Meal Planning Boot Camp Day 2: The Menu Planning Process

By January 22, 2013Meal Planning Boot Camp



  • Johanna says:

    I will go ahead and count today’s assignment as done since I have several recipes added and I’ve done a meal plan this week!

  • Kathy says:

    Done. Love the videos. Learn something new everyday. Thanks

  • Meri says:

    Homework done!! (I may or may not have planned half of February already…. but I shop for three weeks at a time, and this Saturday is my shopping day…)

  • Angela says:

    Woohoo! Did it. Here’s my plan: 🙂

    I did a saved menu for breakfasts and snacks, since those don’t change much from week to week. And this way they’ll consistently get added to my shopping list.

  • Emily says:

    Yay! So so easy. Hoping this will change the weekly stress of what are we going to eat! We have a new baby coming soon (via adoption) so I’m definitely looking for some ways to make life easier. 🙂

  • Erin says:

    I am following along with this although I am using the Paprika App since I have already purchased it for my phone and computer. They seem to have similar functions.

  • Katie F says:

    Planning is done.

  • Yvonne says:

    YEA!! Meal planned for the week and ready for shopping tomorrow….LOVE PTE!! So much easier!

  • Merrilee says:

    You mentioned that meal planning was simple on the ipad too. Can you tell me how to remove things from a meal plan on the iPad?
    I ended up with some items on there, and can’t figure out how to remove without going to a laptop.

  • Joanne says:

    I didn’t finish yesterday’s assignment until this morning, but I have 32 recipes now. I hope that counts! 🙂
    I am loving this… I can see that a huge area of difficulty in my life is changing rapidly, and it’s only day 2. THANK YOU, Kat, and thank you everyone for joining so we can share recipes.
    Have a wonderful day!

  • Debbie says:

    Thanks so much, again! It has been SO easy to enter recipes, and it has really helped me to plan healthier meals for my family. I finished today’s assignment already, too.

  • Andrea says:

    Ninja-Rockstar-Drill Sargent Kat,
    Day 1 and Day 2 homework done!!! Thank you so much for sharing this awesome website with us and going out of your way to teach us all about it!! I’m absolutely loving it and just figured out the bookmarklet thingy. Yay!

    Ready for Day 3!! 🙂

  • Aintzane says:

    Homework done!!!

    Amazing how easy I did it!!

  • Pip Usmar says:

    Loving the encouragement to get stuck in. It’s so hard to get excited about meal planning for just myself. Day 1 and 2 done!!

  • Jessica N says:

    Up to 46 recipes added! This is fun – and addicting! I see now why you want to tell everyone about this website!!!

  • Elizabeth W says:

    Thanks for explaining all of this. I’ve been using this site for over 6 months, but learned so much. I will be much more efficient in menu planning now. Thank you!!

  • Kelly says:

    Kat, I am loving this! Can you just hold my hand like this through everything in my life?? I need some help with keeping the house clean, getting my life organized, taking care of the kids, homeschooling, basically everything. 🙂

    Oh, and homework is done!

    • Kat Lee says:

      Ha…well, I don’t homeschool nor is my home perfectly clean, but I *DO* hope to have a few more boot camps on other topics this year. Stay tuned…

  • Traci says:

    Thanks so much for all of the helpful info! I am loving this site! I do have a question about using the bookmarklet on a mobile device. I can only find instructions for adding it to an iPad or Android, but nothing for the iPhone. Do you think it would be the same as the iPad instructions?

  • Heather says:

    over 40 recipes in, planned through next week…check!

  • Marci Diehl says:

    Homework done!

  • Amy says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial!! I purchased PTE after Thanksgiving and have been slowly adding recipes and using it more. One thing I can not figure out is how to sync it to my calander on my iphone/ipad??? I asked Clint and he responded quickly but still didn’t really understand … Is there any way you could do a mini tutorial on this as well??? Thanks a bunch!!

  • Maria Z says:

    Finished my homework! THANKS KAT!!!
    I am excited about the menu plan, because even though I have used this for about 8 months, I hadn’t done the menu plan and I can tell it’s going to make me love it that much more!

    About pictures: I am glad Kat is encouraging everyone to get recipes in without stressing about pictures. I am very visual and noticed that I tend to make more of the recipes with photos.

    Here’s my tips for photos when you are ready:
    -After doing a Google search for a recipe and importing it, click back to the results page and click on images tab to browse for an image you like.
    -I have the page installed on my phone, and I will also take a photo of a recipe in the cookbook when I am uploading a recipe and add it straight from my phone.

    Off to menu plan later!

    • Heather P. says:

      Great idea about the pics. Most of my recipes are missing pics…I will def employ your tips!!

  • melanie says:

    did it! saved a weeklong menu. and just in time, because i shopped for it today, as well!

  • Heather says:

    Homework done for today! I am not weeping for joy, but I think I’m hearing angels sing 🙂

    I love, love, love how easy this is to use! I will be purchasing the full subscription when my trial runs out, PTE is absolutely worth the money!

  • Carolyn says:

    Blogged about the boot camp first, to see if anyone wanted to join me, then got the homework done. Tried a few different ways of adding / importing recipes & it all worked fine. Got all the simple meals and vegetable sides in, too. Thanks!

  • Aletha says:

    Homework done. ME OH MY. I love this. Never been good at keeping/filing/finding recipes but this is working for me! I can finally do something actually helpful with all my recipe notecards scattered all over the place. I know we’re only on Day 2…but so far…ah-mah-zing!

  • Allison says:

    Entered recipes and started meal planning. The decisions for the plan is the hardest part, esp when my shopping day gets cancelled due to sick children and hubby. Any tips for getting over the planning hump?

    • Kat Lee says:

      That’s what I use the saved menus for. I take a few minutes when I am doing well and in a meal planning mood (almost never) and I make those decisions. Then later, when the schedule is crazy, people are sick or whatever else happens, I can just use one of the menus from when I was in a better frame of mind.

      I also am sure to have a couple simple menus for weeks when I know I won’t really be able to cook much.

      I hope that helps!

  • jaime says:

    Today’s homework is done!

  • CindyC says:

    I did it! This is kinda great. (Major understatement.) I think it will require a little bit of a learning curve. Not the program, but the planning, and the practice of actually using it instead of forgetting about it and being in the same dilemma as without the program.

  • Heather P. says:

    99 recipes added!!! Most are either only links, or I’ve typed in the ingredients but given the cookbook pg number for recipe instructions. Digging into the planning…this is more daunting than I thought. Love the ideas about breakfast above (and lunch for that matter). Keep the assignments coming!!!!

  • Kayse Pratt says:

    42 recipes in!!! Going to meal plan tonight after the toddler is asleep, to prep for my shopping day tomorrow! So excited!!

  • Done and done. Coolness. I need to start finding some friends on there – I love being able to share meal plans with friends.

  • Betsy says:

    Homework’s done. This is getting to be so fun!

  • Meghan says:

    Woohoo! Mission completion. I stole half of Kat’s recipes. Thanks, kat!

  • Reiko says:

    Done. It’s definitely nice to just add a recipe for something the hubby suggests and drop it onto the plan for the week once we figure out if we’re going to make it or not.

  • Carol says:

    71 recipes entered! An official ninja!

    Played around with the menu planner; did drag and drop. I didn’t save it because it is too lop-sided right now. I mean, I really don’t need an appetizer for this week. But, the superbowl is coming!

    I am having trouble with the bookmarklet on my phone (android). I have copied and tried to paste it, but it isn’t working properly. I have a Samsung III if anyone has any tips to help me out.

    Another question…do you put recipes in for things like canned green beans or peaches and such? Or is that on your pantry list?

    Thanks for all the help and for having this bootcamp. If this doesn’t work, I might give up. But, yet, this family insists on being fed. 🙂


    • Kat Lee says:

      You’re like a ninja-master. Well done, recruit.

      I don’t think the bookmarklet works on the phone unless you’re viewing the full site. You phone likely defaults to the mobile site. I saw a comment from Clint from PTE saying that they plan to make the bookmarklet work with the mobile site but it’s still in the works.

      For veggies and such, I just add them on my menu plan. That way they don’t clutter up my recipes, but when I meal plan they are included in my calendar and shopping list.

      • MendyKay says:

        But if you put whole food items in the recipes, then you can add nutritional info and never have to look it up again. This will be helpful for those of us watching our weight. But I’m completely new to this, so please let me know if I’m wrong or if there’s a better way.

  • Lynn says:

    Day 2 homework complete… running a bit behind because I went back to work today after being off for a month and I need to get back in the groove in terms of scheduling my time.

    The PTE system is very easy to use… I am still just bogged down in the mental stress that meal-planning causes. Trying to just do each day’s individual assignment so I don’t get too overwhelmed.

    • Kat Lee says:

      I think once you’re able to get a meal plan or two done, you’ll be able to say adios to that stress. That has at least proven true for me, I hope it does for you too!

  • Nichole says:

    Done! I am so excited about this. I really like the idea of seeing other people’s menus and borrowing their ideas. 🙂

  • Kendra says:

    Ooops, just posted on yesterday’s entry not even realizing I am a day behind. Mondays off for everybody SOOO messes with my schedule!!
    Anyway, again, watched the video an learned something new even though I’ve already been using PTE for a couple weeks.
    Thanks Kat!

  • julie says:

    Day 2 complete.I created a test menu for last week with recipes I’ve saved. I’ve put in a lot of recipes.. but somehow forgot “breadth”. I’ve only planned for dinner! Not sure what the family is going to at the rest of the day! LOL. I can see how this is going to help me think through the whole day and really help me prepare a better grocery list! Thanks, Kat.

  • Lisa Austin says:

    i was officially diagnosed with the flu today… BUT, my homework is COMPLETE! I didn’t want to get behind! ha! Can’t wait until tomorrow!

  • Nancy says:

    Home work complete! I also purchased the recipe bundle because of “whole food” information.
    Before I saw your post on FB for this bootcamp I had written at the top of my planner “The biggest way to save money is by planning your meals”; which I got from FlyLady. I have tried to do this on my own for a couple of years. This is the help I needed ~ so appreciative & thankful!!!

  • Anna says:

    Homework done! Thanks for the tutorials & encouragement.

  • Stephanie says:

    I’ve got a least a dozen meals in and 1 menu. So far I have just left the breakfast and lunch slots open because it is usually the smae thing and the kids choose. I do like the idea of making those items a menu so you can easily add it to the grocery list. Thanks Kat for all of your help!!!!

  • Meagan says:

    Just finished up a weeks worth of meal planning and creating a saved menu. I added several recipes today and then when I went to plan out my meals I realized a lot of the recipes I have saved are just too time-consuming for me right now. I had to put in some super easy “recipes” to keep my sanity. I love to cook, but now is not the time for experimenting with lots of interesting and complex recipes. Maybe I can schedule something extra special once a month? Quick, easy, and healthy are the keys these days. Looking forward to Day 3!

    • susan says:

      Meagan, what is your name on PTE?

    • Kat Lee says:

      Smart idea Meagan. When I first started meal planning, I only planned 2-3 real meals each week. The rest were quesadillas and sandwiches. It’s so helpful to know what your current season can handle so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Well done!

  • christina says:

    This is getting addictive. I can’t stop myself from entering recipes. I can’t wait to learn how to see friend’s plans!

  • susan says:

    I have more recipes added but have not done a planned menu yet.

    I have to ask, does it make anyone else hungry while you are sitting here typing in your recipes? (heehee)

    Kat, what is your name on PTE??

  • Wendy J says:

    Woo Hoo! Finished Homework Day 2. Much easier to import recipies this time. Did it straight from the IPAD and imported recipies from google all recipies. Saved a TON of time : ) Menu planned for one additional week!! Yeah!!

  • Lisa says:

    Done! I sit in awe of the amazingness of PTE!

  • Andrea says:

    I’ve entered about 15 recipes so far this week. Set up a rough menu plan for the next ten days. Looking forward to how helpful this will be with making shopping lists and trips!
    I didn’t get the chance to post in yesterday’s comments. It was the first day of potty training boot camp at our house for my two year old, and I was shot at the end of the day and totally forgot to. Two boot camps at once is exhausting! 🙂

  • Suzy says:

    Entered 30+ recipes yesterday and now have a rough draft menu for the next week. I think my husband is going to love trying out some long awaited new recipes! I just hope my daughters (3 & 4) will be agreeable 🙂 I’m almost looking forward to going shopping (ha)!

  • Holly says:

    I am loving the planner feature!! Thanks so much for taking the time to educate us on how to use the PTE website. I can already see how this will help me so much in my busy life! Looking forward to using this wonderful site for a long time to come.

  • Kari says:

    Finally assignment finished for today. Today was a rough day but I am so excited about PTE. I am really going to love being able to send my oldest daughter in to see what is on the plan and have the recipe right there and she can get stuff started while I am with the younger ones. WOOOHOOO!!!!!

  • Cat says:

    Day 1 and 2 homework done (forgot to comment yesterday). Thank you so much for doing this. I actually just remembered a couple weeks ago that I had purchased PTE during the Thanksgiving sale. I started using it when I remembered so this boot camp is perfect timing!

  • MA Gragg says:

    done, need to shop tomorrow so have gone ahead a little. It was very frustrating, looking forward to tips and tricks. I make meals ahead and Beef and some cuts of fish are on sale this week so will plan those recipes this week and hope for chicken and pork to go on sale soon. The variety will come from the freezer once I have planned more.

  • Meredith says:

    This is awesome! I’ve entered about 15 recipes, both from importing and manual entry. Much of what I cook is not “recipe” cooking, but cooking a meat and vegetables, so I’m entering a lot of recipes by hand. I’ve planned this week, loved the tip to include sandwiches and leftovers as recipes, and can’t wait to get more recipes in place to make the planning easier.

    Have I mentioned how excited I am about the shopping list??????!!!!!!!

  • Deborah West says:

    Holy freaking cow! I may get organized! This is so awesome!

  • Farrell says:

    Done! I’ve added quite a few recipes and love how easy it is to plan! I even cooked tonight’s dinner off of PTE on my iPhone. 🙂

  • Pam says:

    I have 20 meals entered so far & made my first menu plan. I wish I could have gotten more done because I’m really having fun with this. What a great meal planning site!

  • Merrilee says:

    Day Two Homework is done!
    It was good to look at my calendar this way. It made me realize that we are going to be gone a lot over the next two weeks.
    Entering my recipes I also realized that I need to pare down what I have. I don’t need 5 versions of satay and peanut sauce!

  • Bethany says:

    I can relate to your breakfasts and lunches. When I started filling in the meal plan last November when I got it, I thought I’m SO LAME because I just typed in cereal, oatmeal and leftovers for most of the breakfast and lunches…guess I’m not alone. I was all fired up and shopping and making new things back then, but now I’m in a rut…so this is good to be get me back on track and even to see that it’s ok to be super simple and still just do it. I get hung up on wanting things to be a certain away so I put it off till I can spend that kind of time, but I like how you think, sista…thanks for tips and encouragement. We are so much a like!

  • Brooke B says:

    Homework completed! I’ve been using PTE for awhile now but hadn’t used the menus option because I thought it would be too constraining…now I see how easy it is to drag a menu plan into a week and then just change out a meal or two if need be. Thanks for this boot camp! Totally inspirational!

  • Dianne_W says:

    Your videos are the only thing keeping me going with this right now. It totally takes the brain work out of trying to figure out how to do this (visual learner, I guess). I added our usual breakfasts and lunches and planned meals for the rest of this week. I’m really beginning to see what a HUGE timesaver this will be once it is all set up and I have learned how to get the most of out of it. Thank you!!!

  • Nichole says:

    Uh-oh! I accidentally removed a friend. 🙁 (Don’t ask me how, because I’m not entirely sure and it’s early.) I think the username was Gita or something like that, so if that’s you and your friend count is mysteriously down this morning, will you please re-friend me? I’m sorry! My username is Ilaide. Thanks!

  • Oh my. Is it weird saying this is so much fun?
    The trick is to follow through – I’m a great planner!! Not such a great follower-througher…

    • mendyKay says:

      me too! I sure hope I don’t fill this with recipes and menus and then never go shopping and cook it.

  • April says:

    Finished assignments 1 & 2! Thanks again for doing this Kat, I love everything about PTE, it’s life changing for me! I’m having a blast finding recipes, putting them in PTE and I even played around with the shopping list feature yesterday :).

  • Amy S says:

    OK. I got 5 more recipes in and planned for the next week. This site is AWESOME!

  • Angela Smith says:

    OMG! THIS is the BEST thing EVER! I truly LOVE to try new recipes & such but have never found a way to easily add them to a meal planning format. YOU ARE MY NEW BEST FRIEND for showing this to me!! I still have quite a few “family recipes” that are on paper here & there, but overall, I am almost done with meal planning & it has taken much less than 30 min/day with this bookmarklet thingy!!

  • Claude says:

    Day 1 and 2, done! Where is day 3??? Did I miss something?
    What am I supposed to write down for “website?” I don’t have a website per say… But I am impressed when I see the moms who have a website, way to go!

    I had tried out a free month of PTE, but never followed through because typing in each recipe was just too long. The “Save recipe (PTE)” is a gold mine. I found most of my recipes online and just dropped them into place and I was done. Couldn’t believe how easy this was after all! Love it! I have part of a menu down for the week. The best part is pitching all those web printed recipes into recycling. I only kept the ones I use often for entertaining to be able to glance at them all at once. Thanks again, Kat!
    I am going to prove to my husband that this procrastinator (me) is going to change the way meals are prepared around here!

  • Kristine says:

    made a menu for next week! i added “easy” recipes too. so far, so good.

  • Tiffany says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for the screen casts, they help tramendously on saving time…and brain energy!!! 🙂
    (forgot to respond yesterday…ooops!)

  • Paige says:

    Ok yesterday was a long somewhat stressful day with my teenager. I managed to watch the video and learned how to save a plan into the menu section. Wasn’t aware of that feature before. I also got a few more recipes into my recipe book but I have several already. I found some good ones on Swagbucks tv so I have to write them down and type them all out.

    Off to do Day’s 3 homework!

  • Christen says:

    This took me a little longer than I expected because the first 10 recipes I input didn’t make a “menu” i wanted to save. But I got it done eventually!

  • Lauren says:

    Day 2 done! I am on a roll entering recipes, i found that works really well at transferring recipes but I am having some issues with blog based recipes I want to use.

  • Tricia Westin says:

    Day 2 completed yesterday. I can see how I can have my children help with the meal planning and they can use the lunch area to plan their school lunches. Hopefully this will bring more variety into their diet.

  • shannon says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the bookmarklet!

  • MA Gragg says:

    1. what do we do with the stuff that shows up in “no category?
    2.I was not able to clear my menu to start a new week

    • Kat Lee says:

      1. Just hover over it and you’ll see and Edit option (a pencil icon). Click on that and then sort the item into the appropriate category.
      2. You don’t need to clear the menu. It’ a perpetual calendar. So just click the arrow at the top and it will go to next week’s dates. If you do need to delete a menu item for reason, just hover over it and you’ll see a “-” Click that and it will delete the item.

  • Gerri says:

    I love your instructions. I was really struggling to get this figured out and your videos are so helpful!!

  • Val says:

    Thanks so much for doing this “boot-camp”. We signed up with PTE but I have failed to begin it really before this, and am such a visual learner your input/how-to has helped tremendously! My first attempts at adding recipes was a bit discouraging…happened to pick several that were not simply click and add…but, the next day I got some working and have been able to add them easily. Also love how easy it looks to try typing in your own…had done it the manual way first and that was a bit “tedious” for me. So, again, thanks for sharing!!!

  • Beth says:

    Just made my first menu! Pretty excited about this site, thanks for sharing!

  • Alison says:

    Menu planned and more recipes added!! I LOVE the import button, makes adding recipes a breeze!!

  • Shea says:

    I am in the process now of completing day 1 and 2 due to having a sick kid and getting overwhelmed at work. So this morning I am adding more recipes and planning out menus. This is really going to be a HUGE help to me with me juggling so many projects and I am always forgetting to take something out of the freezer or I never know what to take out because I never know what I am going to cook. I love this website and I definitely think I am going to go ahead and subscribe once my trial is over. Somethings I get involved in things such as this boot camp and programs and sites are offered but I rarely like them or feel the need to invest. I feel very different about this site and boot camp though and I am so glad I stumbled across it and have decided to do it!

  • Faith says:

    ok, i am a couple days behind since I had to be out of town helping my dad as he recovers from surgery. I did day 1 and 2 yesterday and will do 3 and 4 today. I had added in several recipes while I was away so that helped! I was just planing on doing dinners but I am so inpired and motivated that I am going to do breakfast and lunch to. Maybe this will allow my kids to have more than just PB&J for lunch 5 days a week!

  • Gerri says:

    I am having so much fun with this. And your tutorials have made it so easy!! Thank you very much for all your work on this!!

  • Amanda says:

    This is thrilling; you’re right. It really helps. Thanks so much.

  • karen says:

    this is awesome…I have had plan to eat for a year and never really used it other than to save recipes….now I am really starting to enjoy it since you are doing this series…thanks

  • karen says:

    And now I am using a menu plan for the first time in history!! 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    How do I delete recipes off my calendar? Can’t get them to disappear.

  • Tracey says:

    Plan to Eat sounds great … I have been looking for help with meal planning (and actually EVERYTHING!). What do you think about some of the other systems out there that match up your chosen grocery store’s sales and create your menu and grocery list? Are any of these features available with Plan to Eat? I like that we choose our own recipes with Plan to Eat but I’d also like to save money … I’ve never been able to master the art of coupon clipping, following store sales, planning meals, etc. … that’s why I’m here. HELP!!!!!

    • Kat Lee says:

      I’m sure those systems work for other people, but constantly trying new recipes stresses me out. So I much prefer creating my own menus. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten a system down, I have a MUCH better idea of how much I’m going to spend each month and I can cut back from there…

  • Jan says:

    Just finished day 2 of boot camp and catching up. LOVING how easy it is to create a meal plan and love that you can save it. Thanks so much for these great hints and tips!

  • Thank you for putting together this course. I’ve done homework and I’m ready for Lesson #3!!

  • Mary says:

    Made my first plan. 🙂

  • Marla says:

    Your PTE Bootcamp series is excellent! I appreciate your time and effort…..and you have such a soothing voice, too 🙂 I have created my first week’s menu and I’m ready to move forward to Day #3.