Oct 2, 2020

My Master Menu List - How I track recipes?


Ever since the lockdown started in March, I haven't really been doing my weekly meal planning or sticking to a meal template as I had shared earlier. I plan only for the very next day's breakfast and lunch. Dinner would mostly be leftovers (from the same day's breakfast or lunch) or a simple khichdi/dosa.

Since March, I have been keeping track of the dishes I have cooked in a Google Keep note on my phone. Over the past few days, I have converted it into a Master Menu List. The spreadsheet lover that I am, I have been meaning to make this comprehensive list for quite some time.

This master menu list is helpful in multiple ways:
  1. Helps me to track the recipes I have tried recently and their respective sources (blogs, videos etc)
  2. Gives me a quick inspiration when I run out of ideas
  3. Helps me to identify dishes that I can cook with less effort
  4. Gives me clarity on what my family members like to eat
The spreadsheet by itself may not be of much use to you, as this depends on your eating preferences, cuisines and your family members. Instead of sharing the entire spreadsheet, let me share the template and the thought behind it, so you can make one for yourself.
Master Menu List Template

Create a Google spreadsheet. This sheet needs to be easily accessible over phone and editable too. So an Excel sheet on your laptop may not be very helpful.
Create various sheets as per your need - I have created 5 sheets
    1. Breakfast
    2. Side dishes (North Indian)
    3. Side dishes (South Indian)
    4. Other cuisines
    5. Sweets/desserts/snacks
Under each sheet, I have created the following columns
    1. Category
    2. Dish Name
    3. Effort required (Low/Medium/High)
    4. Pre-preparation needed (Yes/No)
    5. Family member's preferences (If a family member likes the dish, then add an Yes. Else, add a No)
    6. Recipe source (URL / Blog name / Youtube channel name)
Once you have this template ready, 
  1. Add all the dishes you usually make. This shouldn't take more than an hour, unless you cook a LOT of variety 🙂
  2. Every time, you try a new recipe and it comes out well, add a row in the respective sheet, with all the details. The most important, being the recipe source
  3. Create filters for effort and pre-preparation. When you want to plan your daily/weekly menu, quickly glance through the list, filter out based on the required criteria
Optional columns to add - last made date, variations from the recipe, dependency on ingredients that are usually not available in your kitchen etc. Customize it as per your need.

This is a work-in-progress tracker and it may not be a complete, exhaustive list, which is perfectly okay. The idea is to get started and stay inspired.

Hope this template is helpful. Do you use any other methods to track the recipes you cook? Share in the comments below.

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