Notepad? Honestly?
June 10, 2008 10:39 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a good menu planner/template that fulfills what I think are pretty basic features.

About once a week I create a weekly menu (mainly for dinners) for my boyfriend and myself. I create this using... Notepad.

I list the ingredients needed for shopping at the top and all the recipes below. It works ok but I wish I could use something a bit snazzier to reuse past "hits" and such. Right now, I don't even save the files because I usually do this at my work computer at the end of the day.

What I would like:
- Allow me to enter my OWN recipes (I usually cut and paste them from recipes linked in my account)
- Let me reuse them easily.
- Let me create a separate list for ingredients shopping (if it could pull them out of the recipes, that would be awesome!)
- Save weekly menus
- Online access

Nice to have:
- Keep track of how often I use particular recipes
- Budgeting options where I can enter grocery totals

Most solutions I've checked out so far make me use their own database of recipes or suggest their own meals, which some people may like but I find restrictive.

Oh and I'd like this to be Free!
posted by like_neon to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You could always use GoogleDocs. It works for me. It would be basically like using notepad, I guess, but you would have access to recipes anywhere and could star the ones that you like to remember them.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 11:29 AM on June 10, 2008

After a quick search it looks like Tasty Planner might be worth looking at.
posted by assmatt at 11:44 AM on June 10, 2008

If you use the GoogleDocs spreadsheet, you can keep the ingredients in a separate column from the quantity and do VLOOKUP fun stuff (if you happen to be/know an Excel nerd) to create grocery lists. At worst you could put an extra "*" in a column for every time you use it.
posted by herbaliser at 3:04 PM on June 10, 2008

Okay, at the risk of outing myself as a total dork...

I too was looking for a similar solution, and got really frustrated that there weren't any free meal planning options out there, so I created my own.

It's an excel spreadsheet. This is what it does:

Allows you to plan two weeks worth of meals
Allows you to enter ingredients for the specific meals
Pulls the ingredients into a shopping list and sorts by dept.
Tracks the cost of meals and the total cost of the shopping list

It's not perfect, but it works for me. If you're interested, send an email to, and I'll be happy to send it along.
posted by saucy at 6:19 AM on June 13, 2008

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