There are a few questions I hear from you that come back around time and time again, one of them being meal planning. As a former fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants cook, after Mitch was born and I returned to work, I fully embraced meal planning once I realized it was basically the only way I could ensure healthy, nutritious evening meals would be more common than frozen pizza and cereal for dinner in our house. Below you will find some of my favorite meal planning recipe sources, along with a few tips and tricks to make finding and saving recipes a little easier.
I used to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants cook. I’d somehow throw dinner together using whatever food we had on hand and, for the most part, it worked. And that approach can work, however, with my time limited, I have found planning saves me time and stress. Once Mitch was born, we relied on pre-made freezer meals and found that life was just a little bit easier if we planned ahead, made extra and had a strategy.
Though it took some getting used to, I now find myself enjoying the meal planning process and getting excited to try new recipes or make tried and true favorites each week. I typically do my meal planning through the week as I find ideas and inspiration.
I’ve had more than a few of you ask for more insight into my meal planning process and where I find the recipes I use for our dinners every week. I am not a one stop shop kind of meal planner and prefer to get my recipes from a myriad of sources. I will often vary it week to week and some weeks almost all of our recipes will come from cookbooks while another week recipes might be from a collection of magazine clippings, blogs or Pinterest finds.
Below you will find my main sources for recipes I use in my meal planning process as well as a few tips and tricks I use to streamline the process every week.
HOW I FIND RECIPES FOR MEAL PLANNING
- Cooking Shows
One of my favorite weekend morning activities is kicking back with a mug of coffee and watching the Food Network. I always learn a new tip, trick or am inspired to try a new recipe. Some of my favorite shows include The Pioneer Woman, Dinner at Tiffany’s and Kelsey Cooks. All three shows offer simple, down-to-earth meals that are easy to understand and create on your own. Watching the professionals has also taught me a lot about looking at food and meal planning as a fun, relaxing activity. Tiffany takes to the kitchen as a way to get creative and connect with friends and family. She even invites them over to help out! My confidence has definitely increased by watching others.
- Recipe Screenshots
I am a BIG fan of screenshots on my phone! If I see a recipe posted online, whether it be on Instagram, a favorite blog, Facebook, etc., I will often take a screenshot of the recipe to reference as I make my grocery list, or, if I’m not quite as organized, I can easily pull up the screenshot at the grocery store to see what I need without scrolling through the internet to try to find it again. A little while ago, I took the time to organize all my recipe screenshots into one folder on my camera roll which makes it even easier to find recipes I love or am dying to try.
As I have shared before, I love Rachel Ray magazine as well as Real Simple, Cooking Light, and Clean Eating. A quick flip through the pages and you’re sure to find a recipe that will tempt your taste buds. I either dog ear the page, or will tear out the recipe and add it to my recipe folder if it is a winner!
- Put a Spin on Tried and True Favorites
One of my favorite ways to shake up meal planning is to go for the tried and true favorites. Adding in spaghetti to a week with one or two recipes is a great way to reduce stress around trying a new recipe. A great tip is to try and switch things up just a bit to keep things interesting! Add a new spice, change the noodle, try baking instead of grilling and you’ll have a new take on an old favorite!
You guys expected to see this one right!? I love reading blogs and am constantly impressed with the amazing and mouth-watering creations bloggers come up with every single day. (FYI, Bloglovin’ makes it very easy to save recipes that catch your eye.) I’ve actually been meaning to put together a blog post featuring a handful of my favorite blogger recipes I’ve made in the past, so stay on the lookout for that one in the coming weeks!
Pinterest is such a great resource, especially if you’re a very visual person. I am trying to clean up my Pinterest boards and make them a little more specific (like quick and easy meals, healthy desserts, make-ahead recipes, etc.) so I can visit one of my Pinterest boards and quickly find new recipes to try.
Are you a planner or do you wing it?
What are some of your go-to recipes?
What is your favorite source of inspiration?