As a menu planner and recipe hoarder, I’ve been reliant on my binder and weekly printouts. I love the process of looking through my recipes and choosing the delicious (and hopefully healthy!) meals for my husband and me. I have recipes from my family, JD’s family, magazines, the internet … everywhere! Sorting through them and mapping out the week is a labor of love, but, the techy in me has always craved a slightly more high-tech version of my trusty binder. Recently I was turned on to an amazing new kitchen tool that adds the perfect amount of tech to my weekly routine. What tool, you ask?
Plan to Eat. It’s awesome. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic. It connects you with other friends using the service o you can easily share recipes! It’s simple and very user-friendly!! And, best of all, it creates your shopping list for you!!!
The site is built and run by a sweet family who genuinely seem interested in helping us all eat better and at home. They have a 30-day risk free trial that DOESN’T REQUIRE A CREDIT CARD! No one does that, but Plan to Eat does. And it’s awesome. Of course, after 30 days, most of my stuff will be in the system, so I’ll want to purchase a yearly membership. Which is only $40. And if I choose not to buy in? I can simply export my recipes and walk away. Which I won’t be doing. 🙂
It starts with planning. You can import recipes from the web (Finally! All those bookmarked and Pinned recipes will be in one location!) or hand enter them from your recipe book/binder. This is a slightly more arduous task, and I’ll be doing it in small chunks as the recipes ere needed. you can toggle between a monthly and a weekly calendar view, and you simply drag-and-drop the recipes into the dates you want. You can also change the view from listing each meal (breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks) every day to a more generic setting. Since I only cook a full meal once a day, the extra spaces were unnecessary.
The recipe view is clean and organized. Much like many other sites. But those other sites lack this super cool feature …
… The Cooking View! As you start cooking, you can shift your view to be a larger print, no frills view that is easy to see when busy in the kitchen. The page is divided into two halves with the instructions on the left (in a step-by-step format) and the ingredients on the right. For each step, the ingredients needed are highlighted. It makes keeping things straight so easy!
Another feature that I love, love, love it the ability to connect to other users and steal (ehem … borrow) their recipes. Once you connect with friends, you can see their different recipes and save them to your own collection. Of course, if you have been charged with protecting Great Grandmother Gertrude’s beloved Pecan Bourbon Pie recipe, you can always mark it “private” so it won’t be shared. But, I always say that good food is for sharing, so none of my recipes are private. 🙂
You can also create a smaller subset of your recipes in your Queue. This allows you to line up recipes that you want to use but may not be ready to for whatever reason. Sometimes, scrolling through all of your recipes can be daunting, just like searching through an entire binder. So this helps you to break things down into a more manageable volume.
I’ve saved the best part for last. 🙂 Once you’ve compiled your recipes for the week/month, the program automatically generate a grocery list for you and includes the amount of each item you need. You can even add multiple stores and assign different items to different stores (for those of you who shop at multiple locations). There’s even a Staples supply list as well. Each item on the shopping list is coded with a letter which corresponds to which recipe(s) it’s needed for.
The website is highly navigable and, while they don’t have an official app, they do have a high functioning mobile site that I can’t really complain about. I absolutely LOVE this program so far, and I can’t wait for my husband to get home from his trip so I can start my weekly cooking routine again! If you haven’t tried Plan to Eat yet, you should. If you have, let me know what you think in the comments! And then “friend” me so we can share tasty food!