Dinner's In the Bag

Here's a twist on meal planning that keeps me organized.

I package up the pantry ingredients for each meal in a small (gift bag-sized) paper bag. Actually, the bags that I use are take-out bags from a favorite restaurant, but any similarly-sized bag, basket, or container will do. Reusable grocery bags are often the perfect size for this.

For example, when I plan to make Cincinnati 5-Way Chili, my bag contains canned tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, a spice packet, and spaghetti. The recipe page (from my recipe binder) also goes in the bag.

This makes dinner prep so much easier. I have all the dry ingredients in one place, I'm sure that I have all the ingredients I need, and I'm not left searching for a missing ingredient when I am ready to cook. I just grab the bag and start cooking.

When I have a week's worth of bags lined up in the pantry, I feel like I'm really on top of things!