and you’ll find the link to the subscriber only page where you can download the bonus file

Not a subscriber? Go ahead and click here and  subscribe by e-mail {Daily or Weekly}.

 

Download the Meal Planning Master List

If you’d like a copy of the meal planning master list, simply click the download button below. Thanks for visiting and I hope it helps you out! 

Download button

 

 

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Don’t forget to grab a copy of the go-along weekly meal planner and see how we plan our week out in less than 15 minutes

Baked Potato Soup Recipe

baked potato soup recipe - full of bacon, cheese, potatoes, and plenty of comfort 

One of the things I love right now with our kids (especially our boys) is their wanting to help me cook a real meal. Not just a simple side or snack, but they want to help out making our dinners. They have their definite favorites, and one that is requested often is our Baked Potato Soup recipe. This is our go-to dish when we have a group of friends coming over because it is filling and makes a huge pot (which means leftovers if we make it just for us!). 

Baked Potato Soup recipe

Even though the weather has been warming up in our area, there was a unanimous vote for baked potato soup and I have to admit I didn’t complain about it! It’s basically a whole load of comfort food mixed up into a pot: bacon, cheese, potatoes, more bacon…what’s not to love about that? Several of you have emailed and asked for me to share our recipe, so here’s a quick card for you to print and make.

Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Baked Potato Soup
Warm and filling soup - perfect for a cold night or to share with a group of friends.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 12 cups of milk (or more)
  4. 8 cups baked potatoes, diced
  5. 1 lb. cooked bacon, crumbled
  6. 3 cups shredded cheddar
  7. 2 cups sour cream
  8. 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
  9. 1 Tbsp. salt
  10. 1 Tbsp. pepper
  11. 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
Prep
  1. Bake potatoes until done. Let cool slightly, then cut in half and scoop out middles in small chunks and put aside in bowl.
  2. Cook bacon according to directions, drain, and crumble.
  3. Slice/cut green onions, including the small bulb.
For soup
  1. While bacon and potatoes are cooking, start soup base. Melt 2 sticks of butter of medium low heat. Whisk in flour when butter is melted.
  2. Pour milk in slowly, whisking while adding. Continue stirring over medium heat (so milk doesn't scald and burn to bottom of pan).
  3. When milk has started to thicken over heat, add in sour cream, salt, pepper, green onions, and garlic.
  4. Turn to low and let soup simmer. When potatoes are ready, add them into soup along with bacon and cheese.
  5. When cheese is melted, serve with extra sour cream, green onions, and bacon.
Notes
  1. :: More bacon is always wonderful and enjoyed by everyone.
  2. :: Depending on how thick or thin you like your soup, add a little more milk. This soup is on the thicker side, but can be thinned down.
Homeschool Creations https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/

Hope your family enjoys this baked potato soup as much as ours does! (And you really can’t go wrong with bacon and garlic…or cheese…or green onions.)

Weekly Meal Planner – Plan a Week’s Meals (FREE Printable)

free weekly meal planner from Homeschool Creations - with room for 3 daily meals and snacks as well as shopping list and meal prep space

While I am a huge fan of planning my meals a month at a time, the last few months I’ve focused more on a week (or two) at a time. Our schedule has been very different this last school year and blocking things out in shorter segments was a way my brain coped a little easier – enter a weekly meal planner.

But of course that needed a pretty printable to go along with it. Because pretty = more fun and useful, right?

In a little over a week, I’ll be sharing more on meal planning when I speak at Teach Them Diligently, but you all – this weekly meal planner is something I can quickly plug meals into using my Main Dish Menu Planner, write up a quick grocery list and be DONE in under 15 minutes. I may have timed myself this past week and it was actually a smidge over 10, but I’m not competitive or anything.

meal planning printable from Homeschool Creations-7

The Weekly Meal Planner printable is 8.5” x 11” and ours is hanging from a simple binder clip and a small 3M adhesive hook on the front of our fridge. I’d use a pretty magnet, but our fridge isn’t magnetic. (I’m not bitter.)

There are two versions available to download: one that runs from Sunday through Saturday and a second version that shows the week Monday through Sunday, depending on how you plan your week out.

A Look at the Weekly Meal Planner

weekly meal plan list highlights from Homeschool Creations

There is plenty of room to write out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack plans for the day. And think of it this way – when it’s hanging on the fridge for all to see, it will field about 3, 276 questions each week alone and stop constant barrage of the question “What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack?” Not that every single one of my kids asks the same question. Repeatedly.

(Keeping it real here.)

meal planning printable from Homeschool Creations-6

Cut/tear the shopping list off once you fill it out and take it grocery shopping (or leave it at home, like often do. I find the challenge of trying to remember what is on the list so much fun, don’t you?).

On a side note, I highly recommend these pens to use for anything – because they erase and make it so much easier to move things around on the plan if needed. I only mention this because I am the type of person who wants to use pen, but then when I make a mistake the crossing off and mess of the paper can drive me batty…and I may print off another sheet to redo it. These pens are saving trees all over the world from my craziness.

meal planning printable from Homeschool Creations-5

There’s also an area to make notes on what you can prep ahead of time. This week I needed to remember to pull some things out of the freezer, cook a little meat, and spent some time on Sunday prepping veggies and putting them in the fridge so I could be ready to go each day for meals.

 

Download the Weekly Meal Planner

If you’d like to use the Weekly Meal Planner, feel free to download a copy below. (p.s. would you pin and share if you love it? Thanks!)

Meal Planning Can Be Easy – My Two Favorite Meal Planning Tools (and a Video Tutorial)

Sometimes people hear that I plan our meals a month at a time, and they get a little bit overwhelmed. I get that. It can seem like a HUGE task and make you just want to run and hide.

Meal Planning Tools

But what if I told you that it really doesn’t have to be all that complicated?Meal planning can be easy and in the long run, having a plan in place will save you so much time and energy (and who doesn’t like that?).

There are two meal planning tools that I absolutely love and use every single day – the Main Dish Menu Planner and the Monthly Menu Planner. If you have a few minutes to watch, I’d love to share a video on how I use them.  (Note: I’m going to have to redo the video tomorrow because I couldn’t tell it was so blurry – I’m sorry!)

Feed subscribers CLICK HERE to watch the video

The video pretty much sums up all of the below information, but if you prefer to read through and see pictures and links on how I set up our meal planning system, keep reading!

My Recipe Binder

Meal Planning Tools-10

This lovely specimen is a goldmine of recipes and all of our favorite go-to meals. Don’t you just LOVE the cover?

Confession: I almost started it on fire one night while cooking because I turned the wrong burner on and then couldn’t figure out what the smell was. Those are BURN MARKS on the front cover. Yep. I’m THAT savvy.

Meal Planning Tools-12

The inside holds two 4×6 recipe cards in each sleeve and then another two on the opposite side. I have one similar to this C.R. Gibson recipe binder and use these recipe pocket pages. It came with dividers and has been the perfect size!

Meal Planning Tools-15

When I find recipes from magazines or old cookbooks, I often cut them out and add them in on a piece of paper that’s been cut to size to fit in the binder. It’s really fancy, don’t you think? This has really helped cut down on all the endless magazines and recipes that I’ve printed off from online.

If we’ve tried a new recipe a few times and the family loves it, the recipe is either copied to a recipe card or added in to the blank pages. We still have a few cookbooks that are staples in the cabinet, but this is our main recipe binder.

The Main Dish Menu Planner

My Main Dish Menu Planner

{click on the image to get a peek at my meals}

To make my meal planning easier {and to remember all those little meals that tend to be forgotten}, I made a Main Dish Menu Planner for all of our favorite and go-to meals. Call me crazy. Call me over-organized.

Label me.

But I have a chart and it makes me happy. Oddly and pitifully so.

Meal Planning Tools-5

All the recipes that we use often ~ recipe cards, favorites from different books, etc… are sorted out by category in my planner {beef, chicken, pork, pasta, soups/salads, and other}. The list hangs on the inside of my cupboard door so when I plan meals I can just pull it out, go over the list, and plug things into our meal calendar.

You’d be surprised at how many meals you probably have in your stash already! Our chicken meals are crazy-ridiculous, but this is a great place for me to remember that we sometimes can have breakfast for dinner (because I forget things like that!).

Download button

The Monthly Menu Planner

monthly meal plan calendar

While I usually plug our meals into my weekly planner, being able to see everything a month-at-a-glance really helps me. I’m able to fit in our breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices by abbreviating things. For example:

  • B – Bagels
  • L – Sandwiches
  • D – Meatloaf & Salad

Meal Planning Tools-7

The Monthly Menu Plan hangs on our fridge in a page protector. If the kids want to know what’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – they can just nag check out the plan and phew – no more questions asked! Or then the whining begins because they don’t like what’s coming. Maybe that’s just my house.

And all those lovely blue spaces you see in the image above? They don’t show up when you print off the document, but the show the areas that you are able to type into and edit on the pdf document. The date boxes have been left blank so that you can fill it in based on the different dates/months each year.

You’ll have to open the file using Adobe Reader {you most likely already have it on your computer}. In order to use it over and over, just save your initial file as “Monthly Meal Plan Blank” and then use the ‘save as’ feature to save it under a different file name. I’m putting the dates in my file names so they will sort nicely and I can pull them back up later on {April 2015 Monthly Menu, May 2015 Monthly Menu, etc…}.

Download button 

Planning Meals for the Month

When I’m ready to sit down and plan out the meals for the month, I pull out the Main Dish Menu Planner from the cupboard, sit down with my recipe book, and start plugging in meals to the Monthly Menu Planner. I’m sure it will shock you to hear that our week has a typical schedule to make it easier for me to plan. It looks a little something like this:

  • Sunday: Popcorn
  • Monday: Beef
  • Tuesday: Chicken/Pork
  • Wednesday: Pasta / Crock Pot
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza
  • Saturday: Soups or something fun

Since the meals have been sorted by category in the Main Dish Menu Planner, it makes it SO easy for me to quickly ‘drop’ meals into the monthly plan. Once I’ve laid the month out, I go back to my recipe book and write out my grocery list. I put notes to know where to find the recipe (what book, etc…). Also, if the meal is one that freezes well, I note that too – in case I want to double up a meal or have a knack to go on a cooking spree if I have room in my freezer.

One thing that I LOVE about this method is I can also ‘recycle’ menu plans from past months. Once I have three or four different monthly meal plans, I don’t have to re-plan it all again! That way we’re not eating the same meals all the time. I can then rotate through the menu plans and copy/past and change the dates as needed.

 That’s a quick look at the meal planning system that has worked wonderfully for us over the years. Do you have a tip or help to share?

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Not ready to plan meals a month at a time? Try the weekly meal planner instead here