When I came into marriage, I knew how to bake things like cookies and cakes. As far as foods with nutritional value, except for frozen dinners I had one fancy meal: Shake ‘n’ Bake chicken, Rice a Roni, and canned green beans with a little salt added. We brought out the china when I prepared this. I’m not even kidding. I had never heard of something called menu planning.
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A year into our marriage, a woman who was insane enough to have five children at the time (weirdo) introduced me to this foreign concept of shopping once a week (or month!) according to pre-planned meals. At this point I’d started experimenting with cooking and discovered I actually really liked it, so I was intrigued to discover there was a way the answer to “What’s for dinner?” could be streamlined.
Enter Menu Planning
In the beginning, Bill made a simple Excel spreadsheet that listed the days of the week and left blanks for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I’d go through my recipes (very limited in the beginning) and type in the ones I wanted our family to eat that week. Then I’d take each recipe and write the ingredients needed into a shopping list. Since both lists were done on the computer, I felt very high tech.
Even though this saved my family buttloads of money (way less eating out and way fewer pre-packaged expensive meals that we settled on because we didn’t give thought to dinner until we were hangry), I hated how long the whole process took each week.
A few years in, I found a free online planning service that’s since been discontinued. Though the concept was great, it was so clunky that it took me longer to use the service than the old pen and paper method. Bill went on the hunt to find something that wouldn’t transform me into the Hulk each time I even heard the name of this program.
Enter Plan to Eat
Bill posted earlier this week on how amazing we think Plan to Eat is. Once a year they have a 50% off sale, making the yearly subscription only $19.50, and I wanted as many of you as possible to take advantage of this and experience the magic. A friend who’s considering subscribing asked me if I’d write a tutorial on how I use the service. So here’s a one-take, glitchy and clunky video of how I menu plan and use Plan to Eat’s service.