Outsourcing Meal Planning – (eMeals)

My Experience Using emeals.com and a Giveaway! at ASlobComesClean.com

This post contains affiliate links!

Have you noticed I haven’t shared many menu plans lately? (Like, all year.)

It’s not that we haven’t been eating.  It’s also not that I haven’t been following a plan.

Do you remember back in January when I talked about our new teamwork philosophy? (January was last week, right?)

The overall concept was that I need to start being realistic about how I can’t do it all.

I can’t.  So I don’t.

Last fall, as I was settling in to my routine, I realized that I was relying too heavily on our Survival Meals.

I love my pre-cooked meats and other ingredients that allow me to get home-cooked meals on the table in minutes. And we were only ever eating the very easiest of these meals.

Over and over.

Time always felt squeezed, so I was letting meal planning slide. I would run into the store, grab the ingredients I use all the time, and then decide at the last minute which of my easy meals to throw together.

So when eMeals offered to give me a year’s subscription, I decided that was a good idea.  Partly because it meant I could share my experiences with you, but mostly because I was desperate.

I had heard about eMeals for years, both on commercials during the Dave Ramsey show, and from a friend who used the service. The friend was a huge fan, and said it saved her tons of money and helped her family eat more healthy because she was cooking at home.

Here are the reasons I never thought I needed it:

  • I . . . cook. (Read that with a condescending tone.)
  • I know how to meal plan.
  • I know how to bargain shop.

 Except:

  • I was cooking, but I wasn’t enjoying it. My family was getting rather bored as well. Every meal was thrown together, and if we ever wanted something different we didn’t have what was needed to make it.
  • I wasn’t meal planning. I know how, and have rocked it at certain times in my life, but I just wasn’t. It kept moving to the end of my list. And then never getting done.
  • I wasn’t bargain shopping. I gave up coupons a while back. I wasn’t even shopping with a list.It’s a documented (by somebody somewhere, I’m sure) fact that shopping with a list saves money. Shopping without one meant I was wasting money AND not having any variety in our meals.

I’ll admit that it took me a little time to warm up to the idea of someone else planning our meals.

eMeals has a BIG variety of meal plans. Some are for specific stores, some can be used at any store, and they have vegetarian plans, gluten-free plans, clean eating plans, classic family plans, etc.

I started out signing up for the clean eating plan. BIG mistake. I might think that sounds noble, but one look told me my family I wouldn’t eat anything on it. I switched to the Aldi Classic Family Plan.

(Be sure to check out sample menus for plans you’re considering, because you can only switch plans once per month!)

In my experience, the plans  are pretty realistic. There is a variety of difficulty each week, though none of the meals on my plan require amazing cooking skills or lots of time. Each week generally includes at least two VERY easy meals like sandwiches or breakfast-for-dinner.

At first, this offended me a little.

I felt I didn’t need someone to tell me what to buy to make sandwiches for a quick supper.

I know. I have issues.

But then I figured out how to use the plan for our family, and I got over it.

Basically (as really picky eaters), I choose 3-5 meals when I get my meal plan. Then we eat our family faves on the other nights.

Having those 3-5 meals planned for me means that I’ve tried new recipes. I love this and my family loves this. We’ve found some new favorites.

Here’s where I should explain the picture at the top of the post. That’s a marinade for chicken. I made chicken before I started using eMeals, but only ever sprinkled it with some seasoning. My meal plan helped me break out of that rut and try something more involved (though still easy). My family raved about that chicken.

Sure, I could search the internet for new recipes, but I don’t.

Every Wednesday morning (which just happens to be my errand day anyway), I get an email with my week’s meal plan. Each meal has a number. I choose the meals that sound good, and then look on the shopping list for those numbers. The email attachment is a PDF that opens in my Kindle App on my phone, and I don’t even have to remember to print anything out.

Sometimes I don’t even open the email until after I walk into the store.  

Another thought: Soon after I started using eMeals, I heard someone saying they were trying to start cooking at home. Like, they never cooked, and were starting from nothing. I think emeals would be PERFECT for someone in this situation especially. You could truly go from never cooking to eating at home 7 nights a week fairly painlessly.

The giveaway’s been over for a long time, but eMeals is running a great discount code through Dec 8!


Save 30% with code Cyber

I’m so excited that eMeals has offered to give one of you a free 3 month dinner subscription! 

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment!

You can get bonus entries by:

Liking emeals on Facebook

Following emeals on Pinterest

For each bonus entry, just leave an additional comment. Comments must be on this post on the blog.

This giveaway will end on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 at 9 p.m. Central time. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to my email or I will choose a different winner.  Winners will be randomly selected using the And the Winner Is WordPress plugin.

See my giveaway policies here.

They’re also giving away a Yeti Cooler on the eMeals blog!

eMeals gave me a year’s subscription to their service and I earn a small affiliate commission when you purchase a plan after using my link (though the price is the same for you), but all opinions and experiences are my own.

--Nony

Ugh. Time to Cook Again.

We’ve been well/over fed for the past week on our cruise, but it’s time to get back to real life.

Sort of.

On Tuesday, I’m heading up north for a few days with Maytag, so this menu plan is mostly to keep my family alive while I’m gone and to ensure there are at least the ingredients for my mom to make a few meals while she’s here helping out.

If she wants to.

And I definitely don’t expect her to make exactly what’s on the plan.

I inherited my recipe-who-actually-uses-recipes? issues directly from her.

Monday – Chicken Chunks and veggies

Tuesday – Frozen leftover jambalaya

Wednesday – Crockpot BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Thursday – Chicken Soup. (It’s just a suggestion, Mom . . . but you do make great chicken soup . . . )

Friday – Out to eat.

Saturday – Not sure yet, but it will involve egg nog since we’ll be decorating the tree!

What’s on your menu plan this week?

I’ll be linking this up to Menu Plan Monday.

Another Veggieful Menu Plan

I have officially made it through one full week of all-veggies-all-the-time.

As I’ve reminded my husband, I can do this as long as he lets me be as sassy as I (feel the) need to be about it.

We’ve been through this before, so a few things have been confirmed:

  1. It’s possible to survive without candy.
  2. My hunger levels are significantly lower overall when I’m completely off of sugar.  (Other than the sugar in fruits and veggies.)

We’ve been through this before, so we know how hard next week is going to be. To try to make things better than last time, we’re eating the same meals that we ate last week.

Last time, we got a little cocky after making it through the first week.  I also tried some recipes that didn’t turn out and I ended up basically fasting several nights of that second week.

Because I may not be able to keep myself from eating Cheetos, but I can totally keep myself from eating cauliflower.

So here’s our menu of tried-and-true grain-free-meat-free meals:

Monday – Grilled Portobello mushrooms and salad

Tuesday – Black Bean Lettuce Wraps with fresh guacamole

Wednesday – Cabbage Soup with fresh tomatoes (but without the pasta in the recipe)

Thursday – Stir-fried veggies (broccoli, kale, water chestnuts, snow peas)

Friday – Asian Slaw (Since we couldn’t use sugar, I added fresh cherries to the dressing as it cooked, and it did a good job of adding the sweetness we like.)

Saturday – Salad

Sunday – Hummus with veggies.

 

Don’t forget that my e-book is still on sale through the 10th for only $3!  Just use the code: REALNEWYEAR.  (I’m sorry.  This deal has now expired.)

 

I’m linking this up to Menu Plan Monday over at OrgJunkie.com.

--Nony

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