The Plan to Eat Podcast

#2: What the Heck is Meal Planning?

November 03, 2021 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 2
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#2: What the Heck is Meal Planning?
Show Notes Transcript

If you're not sure what meal planning involves, this episode is for you! We offer meal planning tips for any type of planner and give an overview of the Cook, Plan, and Shop sections of Plan to Eat. Plus, we highlight a few features and help you understand what it's like to meal plan with Plan to Eat.

Read our related blog post on the top 5 benefits of meal planning:

Find the recipes Riley and Roni talked about:

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper
Riley's GF Mac and Cheese

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[00:00:00] I'm Riley Whitson and I'm Roni Vayre. And this is the plan to eat podcast where we, I have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner. 

Roni Vayre: . Everybody. Welcome to our second episode of the Plan to Eat podcast. Today, we are going to talk about what meal planning is and why we think you should meal plan and why we think you should make a plan with Plan to Eat.

Riley Whitson: This topic is near and dear to our hearts. Obviously we love meal planning. We think everyone should do it. We think that it saves time and money and energy and stress. But you know, let's really just answer the question. What is meal planning? 

Roni Vayre: In general meal planning is. Taking the time to plan out your meals for a week or really whatever timeframe you want to set, but a week is kind of a good generality. And then after you've done that planning of what you're going to eat for the week, you go grocery shopping one time, rather than going grocery shopping, [00:01:00] like every day or every other day to pick up all these random things that you need for your meals. You're grocery shopping once and you kind of get everything out of the way it's pre-planned and. You've looked through your schedule. So you know that your meals are going to work with your schedule, all of those kinds of things. Now that's the ideal way of meal planning, not everybody meal plans this way. 

Riley Whitson: Yeah. We think it's really important to note that everyone actually does this. Whether you do it intentionally and think like this is my meal plan or whether you decide to five minutes before you are wanting to eat. You do it because we all eat food. And so meal planning something that we all do. 

Roni Vayre: Exactly. There's definitely the way of meal planning. Like I said, it's the ideal way of meal planning, where you plan things out. And then there's kind of the haphazard way of meal planning, where you're doing things on the fly. You're putting things together that you have in your cupboards, because you don't have exactly what you need for a recipe or. You're running through the drive-through because you just don't have the [00:02:00] time and energy because you didn't plan out what you're going to eat ahead of time. 

Riley Whitson: Right. We did a customer survey a couple of years ago when we do reference this a lot, but a huge percentage of food waste food. Like if you're not throwing food away, cause you actually had a plan for the things you bought and you're spending less at the grocery store. You're not taking extra trips to the store, so you save a ton of time. And then your family knows what you're eating and you know what you're eating.

And if you made your meal plan around your schedule, then it's not stressful. When you have another event, the same way you have to eat dinner, because that happens every night. Right? So your kid's got soccer practice or you have a meeting late for some extracurricular activity outside of work. And you know, you've got to feed your people.

And so, you know, you can plan like a 30 minute meal or something that you just, maybe you already going to eating leftovers from the thing you made the day before. It's easy. You made it around your schedule. So you're reducing the stress around what you're going to make your family to eat. 

Roni Vayre: Yeah. I think that everybody gets the question pretty much every single day. Unless you cook only for yourself, [00:03:00] somebody is asking you what's for dinner tonight. And so it's really easy when you already have a plan in place to have an answer because you planned it out already and you know what you're going to eat. So it's less stress. There's less brain drain and decision fatigue, because you've already done all the work ahead of time.

Yeah, so. In general, we, this kind of traditional style of meal planning, involves recipe books, and a calendar and a handwritten shopping list. And it's a kind of time-consuming process because you have all of these cookbooks that you're sorting through and finding your recipes or you're going on your computer and looking through your bookmarks and trying. to find your recipes that 

Riley Whitson: you are, you're looking through Pinterest boards or something. 

Roni Vayre: Yeah. And then you're putting them on a calendar, which is probably the easiest part of the whole process. But then handwriting a list, like writing out all of your ingredients, writing the quantities for all of these things. And if you have to calculate any different quantities, because you're having guests in town or your [00:04:00] kids are having friends over a certain night or, you know, whatever the situation may be. We all know that math isn't hard, but it just is more time-consuming to be like, okay, well this recipe sort of six, but I needed to serve 10. And what is the math for some of these things? So, yeah, I think it's a little complicated 

Riley Whitson: It does get complicated and just, I'm just sitting here in envisioning that person doing that process and thinking. If you're doing it on your computer and you didn't print out the recipe, then you've got like five tabs open and you're switching between tabs and calculating. How many cups of a rugala you need, or how many tablespoons of lemon juice you need? Cause you have to get how many lemons you need total. It's complicated. It probably was easier back when. Like more frequently used hard books, like hard books. We could just have them all open or whatever, have little tabs stickers on all the things and turned all the pages. That's still really complicated. 

Roni Vayre: Yeah. Particularly if you're cooking from multiple different books during the week and not just one cookbook. 

Riley Whitson: Yeah. Keeping all [00:05:00] of those pieces of paper organized sounds challenging. I will say that I have my meal planning career as a wife, as a mom, as a single person. I've really always done it with plan to eat. So I feel like I have a little bit of a legup because as long as I've been doing that I have been able to use plenty, but so thinking through that process for that person, maybe that's you who's listening today and thinking, yeah, it is complicated. That's why I order take out. Sometimes it gets so stressful to have to like, I don't know, filter through all those pieces of paper. We like to say that plan to eat is traditional meal planning, simplified. So take away all the books. Take away all the pieces of paper and open your phone select your recipes to go on your planner. And then the shopping list is created for you automatically. It's just a three step process and it's all in one place and you don't have to filter through all of those. Like, oh, just sounds so good. Doesn't it sound good to you and less stressful? [00:06:00] 

Roni Vayre: Yes. So this is why we think that you should use plan to eat for meal planning is because it takes all of those aspects of your traditional meal planning and it puts it into one platform. And, you know, it's always on your computer or it's always on your phone and you don't have to worry about losing any recipes because they live in your digital recipe book. You don't have to worry about forgetting your shopping list because it's always on your phone. So there are so many ways that plan team makes it more simple, which is basically what we want to go over today.

Not every single podcast that we'd going to, that we're going to do is going to be so Plan to Eat focused, but we really wanted to, with this being our second episode, Why we think Plan to Eat is great and why we think you should use it. 

Riley Whitson: We do think Plan to Eat is great. This is genuine. 

Roni Vayre: No. Yeah. I mean, I'm similar to Riley where like, I didn't really meal plan before I started working for Plan to eat. So I do feel fortunate in that regard where I didn't have the frustration of meal planning for hours [00:07:00] every week. But now I don't know what I would do without it. I literally could never go to meal planning a different way, and I could never go to not meal planning anymore because the weeks that I, you know, am lazy and don't meal plan or forget to make a meal plan, it's like really stressful. And I don't like that feeling of like being on edge, almost being like, ah, I don't know what's for dinner. I got to figure it out and stop asking me that question. I don't know. 

Riley Whitson: Yeah, it, it definitely is frustrating. Last week I didn't meal plan. Well, I just threw some random things on the planner because I needed to make a shopping list. I needed to get the groceries picked up. And I ended up cooking things when I shouldn't have, and then like the nights when we needed to have a meal, it was like, I guess we'll have leftovers. And so everybody has something different, which is fine. I'm pro leftover. But it was just all discombobulated because I still felt confused because I had just put some like four or five recipes on my planner purchased ingredients for it. And then now I'm sitting here thinking, oh, shoot what's for dinner. Cause I didn't pick something for [00:08:00] tonight. So yeah. So when you follow the process, it's actually really helpful. 

Roni Vayre: Yeah. So let's start with the cook section, of Plan to Eat the cook section of plan to eat is your , digital recipe book has all of your recipes or all of your recipes in one place. So we have this really handy thing called the recipe clipper. It allows you to go to any website and. Import a recipe into your plan to eat account so that then you can make it and you don't have to save it in the bookmarks on your browser. You just get a habit at your fingertips on your phone or your tablet or your on your computer.

We also have other ways of adding recipes. Like if you have physical cookbooks, you can add those recipes into your Plan to Eat account too. So you can make your. Grandma's famous Swedish meatball recipe. And you don't have to sort through like some old ratty cookbook to find it. It can be digitized and easy to read and easy to follow right. In your plan to your account. So [00:09:00] no more searching through those cookbooks and trying to find things no more searching through your Pinterest board and trying to figure out which recipe it is that you're making. 

Riley Whitson: Another really great aspect of the recipe book is that all of your recipes are organized by different courses. We have a tremendous amount of filtering options. I bring this up because one of my favorite features of the recipe book, because often I'll think, man, what was that meal that we really liked? And I'll just go in and search by chicken meatballs or something like that. Going along with the Swedish meatballs ideas, like I'll just search for some keyword and then I'll be able to find the recipe that I was thinking of without having to search the entire internet, because it's just, I can go in and search by keyword.

But I mentioned also that they're sort by courses. These can be customed to you and the kinds of meals that your family eats. You know, first breakfast, second breakfast, that kind of thing. If that's what you like or you can have lunch, appetizers, breads, desserts. If you want to get really granular, you can do dairy-free desserts or desserts with [00:10:00] chocolate desserts with fruit.

Wow. I really am craving some desserts, I guess. So, you know, just all of that to say, you can customize , the course options. So. Just fit to your family's needs your preferences when you're sorting your recipes out. Just makes things really easy to find. 

Roni Vayre: But I think this idea not only helps with like your recipe, organization, everything, but having a digital recipe book helps with kind of like your home organization too, because you don't have stacks of recipe books in your kitchen, or as a box in your basement that you have to go when, you know, Christmas comes around or something, you have to go look for all of your recipes there. You can use these categories and tags to. Filter your recipes and to organize them in a way that they're easy to find no matter what time of year it is. Yeah. 

Riley Whitson: This is something that Roni and I chat about before we started recording. I just don't know where I would keep. Gobs and gobs of recipe books. Now some people are just gifted with the most perfect [00:11:00] bookshelf or just like a spot in their kitchen where they don't have their instant pot or where they don't have their other kitchen gadgets that they can store them. But I mean, if you were, if you were a recipe fiend and you had a hundreds of recipe books, it's really hard to know where to keep all of those and then having to sort through all of them. So, like Roni said, it's super helpful to have them because you don't have to store recipe books in. 

Roni Vayre: Well, I have over a thousand recipes. Oh, I know you do too, in my plan to eat account. And so to have enough recipe books for over a thousand recipes, I mean, what each recipe book maybe has 24 recipes in it, right. I guess, unless you're doing like those big, thick, better homes and gardens ones, those might have more, but I mean still to have a thousand recipes in your house somewhere, that's a lot. I live in a really small house. My kitchen does not have any extra room for. Bookshelf or even just the box of books. Like I don't have the room for that. 

Riley Whitson: Yeah. I just want to hit pause for a second [00:12:00] because Roni and I have, you know, huge recipe books in our Plan to eat accounts. So we've got to save tons of recipes. But for those who are new and starting. It's really easy to add recipes. Roni mentioned there's a couple of easy ways to add them.

We'll probably link to that in the show notes so that you can just easily find how to start clipping recipes and saving them to your account. But I just want to say that I don't cook a thousand recipes. Right. We have our family favorites. So if you were new, I would just encourage you to start by adding your family favorites.

If you have 10 recipes that you eat on rotation. Cool. Add had 10 recipes start there start by adding your family favorites. That will give you a really great basis for creating some meal plans. We'll talk a little bit more about creating meal plans and we move to the plan section. But just wanted to say that, like, we have tons of recipes and we have tons of recipes, or we could have tons of recipe books because of how many recipes we have saved. But you don't have to start there. You can start very small and build up from there. And that's you know [00:13:00] that I just wanna encourage you that if you're starting from scratch, adding a couple and starting from there, you can do that. Your planting account can hold one or 300 million recipes. There is no limit.

Roni Vayre: On that note, let's transition into talking about the meal planner. So the plan tab, or the plan section in plan to eat is your digital meal planning calendar on the desktop or the website, a plan to eat. This is like a square weekly or monthly calendar. And then on the app, it is kind of like a scrolling calendar into infinity and beyond.

And so one of the best things, I think just about having a planning calendar that's digital is kind of like, what you were talking about earlier is, you know, like if you. Plan your recipes. And then you don't remember what you planned for the day, or you don't remember exactly what the things are that you're going to need for that.

It doesn't really matter where you are. You can open your app on your phone. You can look at your meal [00:14:00] plan, you know, when your kids ask you what's for dinner , and you can say like I don't remember, but let me check. It's always with you, which is really helpful because then it's not just stored in your brain. It's actually somewhere to remind you what you're going to have. And it allows you in this format of like looking at an actual calendar, it allows you to see the holes of like where, okay, you maybe took some time to plan some of your recipes, but you got sidetracked and now you need to come back to it and you can see the places that you need to kind of like fill in to make sure that you have a full meal plan for your week or month or what.

Riley Whitson: So the way that I kind of like approach the meal plan section is I'll have my Google calendar open on my phone so I can glance at it and see what we've got going on this week, the upcoming week, what I'm planning for. And then, like Roni said, I just start adding recipes in. So I typically start with dinner because that is typically the meal.

Meals during the week, we're actually using a full recipe, like a full blown recipe, breakfast and lunch. It's much more [00:15:00] rare for me to use a recipe. I will here in there. When I want to make a special something, we usually have like a bigger breakfast once a week where I actually take the time to make things from scratch or whatnot.

But typically it's very easy for me to just say, okay, here's four or five dinners. One or two of those, maybe I'll double that way I can have them as leftovers for lunches, or I can have them as leftovers for dinner. And then my personal favorite feature of the meal planner is just the ability to add ingredient notes. Like I said, I don't plan a full blown recipe for breakfast and lunch usually. So I can go in and I can add an ingredient. An ingredient note will add. What I'm about to type there to the shopping list. So if I want to just type in eggs and I can add that to five days a week, cause we eat a lot of eggs around here.

And then I can also go in and I could add oatmeal here or French toast there. And those are things I don't need a recipe for it, but I know I want to buy the ingredients for them, or I just want to know that I'm having them that day. The same thing can go for lunch. I can go in and I can add leftovers or I can go in there and add. Sandwiches something along those lines. And then I create a meal plan based around the [00:16:00] week and fill in all the gaps like Roni said. 

Roni Vayre: Something else that I think is great about. Meal planning withPlan to Eat is that your meal plans that you create are always in the system. So if you've been using plan to eat since 2010, and you've been making meal plans for that whole time for 10 plus years, You can literally scroll back through 10 years of meal plans and reuse some of those meal plans. You could save some of those meal plans as menus. You can go back and just get inspiration from past meal plans that you've had. I actually do this a lot. Particularly when I'm kind of getting in like a meal planning, rut, and we've been eating a lot of the same recipes over and over. I'll just scroll back to like March or something and look and see the things that we were eating then and like recipes that we really enjoyed them. So and just kind of go back for like some inspiration of like, where we're eating the same things on, where we're eating different recipes, then that we really like.

Riley Whitson: What rut was I in, in March? [00:17:00] I just, I started laughing when you said that, because I it's very cyclical for me. Right? Like I'm in a rut with the same. We love these things. Okay. Then my husband says, okay, um riley. I'm literally going to hate this. If we eat it again. Don't make it again. So we still like this. I have to scroll back to March what we're reading men over and over again. And then I added 

Roni Vayre: my meal plan. Wow. Yeah, that is so true. Yep. You hit the nail on the head there.

Riley Whitson: Yeah. I tend to over cook things, be like, so I do need to mix it up, which is where Plan to Eat really helps. Cause like you said, you can scroll back in time or add. If you created a menu, you can just drag and drop that menu onto your Planner

Roni Vayre: so if you're unfamiliar with the menus feature, the menus is a feature that allows you to either use a past meal plan and save it for use again in the future. Or you can create a meal plan within the menu editor and then save it and then you can reuse it again and again and again. So it's the most simple form of meal planning possible because you just use [00:18:00] menus, the same plan, a menu, the same way that you plan a single recipe. But it can be a whole week, a whole month, a whole whatever for a meal plan that you've already made in the past.

And so you just get to use it again. So it's super easy. If you're somebody who does like to eat a lot of the same things over and over again, kind of like we do, it's really easy to save that as a menu. And then you can just plan it every single week or plan, you know, That one week, once a month, because you know that you like to eat those recipes at least once a month

Riley Whitson: This comes in handy for holidays. Also, maybe your family is, I grew up in a very traditional household around Thanksgiving. And so I'm just thinking like my mom could go in and make a menu of the 10 things she makes for Thanksgiving. Cause we have them every year and then she just durags Thanksgiving, the menu onto Thanksgiving day or hopefully the day before. And then and then she has got everything. That she needs that she knows she's going to cook all of those things, populate all of the ingredients, [00:19:00] populate the shopping list. So then Thanksgiving's planned in a minute for less. 

Roni Vayre: If your mom does that ahead of time, then she doesn't have to be the week of Thanksgiving being like, I dunno, what are these things that we like? And then she's texting everybody to be like, what's that favorite recipe that you wanted to have that you like every year for Thanksgiving? It's already done and you don't worry about it anymore. 

Riley Whitson: So Thanksgiving's coming up, so, you know, just log this little tidbit away. 

Roni Vayre: Okay. So let's move on to the shopping list and plan to eat. The shopping list in plan to eat is magical just as I talked about earlier, how handwriting a shopping list is really time-consuming and not very pleasant most of the time. It's fantastic in Plan to eat because the program literally does it for you. You add recipes to your meal planner, or you type in your ingredient notes on the meal planner and your shopping list is created for you. But not only that it's completely customizable on top of that. So you can add all of your own items. You can delete any items that you don't need or already have. [00:20:00] You can change any ingredients or quantities it's completely customizable. However you could imagine. 

Riley Whitson: I love the shopping list. I love it. It's so helpful because everything is merged. I just can't like, we can't speak enough about this, that whole situation where I was saying, you have to look through five different recipes to figure out how many tablespoons of lemon juice you need. Plan to Eat. Just does it for you, takes all five of those recipes. It merges all of those things together. And it tells me that I need seven tablespoons of lemon juice or seven lemons, whatever the magical ingredient is. I can add things to it. So during the week. When I run out of an, an ingredient particularly ingredients that we don't buy all the time, like baking powder or salt, like things that I never need to buy. It's like one of those things you buy in bulk when I run out trash bags, something like that. But I run out, I go to my open, my app and I type in trash bags. Or I type in baking soda. And then when I'm shopping, it's there. I don't have to think about it. I don't forget to add it to my written [00:21:00] list or something along those lines it's already added there.

I know a lot of people keep a list on their fridge where they can just write things out. I can't tell you how many times I've left. Left, said list on my fridge. So I've got this beautiful list of 10 things, and I know I needed to buy, but it's a home and I'm at the store, the shopping list. Fixes that completely because it's on your phone. So if you choose to print your list, you can but it's also on your phone at your fingertips. It's sync to whatever you did on the desktop. So when I go into the store, unless I forgot my phone, which I very rarely do these days, 

Roni Vayre: Because then you, then you're having a panic attack. I mean, who doesn't have a panic attack when you accidentally forget your phone at home? Like. You might as well just turn around and go get it. Cause that's the only thing you're gonna be able to think about while you're running your errands, 

Riley Whitson: because we've completely forgotten how to function without connection connectivity. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So you've got your phone, we know you do so there's your list.

And then there's the baking soda. There's the trash bags. There's the, there's the entire list of things that we ran out of. The special treat that my husband asked me to buy for [00:22:00] him. It's all there. 

Roni Vayre: So even if you don't necessarily use plan to eat on your phone, because maybe you prefer doing your meal planning on the computer, that's maybe how you've always done it. You might as well download the plan to eat app, just so that way, in case you forget to print your list, you'll at least have it on your app, on your phone and you can use it that way. It is, it is really easy. All you have to do is tap off items as you put them in your shopping cart. And, your list just automatically is disappearing and she had things to your cart and kind of amazing.

You don't have like scribbles on a piece of paper where you're like, wait, does that actually cross off? Or is it not crossed off? And then you're looking through your card to figure out when they actually have that thing. Yeah. It's awesome. And there's this great thing called the staples list, which is kind of this static list that's connected to your shopping list. It's the place where you can add all. All of your frequently purchased items like, you know, the salt, the baking powder, trash bags, oatmeal, bananas, whatever the random things are that you pretty much always buy. And aren't [00:23:00] always included in the recipe. They can live in your staples list. And so then you can just go over your staples lists. You can select items in bulk and then add them over to your shopping list. So. You're never forgetting anything because you can go through and check your staples list while you're kind of perusing your house to make sure that you have the things that you would normally have. 

Riley Whitson: One of my other favorite things about the shopping list is that it tells you what the ingredient, what recipe the ingredient is associated with. So I can't tell you how many times I've been in the store and I. Black olives. Why in the world buying black olives or just fill in the blank with whatever random item is on your list? Maybe you're trying to spend a little less the store that week and you're looking at your list and you're like, ah, do I really need this? Is it imperative that I buy these black olives? Well, Plan to Eat. View the recipe associated with the item and you can decide if you need said items, black olives, aren't a favorite of mine. So I might just choose to leave those out. But if it's, you know, integral to the [00:24:00] recipe, keep it. And it just, so it's easy to associate. I it's just so often where I'm like, what is this for? And so then I go and I look at the recipe and it's okay. It's for some kind of Italian something or other. Okay. I need that item I needed buy that. 

Roni Vayre: I use that a lot at the grocery store too. Particularly something that I'll do is if I find a recipe online that looks really yummy, I'll import it into my plan to eat account. And then I'll automatically, I'll just like immediately plan it to like next. Meal plan. Before it actually really done my meal planning, 

Riley Whitson: I don't want to forget. 

Roni Vayre: It's like, I really want to try this recipe and I don't want to forget that I want to try it. And so then the following week, when I'm doing my grocery shopping, I'm like, wait, what, what is this ingredient? And why do I need it?

Like, I've never known. Broccoli Rab or whatever, you know, before it's like, why, what is this recipe that I need this for? And so it is really helpful to go back and be like, oh yeah, it, it is actually an important thing that I need, and this is actually a recipe that I want to try. 

[00:25:00] So something else. That is a really awesome feature of Plan to Eat shopping list is we last year added the ability for grocery delivery. So you can send your shopping list to either grocery delivery or pick up you know, different stores offer different things and it all depends on your zip code and that kind of stuff. But it's really easy to go in if you're pressed for time. Or if you are trying to save money on groceries and. Cannot not buy all of the extra things. When you go to the grocery store, you know, you walk past the little thing on the end cap of the aisle and you're like, oh, I really need to buy that. But it really isn't in your budget. You can send your list to a grocery pickup or delivery and it kind of takes all of those things out of the way. You're just able to, you know, have your grocery delivery or pickup ready for you and you didn't actually actually have to go to the grocery. 

Riley Whitson: All right. I'll my mom is out there. If you are not using grocery pickup, just a little plug. It's amazing. It's a miracle. It's like [00:26:00] the greatest gift that grocery stores have given us ever 

Roni Vayre: to not have to go to the grocery store children 

Riley Whitson: with. Yeah. Yeah. It's so, so great. I pull up, I opened my trunk, they loaded my groceries. I understand that there are. Some limitations with it. I don't get to pick my own vegetables. I didn't get to pick my own fill in the blank. You can do a little bit of like price shopping through your, you know, grocery stores app to help you save some money.

So if you're really, really trying to cut down and like be frugal obviously shopping in the store is going to be easier because you can be much more specific with what you're buying. But you can do a little bit of that inside of your grocery store apps, but through the plan to eat app, you send it to your grocery store and you can do, like Roni said, you can do pickup or delivery. So just a little plug, super helpful. 

Roni Vayre: So That's pretty much an overview of plan to eat it's cook plan and shop tabs. You know, we went a little granular with some of the things Plan to eat can basically be. Very simple. It can just be a simple recipe book, a [00:27:00] simple meal plan, a simple shopping list, or you can get really intense with your meal planning and you can get really granular with your categories and your tags. You can be very meticulous with. Recipes and ingredients to every single meal of every single day. You can go crazy with the shopping list because you can add as many things to shopping lists as you want. So it's really, it's such a beautiful amount of customization that you can have. It can be very simple. It can be very complicated, whatever, however you like to do it, it can work for you. 

Riley Whitson: In the future of this podcast we will definitely go into. Like I'm most like the simplified view, the simplified planning aspects, how to get started. And we'll probably go really in depth in a lot of these sections and give you guys some like little known features or a little known ideas for how to like, make this so much more. Customizable to you, but in general today, it was just an overview as much as we could without getting super geeky and excited about all the different things that we love. But maybe that inspired you. We hope it [00:28:00] did. Hope it inspired you to get excited about meal planning and trying out a new thing to make meal planning easier for you.

Roni Vayre: Okay. So let's wrap up the podcast like we did last week, Riley, and I want to talk about a recipe that we are loving right now to try and give you some recipe inspiration for your recipe book.

So Riley, tell me about a recipe that you loved this week. 

Riley Whitson: Okay. So I don't have a recipe for it because I made it up yesterday. But I made homemade macaroni and cheese last night. And we really try to, or really trying to avoid processed foods in my house, but there, you know, Honestly, we're not even huge Mac and cheese people, but I have a one-year-old and I know she likes it and we were having something for dinner. That's a little bit more difficult for a one year old to eat. And so I was like, I'm just going to make some Mac and cheese and it was the bomb. Okay. It was so good. So I'll write out the recipe and share it with you because it was so good. 

Roni Vayre: Did you make like a white sauce and then add cheese to it? Or like what you for the sauce . 

Riley Whitson: Yeah. So I started with a little butter add a little bit of garlic [00:29:00] whisked in a minuscule amount of flour. Gluten-free flour. We're gluten free here. So well gluten free flour. And then I added heavy cream . whisk, whisk, whisk. And then I added a little bit of regular milk whisked and whisked until it was thickening. And then I added just like the Mexican blend of cheese. Literally. I wasn't planning to make this. I made it with things we have, so it wasn't fancy gruyere. It wasn't anything like that. It was like some Mexican blend cheese. I added that whisked it in, I added cayenne pepper, ground mustard and salt. So there's a little, had a little heat to it, but just not like my one-year-old loved it. So just keep that up. And then I cooked had some like gluten-free chickpea noodles cooked that, mixed it in. I like really saucy Mac and cheese. I don't like it when it's dry. So it was very saucy. 

Roni Vayre: Does anybody like dry Mac and cheese? I thought the point of Mac and cheese, this I like saucy sauce.

Riley Whitson: I've been to a lot of potlucks. Okay. I've been to a lot of potlucks with dry Mac and cheese. I don't know. Maybe this is a conversation [00:30:00] for a different day, but yeah, I like it to be kind of like wet, like in like saucy, you know, like not at all dry. So it was pretty saucy and I'm trying. What else about it was delicious, but it was just great. 

Roni Vayre: that's awesome. I made a homemade hamburger helper this week. So really pretty similar actually, you know, it's like it's ground beef and noodles. It was a quote unquote healthified version of that was that's literally the title of the recipe is like healthier homemade. Hamburger helper. And I can't remember what a blog I got it off of, but we'll link it in the show notes. But it was really good, you know, it's like a saute onion and ground beef. And then I don't remember all of the things that you made with the sauce. There was definitely milk in there. Definitely some butter. And then there was cheese. And then there was actually a graded zucchini that you put in there too. And it was, I used a pretty small, zucchini, it was from my garden. But it was fine. I mean, it was a. Little bit of [00:31:00] vegetables in the meal. Yeah. But I was really good. I haven't had like regular hamburger helper since I was a child. So I don't know how it compares to regular hamburger helper anymore, but me and my husband both really liked it and it made a humongous pot of food. So we literally ate it for five or six meals, like for lunch. Yeah. 

Riley Whitson: Yeah, I made Mac and cheese for an army, so I got it.

Roni Vayre: Yeah. That's what it felt like. It was like the biggest pot that I had was completely full. 

Riley Whitson: That was like, for me, that was a downside of like not having a recipe to follow with a serving size was winging it. So just going back to your recipe, graded zucchini, I think is I like graded zucchini.

Yeah, I think it mixes in well to a lot of things. You can add that to spaghetti. You can add that, or you'd like to a bolognaise or something like that. Maybe that's like horrifying to say, but like, if you're trying to , you know, add in vegetables where there are none or just like hide them from your one-year-old exactly, doing that is really great. 

Roni Vayre: All right. Well, thank you guys for joining us in this episode today. [00:32:00] And if you have any questions, you can always email us at and we will talk to you next time.