I’m generally a pretty on-the-fly kind of cook, but because of a few changes, I’ve had to rethink my cooking habits. It’s not easy, most definitely a work in process, but something I’m keen to improve upon. It helps that I have a fantastic collection of cookbooks from which I can draw information.
So, somewhere between a handful of foodie caveats, summer eating preference and a general drive to get better at reducing leftovers, I’m finding ways of making meal planning work.
To help me on my way – and to help you guys too – I made an excel meal planning tool that auto-fills a shopping list as you choose your recipes. You’ll find the download, and a load of waffle, below!
The premise of the TGT meal planning tool is simple: one week, 5 recipe slots, 1 shopping list and some instructions. You can put five ingredients into each category on the recipe page. I did this to try and streamline recipes I choose, to think about where I’m keeping them, and to make sure recipes are balances. Sure, this means that sometimes I have to fudge it a little (we all know those recipes that have a million spices and very little else) and spices end up spread across three categories, but this way everything stays more manageable – to my eyes, anyway.
The ingredients from the recipe autofill into the shopping list, on which you can mark the squares to the right of the ingredients either black, to denote it is already “in stock” or in your shopping basket (inputting ‘0’), or green, to denote an item needs to be purchased (inputting ‘1’).
In my example, any recipes from the internet have the full method included, along with a link to the original site. For obvious reasons I’ve not included recipes from books, but when you use this for yourself you may do as you wish.
One of the really awesome things about this meal planning tool is that, thanks to the beauty of google sheets, you can carry it on your phone, use it as your shopping list and, theoretically, cook from anywhere. Here’s a peek of how it looks on a phone using google sheets:
One thing that you must remember if you are using google sheets: do not delete items from cells. If you do this, the formatting that links between sheets will be lost. Use back space only. I learnt this via trial and error. If you’re using the excel file on your computer, you’ve got nothing to worry about!
So all you’ve left to do now is pull out those recipe books, trawl those websites and blogs, and get cooking!
If you would like to support TGT, head over to my Kofi: