Before Dustin and I got married, I started thinking ahead to our marriage and the type of systems I wanted to set up--you know, this was when I was so tired of thinking about the wedding and decided to think about the marriage haha! There were two things that I knew I did not want to deal with each week: 1. Going to the grocery store multiple times a week and 2. Having to decide what we were eating for supper that day. I read a few different blogs and how those bloggers meal planned, and then I gathered a few different ideas and made it into my own system.
I use these three things each time I meal plan (plus cookbooks--not pictured). I have a binder where I keep a lot of my recipes in, my planner where I write down what meal goes with what day, and my grocery list pad.
I ordered the new hourly layout from Erin Condren, so I have to write our meals at the top of the day. (When I had the vertical layout, there were lines at the bottom of each day where I could write each meal out.) You'll see that I plan out the main course of each supper, and I usually just cook a few veggies as sides if a meal calls for that. I hardly ever plan out sides unless it's something particular that I'm making--like roasted cauliflower and broccoli. Also, I plan out Saturday-Thursday because I grocery shop on Friday after school (or sometimes Saturday morning, but I try to avoid that!). I don't have a leftover day listed on this week, but it occurs pretty much every week where we have one day to eat leftovers.
As I write out each meal, I also list the ingredients that we don't have in our pantry. This is done at the same time so I don't have to look the recipe back up before going to the grocery store. (Fun fact: I keep this notepad in our "junk" drawer and as we run out of something during the week, both Dustin and I will add to it so I can make sure to get it on grocery day. I started this in college when I lived with Janie and it's something that worked great so I haven't changed it! Also, you'll see how my husband likes to put his name by some food so I make sure to get what he likes and not what I prefer ha!)
This is what the inside of my recipe binder looks like. If I find a recipe online that looks good, I print it off and place it behind the correct tab. Red is for appetizers, Yellow is for side dishes, green is for main dishes, blue is for desserts, and purple has extra notebook paper in case I want to jot down a recipe of my own. My mom has a recipe binder, and so it's natural for me to have one too. I love printing out recipes because I can just adjust measurements and ingredients on the page instead of writing in a cookbook--which I still sometimes do.
I'm interested to hear how you plan out your meals and your system! What works best for you and your family?