I’ve been back in my “hate” relationship with cooking rut. I’ve really been looking for a menu plan with nutritious meals that take 10 minutes or less to prepare, $5 or less for three, no grocery shopping time, considered scrumptious by my 4yo, and while we’re at it, why not just drop the ready-to-serve food at my doorstep and wash the dishes and set the table while you’re here? Mom? Can you come visit?
We recently had the opportunity to try out E-mealz.com, and it was a nice little kick-in-the-pants to step out of the rut on occasion, try some new recipes, and just feel a little more inspired to get the meal on the table already.
E-Mealz is a simple system to solve your dinner dilemma with easy meals based on delicious recipes and a consistent grocery budget.
e-mealz meal plans...
- are written and created by REAL moms with REAL families
- are balanced and family friendly
- are as easy as possible, but delicious and kid tested!
- consist of favorite recipes collected from hundred of moms
- come with an organized, aisle by aisle grocery list
- are for 4 to 6 people
- are based on the current week sales at your grocery
- are priced at approximately $75 per week
- Two person plans average $35 total per week
E-Mealz has been created to provide a kid-friendly and family-uniting meal planning resource for busy Moms and frugal family cooks. Each meal plan is based on the current sales at the grocery stores, with plan options categorized according to store and/or weight management strategy. The recipes are delicious, simple and easy to follow. Each plan is new every week and has a corresponding aisle-by-aisle grocery list. Almost every week includes a crock-pot recipe and easy dinner ideas. There are meal plans for two people, for a low fat diet, a low carb diet, and for those who are following a portion control system, as well!
Price: You will be billed $15 every 3 months to your credit or debit card. You may cancel your renewal in your member's account.
For More Info/To Purchase: http://e-mealz.com/
For More Reviews: TOS Crew
What Mom Liked:
- The shopping list. This printed on one page and was nicely organized by store section, though I had to remember to check out the “staples” section at the bottom of the page, since my pantry isn’t always fully stocked! I also liked the cross-referencing by meal number, so if we decided not to try a specific menu, I could easily eliminate the foods for that menu off my shopping list.
- New recipes. I enjoy finding new recipes to add variety to my recipe rotation. (Never would’ve thought of adding cashews to a bean salad, for instance – yummy!) As picky as Esmé is, there were a few recipes that qualified as success for her!
- Convenience food for real people. This could be a pro or con for you, but I appreciated the use of convenience items on the menu rather than whole foods all made from scratch. Of course, you could always make your own pizza crust or cook your own beans, but I honestly don’t have the time for that. I loved that easy sandwiches and salads made a regular appearance on the menu.
- Plan sizes. I debated putting this under the “Not Like” heading, but decided I do kind of like it. The vegetarian menu options were all for 4-6 people. This meant that many of the meal sizes were sufficient to cover two meals at our house of 3 (including our pint-sized conscientious objector to many foods). Combine that with a couple of nights out, and and a week’s menu lasts us about 2 weeks.
What Mom Didn’t Like:
- No vegan options. We’re not strict vegans, but tend in that direction, and the vegetarian recipes use a lot of cheese and eggs. We skipped on a couple of menus because of this. Replacing with vegan substitutes could cost a lot of time or money.
- Cost. Of the groceries, that is. There were two vegetarian menu options: one for WalMart, and one for any store. Since we don’t have a grocery store in our WalMart, we went with the any-store option, which means it didn’t take advantage of local sales, etc. I found our grocery bill ran about $100 for 7 dinners. Not terrible, but more than I’d usually spend. Granted – those are dinners for 4-6 people.
- Time. This is another feature I wasn’t sure fell under the “Like” or “Not Like” heading. Some meals were quick and easy: toasted sandwiches, etc. Others were a bit daunting to face when you get home at 6:30pm and want to spend quality time with your kid as well as have her in bed by 8pm. From start to finish, most meals took about 45 minutes to an hour to cook.
- Nutrition information. Not necessarily a “Not Like” – but it would certainly be a nice feature if nutrition information were added to the menus.
Overall, E-mealz is something I’m likely to purchase again when I need help getting out of a cooking rut. I probably would only get 3 months at a time, since 3 months of recipes will last our family about 6 months. And I need to come up with some easy, low-cost vegan substitutes the next time around.
By the way, we are headed to the pumpkin patch today! I just got an email with three pumpkin recipes I’ll be able to put to use. If you’ve got your own pumpkins hanging around, be sure to check E-mealz.com (left column) to get those pumpkin recipes emailed to you for free!