MenuWiz enables you to enjoy your favourite recipes by selecting them on a regular basis, based on your criteria. This means that those recipes are not forgotten, thus ensuring that you have a variety of different recipes from which menus are created.
If you like a new recipe, you can add it to MenuWiz, specifying how often you want to use it in generated menus (frequency). This ensures that recipes that you have tried and enjoyed are re-used. We think that to have a smaller number of recipes that you like is better than having a large number of recipes that you will never use. New recipes can easily be added to MenuWiz from a number of Internet sites or by manually entering them.
Typically, meals are planned for a period that co-insides with a shopping period, eg. seven or fourteen days. MenuWiz automatically generates a menu and shopping list for such a period.
To make this possible, you create a menu template. You can have one template from which all your menus are generated, or you can have several which you use at different times to provide even more variety.
In MenuWiz you create a number of recipe categories. Each recipe can belong to one or more recipe categories. Each recipe also contains a last-used-date and a frequency of use. When a recipe category is used in a template, a recipe from the specified category will be selected from your recipe collection based on it's frequency and last used date.
A menu template can be created for as many days as you wish. You can have one or more meals for each day. Each meal consists of recipe categories (wild cards) and/or recipes.
When you generate a menu, you base it on a menu template. It is at this point that the categories in the template are replaced with recipes. You can review these recipes and replace them with a specific recipe or a recipe chosen by MenuWiz from a category. You can also add additional recipes or delete others. Once a menu is saved, the last used date is updated for all recipes in the new menu.
A shopping list can be generated once you have finalised you menu. A shopping list can have three input components:
- Regular items. These items are those ingredients that you regularly buy. You can choose to include these when you create a shopping list.
- Menu selected items. Ingredients that are required by recipes in a menu can be added to your shopping list. Only those ingredients with a shopping list option of Menu Selected will be included.
- You can manually add addtional items from your ingredient list.
A shopping list can be ordered in the aisle sequence that you shop.
You can create cooking instructions for a meal in any existing menu. Cooking instructions are useful when preparing large meals, often involving more than one course. Detailed cooking instuctions can also aid a novice cook. Recipe methods must be entered with detailed timings to make cooking instructions effective.
Cooking instructions are created by merging the methods from all the recipes in the meal. The preparation, cooking and can-stand times of all recipe methods in the meal are used to optimize your total cooking time. The end result is a list of steps (by time) needed to deliver each dish at the required time.
Once the cooking instructions have been generated, MenuWiz provides functions to let you rearrange the steps if required. You can also insert new steps to include tasks which are not part of any recipe, eg. Set the table.
Cooking instructions can be saved and printed. It can also be used interactively while you are cooking.
You can enter new and edit existing recipes.
Recipe categories are used in MenuWiz to group recipes. Each recipe must belong to at least one and can belong to several categories. Categories are not only useful for organising your Recipes, but are central to the use of wild cards in the selection of recipes for meals when menus are created.
MenuWiz uses unique names for measurement units and ingredients. This is neccesary to be able to adjust recipes for the number of people served and to create accurate shopping lists.
There are two main types of import. The first is importing recipes from a file produced by MenuWiz.
- From MenuWiz. This function would be used if MenuWiz users want to share recipes. The Export function creates a file which can be Imported by other users.
- You can import one recipe at a time from one of the supported Internet sites. MenuWiz attempts to copy some recipe details, ingredients and methods directly from the Web page to the Recipe Maintenance screen. You can edit the recipe and fix any information that could not be interpreted. You can also add missing information such as Recipe Categories before saving the recipe.
MenuWiz maintains a separate record for each unique recipe ingredient. The term ingredient is also used to include other shopping items such as paper towels. These items are marked as non-ingredients.
It is important to minimize the number of ingredients in your system. If you have a number of ingredient records for the same ingredient, your system will become unwieldy and shopping lists may have multiple entries for the same item. This could easily happen when you create new recipes. For example you may have the ingredient 'green capsicum' in your system and then create a new ingredient called 'green pepper'. You will then have two records for the same ingredient. If this happened, you can change all recipes that use one variation of the ingredient name to the other with the Replace Ingredient function. Once you have removed a duplicate ingredient from all recipes, it can be deleted.
In MenuWiz you can create and maintain a number of stores where you do your shopping. Each store has aisles and sections within those aisles. Once a store record has been created, you can add aisles and sections. The aisles and sections should be ordered in the sequence in which you normally do your shopping.
Ingredients are placed in store sections. A shopping list displays ingredients ordered by section within aisle, even though the section names are not displayed in shopping lists.
When a store re-organises it's sections it is easy to move sections to their new positions. Ingredients are move with their sections. There is no need to change the ingredient location information, unless a ingredient moves to a different section. If this happens you can use the Move Ingredient Location function to change the ingredients to new sections.