Last week, I discussed Plan to Eat, a website I am using for recipe management, meal planning, and a shopping guide. This week, I wanted to explore a few other options that friends on Twitter use to manage their food lives.
Ultimately, the system you use depends on your own lifestyle. I collect recipes and cook a lot, so having a system that manages both the aggregation of recipes and meal planning is essential. Another key feature for me is the ability to get pretty granular with cuisines and key ingredients.
Others seem to use recipes (or photos thereof) as inspiration. Half the reason I subscribe to magazines like Saveur is for the pictures. Seeing beautiful food inspires me to spend more time on the appearance of my dishes.
Here are a few other favorites from my friends:
- Evernote: A surprising (to me!) number of people use Evernote for recipe management. I spent hours trying to get Evernote into the kind of shape I needed it to be, but we never clicked. That being said, you can easily organize recipes by creating nested notebooks in Evernote: a top level notebook called recipes with sub-notebooks for whatever categorization you like. Evernote’s tags are also easy-to-use.
- Pinterest: Pinterest also garners a lot of love from my foodie friends. It’s a great way to visualize recipes, and I’ve spent hours just browsing through images. While I’m not super-active on Pinterest, I have a couple of boards dedicated to gluten-free foods (and other things I love) here.
- Paprika: Paprika is an app that more than a few friends swear by. It has all the features I love about Plan to Eat, with one major drawback: you have to pay for each instance of the app. This means you shell out money for the desktop/laptop version, the iPad version, the smartphone version. While the price isn’t substantially high, I am unnaturally annoyed by the fact they don’t have an all-in-one pricing scheme.
- Dropbox: One friend uses it religiously. Folders, he says, are the key.
- File Box: This isn’t an app. This isn’t a website. This is, as you might guess, a big box with file folders stuffed with recipes (and other things). Every now and then, I go through the folders, usually because I remember I saved a particular recipe. Once I find the hardcopy, I search the web for the recipe to add to PTE.
In addition to my own meal planning suggestions, here is an article at MyFitnessPal about meal planning.
Tip of the Week
In addition to organizing your recipes in a hierarchical structure, take advantage of tags. They help you search by keyword in a very specific manner. For example, when I type chicken, garlic, vinegar, I see the recipes I’ve saved featuring these ingredients. Likewise, “good for parties” helps me find recipes that work for events.
Menu of the Week
Speaking of tagging recipes, I needed a good, easy recipe for butternut squash for a Meatless Monday meal. A quick search for butternut squash, coconut milk, and vegetarian turned up my favorite butternut squash curry. It’s delicious over rice with a simple salad on the side.
Of course, this recipe is fantastic with other types of squash, including pumpkin. The beautiful color also makes this a great dish for dinner parties.
- Butternut Squash Curry
- Lettuce and Cucumber Salad
- Coconut Frozen Gelato (such as Talenti brand, which is gluten free) or Frozen Yogurt