Meal Planning 101- Finding Recipes

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You’ve written down your recipe criteria– what is the next step to make meal planning easier in 2011?

Step 2: find recipes that meet your criteria.  

Here are 20 resources to get you started:

1) Write down the recipes you already make that meet your recipe criteria and your family enjoys.

2) Like crockpot meals? Here is a fantastic site to search for Make it Fast and Cook it Slow recipes- Crockpot 365 a.k.a The Crockpot Lady. (She has two cookbooks as well.)

3) Every Wednesday Debbie, over at Dining with Debbie, does a Crockpot Wednesday linkup. She shares a favorite crockpot recipe and her readers link up and share theirs as well. This is a great place to find new things to cook!

4) Love short ingredient lists using common items you likely already have on hand? Hop over to Eat at Home and search her site for some super tasty dinner recipes. Every Monday she offers a weekly meal plan AND a printable grocery list for free. Tiffany’s recipes are regularly on my weekly meal plan.

5) Visit Org Junkie every Monday and you’ll have instant access to over 300 bloggers who submit their weekly meal plans and share links to many of their recipes. You’ll be amazed at the recipes you’ll find.

6) Tempt My Tummy Tuesday is a great site for fetching recipes each Tuesday. Not every recipe submitted is something dinner related, but you can certainly find some yummy stuff if you browse.

7) $5 Dinners is a site where each meal can be made for $5 or less! I’ve made a handful of her recipes are they are always tasty. (She also has a cookbook available in print.)

8) Pioneer Woman makes some delicious meals. Some of her recipes may not meet your criteria, as some are more time consuming and not always ingredients that you have on hand, but she is an amazing cook! She also has a site called Tasty Kitchen where readers submit their recipes and they are ranked with a star system by those who have made them. (She has a beautiful cookbook filled with delicious comfort foods as well.)

9) Meal Planning Mommies offers a weekly meal plan on their site each Sunday that comes with a grocery list. I am not a regular reader of their site, but I see many bloggers write about using their site on a regular basis. You can also search for recipes individually.

10) Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms is another site I see many menu planning bloggers rave about. I have just recently started following, but she certainly offers frugal and easy recipes that are very practical.

11) Good, Cheap, Eats is a very well organized food blog, breaking things down into categories such as breakfast, lunch, main dishes and even freezer cooking, starters, sides, etc.  The name says it all and if inexpensive cooking is important to you, check this site out! 

12) Menu for the Week is an on-time, on-budget, online dinner planning service. She offers a one year or six month subscription (you can get a FREE trial) where she provides you with a meal plan and grocery list each week for 5 dinners, 1 brunch, 1 dessert and access to all archived menus. My thrifty and frugal friend Kim subscribes, and really enjoys it.

13) The Meal Planner has some really yummy recipes. A family favorite is  the Honey Mustard Lime Crockpot Drumsticks!

14) Homemade Gourmet has an excellent recipe data bank. You can use their mixes to make your dish of choice or improvise. They also offer printable grocery lists, calendars and menus.

15) Kraft has an excellent recipe site. What I love best is you enter three ingredients you have on hand and it will give you a list of recipes using these items. Love it!

16) Thumb through cookbooks you already own and discover recipes with an open mind while implementing your recipe criteria.

17) Check out cookbooks from the library for free.

18) Shop your local used book stores. They always have tons of cookbooks for half the price.

19) Thumb through magazines for recipes when you’re at the doctors office.

20) Borrow from friends. Share with them the things on your criteria list and ask if they have any family favorites they would like to recommend. Ask to borrow their cookbooks or thumb through their recipe box.

If you can make a list of 21 recipes that meet your criteria, you will be good to go. This will give you a good list that will allow you to provide your family a delicious dinner and not repeat meals, unless you want to, for three weeks.

Now it is your turn to share. Where do you get most of your recipes from? Feel free to share names of cookbooks, sites, blogs, etc., that other’s might find helpful.

Make sure you come back tomorrow as we discuss The Importance of a Grocery List.


  1. Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge says:

    Those are awesome resources and I'll have to give them a look-see.

    I would love to do meal planning but I've tried and tried and I never do it. I can never get 10 minutes to sit down and plan what my family would like to eat.

    I maybe make an excuse that I have a hard time because my husband will not eat anything with tomatoes or tomato sauce, and also doesn't eat pork. Those two things rule out a lot of choices. I get easily frustrated!

    But you've got a lot of great resources and I'm going to give it a try!

  2. Creativities Galore says:

    I will look into those crock pot resources since I recieved one for Christmas 🙂

    A resource I use when deciding what to make for dinner is I usually always find something amazing on there.

  3. I feel like your a mind reader today! Cause I was thinking with the new year fast approaching I'd like to try something different and just today looked at Rachael Ray 365 No Repeats cookbook. I even went to the library and checked a couple of cookbooks from there. Thanks for your resources. I have looked thru them and linked up with the ones I was interested in!

  4. Thanks for the links. I am always on the lookout for healthy, simple recipes.

  5. Thanks for all these ideas! My list of recipes to try is going to get even longer!

  6. maleahbliss says:

    Wow! This is so thourogh! Thank you again for linking up!! 🙂

  7. Texan Mama….It doesnt take long to do menu. My family has been using one for years. I work full time so sometimes when I get home dinner is the last thing I want to think about.
    When I know I need to start thinking about the weekly menu, I will leave a pad of paper on my desk. When I think of an idea or on hold for a call, I write a few things.
    I also have started to ask my family what they want. That I know for sure that they will eat it.
    My husband created a list on the computer of "ol faithful" ideas.
    We can refer to this in a pinch.

    Happy Planning!!!

  8. Gretchen (Texan Mama) thanks for stopping by!

    Do give meal planning another try. Once you get in the swing of it and implement the steps I am going to share it will be very seamless!

    Hang in there!

  9. GREAT resources!!! Thanks for sharing on Thrilling Thursday @ Paisley Passions 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    I want to cook five days a week vs going out to eat. All this information is wonderful…and thank you for sharing. When I see you we will talk about this also.

    Happy New Year!!!

  11. Shelly {makingthemomentmatter} says:

    What a great list! One of my resolutions is to get better with meal planning, so this is a great resource. Thank you!

  12. AllieMakes! says:

    More great links! Thank you for sharing! I can't wait to visit the new ones!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

  13. Gay Vaughan says:

    Thanks for coming to my party! I love these links and am going to feature this in my wrap-up. Hope
    to see you again!

  14. Great post Crystal, I have cooked around a weekly meal plan for over 30 years. I publish a weekly menu on my blog, Whats For Dinner Next Week, there are over 1 years menu’s on my blog tab, stop by and check it out. Thank you so much for sharing with our 1st Anniversary Party at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  15. Wow – you have a lot of great recipe links!! Very useful! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Don’t forget to grab the TGIF button for your linked up post or sidebar so others can find the party & link up too =-) Thanks!
    Beth =-)

    1. Hi Beth. I will add Living Life Intentionally in the text link backs at the end of the posts I share.

  16. Love that you took the time out to do this! Once I started food blogging and finding other food blogs through linky parties, it was all over. Food blogs are AMAZING!

    I have most of mine set to email me, so every week I just go through my email and save recipes I think sound good!

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