Create Your Own Menu (Part 7): Creating a Grocery List

On January 29, 2010 by Robin Z

Now to the fun part! Remember when you said to your parents in high school, “What am I ever going to use MATH for in the future? I’ve got a calculator.” Well here is where life proves you wrong! If you don’t like math, this might not be too fun for you! I love math, thus my obsession and desire to create menus each month. This is one of my favorite steps in the process

Creating a Grocery List

1. Start with your printed recipes

In the last step, we printed out our recipes, indicated how we were increasing quantities and did the math. This is an important step in the process. Remember how I asked you to number each of the recipes as well? If you have yet to do that, do it now.

2. Print the Master Grocery List

I start by printing this Master Grocery List Template. (You can import this into Excel or other spreadsheet if you find that to be easier). This one is blank. You may end up needing more or less lines on your grocery sheet, but don’t worry about that right now.

3. Work numerically through your recipes

GroceryListAmountsStart with recipe #1 and fill in the ingredient name under the applicable category. Then, to the RIGHT of the ingredient name, write the amount that you need. Be certain to indicate the measurement amount as well (t, T, C, oz, lbs, etc). I do this to the right because as you go through recipes you will find that there may be 5-10 recipes that all include that ingredient and you will have to add them all up in the end. I do all of this with paper and pencil, I find that easier. If I run out of lines in a category I simply make up a new column to the right and continue on. I will adjust the lines eventually.

At this stage I do not worry about ingredients that are indicated in different measurements. In a later step we will deal with conversions. For now, just write down the indicated amount on the recipe.

As you have completed the listing of the ingredients on your Master Grocery List Template, make sure to put a check mark or some symbol that will help you to remember which recipes you have already listed. This is where the numbering system also comes in handy. I move through my recipes numerically so that I don’t miss or double count a recipe.

GroceryListAlphabet4. Alphabetize

I now go through each section and alphabetize the ingredients. This is not absolutely necessary but helps save me time when I am at the grocery store and wondering if I need an ingredient or not.

5. Add or subtract lines

In the Master Grocery List Template you may find that a category needs more lines, at this point I add lines as needed. In Google Spreadsheets, to add a line you click on the line above or below where you would like to add. Then you right click your mouse and choose “add a line”. Follow the same procedure if you would like to delete lines to eliminate wasted space in a category.

6. Do the math

used with permission, Flickr Creative Commons, photo by Dominics pics

used with permission, Flickr Creative Commons, photo by Dominic’s pics

Now it is time to get your thinking cap on and your calculator ready. You will need to add up all of the measurements from a particular ingredient. The challenging part about that is that not all recipes have the same types of measurements. For instance, one recipe might indicate the cups of cheese while another indicates ounces. One recipe may indicate Tablespoons and another teaspoons. In the next post I will address substitutions and equivalents and help you deal with this problem. So stay tuned.

7. Enter ingredient totals

To the left of the ingredient write the TOTAL amount needed of that ingredient. After I have done this I go to the Master Grocery List Template and create a new copy for the menu I am working on. For example, if I am working on the January menu, I make a copy and retitle it “January 2010 OAMM Menu“. I now input the ingredient totals into the worksheet.

Congratulations you are done with your grocery list! (Well, that is after we talk equivalents).

Overview Questions – Creating A Grocery List

1. Have I printed/copied each of the recipes I am going to need? Have I numbered them?

2. Have I printed the Master Grocery List Template?

3. Have I listed out all of the ingredient I am going to need for each recipe on the Master Grocery List Template, paying special attention to indicate measurement?

Please feel free to direct questions in the comment section below. However, keep in mind that this is a multi-part series. Please review previous posts for answers before submitting questions and review upcoming topics to see if your question will be answered shortly. Thank you.

Previous “Create Your Own Menu” Posts:

Future “Create Your Own Menu” Posts:

  • Part 8 – Creating Instructions
  • Part 9 – Substitutions & Equivalents
  • Part 10 – Creating Labels
  • Part 11 – Bringing It All Together


Join the discussion
  1. Pampered Chef makes a great conversion chart that is magnetic. I keep it on the side of my fridge and use it all the time while cooking.

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