Holidays mean food. Fridays mean free software from Mac360’s Value Vixen™ and Meal Planning is the Mac utility that lets you create meals from the ingredients you have on hand.
What? You don’t want to think about food today? I feel your pain. But there’s always tomorrow and preparation is important.
Meal Planning is a free utility that lets you use your Mac to plan meals. Duh.
If you’re like me, you shop the grocery stores for what you want, then bring it all home and stuff the purchases in the freezer, refrigerator, cabinets, and pantry, and hope for the best when it’s time to cook something.
Come on. We live in a digital age, the age when our Macs control our music, photos, movies, messages, entertainment, and news gathering. Why not let your Mac control your meal planning?
Mac360 has written about ways to manage your recipes using the popular MacGourmet. But that only covers recipes. What about managing the foods your need to create the recipes? What about creating recipes out of the food you have?
That’s where Meal Planning comes in. It’s a nifty, handy, and free Mac utility which lists all the food you have in your fridge, pantry, freezer, cabinets and lets you create meal categories, menus, and add recipes.
If you’re single, Meal Planning is overkill. If you have a family, Meal Planning can be a time saver. If you plan and prepare and serve many meals, either in an organization or for a family larger than you expected when you went to a prom, Meal Planning may save you enough time for a bubble bath.
Meal Planning’s claim to fame is the ability to adjust ingredient portions on a menu and help you make a shopping list for menu items, and dining events. That’s no easy task but it’s made easier on your Mac.
In typical Easy to Use a Mac methodology, Meal Planning’s Menu Choices window is a good place to start. Add ingredients, add categories. The Menu Item Window breaks down your inventory of foods to Ingredients, Portions, and Units. You’ll always know what you’ve got and how many it can serve.
Once you’ve entered enough menu items, you’re ready to plan an event. Select the items you want, then click on the Plan Meals button. How easy is that? If only I could get my Mac to cook. Or, send the information to a corner deli and they’d deliver what I wanted.
Since you get to mix and match what you have with what you want, there might be a difference between the two. Just go to the Shopping List Window to get a list of what you need to buy, or, rather, what your husband needs to buy when you send him to the grocery store.
The only problem with that scenario is the lack of images or photos of the shopping list. Aisle numbers would be good, too. My husband needs aisle numbers and a photo of what to buy.
Recipe notes can be created for each Menu Item and the whole thing can be dumped into Calendar Planning for—you guessed it—calendar planning so you can actually plan ahead. Like we’ll ever use that feature in the Kayhill household.
Meal Planning is pretty handy, and it’s difficult to beat the price. Did I mention that it’s free?
The only real issue I have with digitizing my cooking and meal preparation life is that it requires a paradigm shift that’s rather high on the Life Changing Richter Scale. Still, I never thought my Mac would manage my music, or photos, or movies, and personal correspondence, but here we are, 12 years into the public internet, and look what’s happened.
Is your Mac the place for managing recipes and menus and tracking your food inventory? Or, is it better suited to display a Widget which shows what food you can buy at the nearest Chinese BBQ restaurant? Talk Back to us in the Comments section below.