The Meal Planning Boot Camp Day 1: Your Recipe Book

By January 19, 2015Meal Planning Boot Camp

(If you’re just joining us, welcome to Meal Planning Boot Camp. Each day this week I’ll post a lesson and a homework assignment. Click here to read the complete overview.)

Getting Started

Today is Day 1 of the Meal Planning Boot Camp and it’s going to the be hardest day. You’ll need to work, but if you can survive this, you will be a meal planning ninja in no time.

Yes, I just mixed metaphors. I’m a pretend drill sergeant, I can do that. But for the record, Ninjas do not go to boot camp.

Moving on…

Today is all about entering our recipes into PlanToEat. If you already have your recipes gathered, this will be a pretty straight forward process.

There are several ways to add your recipes depending on whether you have them on paper or organized digitally. I’ll cover all the methods in today’s video lesson.

Lesson 1: The Recipe Book

Here is my video screencast on how to enter recipes into your recipe book.

(RSS and email readers click here to watch the video.)


Today’s homework is to enter at least 5 recipes into your Recipe Book. If you have time to do more, then that’s even better. We will be entering recipes for the next few days, so the more you can do today, the less you’ll have to do tomorrow.


Focus On Your Favorites – Only enter your most used recipes. Don’t start at the beginning of your recipe pile and waste time on recipes that you only make occasionally. You can always add those later. Focus on your core meals.

Finish first, fancy later – Don’t worry about photos or tags or categories at first if you are pressed for time. Make something useable and then worry about making it fancy.

The goal for this week is for you to have enough recipes in your recipe book to make at least one or two menu plans. If you can add more that’s even better. Just be sure not to get hung up on the details.

Don’t retype if you don’t have to – Google is your friend. If you have a lot of recipes on paper that you need to type in, try searching for them first. I’ve done this for a number of dishes and it works really well. I simply search Google or a recipe site for the dish name. I often find the exact dish, but even when I don’t there are usually just one or two adjustments that need to be made. It speeds up the process a lot because I can just use the PTE recipe bookmarklet. (Here’s the info on how to add the bookmarklet if you haven’t already done so.)

Check In

When you complete the homework, please check in by leaving a comment. (Shhh…There may be a few little prizes available at the end of bootcamp for the most active recruits. Although, ninjas like you don’t need prizes so I’m sure you’ll give 110% anyway. Am I right? AM I RIGHT?! At ease.)

Also, if you have any questions, please leave those in the comments as well and I will do my best to help. If you have suggestions or ideas feel free to help other recruits by chiming in on questions in the comments. Click here to join in the discussion.

Rest up recruits. We have another insane day tomorrow. Dismissed.

Leave a Comment



  • Becky says:

    Done and done! Got a bunch entered in. I’m psyched for this class. I’ve been messing around with the site for a few days, but still have some questions and am sure I’m not doing things the easy way. Thanks!

    • Kat says:

      Way to go Becky! Feel free to ask any questions about each days topic here and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.

  • Erica Rawson says:

    Love the bookmarklet feature. Done!

  • Jane Hutcheson says:

    Thanks Kat for the tutorial. I signed up on Black Friday, but could not wrap my mind around this without your break-it-down-boot-camp. Day 1 homework complete. Hoping my family will be reaping the benefits soon;)

  • I love this idea! I entered all the recipes I “shared” on Facebook to remember for later (and never did). 🙂 I also entered our breakfast and lunches so my grocery list would be complete!

  • Callie says:

    Just added more recipes to PTE! I’m looking forward to using some of my “long forgotten” recipes from Pinterest!

  • Wanda says:

    Step #1 – Enter Recipes…check! Plan to Eat is an awesome website. This is going to change my LIFE (LOL…no, really….it will)

    Can I just say Kat, I love your posts. They do inspire me and some of your comments literally make me laugh of loud. You are my kind of gal….witty, inspiring, motivational, and just plain real. Thank you.

  • kookinkimmy says:

    Love your post! Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

  • Joellen says:

    I am done also love plan to eat. I am wondering how to friend people? Can’t wait to make this yummy chicken stirfry dish.

  • Edwena says:

    Added five recipes just now….I have a total of 15 recipes as I have messed wtih it a few days this past week. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Dawn says:

    It’s so easy to cut n paste from a website! It auto fills and all I have to do is click! Love it!

  • Lorena says:

    I just found this and just signed up for PTE I can’t wait to get started!!!

  • Kim says:

    Have been a plantoeat member for over a year but have never fully utilized it. As a homeschooling, self-employed, single mom, I NEED THIS!!!! It’s my year to get organized. Thanks for being my drill sergeant!!

  • Erin says:

    Your video was super helpful. I love the bulk add feature in that some of the websites I went to the bookmark didn’t work and of course my own recipes.

    Question, I’m in the trial membership phase until tomorrow. I don’t see the grocery category. Do you know if that is only available with the paid membership? I’ll be doing that step tomorrow.

    • Edwena says:

      Erin, what do you mean by the grocery aspect?

    • Kat says:

      Do you mean the shopping list part? I’m pretty sure the trial is the same as the paid…

      • Erin says:

        I did buy the membership. About 5 min. into your video where you are putting a recipe in using the bulk in put.. off to the right after notes you have a section showing up called, “Grocery Category” This isn’t showing up in my account at this same point. I have played a little with the shopping list part and do see that I can make categories there.
        Thanks.. I’ll stay tuned maybe as the week goes by this will all come together.

  • June says:

    already loving this website!

  • pollyw says:

    I am using a different free meal planning service online and have already entered more than 5 recipes. My oldest daughter wanted to get in on the planning and even helped me pick out some meals for this week…so, Yay! Thanks for the motivation!! Can’t wait to get it going! (With six kids, I have used meal planning in the past, but I am looking forward to getting it more digital.)

  • Heather L. says:

    Finished with day one! Thanks Kat!!

  • Valerie says:

    I am only getting to 2 recipes today. All the rest of my recipes are in a notebook rather than online and I am out of time. One of my recipes came out as a soup but it is actually a main dish. I can’t quite figure out how to move it. I may just be too much of a pen and paper gal to use this system. I don’t have any mobile devices and sometimes at dinner time my laptop is being used by a child or the internet is spotty so I would have to print anything not already printed.

    I am not giving up and am looking forward to learning more!

    • Kat says:

      Just click on the recipe to edit it and you can change the course while your editing the recipe.

      I actually have most of my recipes printed out in a binder in my kitchen. I use PlanToEat mostly for planning and shopping. Sometimes I’ll use my iPad while cooking , but normally it’s just a print out.

      Feel free to ask any questions along the way. I’m happy to help!

    • Marylynn Steichen says:

      Valerie, maybe you could get started by just entering the title and ingredients for each dish. That would allow you to create menus and shopping lists in Plan To Eat, but you could still use your paper recipes when cooking.

      That would at least make the entering process go more quickly. You could always go back and add the directions to each recipe later on if you wanted to have that info online.

  • Diane says:

    Done. Focusing on my family’s favorites was an excellent tip. Thanks for the encouragement and accountability Kat!

  • Katie B says:

    I’m another one who signed up on Black Friday but hasn’t done anything with PTE until now. Thank you for the motivation, direction, and accountability!

    • Kat says:

      I’m so glad to hear that this bootcamp is helpful. It’s really important to me to not just recommend something but to help you get the very most out of it. Thanks for sharing.

  • this is where pinterest recipes become sooo easy to use – just click over and save it to PTE! i’ve already been using PTE for several months, but i’m looking forward to learning new tricks 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    I already have quite a few recipes entered previously. So looking forward to the rest of the boot camp so I can utilize this site to its fullest. I so need this.

  • Amanda Trog-Henke says:

    The bookmarklet is amazing. I use Pinterest a lot (go figure. Haha.) and it makes it so easy to transfer recipes most of the time. I’ve been using Plan to Eat a bit since I joined (Black Friday also) but I’m glad I saw the post about the boot camp. I’m hoping it’ll help me figure out the best way to use it and I’ll start using it all the time.
    I just added another 5 recipes to my recipe book and will probably add some more tonight.

  • Melody M. says:

    Thank you so much for doing this boot camp. I love cooking and all things domestic, but I hate meal planning. I always end up procrastinating and then spending over our grocery budget. I love how easy it is to input recipes. Thank you again!

  • MrsAmyB says:

    Just entered my five. Posting this info on my homeschool support group page. I’m sure this would bless a lot of the families there. Thanks, sarge 🙂

  • Jeannine says:

    I actually put them in yesterday. Unfortunately I typed most of mine in. I do them from memory anyway. I can’t wait to make the menus. I use a menu on big oven. This one looks easier and nicer. P.s. Love the quilting blocks by the names. As a quilter its just nice to see

  • Kim says:

    I am always cooking, but I am looking forward to getting it out of my mind and organized somewhere else. I think this is going to be great! Thanks!

  • Lauren Moore says:

    Done! Went through ten food magazines that I had dog-eared and typed the recipes in- 15 recipes are now ready to be tried!

  • laura says:

    Great tutorial. Love PTE! Thanks Kat 🙂

  • Tana says:

    Done! Super easy and fun!

  • Angela says:

    I have input many more than 5 recipes. You are right – I LOVE the bulk import – a game changer for me – makes it soooo easy. I don’t see the Grocery category listed, though, like your video shows. Under ingredients, I have a column that says “note.” Do I need to hit a button or do something to set it up?

  • Alisha Frydrych says:

    This seems like it’s going to be a great resource! Can’t wait to reap the benefits. So far, super easy!

  • Jennifer says:

    Spent nap time entering recipes. Loved using the bookmarklet to enter recipes from some of my favorite blogs. Thank you so much for helping us learn to navigate this great resource. Now I can look forward to meal planning!

  • Grace S. says:

    Thank you for doing this! My husband signed me up for Christmas and I’m trying to learn how best to use it–bit by bit—-in my “spare time”. 🙂 I’m a slow learner when it comes to technology so am excited for your class.

  • Jen Thompson says:

    Entered a bunch from my favorite website. Slow and steady start!

  • Heather says:

    Thanks so much for breaking it all down for us and making using PTE ‘do-able’ – love the idea of it and I’m determined to sweat it out these early days to learn how to make it work for me – can’t wait for it to start ‘working’ for me so I can have some more relaxation! Recipes entered today – soo excited. Thanks

  • Leann says:

    I have a food blog where I have been sharing recipes with friends and family for about 8 years so I went over and loaded our very favorite recipes from the site to the Add to PTE window. I am hoping to be able to truly utilize them in our menu plan like never before. I love PTE very much! I spent a few hours today working through learning to use several ways to load the recipes that you covered in the video. What an amazing resource. I am delighted to find it and to join in learning more about how to use it this week. Again… thank you so much!!!

  • I have been working on my PTE account all day long, in little spurts, in between keeping up with my two kids. The Type A in me is OBSESSED! I finally have all of my recipes in one place rather than having to go back and forth from Pinterest to cookbooks etc. I have heard you talk about this for months and am so excited to finally have gotten on board. While it was a pretty big time commitment today, I am thrilled to see how my investment pays off for my family. Thanks, Kat!!

    • Kat says:

      That’s awesome! And since I’m probably somewhere around a Type Z, and still PTE has gotten me one top of my meal planning, you’ll probably be meal planned through 2019 by the end of this week. PTE makes it so simple. Way to go!

  • Lisa says:

    Entering recipes is a lot easier than I anticipated! I have over half of them added already, just working at it when I can. This may actually convince me to give up my pen & paper meal planning habits. Getting everything transferred into a meal planning database has always seemed too overwhelming, put PTE makes it seem doable. Thanks!

  • erin says:

    With the little I have used PTE in the last month, I love it in concept. Meal planning has always seemed so elusive because of our lifestyle but I am determined to make it work. Question about meals that we don’t have a recipe for, that we require very little thought…for me it’s things like tacos or BBQ chicken. Kat, do you have those things entered so that when you plan to do a no brainer meal like that it gets put into your shopping list?

    Also, I don’t know how to find friends…I’ll mess around a little more to figure it out.

    Thanks so much Kat, you rock!

  • Shawna says:

    I have a bunch entered now! I am so excited for this bootcamp!

  • Rachel says:

    Love this! I have been using plan to eat for about a month but hadn’t learned about the book mark button! That is awesome – and makes it go SO much faster! thanks!

  • Jada Smith says:

    Love day 1 and looking forward to more recipes! Such good ideas! 🙂

  • Dawna says:

    How much FUN was that?! I am in love with the bookmarklet button and I just couldn’t help myself… I kept clicking and adding well past bedtime. 🙂 Day 1 is done. Looking forward to day 2. Thanks Kat!

  • Cheyney says:

    This is already so helpful! Thank you so much for your efforts!

  • Danielle says:

    Have been using PTE since last year’s boot camp & I Love it! Following along with the boot camp again this year to spruce up & clean up my recipes/see how others like it. Thank you for introducing me to a great site! The grocery list feature has caused the “I’m missing one ingredient – ugh!” moments to become few and far between.

  • Tamara says:

    Thank you for the Boot Camp Kat! I just imported several recipes and am excited for tomorrow’s assignment!

  • Tris says:

    I signed up for PTE last Black Friday and was able to add some of my favorite recipes already. However, that’s as far as I have gone and have not yet utilized it fully especially the meal planning part. I also would like to know how to add friends. This bootcamp would really be a big help!

  • Emily says:

    I signed up for PTE a few weeks ago and entered a bunch of my regular web-sourced recipes yesterday. Can’t wait to learn more about how to make this sustainable!

  • Laraz says:

    I used the link above, but couldn’t find instructions on how to use the booklet feature. It just took me to a general FAQ page about subscription etc. (PS I’ve been using pte for over two years now and love it! I haven’t connected with others on the site so I’m looking forward to learning about that. Also my two year old is allergic to milk, eggs, nuts and sesame seeds, so I’m wondering if there is a way to connect with people with similar concerns and also a way to look for recipes without certain ingredients.) Thanks!

  • Marylynn Steichen says:

    I’ve been using PTE since Black Friday and it’s a total gamechanger! I got to the store last week and realized I left my paper list at home – no problem, I just pulled out my phone and accessed my list online. I added all my printed-out recipes yesterday and cleaned up my other entries. Looking forward to learning more!

  • Laura Kane says:

    I’ve done my homework! I’m in the process of converting my personal recipes (currently in a huge notebook in sheet protectors) to the website. When I cook, I simply pull up the recipe on my Ipad and voila! I can actually go “paperless” and save some trees! I’m loving this sight and am so thankful that you’ve taken the task on!

  • I added 5 recipes to PTE, will slowly add more and do more details to the ones I have.

  • Mandy E says:

    I added a few more than 5 recipes last night. Using PTE could get addicting!

  • Jodi says:

    I entered my recipes last night. Thanks for doing this boot camp. This is just the motivation I need! Meal planning is my least favorite chore of the week. I am loving the website!

  • Jess says:

    Better late than never! I just finished Day 1 of boot camp…moving on to Day 2! I must say I am so impressed with this Plan to Eat website! So easy to use!

  • Heather says:

    Finished my families must have dinner favs last night. Thanks for putting this boot camp together.I wasn’t sure about using an online method for my meal planning but I am super excited to learn. I’m ready to become a meal planning ninja!!

  • Carrie K says:

    I’ve been using plan to eat for a year now & love it !! I’m following along to see if I can learn a few new tricks! I have my recipes entered and agree that almost anything I’ve wanted to input has been somewhere online and easy to import.

  • I’ve loved everything about plan to eat. It’s making me a better cook I just needed direction!!!

  • Amanda Johnston says:

    A friend sent this to me because she knows I struggle with menu planning. Step 1 is done. Note if I can just get my picky eats to all agree on the same meals, life would be grand!

  • Jan says:

    I LOVE this! Can’t wait to get through the first week of cooking without trying to figure out meals every day!! 🙂

  • Erica C says:

    Added a few new “recipes” for things we’ve had for dinner over the past week that have never qualified as needing a recipe, but I thought maybe I should fill in in an effort to meal plan. Also deleted quite a few “that looks neat, maybe some day I’ll make it” recipes, so hopefully my recipe books is more useful – looking forward to the next installment!

  • Aimee says:

    After a little confusion with my PTE account… I now have a total of 61 recipes added! Several from my recipe binder! Super excited to hear the rest of the boot camp and actually have a meal plan I can use!

  • Tamara says:

    I was a little behind on my emails, so didn’t read your Sunday or Monday emails until Monday evening. As a result, I got a late start, but I have added several recipes to my account – good to go!

  • Cynthia says:

    Added some recipes today, woo hoo!

  • Sarah says:

    Five recipes entered! I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of adding recipes that would be better off pinned – and not adding recipes that are basic family favorites. This means the menu planning feature hasn’t been utilized nearly as much as it could have been. I’ve added five “family basics” and am ready to get going!

  • blessednhmom says:

    Love the tip about the PTE bookmarklet. I’d been hand entering recipes previously – ugh! Have a bunch entered now, and am ready for more!

  • Tracey Malone says:

    Can u load the book mark on ur iPhone? I was able to find some of my favorite recipes on the Internet. Pretty cool. So excited what else u r going to teach us. Tx.

  • Heliza says:

    Homework done

  • Diana says:

    I’m a little behind (technical stuff and a work dinner) but I’ve got my first recipes done. I’m really excited.

  • Colandra Shead says:

    Well just found this post so I’m a day behind but I plan to catch up or I’ll just finish on Saturday a day later than normal. In either case I am so glad I have this Boot Camp. I have been desiring to get my meal planing organized for a very long time. I’m all done with Day 1 homework assignment, Bookmarklet made it really easy. Thanks Kat!!

  • yeahhhh I did my homework!!

  • Dawn says:

    Day 1: done!!! better late then never!!

  • Pamela says:

    I’m done! Thank you for doing this Kat!

  • Angi says:

    Done! Found some great recipes I actually added a bunch