YOU In Bloom (Week Two, Day Four)

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Guest post written by Thanks for sharing your great idea with us!

Okay, this is so simple and yet SO BRILLIANT!

The idea is to find 30 meals that your family loves MOST and compile those meals/recipes so that they are easy to access. Then make a master list of all the ingredients you would need for all of those meals, so you can keep your cupboards (and food storage) stocked! On any given night you can pick a meal and whip it up in a jiffy or plan a week/month at a time… easy peasy!

The beauty of this is that you still have a great variety and you can shop the sales, stock up on those ingredients, and make less trips to the store! This in turn saves lots of time and $$$$! Plus, no kiddos complaining, “This is disgusting”… you can now make everyone happy and get the kiddos involved in planning the 30 meals!


If you’re like me then you use a lot of the same recipes over and over again. I have several cookbooks and an over-flowing recipe box, but honestly I make maybe 15 of those recipes on a regular basis. So the first step is to step out of your comfort zone and find 30 recipes your family LOVES. Experiment with some new recipes and make it a fun project! I obviously picked all 15 of our “standard recipes”. Plus, we’ve been trying out new recipes regularly to start building our 30 meals.

Every night, after dinner, we go around the table and vote on whether or not we should add this to our 30 days of meals.


Put your recipes/meals on individual cards. Even if you don’t have ALL 30 of your recipes picked out yet (it may take awhile to find 30 meals you LOVE) go ahead and start copying the ones you have onto individual cards.

There are several ways you can do this, but I wanted to have them on my computer, so that I could reprint the cards and easily email them to friends and family. I found these free recipe card templates here. You could also use a word processor and print them on your printer or even hand write them onto index cards.

This is what our cards look like– and by the way, if you love Cafe Rio Sweet Pork, you should totally make this recipe! It’s awesome!

After we printed them, we laminated each card.

Then we punched a hole in the top left corner and put all of the recipes on a ring.

At the beginning of the week we can pick the meals we want to make for that week and stick them on the fridge in a cute little holder we made!


Master Ingredient List

This step is why I wanted to do the 30 meal plan in the first place… it just makes sense!

It’s great to have all of my recipes compiled, laminated, and ready to go, but I can’t make any of those yummy recipes without ALL the ingredients…

Melissa and I thought and thought about how to do our MASTER INGREDIENT LIST we proposed this and that, but then it hit us and here it is…

I used Microsoft Excel to make this lovely table (this is just a piece of my table) with the names of the meals on the left and ALL of the ingredients needed to make those 30 meals across the top. I separated the ingredients into sections to make it easier for shopping, i.e. meats/proteins, carbs, dairy, veggies, spices, etc. I think I will go back and alphabetize those sections to make it even easier.

The beauty of this is you can see EVERYTHING you need (and how much) at a glance.

Also, if you are at home looking in your fridge and thinking you need to cook up the chicken ( or veggies, etc) before they go bad, you can just pick up your Master List and check out the chicken column to see which meals you could make to use that chicken quick.


Okay my “30 meals” friends, I hope you are working on your 30 meals and your master ingredients list and hopefully you are starting to reap the rewards of all of your hard work.

I know I am and I am seriously LOVING IT!
So, this is the final step….
Create a Binder to keep yourself organized. Inside my binder I have several sheet protectors which I am using as pockets. I just took a sharpie (because I’m fancy like that) and wrote on the front of each of the sheet protectors. This is what I have so far:
1. Recipes to add to my 30 meals. (btw your 30 meals may eventually be 34 meals… nothing wrong with that).
2. Recipes I want to try. Now, don’t put just any recipe in here! You worked hard to simplify, so don’t go making things crazy again. But, if your bff goes on and on about a meal that her family gobbled up with lots of “mmmmmm”, and “yummy”, and “mom you are the best cook ever!” then you should definitely add that recipe to this pocket and try it out.
3. Special Occasion Recipes. In this pocket, you would put special recipes you make just a few times a year (ex. Holidays, summer salads, winter soups etc.)
4. Side dishes. Eventually I will type these up and put them on their own ring, but for now my funeral potatoes and vegetable recipes etc. will be found in this pocket.
5. Desserts. Again, eventually I will take all of my FAVORITE desserts and type them up and add them to their own ring (might need 2 or 3 rings, lol), but for now they go in this pocket.
6. Breads/ Appetizers/ drinks
7. Other Recipes. This pocket is for those recipes that didn’t make it to the top 30, maybe the kids nixed it– but the adults loved it.

The beautiful thing is once I’ve gone through all my recipes and divided them among the pockets, I can finally THROW AWAY all of those recipes that are crowding up my cupboards! Yay!

(If you want to print off this cover page for your binder, just download it here.)
**For the original nannygoat 30 Meals posts check them out here!
Join The Discussion

Comments 88

  1. nina shelton

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, post some more of your families favorite recipes!!!

  2. Krista

    Thank you so much for this fabulous idea! I make a list of meals every month and do once a month shopping, and it always takes me forever to plan because I always rewrite the list! This is SO MUCH BETTER!!!! Love the ideas and will be starting on this ASAP! Thanks again!

  3. Tammy York

    Hubby has me working on a book of “Home Run Hits”…….all his favorite recipes. These cards look awesome, thanks.

  4. Malinda

    Hi, can anyone share what they rotate for meals? I have two small children and we do this but we only have a few things EVERYONE will eat. Sometimes we eat out because that way everyone can get what they want.

    Here is what we rotate:

    Spaghetti & Meatballs (My son eats the spaghetti only & my daughter eats the meatballs & a little spaghetti)

    Fettuccine Alfredo and peas/chicken (not sure how much of this the kids actually eat but they request it because daddy loves it.)

    Pizza, Breadsticks & Corn (again, my daughter eats the pizza, my son eats the breadsticks & Corn)

    Del Taco night (My daughter eats beans, my son eats nachos, I eat whatever doesn’t gross me out that day.. fast food kinda grosses me out.)

    Language & rolls

    Hamburger Stroganoff

    Saturdays we eat out

    • Malinda

      I means Lasagna, not language. 🙂 that was spell check!

    • Jenn

      My kids are picky, but they love ground beef enchiladas. Even my daughter who hates mexican.

      1 lb ground beef
      1/2 onion, chopped
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1 can mild rotel tomatoes
      1 can mild enchilada sauce
      1 bag mexican cheese
      large flour tortillas

      Brown beef, onions and garlic. Add rotel tomatoes and 1/2 can enchilada sauce, cook a few minutes to thicken and blend flavors. Add 1/4 to 1/2 bag of mexican cheese. Warm tortillas in oven to soften. Spoon portion of filling into center of tortilla in a strip. Roll up and place side by side in casserole dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly over tortillas and top with cheese. Heat in oven. Serve with sour cream, chopped onions salsa etc.

      My kids and husband eat this up.

    • Jessica

      Entrees: BBQ sandwiches, hot wings, maple salmon, BBQ brisket, pot roast, three packet crock pot chicken, grilled shrimp, grilled pork and peaches, shrimp pasta, chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, chicken or beef tacos, shrimp fajitas, black bean tortilla casserole, deli wraps, meatloaf, chicken and spinach enchiladas, grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, turkey burgers, cube steak, chicken and rice casserole, Moroccan stewed chicken (men’s health recipe), ham steak, sirloins, low country boil, breakfast for dinner

      Sides: rice, crock pot green beans, steamed green beans, roasted squash, sauteed mushrooms, noodles, steamed broccoli, potato salad, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, oven fries, wilted spinach w/ garlic, fresh guacomole and tortillas, corn casserole, green bean casserole, sauteed zucchini, fresh green salad, fresh fruit salad

      Soups: Wild Rice soup, 15 bean soup, chicken tortilla soup, split pea soup

  5. Nicole D

    This is such a great idea!!! Thanks for sharing.

  6. keely

    I have 4 kids and I am in the same boat as the reader above… kids are very picky and alot of the time I am making 4 different things. MY husband and I have been trying hard to get everyone to eat the same things and it is going well. I love the 30 meal idea and I am excited to get started. One thing that I have learned over the years with my husbands help is to not stress out over making a 4 course meal. I used to get so upset with myself if my meal wasn’t top quality or if it didn’t take me hours to make. I now do quick and easy dinner and my family loves them. Last night for example I made homemade sloppy joes…it is so easy takes about 10 minutes and is delicious. All you do is brown the beef ..than add ketchup …mustard….brown sugar ….some spices and some white vinegar….it is delicious and always a crowd pleaser.

  7. Lavonda M

    What a great idea, i’m def. going to start doing this. i usually end up scrounging around last minute and having to be real creative to get supper ready. this would take care of that. love it!!!!

  8. Jalene Soto

    This is such an awesome idea .Thank you.

  9. Maria D.

    I absolutely love this idea.
    Now that my one year old is eating table food regularly and my three year is less picky maybe I can come up with 30 meals we can all eat together. Now I just need to find the time to sort through the recipes.

  10. Betsy

    I love this idea!! Thanks so much! Can’t wait to put it into place at my house.

  11. Susan P.

    Fantastic! I already do something kind of like this. Busy family with 4 kids – I have a meal plan saved on my desk top. For any given month I have a page with a small calendar of the month and a list of 20 simple quick meals my family enjoys. At the beginning of the month we select 15 of the meals and i purchase groceries for those meals. This helps because on any given night I can grab what I need to make a quick meal and my kids can look at the list and tell me what they want that night. All in all we usually only eat during the week about 15 meals a month at home anyway. This keeps me from running through the drive-through when I know i have all that I need at home.

  12. Aliya

    I just started to do something similar to this. I always wanted to have meal plans for two weeks at a time but it is such a pain to think up 14 meals every other week. Just a pain! So I got out some index cards (they’re actually about 1 1/2″ X 2″) and wrote out meals on them. Whenever I think of a new meal I add a card to the stack. And when it comes to picking out the 2 weeks of meals I sort through them and decide which ones to use! Then I put them in order on the fridge with small magnets (I want to make magnets that say the days of the week on them) and I never have to think about what to make for dinner. This way I can plan out what to fix quickly on the day of the week when we have 1/2 an hour for dinner before running out of the house for a regular meeting and I can spread out when we have pasta vs. potatoes vs. rice based meals. It REALLY works well for me. I plan to expand on them and write on the back of them every ingredient needed to make that meal so that grocery list writing can be faster and I will be sure to not miss anything while shopping. And instead of writing out each recipe I’ll just note on the small cards what book and page to find the recipe on.

    • Laura

      I like your idea. I think I will make clothespin magnets that say the days of the week. Then the kids can have fun putting the cards in the days. Perhaps they can get their own day for the week. I notice things on the fridge–it wil be harder for me to forget if it is right there in front of me. I don’t keep recipes books out.

  13. Laura

    I like this idea because the cards are smaller & more accessible than a book–and they fit right in the fridge holder. I also like your idea of the ingredient spreadsheet for shopping purposes–much easier to follow than a list! But Collin, how did you make the fridge holder?

  14. Paula

    This is an awesome idea! Thank you so much for sharing this. I need to do this too because I have a horrible time making decisions about what to make for dinner. If I had 30 recipes to choose from and I could go through them quickly and plan out the week, things would be so much easier!

  15. Jennifer P

    Someone might have already posted something about this, and if so, sorry for the duplicate.

    If you want to save your typed recipes, you can do that by downloading Cute PDF (it’s free). Then, after you’ve typed your recipes, choose “Print,” selecte Cute PDF as your printer, and then type the name of your document in when the “save as” menu comes up.

  16. LInda

    All I want to say is that I made the cafe rio sweet pork tonight (1/2 c less sugar) and it was AWESOME! We put it on corn tortillas. Thanks for that!!

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