The 5 Minute Meal Plan

[updated 9-20-19. This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you click a link below and make a purchase, I may make a small commission. In other words, thanks for keeping me in coffee money!]

I’m spilling my favorite secret today with my ‘5 Minute Meal Plan’ tip!

Today I thought I would share one of my favorite time saving, quick meal planning ‘hacks’. It’s Evernote, the cloud-based note-taking app! I’m going to break down, step-by-step, how I use this super simple app and program. Then you, too, can work a super quick 5 minute meal plan! 

My Evernote system is something I use regularly when I’m making my own family’s meal plans, and I also use it as a part of my member’s only resource center, Uncomplicated Kitchen. You can catch a sneak preview of what the Resource is like by signing up for my free 5 Minute Meal Plan Training

It’s nothing special or crazy or complicated, but you do need a smartphone to fully pull it off.

I use Evernote to store all my recipes.

No binders or recipe card boxes here!

If you’ve never used or heard of Evernote, I urge you to check it out! It’s a cloud-based list-making app, and it is so powerful. Since it’s based in the cloud, it will take up very little room on your phone, tablet, or computer. Yet it has the capacity to store thousands, if not millions, of your recipes. 

Here’s a quick rundown on how I have my Evernote set up:

First, I created a handful of ‘notebooks’ in recipe categories I knew I’d use often, like Dinner, Snacks, and Salads.

Then, I added all my recipes I had bookmarked online and on my computer, dividing them into the correct folders.

(if you use Chrome as your browser, the Evernote Web Clipper Extension is a huge help for the online stuff!)

For recipes I had stored outside of the computer (think recipes ripped out of magazines, recipe cards, even some favorite cookbook recipes)

I use the camera scanner within the Evernote app on my phone. Guys, this is my favorite part of the whole Evernote program.

You can use their app camera to snap a picture of anything and it will store it whichever way you want; as a pdf, a scan, an image.

Using the Evernote camera, you can crop images right there in the app and write notes on them, too.

If you’ve got, say, a recipe card that has a front or a back, you can save each image separately within the same “note”.

Here’s what that looks like ——>

And it helps a ton with clutter; after I scanned in all my scribbled recipes and ripped-out-of-magazines-recipes and such, I carefully put away the recipe cards that meant something to me, like the ones in my Grandma’s handwriting. Then I recycled the rest.

Evernote is so handy for saving everything you need, especially recipes!

Now, when I sit down on Saturday afternoon to decide what we’re going to be eating that week, I get it all done with a quick 5-minute meal plan. And Evernote makes that super simple. As long as I’ve got my phone, everything I need is accessible!

Another great thing about Evernote is the search function is incredibly powerful.

It makes it really easy to browse through a specific category and pull recipes out really quickly.

Evernote’s search capabilities will even scan handwriting, so you just have to save the image and it’ll come up in search! How cool is that?

For example, say I know I’ve got some chicken breasts that need to be eaten that week. I’ll type “chicken breasts” into the search function of Evernote, and it pulls up all the recipes I have in there that use chicken breasts. Then I pick what fits best into our meal plan!

Another bonus? When I’m in the kitchen and I want to cook from a specific recipe, I’ll just prop my phone or tablet up and open the Evernote app. Then I cook right from there; no dragging out cookbooks! It’s super handy when I travel, too.

I know this is a bit of work at first setting it up, but I really hope you’ll try it. Once you’ve got a system down, it’s crazy easy to add recipes in, no matter where you find them.

Have you used Evernote? Do you have another super easy system for saving your recipes? I’d love to hear from you!

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