A happiness ritual that has rippled through my own personal meal planning is love lists. It seems silly, but making a list of specific things you love — whether it's a list of books or chocolate bars — boosts happiness and becomes a compass when you're bored, blue, or stuck in a cooking rut. That's how we want you to think of this recipe cheat sheet; it's a recipe love list for when the cooking gets tough.
The concept is incredibly simple in its brilliance: Write down recipes you love on this one sheet and keep it where you can use it. When you work out a weekly meal plan, you won't be starting from scratch each time. Remember that chickpea pasta you had last month that you loved? Yes, add that to this week's meal plan!
Meal Plan Club: Choosing Recipes
After you've reviewed meal planning basics and taken stock of your kitchen, the next step in meal planning is arguably the most fun: choosing recipes. I'm partial to doing this on a Friday evening with a warm cup of tea, my bullet journal, and Kitchn's recipe page, but there are plenty of strategies for each type of meal planning personality, even people who prefer to micro-meal plan or meal prep instead of planning the whole week.
Catch Up on Meal Plan Club
How to Use This Recipe Cheat Sheet
This week's meal plan club homework is to download our meal planning cheat sheet and add two to three well-loved recipes to it. The more you meal plan, the faster you'll fill up your cheat sheet. You may even find you need to come back here and print a new one for each season!
Keep this cheat sheet on hand wherever you do your meal planning. When a recipe gets a high score at the dinner table, add it to one of the categories. Your notes can be as vague or as detailed as you like. Last night I added "Mini penne, chickpeas, proscuitto, tomato, pasta" under pasta because this wasn't so much a recipe, but an impromptu pasta dish that everyone loved.
Meal Plan Club with Kitchn
Meal Plan Club is our self-paced 4-week program full of educational posts, downloadable tools, and real-life sample meal plans where we'll walk you through each step of meal planning — from choosing recipes to meal prep and actually executing each meal — to make you a more confident meal planner in just one month. You can follow along here!