Hello all at CH this is my first official post after lurking forever and ever, I just love this site! I've finally broke out of my shell enough to make this post because I am desperate for input lol.
I know some of you do weekly meal planning and it is something I've been wanting to get started for quite some time now. I was just looking to see how some of you do it and hopefully gleam good tips from people that know the ins and outs of meal planning. I want to know your thought processes that go behind planning your meals, how do you utilize your books and online media, do you have tools such as software or a notebook to help you plan it out, what are your main go to resources, what factors have an impact on the menu you plan, do you ever incorporate themes, do you plan once a week or more, how often do you deviate from your plan, etc. I will take any info you're willing to share! My menu planning will consist of a hybrid of make ahead batch meals and individual nightly meals depending on my schedule. I expect to be getting less hours this time of year so I should have time to cook more (and desire to). I'm a decent (average) cook but I've reached a point where I want to expand my horizons and step it up to the next level. I am looking for an organized way to track my plan week by week so very curious to see what you all use to track yours, wether it be software, an app, paper, notebook, calendar, word doc, or a combination of more than one. What is your system and how does it work for you?
Also, I've amassed a lot of cookbooks in the past year (is this a diagnosable illness? Lol) and where I used to have like 20 cookbooks I am now approaching 200. Any chowhounders out there with some advice/tips on how I can incorporate them more into my menu planning? I know it sounds a little odd, but I just feel like I have so many now in such a short amount of time I don't even know where to begin.... I did join EYB (learned that from a discussion on this site as well :D ) but I just need a kick to go from just browsing my books to actually USING THEM.
Thanks again in advance!