A few of you have suggested actually planning out meals based on recipes and cookbooks, shopping for those recipes, and then completing the cycle by actually making those recipes for my family dinners.  I have to admit, I’ve tried this in the past, and it worked well for both budgeting and planning, but sometimes things perished before I actually made the time to make that specific meal. 

But, this time I’ll do better.

This past Sunday, a friend of mine enlightened me with her plan of action.  She works her way through her cookbooks one at a time, looking in her pantry for items already in stock, and adding to her shopping list as needed.  She then keeps a running tab of recipes she has the complete list of ingredients for, making decision time easy at dinner time (well, in theory anyway).  I thought I would try this plan, and went through two cookbooks doing the same thing.  I picked recipes that were easy, and that I recognized the ingredients (big plus in my book).  Now, I have a list of ten meals, and almost all ingredients in stock.

Look out family, Betty Crocker in training.

But, last night was another one of those nights I needed an appetizer, and commissioned my mother-in-law for some homemade cookies (which were a big hit!).  One thing at a time, right?