The Meal Planning Boot Camp Day 4: Q & A and the Friends Section

By January 22, 2015Meal Planning Boot Camp

(If your 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.)

Graduation Day Update

We had some blog post delivery issues late this week, as a result, I’ll be moving Graduation Day to next week. This will give everyone the weekend to catch up (or even just add in a few more menus and recipes) and it will also allow you to put all your hard work to the test at the grocery store this weekend.

Today’s Lesson: The Friends Section and Q & A

In today’s videos, I discuss the Friends section of the Plan To Eat website and I also answer several of your questions including:

  • How do I add my menu plan to my calendar.
  • How to use tags to further categorize recipes.
  • How to add nutrition info.
  • How to make a recipe private.
  • What is the Queue and how do I use it?
  • I don’t see my Pantry in the Shopping List. How do I add it?

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

I hope you have been enjoying this Boot Camp so far! I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments and tweets about all that you’re learning.

Be sure to finish strong. Make the most of this weekend. Add more recipes, create a couple more menu plans, tweak the shopping list. Finishing strong now will make it so much easier for you the rest of the year. Your future self and your family will thank you for all your hard work.

Homework: Time To Make Some Friends

Since we just did a lesson on the Friend section, let’s create a list of everyone’s usernames, the type of food they generally cook, and the names of their favorite recipes.

Assignment 1: Introduce yourself
Share these 3 tidbits in the comments:

  1. PTE username
  2. Kinds of recipes you have (simple, vegan, gluten free, fast, gourmet, kid friendly…)
  3. The names of 1 or 2 of your favorite recipes and why.

Assignment 2: Add at least 5 friends
Try to find at least 5 friends whose cooking matches up with yours and add them as friends. It will make it so much simpler the next time you find yourself in a cooking rut. Just take a glance through their recipes or menus and you’ll find plenty of inspiration.

Click here to comment and introduce yourself.

Leave a Comment



  • Avatar Edwena says:

    My PTE username is Gracie Niehaus
    Recipes: THM, Healthy, Crockpot
    Favorite Recipes: Basic Black Bean Soup (everyone in my family loves it, cheap, and very flavorful, also healthy)
    Italian Turkey Meatloaf (easy to double for lots of leftovers or one for the freezer, and super yummy spin on meatloaf)

    • Avatar Edwena says:

      I changed my PTE name to Edwena so it would be less confusing….before it was my dd’s name.

  • Avatar Laura says:

    My PTE username: Laurakane1108
    Recipes – Low Carb, Keto, $5 meals, Comfort Food, Crockpot.. just about anything really….lol
    Favorites: Banana Pudding because the family goes nuts over it….
    Basic Meatballs cause they are so very versatile!

  • Avatar Callie says:

    I eat Paleo, THM, whole foods.
    My favorite recipes are One Pot Paleo Chicken Curry Stir Fry because it’s so customizable and you can use whatever you have on hand. Also Chicken Lazone because it’s super easy and fast.

  • Avatar Erin says:

    My PTE name:Erindeaver
    Recipes- Low carb, THM, Calorie count, seasonal, low cost, kid friendly,special occasion treats!

    Favorites: We like so much hard to say!
    Long term how I plan to use the site:

    Menu planning goals: planning recipes that work together over several days. Like using filling for shredded tacos one night, then adding it to taco soup two days later.
    Love the idea of freezer planning ahead.

    Can you tell my children are grown? I have the time to think about menu planning! I really hope to be able to share this down the road with my grown daughters. They are both busy stay at home Mamas, who home school and care for young kiddos! They too need the budget part!

  • Avatar Marylynn says:

    Hi, I’m Marylynn and my PTE username is jmarylynn.

    My recipes are mostly healthy and I try to cook with fewer processed foods. My baby has milk & soy protein intolerance (MSPI), so most of my recipes are tagged “MSPI” to indicate that they are free from these or easily adapted. I’ve also created a section of freezer meals that can be prepared in bulk and go straight from the freezer to the crockpot, and most of these are MSPI-friendly as well.

    Our favorite recipes are the Baked Oatmeal, which is a super-easy breakfast that can be prepped the night before, and the Warm Zucchini, Corn, and Black Bean Salad, which tastes fabulous and is great when I feel like I need a few more veggies in the menu.

  • Avatar Heather L. says:

    My PTE username: sportnutsgirl
    Recipes: quick and easy for my busy family – pasta, crock pot, kid-friendly
    Favorite Recipes: ham and cheese casserole because it’s super easy and everyone loves it; nachos because I always have all ingredients on hand and can make it quickly.

  • Avatar Courtney says:

    My PTE username: cfoley513

    Recipes: quick, easy, tasty, kid-friendly

    I’m a working mom with three kiddos that does not like to cook. We are just getting started with Plan to Eat and are loving it so far!

  • Avatar Melissa says:

    I have a little bit of everything (Paleo, low carb, whole foods, crockpot…) In the next few weeks I’m going to being doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox and saving those menus.

  • Avatar Melissa says:

    and I plan on adding Weight Watchers

  • Avatar Dawna says:

    Hey everyone!
    My PTE username is MaineacMom

    REcipes – I love to eat and I love to cook so we do a bit of everything. Crockpot, comfort food, healthy, kid friendly

    I am new to PTE so I am still working on my recipe list but some of our favorites are Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup served with Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread… it is super easy and a big hit with the kids and at potlucks. As a homeschooling Momma of 5 (soon to be 6) I like to serve up wholesome meals as quickly as possible.

    I look forward to meeting you guys! 🙂

  • Avatar MrsAmyB says:

    PTE user name MrsAmyB
    Family friendly, comfort foods, and plan to add healthy recipes soon.
    A family favorite is “Chicken Chowder”. So much so that it has been the request for Christmas Lunch from all twelve nieces and nephews for three years running.

  • Avatar Dawn says:

    Hi All, my PTE user name is Krajewski

    We love family friendly and healthy recipe with Chicken and beef. We do a few veggie only meals too.

    I have about 80 recipes so far in my book. My Favorites i have listed are the Chicken-broccoli bake and lazy day stew. Still spending some time posting some really good ones so more to come. TTYL.

  • Avatar Lisa says:

    Hi Everyone,

    My PTE user name is jklisa.

    I have a lot of homestyle chicken recipes. One of our favorite recipes is the Salisbury Steak. I am working on getting my THM recipes entered.

  • hey everyone! my name is whitneyconard – i cook lots of whole foods, global cuisine, and easy recipes for busy nights. look me up!

  • Avatar Leann says:

    Hi, I am Leann and my PTE name is Academy252
    I make a lot of different things but am hoping to add more soups and salads soon because I want to start making those ahead to have for lunches for everyone. I have started collecting more Korean recipes lately, too. We are not Korean but my husband is the English pastor for a local Korean church and we enjoy the food there very much. LOL

    Our favorite recipes… the ones we use a lot are Chili and an Enchilada Casserole recipe we have used for many years. We like Mexican food a lot, too, since we live in El Paso, TX.

    I do a Vegetarian meal once a week and am adding more of those as well as more gluten/wheat/soy free stuff for me (I have arthritis and it is helped by this diet a great deal) Most everything we eat is soy free, btw.

  • Avatar Ginny says:

    My name is Ginny & my PTE username is carolinagin.
    I’ve got a lot of basic meals, and the first few I’ve entered have been hubby’s favorites from old Men’s Health magazines from past years. The spicy shrimp & asparagus stir fry is great, I made the tuna patties last night for dinner – YUM! and had Fried Rice for lunch today.

    The sauce for the Honey Sesame Crock Pot Chicken is divine & I’ve renamed it “Magic Sauce.” I didn’t even use the crock pot for it, and when I cooked it the second time, I added about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar & served it with pork tenderloin. SO YUM!

  • Avatar Joellen says:

    Hello All!!! My PTE name is Joellenemm. I have an eclectic burch of recipes. I like recipes that use whole foods. I am so excited to make some new friends on here. Thanks!!

    • Avatar Joellen says:

      I forgot to mention that I love roasted veggies The sweet potato and honey is good or the brussel sprouts and parmesan cheese. Yum!

  • Avatar Katie B says:

    Hi, I’m Katie! My PTE name is ktbabbino
    I cook mostly Paleo meals that sometimes incorporate a little bit of dairy, though if you look at my recipes/menus you’ll see this is mostly just for dinner. My husband eats almost 100% Paleo but my kids and I do not, so breakfast and lunch vary. I use mostly whole foods and as little processed as possible.
    As far as favorites there is a spaghetti squash casserole I’ve cooked about a million ways since we’ve abandoned traditional pasta 🙂 Even my picky little ones will eat it!

  • Avatar Heliza says:

    Hello, My PTE name is Heliza (and (my real name in life)
    I have 4 little kids(age1-7) and don’t like cooking and not that great at it so I have to follow a recipe. We live on a farm(in New Zealand) quite a bit from town so mainly do whole foods and easy, kid friendly recipe. The kids favourite is wraps (think that might be burrito in America), Nachos and my husband is happy with meat, 3 veg and potato. I’m new to PTE and looking forward to expanding my meal planing.

  • Avatar Dawna says:

    When I added people’s recipes they did not show up under the categories I already had in my recipe book. Instead they showed up in duplicate categories like 1.Breakfast or 2.Main Course. How do I get them to all go under the same heading so I don’t have two different breakfast categories to scroll through?

  • Avatar Julie Winslow says:

    Hi my PTE name is JulieW. I’ve been using PTE for a couple years, but lately have gotten in a rut and haven’t used it to full potential. Thanks for the inspiration, Kat!

    I cook a lot from scratch since I live in Shanghai, China and can’t find a lot of convenience foods available in the US. My recipes fit in the whole-foods/kid friendly/freezer friendly category. Two of my favorites are Kickin’ Meatballs and Cheesy Chicken Patties. You could also call me the Muffin Mom, since I love muffins as single-serving snacks for kids. My favorite muffin recipes: whole wheat sweet potato, pumpkin, five-spice zucchini, and Melody’s Banana bread (made into muffins).

  • Avatar Tamara says:

    Hi! My PTE username is TamaraYW.

    I am married and we have a 2- year-old son. While I enjoy cooking, our full schedule means that most of our meals are quick, easy, and toddler-friendly. I love my crockpot and I cook a lot of soups through fall and winter. I also rely on semi-homemade (like starting with a rotisserie chicken) a good bit. I love to cook extra and freeze portions. We are trying to incorporate more lean meats and veggies. Speaking of lean meats (snicker), one of my favorite meals is crockpot baby back ribs! So easy, and produces delicious results!

  • Avatar Tris says:

    Hi, my PTE name is tricia_a.
    I cook mostly Asian foods because I’m from the Philippines. I also love pasta dishes.

  • Avatar Tamara says:

    My PTE name is Saylor. My recipes consist mostly of kid friendly, whole foods and comfort foods. I am hoping to add a lot more vegetarian recipes.

  • Avatar Emma says:

    Hi! My PTE user name is Emma Buncic.

    I am an Australian mother of 2 small children living in Switzerland. I bought PTE at the black friday sale but probably would never have ended up using it if Kat hadn’t done this boot camp – I am over joyed that I now know how to use it 🙂

    I have been following a SANE/no sugar diet for myself which has miraculously healed my PCOS which I have had for the past 25 years!

    I prefer wholefoods with little sugar for my family – though I also have a home business cupcake making!!!!

    My favourite recipes on my PTE are the Grain Free Granola recipes and the Lasagna recipe (no pasta)… I love that I can still enjoy these recipes without the grains/pasta 🙂

  • Avatar Heather says:

    Hi my name is Heather & my PTE user name is Amusos.

    I live in Australia and am cooking for a hubby and 3 rapidly growing boys. I don’t have many recipes on PTE yet but am hoping they add a way to export from Evernote, which is where I have all my recipes. I have been LOVING learning about PTE and realise what a fantastic tool it is.

    I have recently acquired a pressure cooker and have been enjoying experimenting with it and hence so far most of my recipes are family-friendly pressure cooker recipes. I often cook in bulk and freeze. I also enjoy cake/biscuit/dessert baking so will be adding a lot more recipes in time.

    My favourite recipe I’ve added is ‘Tunarani’, a very quick rice/tuna one-pot meal that I can whip up using pantry staples.

  • Avatar Tracey Malone says:

    Why can’t u use the PTE bookmark on ur iPhone ? Or am I doing something wrong. Txt.

  • Avatar Laura says:

    Kat, I have meals frozen in my freezer already. Is there a way to add them so that I can incorporate them in my meal plan without the ingredients showing up on my shopping list? Also, my shopping list isn’t showing the setting button, does anyone else have that issue? Thanks for all the great info, looking forward to trying everyone’s recipes!

  • Avatar ramaresfamily says:

    My Plan to Eat name: christikr
    Right now I am eating/planning whole 30 / paleo.

    Thank you for sharing tips. I have “used” plan to eat for a couple of years to save recipes, but not meal plan! Thank you for helping me use it more!

  • Avatar Jen Thompson says:

    My username is jdrennan76,

    I’m in the 30 day trial, but I wish I had bought PTE on sale. I do think it will help me manage cooking for my husband and 4 kids.

    I like meals that can be frozen or prepped at least partly ahead of time. Very few stand by the stovetop meals for us. We love Mexican and Italian best and aim for healthy eating, but not totally grains free. I usually serve a main dish and a roasted veggie, plus some kind of dessert one night a week.

    I do love baking for snacks and special occasions, too. Homemade Granola and Pumpkin Muffins are our top favorites. Plus chocolate chip cookies from the recipe off the Toll House bag.

    Family Faves (besides Kraft Mac and Cheese) – Southwestern Egg Rolls, Baked Ziti, and Chicken Parmesan.

  • Avatar ajflenar says:

    My PTE username is ajflenar.
    I use mostly THM recipes, but I also have a few family favorites.
    My latest favorites are Trim Healthy Mama pot roast with gravy and Trim Healthy Mama Fudge No-Bake Cookies. I try to include a tag of either S, E, or FP in each of my THM recipes so I can easily search for the fuel type I want to plan for.

  • Avatar Tina says:

    tmc57006 here and I am a newbie to THM (still reading the book) and hope to merge PTE (my life saver) and THM. I am a new wife and mom and hope to learn great things to be healthy. Thank you Kat Lee for introducing PTE to me.

  • Avatar Laura says:

    LOL This has inspired me! I’m dicing and slicing and prepping veggies today and plan on making a couple of pizza’s to freeze. Good to know that a 50+ woman can still be inspired… thank you all!

  • Avatar erin says:

    Hi All!
    I’m Erin, and have NEVER MEAL PLANNED BEFORE! I have really wanted to, but having babies, working full time, having health problems, and a long-working husband have kept me from jumping in. Kat introduced me this site and then this bootcamp has kickstarted me.

    We are trying to maintain a paleo lifestyle. So my recipes are new to me but so far so good! I’ve never been much a “recipe follower” rather preferring to cook via recall and/or improv.

    Find me at ea.myers

  • Avatar Jane Hutcheson says:

    Hi all! I’m Jane, an American mother of four (ages 7 to 10 months), living in Kyrgyzstan. My username is Jane Hutcheson. My son and I are gluten free, dairy free, which is kind of tricky to do here. The rest of the family eats it all, so I have a bit of everything in the recipe book. I do try to cook mostly paleo in order to avoid making multiple meal variations, but am known to have two dinners on any given night. Ahh! Not a good use of time:) I would love to expand my recipes to have more paleo type meals that the whole family loves.

    Thanks, Kat, for getting me moving on this!

  • Avatar Aimee says:

    Hello my PTE username is Merrellmom11 . I am really new to PTE so I don’t have a lot of recipes but am trying to add more each evening. Have my first week planned and my Husband is headed to the grocery store (Love that guy!!).
    We try to eat healthy and kid friendly meals. Also just starting out with THM this year so some of the meals will be THM friendly. We are a large family and I found years ago that a rotating breakfast and lunch plan really helps, so I did make a basic breakfast/lunch menu…pretty cool to just add that menu to each week and have breakfasts and lunch already done! Thanks again Kat!!

  • Avatar Aimee says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention our favorite recipes 🙂 Baked Blueberry Oatmeal. (My kiddos could eat it everyday) and Slow Cooker Chicken pot pie soup.

  • Avatar Diana says:

    This has been great! Meal planning is not one of my strong suits. We have just moved so one of my resolutions is to get in the meal planning habit. I was so excited to learn about PTE through the Inspired to Action Podcast.
    1.PTE username; dmnagel
    2.Kinds of recipes you have: simple, fast, kid friendly, trying to be healthy
    3.The names of 1 or 2 of your favorite recipes and why: Creamy Chicken Peas and Pasta (comfort food), Baked Oatmeal, Broccoli Slaw

    I am looking for easy, kid friendly, healthy (and some crockpot) meals.

  • Avatar Diana says:

    Just to let you know…
    these 2 usernames came up as “unable to find any users with that login name”

  • Avatar Meagan says:

    Hey Kat! I’ve been following along a bit with the boot camp this week, but more as a refresher. I did the boot camp last time, but have seriously fallen off the meal planning wagon the past several months. Thanks for doing this once in a while! It gives me just the kick start I need to get going….again. I’ve been cleaning up my saved recipes and getting rid of ones I know we don’t like or I don’t think I’ll ever get around to actually making. I’ve added a few new ones too. Anyway, I wanted to comment on this post because I love finding new Plan to Eat friends! 🙂 So to answer your questions…

    1) My PTE username is Meagan.

    2) Most of the recipes I have saved are healthy(ish) and I do tend to lean toward vegetarian/vegan, but we still eat meat and dairy some. We’ve gotten a bit lazy about this and are trying again to go more plant-based.

    3) A couple of my favorite recipes you’ll find in my profile are “Red Lentil and Squash Curry Stew” and “Leek, Bacon, and Pea Risotto.” If you’ve never tried risotto because you think it is tricky, do yourself a favor and give it a try! It takes patience, but it’s not difficult and is one of my all-time favorite dishes. (And the reason I will never be 100% vegan! ha!) My kids also really like the “Squash Mac and Cheese.”

    Looking forward to sharing recipes with y’all! 🙂

    • Avatar Kat says:

      Hi Meagan! I’m so glad this little bootcamp helps you “get back on the wagon!” Also, are you coming to MomHeart this year? Hope to see you there!

      • Avatar Meagan says:

        Yes, I will be at MomHeart this year! I just registered last week. After missing the past couple of years I am so excited to be going back. Looking forward to seeing you and hearing you speak!

  • Avatar Katie B says:

    I just finished my first grocery shopping trip using PTE! I loved “shopping from my kitchen” before I left, then filling in what I needed at the store. It was really easy to use! My only question would be if there’s a way to combine the week’s shopping list with the staples list on the mobile site? And even if not, if there’s a way to actually check off the staples list items? Before I left the house I was able to use the regular site to check off the staples I already had and they were removed from the list, but as I switched between shopping and staples lists at the store, the staples I had checked off remained on their list. Overall a very minor complaint compared with how much I think this will help our family, just wondering if there’s something I’m missing. 🙂 Thanks again, Kat!

  • Avatar Colandra Shead says:

    PTE Username: cshead38

    Recipes: cheap, quick, easy, crockpot meals

    I am not real big on cooking so I don’t really have any favorite recipes but since I’ve joined PTE I’m expecting to have several. I really like PTE and I’m excited about using it.

  • Avatar Laura says:

    Just wanted to share for any others that are likeminded! I absolutely detest paying a ton of money for cleaning supplies that are harsh on our environment and full of unnecessary chemicals and way way way overpriced! I’ve made a “course” in my PTE and I’ve added my cleaning fluid recipes. If anyone would like to try any of these out, my PTE user name is: laurakane1108. Most only take a few minutes to make and save me lots of money!

  • Avatar Diane says:

    Got a little derailed by a weekend away and sick kiddos. But my fridge is full and I’m feeling confident we will eat well despite the sniffles.

    PTE username: ddurow

    Types of recipes: a little bit of everything, mostly whole food, kid friendly, crockpot

    Family Favorites: Pioneer Woman’s Sour Cream Noodle Bake and Shredded Beef Tacos