Simplify Menu Planning With a Master Recipe List

Your family is hungry and tired, and it’s the personal chef’s week off (a girl can dream!). With a *sigh* and slumped shoulders, you find yourself standing in front of the fridge and pantry, seriously considering cereal as a viable option (no judgement!). After attempting to bewitch the ingredients to magically start moving to make some creation worthy of a competition cooking show, you sluggishly grab your “old stand-by” ingredients.

What’s the meal that you serve your family?

More times than I can count, I stare at my calendar, just willing the menu to fill itself in. Even though I know it’s a HUGE timesaver, stress reliever, and easier to stick to a budget with a menu plan, there are times when I just get STUCK.

When my brain is at capacity with a jam packed schedule, having a list of our family’s 25-30 favorite meals saves me from having to expend what few brain cells I have left.

The recipes that make it on our Master Recipe List are usually budget friendly, easy/quick to prepare, freezable, and/or special dishes that we make for those times we just want to say “I love you” with food.

Begin building your list with that “old stand-by” you thought of earlier. Chances are, more favorites will tumble from your brain. Now, write them all down. When you feel stuck, ask your family for suggestions.

Some things to think about when building your Master Recipe List:

  1. Most of the recipes should be simple, with little to no need for a something written down.
  2. When you ask your kids “what should we make for dinner?” all of those options should be on your list.
  3. The ingredients should be readily available, and are often made with staples your family already enjoys.

 To give you a head start, I’ve typed up what’s on our Fall Master Recipe List.

  1. Tuna Melts
  2. Italian Sausage and Pasta
  3. Shrimp Quesadillas
  4. Italian Sausage Sandwiches with Sauteed Peppers and Onions
  5. Italian Eggs
  6. Turkey Meatloaf
  7. Swiss Enchiladas
  8. Freezer Burritos
  9. Lima Bean Soup
  10. Big Salads
  11. Salmon Cakes
  12. Stuffed Mexican Shells
  13. Hamburgers
  14. Baked Penne
  15. Pork Tenderloin
  16. Shepherd’s Pie
  17. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
  18. Chili Mac
  19. Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  20. Split Pea Soup and Crusty Bread
  21. Minestrone Soup and Crusty Bread
  22. Stovetop Lasagna
  23. Pancakes
  24. Build Your Own Pizza
  25. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
  26. Chicken Curry
  27. Biscuits and Gravy (If I am feeling like baking, I use this tried and true Buttermilk Biscuitrecipe.)
  28. Tacos
  29. Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
  30. Roasted Turkey and Pesto Paninis
  31. Roasted Chicken
  32. Family Room Picnic
  33. Fish and Chips
  34. Chili and Cornbread 

Happy Planning!