Marianne’s Pantry


Create a Wellspring of Recipe Ideas

In Each Cookbook

  1. Keep a sheet of paper for recipe ideas in each cookbook

  2. Write cookbook name across the top

  3. Make 7-9 subcategories that fit your tastes

    • app/ snack • cold sides • hot sides

    • main dishes • soup /stew • rice/ pasta

    • sweets • fancy • breakfast/weekend

    • other

** Write page number by each recipe

** If it is not in the name, note main/special ingredients in the recipe

Clipped Recipes & On Your Computer

  1. Organize your recipes with the same categories you are using above. This is a fun project to get you inspired!

  2. An accordion folder is a good place to start - more categories is better than less to start

**if desired, have sub folders in each category for each season - and one for no season.

I want to cook these!

  1. Keep a master “idea list” with your grocery list when you need ideas. Organize this with the same categories you use to sort your recipes and make cookbook idea lists.

  2. Make a new idea list when the season and available produce changes.

Know what you have on hand

  1. Go through and organize your pantry and make a list of what’s there.

  2. Do the same with your freezer and your refrigerator.

  3. Focus on using one or more of these items up each time you cook.


Make a Menu Plan & Grocery List

  1. This is the system I use. Yours may /will vary.

  2. This is a combined list that you will remake every week or so, either when you have cooked everything, or it is too cluttered or outdated to be functional.

  3. Remember to purchase and make enough so you have leftovers for 1 or 2 more meals!

Top half of page = Items to Purchase

  1. left column - fresh produce

  2. center column - refrigerated(dairy/meat/frozen)

  3. right column - all other

Bottom half of page = Things to Cook

  1. left column - things you need to use up

  2. center column - apps, sides, breakfasts

  3. right column - meals, sweets (at bottom)

number the next 3-7 recipes you plan to make

if needed note recipe source (and page number )

list items to buy on the top of the page. Note  amount on LEFT, recipe # on RIGHT

Cross through items once you purchase them.

Use list until you need a fresh one. Transfer unfinished items.


  1. It’s true; shopping when you’re really hungry skews your ability to buy rationally. Have a healthy snack before hitting the grocery store.

  2. Have a list - buy what you need, and a few impulse things. Don’t get too much you don’t know what you will do with - produce doesn’t keep forever and your pantry is probably not bare.

  3. Leave time to shop – sometimes in and out, but other times relax, browse, let your imagination flow.

  4. Be flexible if you run out of time to get to the store– there is always something you can concoct with what’s at home.

  5. Use mesh, cloth or recycled bags for groceries.

  6. Get and use a freezer bag for refrigerated items

Remember to wash and wipe bags out to keep things sanitary

Menu Planning & Grocery Shopping Tips

Starting to think at 5 pm about what to buy at the grocery store for dinner tonight is not the ideal recipe for a fun time in the kitchen.

A little planning really does go a long way.

Here are some of my tried and true methods for planning healthy and delicious meals and dishes that take advantage of both what I have on hand and what is currently growing nearby.