Master Meal List

What is the worst thing about being responsible for meals at your house? 

If you just said, “deciding what to cook,” then you are not alone.  Making a decision about what to have for dinner each night gets old.  Add in picky eaters or dietary restrictions, and the task is even more daunting.

One of the things that has helped me is to have a Master Meal List.  This is NOT a list of foods most often requested by the master of the house.  Oh, no. This Master Meal List is a list of ALL of the main dishes that you and your  family enjoys.  I recommend keeping this list in a notebook, your planner, or on the computer so that you can refer to it and add to it as you try new recipes.  

I keep my list in a 3 ring binder that I use for household information. 

If you want to get fancy, you can keep your lists in other formats.  A quick search at for “meal planning” will yield many ideas for ways to organize your meal lists and menus. 

I have my list divided into these categories:  beef, chicken, fish, ham & pork, quick & easy, and crockpot.   If one meal fits into two different categories, then I put it on both lists.  For instance, I have “stuffed pepper soup” on the beef list because it is made with ground beef and on the crockpot list because I always make it in the crockpot.

You may have different categories for your meals.  You might like to have a category for vegetarian meals or gourmet meals.  The categories are up to you. 

When you’re making your weekly meal plan, this Master Meal List will help you to add variety to your menus.  It’s so easy to get into a rut and serve the same few meals week in and week out.  Please don’t skip this important assignment for today!

Wrack your brain, ask other family members, look through your recipe file.  Do whatever you need to do to come up with a complete of meals that you and your family like to eat.  This resource will become invaluable to you.

What categories of meals will you have on your Master Meal List?

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  1. I would probably add a section of side dishes and maybe salads. I could also see a section for casserols. I make menu’s but do not have a master meal plan book. I do think this is a good idea though, and will work at putting one together. I have a few recipes for different sauces that I can put over chicken, beef or pork for different dishes and it would be nice to have those listed with add in options for varitey.

    • I like your idea to go ahead and make a master list of side dishes. With low carb eating, I could really use one of those since we get in the rut of having just salad, raw veggies, or a steamed veggie.

  2. I have an idea to expand on that.
    If you use cookbooks or the internet to find your recipes, list the book and page or website beside the dish you want to make.
    stuffed pepper soup- Taste of home page #.

    • Cindy, I really like this idea. It would be great to be able to put your hands on the recipe immediately. I keep my tried n true recipes organized in a different way, but that could be another blog post. 😉


  1. […] 3.  Grab a piece of paper or a menu plan form (These can be printed for free at ) , a pencil, and your Master Meal List.   […]

  2. […] TNT recipe file is a time saver.  It can take the place of your Master Meal List if you […]