Archives For help planning dinner

What’s For Dinner? e-Mealz!

Heather —  October 20, 2011

Greek Style Pizza was a big hit

So, what’s for dinner?

Do you dread hearing that?

I do. But, while cold cereal actually sounds good to me some nights, I know that is not the best plan for my family!

For years now, we have done family style sit down meals each night. Sometimes children come and go for these, but I try to keep at least that part of the day stable for us all. I am proud of that. On the other hand, I am not always proud of what I put on the table and I can often overspend grabbing last minute parts of meals.

I have heard about menu planning, but between homeschool planning and homekeeping planning and actually having fun (I didn’t count cooking in that category) well, you get the picture…

Sometimes my planning and meals are fantastic, while other weeks, it is a disaster, marked by frequent pasta mixed with something dinners.

And, as we have some special dietary needs, namely, eating organic for everyone and Gluten-free (GF) for me, I figured trying to use someone else’s meal planning was just another step I really did not need to focus on my meal plans.

I was wrong yet again. Enter e-Meals.
Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!

When I received the word that I would be doing a review for e-Meals, I was a bit concerned it would be a disaster. I saw that although they have over 20 meal plans to choose from, they did not currently have an organic plan. I also saw that I would be able to make only one change in meal plans during my subscription so I needed to choose my particular type of menu plan carefully.

Now just choosing organic over regular at the grocery store is not difficult, but it can be pricy, so this is a bit of an issue for me. In the past, I’d work hard to choose what was on sale and then figure out what to do with it. While that sounds good, I often ended up with rotten vegetables that I never figured out what to do with…or my intentions were to make a super complicated dinner I did not get done. Either way, I ended up feeling guilty.

And for the GF, I am slowly moving the whole family into eating more and more GF meals, but really, it is just me that really needs that.

Now, I also have moved away from using much red meat at all, but we are not totally vegetarian. I like chicken especially for dinners.

So, with these three main things in mind, I first chose the Gluten-Free menu plan from e-Mealz.

I absolutely loved using it.

I respect the founders and their vision, which is to gather family for dinners and relationship. A worthy endeavor!

Still, especially for working mothers, such an undertaking.

I do believe if you use e-Meals exactly as shown, it is very simple and well worth the extremely reasonable cost. Apparently, lots of people agree, because they have a community of over 150,000 members.

Did I use it exactly how you are supposed to? No. That would be too easy, right? Haha. Currently, I am feeding myself, one husband, three teenagers and one child. I went ahead and printed out the two GF menus that were available on PDF on their site. A current week and one past week are available to copy/print.

I then chose the meals I thought everyone would like best and went to Whole Foods and basically bought 7 dinners, some breakfast stuff and a bit of lunch stuff. Altogether, this was about $120.

I messed with the plans. Ideally, you can just print & go, with the itemized shopping list organized for the store

Now, I know some people would gasp at that price, but this is good for our family, for all organic, not bulk prices.

And, when I did not have to run to the grocery stores, grabbing last minute extras—well, that saves a ton of money.

In fact, our first week was fabulous. We had great dinners and all the pieces were in the fridge. So relaxing!

I actually even got sick, and my husband was able to make a delicious meal in the crockpot for us! (It was like having my mom take care of me, foodwise!)

Sweet.

So, the next week, I got more adventurous and matched up the meals I wanted and local coupons and did even better . Again, dinners were new and different…and a giant hit.

A super healthy sauce mimics alfredo:)

I started to enjoy cooking again! (I even had brain power left over to plan a few deserts).

One thing I didn’t love for us about the GF menu was the amount of red meat recipes. So, I decided to be daring and use our one meal menu change to change to the vegetarian menu plan.

Honestly, if I hadn’t done it, I would have been curious forever, but I was sorry. The vegetarian plan was just so different for me. So many, well…vegetables.  Even Tofu. Still, we found a few recipes we liked which I never would have tried otherwise and I learned how to cook some new things. I added real bacon and chicken to some meatless dishes.

I plan to go back to the GF menu plan asap. And, I plan to stick with using this. After several weeks using this, we have saved money and enjoyed nutritious and fun meals. I am more relaxed about dinner plans and have found extra time to plan some deserts. It just really is helping with the planning.  Even buying more new foods and adding in the $5.00 per month for the ability to download the menus and plans, I am saving money each month.

My husband even asked me to continue:)

Bottom line:

At $15 for three months, this is a real value and a nice experience!

  1. Choose a plan: Choose from more than 20 plans based on grocery store chains, dietary choices and family size.
  2. Print out your list and shop: Print out your list with 7 preplanned meals and matching shopping list
  3. Cook & Enjoy

Go take a look for yourself at http://e-mealz.com/and, you can also find them on facebook and they have a great blog as well.
SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH E-MEALZ MEAL PLANS

See what my crewmates have to say about e-Mealz.

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I received a 3 mth. membership to e-mealz through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.