There are two things that allow me to cook on a regular basis.
The first is my saint of a husband who cleans up after me. Every morning before he goes to work, he runs a load of dishes. It helps me be motivated to cook a meal after a long day when to the kitchen is all reset when I get home after work. The second thing is grocery planning, which means planning for the week ahead and keeping a well-stocked pantry.
One of the tools I use is the grocery list attached. The top part is my meal planner, and the bottom is my shopping list. I have a stock of them, but I keep one taped inside my cabinet door or on my fridge to jot down the ingredients I’ll need for the coming week or when things that I keep stocked are running low.
Coming up with what we’re going to eat can be the hardest part. I have a recipe binder with our favorites that I flip through for inspiration. When I come across new recipes online that I think we’d like, I send them to my email and keep them in a folder there to peruse when nothing else sounds good. It also helps to refer back to old lists to see what was on the menu in the past so I hang on to old ones in a file. Ideally, I like to go to the grocery on the same day every week with my meals planned and list ready to go a day in advance. This helps me stay on track and breaks up a time consuming task into manageable chunks. I use reusable shopping bags so I put my list/plan in my bags and put them in the car so I can stop at the store the next time I’m out.
Sometimes, I have to refer back to my list to remember what the heck I’m supposed to be cooking. I don’t end up cooking the meal I planned on the given day. I just want to make sure that I have enough stuff planned out. I like to cook up several meals on Saturday or Sunday so that I don’t have to do as much during the week. I’ve found that this system saves time and money.
My template is attached. It is customized to my usual grocery store’s layout and our typical eating patterns (not all aisles are listed). I made it in Excel. I put down ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (B, L, D) at the top. On Fridays, Mr. J and I usually go out with co-workers for lunch or have a Lunch & Learn (L&L) at work. We strive to go out only once per week and usually take leftovers the other days. Get the template and customize it for your next shopping trip!