Do you go to the grocery store, buy some random foods (maybe because they’re on sale), spend a lot of money, and still not know what to make for dinner? Do you try to meal plan, but going through all the individual ingredients you need takes way too long? Or, do you just have a hard time figuring out which recipes to use when you meal plan? How about trying to find this recipe that came out great, but not remembering if you saved it on Pinterest, your bookmarks bar, allRecipes, or if it was just a Google search?
I’ve run in to all of these obstacles (and others, too) when trying to meal plan. It can be very frustrating, because meal planning is supposed to save you money and time, but sifting through a bunch of recipes and figuring out which ingredients you have and which you need can take more time than you’re willing to invest…which might make you throw in the towel all together! Then you’ll resort to random, impulsive shopping, which will probably cost more and be less healthy, too.
There’s An App For That!
A friend of mine recently pointed out that I have this collection of a bunch of random, yet useful apps. I seriously love to think of different “problems,” and then spend time researching and searching for a [FREE] app that solves that problem!
When I first tried my hand at meal planning, I realized it could be pretty intense, yet I had heard that there were so many benefits to doing it. My biggest complaint was that I’d choose a bunch of recipes, but then I’d have to sift through the individual ingredients and create a new list from scratch. Writing/typing everything out and going through the recipes was just taking too long.
I had seen calendar-style apps that you could save your meal PLAN in…but it was literally just the name of the recipe and maybe a link TO that recipe. I had also seen grocery list apps that would help you remember what to buy, but you had to figure out what to buy on your own.
The ideal app for me would combine both of those things, but I wondered if it actually existed. After doing some research and trying out several apps, I finally came across the best, best, BEST app for meal-planning: Pepperplate.
Why Is Pepperplate So Amazing?
I seriously cannot say enough good things about this app. It seriously has almost everything I could’ve wanted for meal-planning. And I thought I’d add, that I am not getting anything out of this review. I am just so impressed by and thankful for this app that I wanted to share about it just because! Here are two specific reasons I wanted to blog about it:
- To give the app more exposure. They seriously created such a thought-out and useful app, AND it’s FREE. The app makers deserve a sincere round of applause!
- To share with my readers (A.K.A. YOU) about an app that has seriously impacted my life and has helped me plan our meals more efficiently, save time, and save money.
Now, let me share about the amazing features this app has (FINALLY)!
- Manage recipes– You can save all of your favorite recipes in one place…right in the Pepperplate app on your phone! You can also edit them so that they’re just the way you like them, whether it’s more or less of certain ingredients, or healthier substitutions. Plus, you can organize your recipes into different categories, making it easier to find what you’re looking for when you need it!
- Syncs on multiple devices– Pepperplate is available on almost every device! I use the website on my laptop, and the app on my iPhone. The neat thing is that they have a Google Chrome extension that allows you to add recipes directly to your account from any website. Some of them will import the ingredients, directions, serving size, cooking time, and even photo right into your saved recipes. If the particular website isn’t set-up to do that, though, you can easily just copy + paste the different ingredients and steps in a little window that pops up. I definitely recommend the “Add Recipe” feature for Chrome! If not, you can easily add recipes through their website or app.
- Menu feature- If you have a meal that you like to pair with certain sides, you can put several recipes together into a “menu.” This is actually a feature I haven’t used, but I realize I should definitely take advantage of it. It makes more sense than scrolling through to find different recipes if I always make certain foods together!
- Meal plan- Once you have a few recipes saved, you can assign recipes to different days for the week. There are spaces for morning, afternoon, and evening meals, so you can plan for every meal if you want to! You choose which recipes you want and what day and time slot you want it, and then you have an easy-to-look-at meal calendar for the week!
- Grocery shop- One of my favorite parts about this app is the shopping list feature! Once you’ve meal planned for the week, you can add the ingredients of the recipes to your shopping list, which is also in the app, and ALSO SYNCS TO ALL YOUR DEVICES! So if I meal plan and make my list on their website while on my laptop, then the list will sync to the phone app so I can use it (and check-off items) while I shop! And the best part is that you can go through each recipe and take off the ingredients you already have. That way your shopping list only has the things you need to buy and not a bunch of the random stuff you usually already have (like salt, or water…lol). Is this not revolutionary?!? I seriously love this feature!
- Organize your shopping list- As if we needed another bonus on the shopping list! But you can also arrange your shopping list into different categories, and arrange your ingredients into those categories. That way your list will be set-up the way you shop, saving you from walking back and forth across the store a thousand times.
- And finally, you can COOK with it!- This is the whole point, right? Haha. So once you’ve gotten your groceries home, it’s finally time to put all this planning to good use (and make your tummies very happy). You can open up your meal calendar and click on the recipes you’re making for that evening (it will tell you which one if you’ve forgotten…like I usually do). Then all the ingredients and directions will be listed for you right there; and if you’re using several recipes for the one meal, then you can swipe back and forth between them. Aaaand, there are cooking timers built into the app (I usually have random food juices on my hands so I’ll often just tell Siri to set timers for me, but it’s still a cool feature).
Okay…so can you tell that I’m a little passionate about this app? It’s seriously THE. BEST. EVER.
So thank you so much, Pepperplate, for making such an amazing, helpful, thought-out app available to us, and for making it free, nonetheless.
And thank you to my readers who have made it this far and read all my excited ramblings about another app. Don’t worry, my weird app-finding self will have more reviews about useful apps to come.
Until then, I’ll be laughing, lettering, and enjoying my yummy meals thanks to Pepperplate!
P.S. If you’ve tried this app, I’d love to hear about how you use it! Or if you have another method of meal planning, let me know in the comments below.