Thanks for the thoughtful input. Pierre, I don't know of any good menu planning programs. I tend to use lots of different software programs, but I always have OF open, so it seems to be a good fit. As toadling said, the project is to prepare a meal and the actions are to buy all of the ingredients. I don't think I would want to plan every meal like this because I like to be flexible, but for getting together a shopping menu, I think it will be helpful.
For me the only way this would work is to save the menus as templates or to repeat. I wouldn't want to always have to type in all of the ingredients.
As I think this through, I would just use this to generate my shopping lists. To address Brian's "catch", it would probably be helpful to list the ingredients as apples-5 instead of 5 apples so the list could be sorted alphabetically. Before I shop, I would look in my fridge and pantry and cross off any ingredients I don't need.
Although this is off-topic from OF usage, the goals of this project are: 1) increase diversity of food I prepare 2) simplify the shopping list making process 3) stop throwing away food.