I have been meal planning for years, some times more successfully than others. I have used notebooks, paper calendars, spreadsheets and a few years ago I started using a website; Plan To Eat. I started with the free trial and then decided it was worth it to pay for the subscription.
I can load new recipes from the recipe clipper that I saved on my bookmark bar, there are a few other ways as well but this works the best for me. It’s awesome that I can save the recipe immediately after I find one that I want to try from pinterest, food network, allrecipes, etc. You can also add them manually. Here are some examples of what info can be included in the recipes.
You can drag and drop the recipes onto the calendar, and you can link that calendar to your google calendar, Ical, windows calendar, and many others. You can access the recipe from that calendar so you don’t need a computer in the kitchen, I usually pull the recipe up on my phone or tablet. It also takes all the recipes and creates a shopping list.
It actually saves a lot of time, money and a lot of brain power at the end of the day. I hate figuring out what to eat at the last-minute. The only problem I have is planning things I need to start early (crock-pot mostly) and forgetting to set it up early enough but that happens on days I’m really overwhelmed and forget basically everything.
You can share recipes with friends, get recipes from their blog and so many other things that I can’t even remember.
I highly recommend meal planning in what ever way works for you and your family it has saved us a lot of money. We can tell when I haven’t been planning our meals (I only plan dinner) as we tend to eat out a lot more! One of the things I need to work on is not planning really elaborate meal plans on days I know I won’t have time and have an alternate idea in case something comes up. It helps me if I want to try a new recipe or a more time-consuming meal not to do very many the same week that way I can switch them at the last-minute as needed…otherwise this happens-
If you want to try Plan to eat you can go here and sign up for a free 30 day trial and see if it will work for you. (they don’t delete your account at the end of the period so if you later decide to use it again all your recipes are still there.)