I love cookbooks!  I honestly could write one if I had the time.  I love to compile my recipes and try new ones and tweek others. 

You would think with my love of recipes and cookbooks that I would have dinner time all worked out.  Oh, how I wish that were true.  But I am on my way and I wanted to share with you what I have come up with.  My Dinner Book!  This book consists of a menu planner, shopping list, and all my tried and true recipes along with some new ones I want to try.  Let me show you how I put this together.

First off the supplies you need are:

3 ring binder
page protectors
tab dividers
This great Grocery List from Abby Welker of A Feathered Nest
all your favorite recipes or you can take a peek at mine and see if you want to use any


The first thing I did was go through all my recipes to make sure I got my tried and true ones and threw in the ones I wanted to try.  I didn’t worry about an order here.  I made it so each recipe got its own page.  I want to be able to toss it if it doesn’t work and move it around my binder once I have used it so we have some variety.

I then made this cute cover from Crystal Wilkerson’s Sweet Summertime Labels.  I tell ya, it has to be cute so that I will want to use it. 

I placed my Grocery List from Abby in the front.  I made enough copies to last me a year. I know the last thing I will do is make more copies once they run out, so planning ahead and having plenty is a good strategy. 

Then I placed my recipes in the page protectors. 

I got my page dividers and made the sections that I wanted.  You could do what you want, but my sections are: This Week (where I place my grocery list, weekly menu, and the recipes for that week), Recipes, and Recently Used Recipes.  I have one more page divider in the binder just in case I think I might need it for something. 🙂

So here’s my plan of attack.  Each Sunday I will sit down and make my weekly menu and grocery list.  I will then go grocery shopping on Monday or Tuesday, (or hopefully have what I need on hand).  Then I will be all set for dinner time!! Whahooo! I’m hoping with this and my freezer meals I will be all set for baby girl #3 who will be heading our way in about 2 months.

Do you have any tricks or tips for dinner time to share?  Let us know. 




  1. Good for you, Becky! I am currently on winter break and nearly finished revising my menu plan. I started small, but things are getting easier and better. I currently have a six week rotating menu with shopping lists set up for each week and a pre-cooking plan to set things up on the weekends. When I am good about using it, it is a dream. I will be checking back to see how things go. My fingers are crossed. ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

  2. This is how I plan our meals as well but I’ve never thought to make a cute binder and have all the recipes handy. I think I will add this to my plans for my crop this weekend. Thanks!

  3. Hey Becky! GREAT PLAN! I really like your strategy. I actually did a segment on Studio 5 about 3 weeks ago about a recipe overhall. You can access it here:
    http://studio5.ksl.com/index.php?nid=59&sid=13688290. I also showed a few other tricks on my blog here:
    Hope you enjoy!

  4. Thanks for sharing your binder — very cute! I too have been planning my menus and grocery shopping this way for years, but it has become a chore. I think a new, cute binder is just what I need for a jump start in 2011.

  5. Love it! Brilliant idea 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for helping me tame the chaos that is my life — and do it beautifully!

  7. Love this! ~ I do something similar. I also have a list of everything we like to eat; some of which don’t even require a recipe. Ex: Tomato soup with corkscrew noodles and cheese, Navajo Tacos, Chef/Cobb salad etc. The sort of stuff you should have on hand for a super quick throw-together meal that might not be in your recipe book. I have a list of about 300 things!

    • Tangie,
      I did happen to leave that out. There are tons of things, like those you listed, that don’t need a whole spot. I haven’t made my list up yet but I’m going too. You might have to share your list of 300. WOW!!!

  8. This is pretty much how I plan my meals as well. Thanks to a suggestion from a friend I do one thing different with my shopping list. During one trip to the grocery store I usually shop at I wrote down all the aisle numbers and a description of the items found there. My shopping list is categorized by aisle (or department, in the case of produce, meat, dairy, and bakery). When I make my list I write down the things on each aisle. It has reduced my shopping time greatly. No more running back to the other side of the store to get something I forgot. Before leaving an aisle, I consult my list and make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.

  9. I love your idea, and I do something very similar, it makes life so much easier when it comes to planning things out. I do have a question though in your picture you have something titled 3 month supply? Where is that from or can you share the link. My goal this year is to build up our food storage again!

    Thanks Misty

  10. You should see my recipe drawer…just getting in there gives me a headache. This is a MUST project for my sanity!! THank you for sharing!

  11. I’d love to share your idea on 24/7 moms. This is a great organization tip I think more moms could us. Are you okay with that? Thanks!

  12. Heidi Astle Says: January 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I also do something very similiar but I make up my list on tuesday or wednesday night after the weekly grocery adds come out that way I can match what we are eatting for the week with what is on sale.

  13. With three kids under the age of 2, I have found that I needed to spend as little time as possible planning meals and shopping for them. For the past 5 months, I have planned our meals for the entire month at one sitting. I just plug in meals randomly from a list of meals I like and then I commit to them. I try to scatter our favorites throughout the month and plan special ones on special days. I then go day by day and write out the ingredients I will need to buy to make all these meals and make one big shopping trip for the entire month. THEN, our only additional shopping trips are for simple things like more milk, bread, and eggs. It has really made life simple! I keep a little dry erase board with a calendar on it by our pantry so my husband can see what’s for dinner without asking.

  14. I do the same thing each week on Sundays but on the computer instead (not nearly as cute). And like another commenter mentioned, I do is keep a master list of previously enjoyed meal ideas. That way when I’m stuck on what to make because we’ve been having, say chicken stew, for three weeks in a row I can look at my meal idea list and rediscover a tasty favorite that I can rotate back in to keep things fresh. Luckily my two year isn’t fussy and only wants Cheerios or baby cereal for dinner. Actually, it’s kind of annoying 😉

  15. I will be using this!!!!!! Thanks!

  16. becky, i love this idea and just printed my 52 shopping lists out to start my own binder. thanks for the idea!!!

  17. […] when I stumbled on this blog post today I had a whole new burst of inspiration. Time to gather some supplies and get to work on […]

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