After you’ve created the system, what do you next? First, plan the next two weeks. Take a look at the recipes you have and start planning them on the days for the week. Be mindful of what you’re planning. If you are making a roast chicken Sunday evening. You can plan chicken fettuccine for Tuesday using the left overs. I try not to use the left overs the following day. The kids don’t like eating the same meat back to back. I’ll space out similar meat items to give a little variety. If you’re planning vegetables as side dishes, look for similarities. Maybe, the roast chicken recipe includes root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and other root veggies. Therefore, chicken fettuccine may not be the best use of the left overs. A hearty chicken soup might be a better idea. Or even a chicken pot pie. Planning to use your left overs for a dinner later in the week will save time. And since it’s planned out with a recipe, it makes it a quicker meal.
Plan for foods with similar ingredients. One recipes I have is chicken with a side of lemony chard & spinach. But, the recipe doesn’t call for a lot of chard. Later that week, I have salmon with a side of garlicky chard. This way you’re getting more use of the ingredients purchased and it leaves less waste.
Once the two weeks are planned, start listing down the ingredients for the recipes. This will become your grocery list for dinners for the next few weeks.
Now here’s an idea with a bonus. So, for all of you who use planners. Create a section called Weekly Meal Planning Pages. You can write down the two weeks worth of recipes on a weekly meal planning page. If those recipes worked well together and made your life a little bit easier. Save that weekly meal planning page for future reference. That way, if you don’t have time to plan you can flip through old meal planning pages and reuse what worked.