Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I am going to start a new series called "How I Do It". I got the idea from one of my all time favorite bloggers, Sweet Southern Prep, who I have followed for years. She started her series of "How I Do It" back in 2012 and I have loved reading them, and I look forward to watching mine change over the years.

So today I am going to share how I meal plan for 2 (I am secretly excited to, Lord Willing, see what number this will eventually change to in the future once we have a full family!) I tried and loved the website Plan To Eat, but didn't want to pay for a service like that when I could spend an extra 5-10 minutes and do it on my own. They have a 30 day free trial, so give it a try to see if it works for you.

I just started meal planning this way back in December, and it really works for me, so I'm sticking to it. I used to dread meal planning, but now I look at it as a way to serve my husband, save us money, and try new things in the kitchen. It's all about what kind of attitude you have towards things, and when I think of meal planning in those ways I look forward to it and enjoy it now.

First off, I start meal planning on Thursdays, usually, and finish up on Friday nights. I meal plan for the following Monday through Sunday (ie. 3/22/16 - 3/28/16).  I'll share in another post how I grocery shop. I meal plan through a spreadsheet. My husband is an accountant, so it only makes sense that I use Excel. ;) I just used a calendar template and edited it to my liking. Here is what one looks like before I go in and add meals/notes. I had some extra time on my hands one night so I edited each month color wise!

I love the extra space to add notes. So if we'll be out of town or have company coming over one night then I'll add it in the notes as a reminder. 

The sheets at the bottom are color coded each month as well. Each month has an extra sheet, and that is where I add each recipe.

I saved this spreadsheet on Google Drive for a few reasons:
1.) I can just pull it up on the app on my phone or tablet while I'm in the kitchen cooking. This saves me SO much time instead of searching for the recipe on Pinterest or flipping through cookbooks.
2.) I can pull this app up on my phone right before I go to sleep at night and check what I'm making for dinner the next night to see if I need to set anything out the next morning or start the crockpot before I leave for work.
3.) I also like having all of the recipes that I have tried in one place, so that if we liked it and I decided to make it again I know exactly where to find it.

This also helps with making my grocery list because I have everything in one place. So when I get ready to make out my list I just go through each recipe and mark off anything I already have. So easy, and only takes a few minutes. I mentioned that I start meal planning on Thursdays and finish on Friday nights...that is because I like to check my list with the stuff in my pantry to make sure I'm not buying something we already have. So usually by Friday nights I have confirmed that my list is ready to go.

Here is what February looked like with my meals and notes added. Not sure why the first week is blank, I think I forgot to save it after I finished meal planning that week....mental note: always save it before closing out lol.

Usually recipes I find online are for more than 2 people so I either freeze the leftovers we don't use, or I try to use it in another meal. That's not always easy and sometimes, as much as I hate it, plans change and I end up throwing the last little bit of leftovers out. If you look at Wednesday, February 17th you'll see that I made a meatball casserole, well that made a big dish, so I took leftovers for lunch on the 18th (it says "out" because Matthew went out with clients) and then on Saturday, the 20th we used the rest of the meatball casserole to make meatball subs. When we first got married I tried to be super wife and make a new meal every single night, not only was that expensive but we ended up throwing out so much food because we couldn't eat all of it before it went bad (insert palm to forehead.) I hate throwing out food, because you are basically throwing money in the trash.

I pull recipes from Pinterest, family recipes, cookbooks, and different blogs. There are SO many resources out there, so get online and explore them or get recipes from different family members! Recipes on my Pinterest can be found here, here, and here.

Please don't think that I have meal planning all figured out and that we follow it 100%. There are still times were I have everything planned and we only follow 3-4 days of our meal plan for that week. Like I said, plans change, we get sick, or we just aren't feeling what's on the menu that night and order pizza. My way of meal planning may not work for you, or you might think my way is complicated, but it works for me. If you have any question, feel free to contact me!


  1. How about you do a How I Do It post on how you mastered Excel?! ;) My engineer husband makes so much fun of my lack of Excel skills.

  2. Great idea with the Excel template! Right now what we've been doing is keeping a whiteboard with days of the week on it (from TGT dollar spot!) and writing down our meals each Sunday night. But someday I'd like to get to this level of planning!

  3. Love this!! The spreadsheet idea is genius! Totally going to start one of my own!!

  4. Love this! You're so organized! Love how you have those cute calendars and all the recipes written out. I usually make 2-3 dinners a week so we're constantly eating leftovers ;)

  5. love it! i need to work on my meal planning skills. this is awesome!

    xo christina

  6. I'm so impressed with your Excel spreadsheets! I have no idea how to use Excel, so I just stick to my EC planner :)
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  7. You're a rockstar girl! Gotta love Excel! I'm with you, when I started looking at meal planning as serving my family (even though its just Caleb and I right now), I began to enjoy it more. We also shop week to week. I typically do my meal plan at work on my breaks for the following week. I used to be so lost on this topic (and I still struggle with it a little bit), but I just decided to DIVE IN head first one day and I'm loving it! It saves sooo much money. We used to throw SO much away because we weren't cooking a lot or just weren't finishing everything. Makes me sick to think about!

  8. This is so helpful! I think meal planning for two can be tough because like you said, sometimes recipes make so much food! I typically cook 3-4 nights a week, and 3 or 4 nights are leftover nights. It works well for us but I'd love to be more organized!

  9. This is great! Thanks for sharing and for linking up today! xo

  10. Love this. I'm barely there on the whole meal prep thing, but it makes life so much easier when I do set the time aside to plan things out. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  11. Love seeing how other people do it! I typically am only cooking for one, and still plan using paper, 'cause I just like to write sometimes. But I have gone to making grocery lists on my phone. I typically do one big prep day over the weekend & just a crockpot thing or two during the week if needed.

    Great idea for a How I do it series.

    Stopping by from the Oh Hey Friday linkup.

  12. I really need to get on board with meal planning. And my cooking habits are much better suited for a large family than the two of us.

  13. These are great ideas! I also need some work on Excel to make it easy to use your plan. I do find meal-planning makes the week so much easier and I also tend to be more thrifty with grocery shopping since I am being deliberate with the items I need and also assuring I am not in the middle of making something only to find that I do not have an ingredient. Cooking for 2 is something I am relearning since our children are grown and gone. I love it when a recipe I make results in two meals....one for today and one for later! Happy to be visiting as your neighbor at the Linkup at Grammies Time.

  14. You are so organized! I've really got to start this whole meal planning thing. Thanks for the tips

  15. very nice menu plan, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

  16. OH MY GOSH ARE YOU ORGANIZED!!! I literally make meal plans for people, and mine look like crap haha. I would never open Excel. It scares me. But now I'm convinced enough to try. And love the whole idea cooking for 2. It's a struggle sometimes!


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