One of the most daunting tasks in life is cooking dinner every single night. With 5 children I have to have dinner prepared nightly. The reason it is so daunting is my children don't like to eat the same meal over and over, and just trying to think of what to cook is overwhelming. Having a variety of recipes and ingredients on hand eliminates the repetition and headache of what's for dinner.
I found a system of organizing recipes that works for me, a recipe binder, and it also is how I build my food storage. Being able to prepare a variety of meals with your food storage will eliminate appetite fatigue in an emergency. It has been found that people will quit eating altogether instead of eating the same food over and over. (click on the pictures for a larger view)
The first step in getting organized is to know what recipes your family enjoys. I sat down one afternoon and wrote down every recipe that my family likes and it came out to 5 weeks worth of meals. I wrote down every meal on a calendar type page and put it in a plastic sheet protector. This will be the first page in your binder.
Every dinner will have it's own individual page with the whole recipe written down with any side dishes also written out. This eliminates having to find recipes from different sources. Each page will also go in a plastic page protector. This way you can take out a page if you don't want to use it anymore and insert a new recipe. This method allows you to change your recipes whenever you feel like it.
Now it's time to make the grocery list. Since every recipe is written out for you with all the ingredients, it is really easy to make a shopping list. Write down every ingredient and the amount from every recipe into sections like produce, meats, frozen, etc. This now becomes your food storage list too. You know exactly how much chicken or carrots you will need for all of your meals. When these ingredients go on sale at stock up prices you will know how much to purchase. This method allows you to save money as well because you are buying a lot of one item as its lowest price. You will start to notice the prices of the items that you use and you'll know when to stock up. Before this method I did weekly shopping trips and bought what was on my menu plan for that week. Using the binder method I only buy the items at stock up prices. I watch the grocery ads for the items that are on my menu plan list. This way I am building my stockpile and getting the lowest price at the same time.
One of the things I noticed when writing down all of my recipes was that a lot of the ingredients crossed over into other meals. This makes it easy to store the food that my family will eat. I also store canned or dehydrated foods to substitute for the fresh ingredients so that I can still make the same recipe without it being too different. I love this system because if I don't fell like making what is scheduled for a certain night I can swap with another night because I have all the ingredients on hand. I also eliminate the 4:30 panic of what's for dinner. Give it a try and see how easy it is to have dinner prepared every night and have your pantry full of ingredients.
GRAINS: 300lbs per person per year (that is a minimum amount) We added oats in Feb. and wheat in June so in Aug. we are adding pasta, rice, cereals, corn (cornmeal), and granola bars (they happen to be on sale in Aug. for school time).
cereal: 10 boxes per person per year
cornmeal: 10lbs per person per year
pasta: 40lbs per person per year
rice: 40lbs per person per year
**Remember that the amounts are only recommended amounts and you need to store what your family will use.
Non-Food Goal: Purchase school supplies to have on hand. Having extra scissors, paper, and pens will come in handy.
This month you will need to collect RECIPES that use pasta, rice, cornmeal, wheat, and oats. Keep the recipes in a box or notebook and try them out before you decided they are a keeper. This is also a great way to rotate and use your food storage.
Enjoy the journey!
Enjoy the blessings!
Feel the peace!
On a side note: I found the funniest post on why you should have a Mormon friend-Hoarder Edition. Click HERE to read the funny post. It is food storage related and lets us laugh at ourselves. :)