Before the cooking day... 
OK.. so you have finally decided. You are going to give it a shot. You are tired of never knowing what you are going to have for dinner and you have a freezer full of food and nothing to eat.

How do you begin???

First... gather your recipes. There are lots of books available with recipes and shopping lists and everything spelled out.. in fact I have linked to a couple of those sources.  But ..will your family eat all those new recipes?  What I suggest is a combination of 2 things.. first look at what your family eats and then take a walk down the frozen food isle.  Chances are if they can freeze it so can you. Now make a list of those foods that your family likes and that you feel are freeze-able. It is easiest to make multiples of several meals rather than 30 different meals.  Also don't forget side dishes.  I have a sample monthly list that might help.

Second... make a grocery list.  This sounds simple, but you need to remember when you are multiplying recipes how fast you can go through simple staples.  On my first cooking session I ran out of Pam!!  Don't forget dish soap, ziploc bags, Pam, etc.  Check your spices and basics, do you have enough salt?  You don't want to have to stop cooking to run out and buy a can of something that you were sure you had in the cupboard.  I have a very extensive grocery list that you can print out and use if you like.

Third... time to go shopping.  Leave the kids with Dad or a neighbor if you can.  (it always seems like I can add $20 on to the bill per kid I have to take with me)  Wear comfy shoes, grab your coupons if you use them and head out!  I prefer going to several stores and shopping the "loss leaders". In fact I plan my recipes around what the best sales are.  Remember it also does not hurt to ask for a discount on large purchases. If you don't get it .. Hey at least you tried.  Right?

Fourth... getting ready.  You have your groceries in the house and wondering what you have gotten yourself into.  Don't worry all will go well. The night before is a perfect opportunity to get a good head start on tomorrow.  Have any dishes that call for cooked chicken?  The first thing I do when I get home from shopping is to put 10 lb. of chicken quarters on to simmer.  Do any of your recipes call for chopped Celery? Grated Cheese? Chopped onion? Get out your food processor and do these things tonight!

Fifth... get to bed.  Because you have a big day tomorrow!

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