Sunday, May 15, 2011

E-Mealz

A fantastic online resource to help you be super-parent in the kitchen, from Sarah C. today:

I confess, I am not super mom. One of my "failings" is in the department of meal planning. I did great for a while when D was small. Determined to eat more meals at home after our change from dual income without kids to single income with a child, I would print a blank calendar and layout our meal ideas for the next week to two weeks. I won't lie, I was pretty proud of myself. Then like all great new things, one day it stopped. However, I'm now off to a fresh start with a lot less work after taking a friend's suggestion and trying E-Mealz.

E-Mealz does the planning for you. You subscribe in 3 month increments for
Grilled Pizza Sandwiches
with pasta salad & cantaloupe
$15 and each week E-Mealz provides you with a printable meal plan and grocery list in PDF. There are multiple plan options to fit any user from store specific (Aldi, Kroger, Wal-mart, etc) to dietary needs (low carb, portion control, gluten free, etc). You can also select family or meals for 2 within these options. In our case, we selected "Meal Plan for 2 Any-Store."

Things to know ...
  • Family Meals offer 7 day plans while the Meals for 2 are only 5 day plans. We haven't found the latter to be a negative. The meals in the Meals for 2 plan are large enough to provide leftovers and, of course, there are days where you just want to fill in with one of your own tried & true recipes or eat out.
  • Meals include recipes for a main dish and a side dish.
  • You can change your meal plan option once per 3 month period.
  • The grocery list is organized by section of store and each ingredient has a number in the left hand column that corresponds to the meal plan. This is great if you want to skip a meal or two. Reference the numbers and you know which items to get or not get. There is also additional space for you to write your regular list on the sheet.
  • The meals are designed to be budget friendly.
  • You access your meals by logging into the E-Mealz website and downloading the week's PDF.
Quick Crab Quiche with tossed salad

Thoughts from my personal experience ...
  • I do like having a plan made and ready for me each week although I don't always follow it exactly. Some weeks one or two meals don't sound appealing to me (another confession: I can be a picky eater - insert my DH's laugh here) so we skip those. Others we've altered slightly like the Easy Cheddar Potato Chowder where we skipped the broccoli side dish and tossed fresh broccoli into the chowder instead (so good!).
  • I have liked each meal we've tried. Some I will definitely make again and have marked those so I can quickly reference them later.
  • A few of the recipes I've found frustrating in that they are worded funny or don't have prep & cooking times listed. With a reread, I can usually work out the confusing parts. I'm not always so good on the timing but that's a fault of mine even with recipes that do include times!
  • Our toddler actually eats a good number of these meals too! Ok, so he's not the pickiest eater like his mother (thank goodness!) but I am still surprised at the number he has not only tried a bite of but actually cleaned his plate. Those meals are definitely getting the "make again" mark.
  • I like the grocery list and the fact that the meals typically use all of the products you are buying. When I shop for our own recipes, I find we have a bit of this and a bit of that leftover. Those "bits" may or may not be used before expiring. With these plans, all the "bits" are used up which definitely equals money savings compared to the wasted, expired foods I used to end up with.

Finally, if you want to take this a step further, use an online ordering option like Harris Teeter's Express Lane and just pick-up your groceries when ready. (There's my final confession - I did that earlier this week.) We parents work hard enough. No shame in taking the easier route especially when it results in a healthy dinner time for the entire family.

E-Mealz
http://e-mealz.com/

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1 Comments:

At May 15, 2011 at 3:30 PM , Blogger SouthernPartHeaven said...

this is fabulous! I definitely need help with meal planning--I start out with the best of intentions and end up with, well, too much takeout.

thanks for sharing!

Katie at www.southernpartheaven.blogspot.com

 

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