Monday, April 27, 2009

3 Free Websites to Simplify Meal Planning

I often find myself wandering up and down the aisles of Trader Joe's wondering what to cook for the week. Because my weekdays are so busy and the dinner-bath-bedtime routine is so rushed as it is, I try and cook a couple meals for the week on Sundays. That way, all I have to do is warm them up during the week, but we still have home-cooked meals.

To help organize, the process, I thought I'd compile a few websites to simplify the meal planning process. These 3 websites will help you plan ahead for the week's meals with recipes and a coordinated shopping list.

1. Meals Matter
At Meals Matter, you can search for user-contributed recipes, add them to your weekly meal planner, save them in your online "cookbook" and automatically generate a shopping list with the ingredients. The search function is quite advanced, including type of meal, prep time, ingredients and nutritional content.

2. Monthly Meal Planner
How about planning meals a month in advance? This cool website provides a month of meals at a time. You can select the recipes or search for recipes and create a shopping list according to the dates of the meals in your calendar. In the custom meal planner, you can also create recipes and scale them!

3. Spring Pad
This is not a meal planning site per se, but rather a free online notebook with awesome templates. When you find a recipe you like (from another website), you can copy and paste the URL and it will automatically add the recipe to your planning and cooking calendar. Under the shopping list, you can add ingredients from the recipe that you'll need to buy. You can even keep track of weekly items you buy to add them to the shopping list.

Do you have any websites or tricks you rely on? Let me know & I'll update this post to add them!

1 comment:

MaryAnn and Penny said...

Here's another website for you. Motherearthmeals.com is a website that features healthy cooking focusing on anti-cancer foods with monthly menus, recipes, weekly shopping lists, pantry staples and much more. Check it out.