Today I am excited to share with you the system I use to meal plan an entire month!
I never used to meal plan. I would routinely wait until an hour before dinner time to think about what we should eat. It really made meal time stressful and we would be eating at 7 or 8 pm. It took me a really long time to realize that this wasn’t working out very well.
When I finally started meal planning it was a lot of work. I had recipes everywhere until I finally got them organized. At the time all of my recipes were printed off and kept in a huge binder. This worked really well for me. I actually loved the process of meal planning and grocery shopping didn’t seem like such a huge chore.
But just last year I stumbled upon an outrageous idea, that I could go paperless. It was shocking and I resisted it for a while. But, like most things, it just kept popping back up. So one day I decided to take the plunge. And I can say, without any doubt, that I love my new system!
So, here’s a quick overview.
I use Evernote, which is free, to organize all of my recipes and meal plan. Planning meals a month at a time gives me a great overview of what I am going to be making for dinner. It also allows me to pick easy meals on days I know we will be short on time. All of my recipes are found on Pinterest and I utilize the Evernote Web Clipper to save them into Evernote. The Web Clipper is synced to your Evernote account so it literally saves things right to your account! You don’t even have to think about it too much!
Here’s the link to the Chrome Extension:
Oh, and before I forget, here’s the link to download Evernote:
Please note that all of these instructions will only work on the Google Chrome Browser. It’s the only browser I use so it’s all I know! 🙂 If you don’t have Chrome you can download it here.
When I find a recipe on Pinterest that I want to try I will open it in another tab and then use the Web Clipper extension in Chrome to save it to my Evernote account. The black box on the right side is what the Evernote Web Clipper looks like in action. You can leave it as is and save it or you can change what content saves to Evernote under the “Clip” section. I usually stick with the “Simplified Article” option because it takes away all of the extra stuff on the webpage. I also save it to my @Inbox notebook (Learn how to create a default @Inbox notebook here) in Evernote so I can easily categorize it. When you are ready just click save and it will sync it to your Evernote account.
Once it syncs with Evernote I locate it in my @Inbox notebook. From there I can move it to a different notebook to categorize it. In my case I would move this one to my Dinner notebook.
Now that it’s in Evernote it’s super easy to reference. But my favorite part about Evernote is how I can meal plan an entire month of meals!
Here’s what a completed menu plan looks like for me.
First I created a new Note in my Weekly Menu Notebook and then I put the weeks and days into the notebook. You don’t have to do it this way, I just find it makes it easier to copy and paste the recipes if I already have the days listed.
To get my recipes linked in my Weekly Menu Note I locate it within my Dinner notebook, right click on the note, in this case Low Carb Buffalo Chicken Soup, and select “Copy Note Link“.
Then I go back to my Weekly Menu notebook and Paste the Recipe onto the proper day of the month. Here I’m putting that recipe on the first Monday of April.
When you are ready to make dinner, just head back to your Weekly Menu Notebook (or whichever name you decided to give it) and click the “link”. It will take you to the original source within Evernote. In my case it will take me to the recipe contained in my Dinner notebook. Easy peasy!
I really hope you enjoy using Evernote to organize your recipes!
I know it saved me a lot of hassle before dinner. Before I started to use Evernote I was using Pinterest to store my recipes and I honestly would forget which board I had pinned things to! It was a nightmare.
But now that I have all of my favorite recipes in Evernote they are easy to find and I’m less stressed around dinner time. Well, unless you count the nights I attempt to make a complicated new recipe. Stress levels are definitely high and I might be getting hangry. 🙂
If the above made absolutely no sense to you, here’s a video to help guide you through the process.