Fish on Monday, rice and beans on Friday?
September 26, 2011 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Is there a website or program that will let me select from several easy recipes, plan for a week or several weeks in advance, create a weekly shopping list and (here's the hard part) OPTIMIZE my selections so that the most perishable food gets cooked first?

I love the idea featured in this month's Real Simple: a month of easy weeknight recipes, with shopping lists for each week and (here's the key) optimized to cook the most perishable ingredients first. Problem is, I'm not really excited about the actual recipes used in that feature.

What I want:

1. Yummy, easy, recipes to choose from, or the ability to easily import from other websites. (No typing in recipes.)

2. Generate a weekly shopping list automatically from the recipes I select.

3. Optimization -- in other words, if I choose 5 recipes that I like, tell me what order I should cook them in to minimize spoilage (assuming that I bought all the ingredients in one weekly shopping trip).

I realize that I should be able to figure this out for myself, but I have an infant and we are short on time and brain cells around here lately. Does this magical website I made up in my head actually exist?
posted by somanyamys to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
E-Mealz does that. I've been using it for a few months now and really like it. They have a referral program too so if you blog or what not, you could end up w/free months.
posted by ACN09 at 9:22 AM on September 26, 2011

Response by poster: It's hard to tell for sure without subscribing, but it looks like E-Mealz just gives you a week of recipes at a time (meaning, it doesn't let you choose recipes)? That's not quite what I'm looking for.

Sure, I could just skip the recipes that don't interest me, but then I have to go back and cross-reference the skipped recipes with the grocery list, so that I don't buy unnecessary ingredients. And then I have to figure out something else to cook for the days with skipped recipes, and add those ingredients to the shopping list, etc. At that point I might as well just make my own grocery list, even if it's tacos/pasta/salad/sloppy joes/meatloaf x infinity.

I want to be able to peruse different recipes and choose the ones I like (or at least delete the ones I don't), and then they generate the shopping list and tell me what day to cook what dish.

(I appreciate the recommendation, and I'm not trying to be snarky at all. I recognize that this service might only exist in my head.)
posted by somanyamys at 12:03 PM on September 26, 2011

I've been looking for something similar and I haven't found anything that does all of the things you list either. (I was actually going to post on AskMe about this myself, but I'm glad you did because your point about optimization isn't something I thought about.)

The real downfall it seems is being able to pull recipes from other sites. I have accounts on several meal sites and I'd really like to be able to pull recipes from all of them to create my weekly plan.

(Heck, being able to do this, along with inputting the recipes from my own cookbooks would likely be the thing that would make me *start* planning meals.)
posted by melissa at 1:31 PM on September 26, 2011

The Scramble isn't quite what you're looking for, as it doesn't pull from other websites and isn't optimized for spoilage. Its main benefit is that along with sending you a meal plan for the week, it maintains a large database of recipes, so if you can customize your meal plan. If you don't like certain meals from the plan, you can swap in other options, and it will then give you an updated grocery list.

Plan to Eat
has some nice features, including the ability to import recipes from other sites, organize them by ingredient, drag and drop meals in a weekly planner. It doesn't really give you a meal plan though.

There are a bunch of other services, but I can't remember seeing one that does what you've requested. Do you have an ipod/ipad/mac? There are a number of good apps for meal planning and recipe saving, and they've been awesome in terms of organizing an entire recipe database.
posted by barnone at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2011

Response by poster: I do have an iPhone... I downloaded Paprika but it doesn't optimize. Are there other apps I should try?
posted by somanyamys at 5:42 PM on September 29, 2011

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