Frequently Asked Questions About
Now You're Cooking!


Meal Planning

To use the Auto-Menu feature, must I categorize all my 74,000 cookbook recipes into the “am-“ categories?

You need not categorize all 74,000 – only the ones you want included in a randomized menu.  It is very easy to categorize lots of recipes into the “am-breakfast”, “am-lunch” etc. categories using Recipes… Categorize Multiple Recipes. 


NYC requires you to categorize the auto-menu main dishes so you don’t end up with Bread Dough for breakfast and Pot Roast for a snack; this is what you would get if NYC used a completely randomized recipe selection from across your cookbook for the auto-menu.  Alternatively, we could offer a canned set of recipes that are pre-categorized so you would not have to do this – but NYC has always been able to import and use all the zillions of recipes that have been put out there on the internet in various food forums since the 1980s.  So the best way to ensure that the resulting auto-menu makes most sense to the user is to let the user decide what is a “breakfast” recipe and what is a “lunch” recipe – so main dishes are categorized into the “am-xxx” categories for this purpose.  FYI, if a recipe “can be used for multiple meals”, say breakfast and lunch, then categorize it into both “am-breakfast” and “am-lunch” as needed.  Eventually we will make the auto-menu work across cookbooks, but for now it works only within a cookbook.


Similarly, we have to constrain the side dishes somehow so you don’t end up with Pizza as main dish with Scalloped Potatoes as a side.


But you certainly don’t have to prepare all 74,000 recipes for the auto-menu feature – only the ones you want used in an auto-menu.  Once you have this set up, you can get an infinite set of menus from different combinations of these prepared recipes.

If I change a recipe that has previously been used in a menu, will that menu be updated automatically?

No, if you change a recipe that has been used in a menu, and you want the menu to reflect the changed recipe, you need to delete the menu item and readd it to the menu.

I would like to make a full month's menu plan and then have the option of setting it on automatic repeat for the next month or more.  How do I do that?

After you build a monthly menu, you can repeat that menu for the next month by simply changing the starting date.  NYC will assume that you want to keep the entire menu, with dates that are a month later.  Thus, you can keep a single monthly menu and just scroll the dates as needed by changing the start date.


If you then want to shorten the menu to 2 weeks or lengthen it to 2 months, simply change the end date.


Can meal plans be longer than 1 week?  How long can they be?


There is no limit on the length of your meal plans, other than disk space on your computer.


I have milk in my price list like I buy it in the store:  a 1 gallon container for 3 dollars.  If my menu for the week calls for only 1/3 a gallon, will the program price the milk at 1 dollar?




I know I can cost out an entire meal plan, but how can I get the cost of an individual meal or recipe?


To get the cost of an individual meal or recipe, create a menu with only that meal or recipe in it, then cost the shopping list created when you save the menu.


How do I open previous meal plans?  I only see the latest meal plan when I press the Meal Plan button.

After you press the Meal Plan button (i.e., with the Meal Plan window open on the current menu), use File... Open Menu... on the main menu to open your previous created meal plans.

How do I create a new meal plan?  I only see the latest meal plan when I press the Meal Plan button.

After you press the Meal Plan button (i.e., with the Meal Plan window open), use File... New Menu... to open an empty menu plan.

While surfing in a cookbook to create my weekly meal plan, I need the ability to easily delete recipes that I know I will never eat.

You can tag those recipes for later deletion from the menu plan window by selecting them and pressing the Tag button.

Assume a menu plan contains a recipe for 4 servings and several "Add Items...". Is there any way of specifying the number of servings for the "Add Items..." so that the nutrition analysis can be obtained for 1 serving?

Currently there is no way to do that directly. As a workaround, put the added items into a temporary "recipe" and specify #servings for that recipe. Then add that "recipe" to your menu plan.

How do I create a meal plan using more than one cookbook?

From the meal plan screen, select recipes for each meal by clicking on them. To use another cookbook's recipes, open that cookbook using Open Cookbook toolbar button (second from left on toolbar) while the meal plan screen is open. This action will refresh the meal planner's recipe list with those from the cookbook just opened. Continue your meal planning using these recipes. Repeat this action for each cookbook that has recipes you want in your meal plan.

How do I add a miscellaneous item, such as just a single ingredient (not the whole recipe), to a menu plan?

Use the Add Item… button on the menu edit window to add individual items from your droplists (ingredient and miscellaneous item) to a meal plan.

Alternatively, you may want to create a short recipe for certain individual items.  As an example, let's use "broccoli".  To add this to your menu plan, create a recipe (dish) called Broccoli, which has the ingredient broccoli in some unit and quantity. Then select this recipe as part of your menu plan.  It is the same as having a separate add-in for broccoli in your meal plan. Creating a recipe for individual side dishes allows you to include small items with the side dish that you might otherwise overlook in your shopping list or nutrition analysis that you might use as a topping on broccoli (e.g., butter or melted cheese).

Is there a way to extend an existing meal plan by a few days without having to start a new one from scratch?

Yes. Select Meal...Plan... from the main menu, then use the calendar button to adjust the ending date to the date you want, then press OK. When you scroll through the days of the menu period, you will see that the additional days you wanted are there, and you can add dishes to the meals to complete your extended meal plan.

How do I get a meal plan to print like it appears in the View Menu window (i.e., all in columns)?

Change your printer orientation to Landscape using Print Setup, then print from the View Menu window.

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Last Updated:  3/31/2009 1:07:00 PM

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