Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: - a Solution to Dinner

I've been using for almost 6 months now and wanted to review it for you!  I stumbled upon a groupon I could not pass up, 50% off a year membership ($29), so I had to try it out. is an online meal planning service offering weekly plans for a variety lifestyles... vegan, low fat, carb control, clean eating, to name a few.  My family went with the 4-6 person portion control option as we, well me, need to work on the baby weight I've managed to find over the last three years.  So, since we have three children under the age of three along with everything else life has to offer, it left little time for meal planning, list making and all the thought those two entail.  Enter!!

Each week on Wednesday morning, a PDF file is sent to my inbox with a two page weekly menu and a single page shopping list which correlates to my chosen grocery store.  The meals for the week are based on which store you like to shop at and what is on sale for the week!  Incredible!  The only downside is not every store is available for each menu type but I'm sure they will be expanding as needed.  I wish I were more diligent about clipping coupons but I'm not.  It's nice to know the items I'm buying for recipes are based on sales and specials running for the week.

I should also mention, I am not a cook, chef, nor culinary master by a long shot.  I've managed to get by over the years, host a few holiday dinners and parties, and master the microwave but I am by no means graceful in the kitchen.  I can't even remember one time in the kitchen helping my mother, sadly!  That being said, thanks to eMeals, my skills have improved, I have more knowledge of food, and I've cooked dinners completely out of my wheelhouse (ie. fish).  I've even impressed my husband who grew up with parents who owned a restaurant!

Tonight's dinner:  Grilled Lime Chicken Tenders with Veggie Dill Ozro Salad, delicious!   

So, here's the lowdown:
  •  For a minimal membership (check groupon, I see it about once a month) you get a no brainer menu with an easy shopping list based on sales, specials, and promos.  It's itemization by produce, meat/seafood, fridge, frozen, canned/dry.  Recipes and dishes you would have never thought to make for the week right there in your hands!  Just add your other items to their categories and your list is complete! 
  • They have 11 menus to choose from which offers a huge variety!  Although, they don't want you to jump around menus to often.  Once you opt for a menu, you can only change once a month unless you ask them through customer service (personal story), which they were very accommodating.  I'm actually trying to decide which menu to try next! 
  • Easy recipes, prep and cook time included!  My days get pretty crazy sometimes and it's so nice to look at the menu and see in 20 minutes dinner can be done, yes!  The recipes seem to range from 20 minutes to an hour to longer on crock pot days. Each recipe gives you a heads up on crock pot time, marinate time, if its on the grill, etc.  
  • It's a budget conscience planner!  They offer two different portion options, a household of 2-4 ($40) or 4-6 ($80).  We choose the 4-6, my husband, myself, and our two years old twins.  They say the budget for the week is around $80.  I've yet to buy the whole list for this amount.  I'm usually $20 or more over but I understand prices can be regional.  Upside: We ALWAYS have leftovers for lunch the next day, score!!         
  • The variety is fantastic and the dishes are great!  We've loved many more than we've disliked.  Some we have agreed needed more spice or a little something extra but they are tasty.  Every pork dish has been phenomenal!  They must have a pork lover on the team! Our little girls try everything but pass on some.  I love they are getting a variety of foods instead of the same repeat meals we were having before.
  •  You can add breakfast and lunch to your planning!  I only wanted the dinner menu but you can have your whole day planned out for you through eMeals! 
  • There's an app for that!  eMeals just launched their smart phone app.  You can access you menu and shopping list all from your phone.  It's a little clumsy to me and I still prefer a pen and paper list... call me old fashioned!

We have really enjoyed eMeals and will continue to use their services.  If cost is an issue, there are some similar planning options for free like IDontKnowHowSheDoesIt which my sister, Anna, absolutely loves!

Have you tried eMeals?  What did you think?  
Any coupon codes to share?