What’s for dinner, Mom? I get this question just about everyday. With four kids who all like to eat, this is a very important question in our house. To be honest, most times I do know what we are having. A lot of times it is already in the slow cooker. I learned how to make a menu and shopping list from my mother. I can’t remember a time when she did not have a menu plan with a list to go with it.
Now we come to E-Mealz. When I was assigned this review, I was skeptical, I wondered how it could help me. I make a menu, I have a computerized list. I was in for a surprise. I have found that I really like this website and the concept behind it. I have used this exclusively for about 4 weeks now and am very happy with it.
What exactly is E-Mealz?
3 steps to easy, tasty meals 7 days a week. Sounds too good to be true, but the system really works.
- Choose a plan. E-Mealz has a unique system that allows you to choose where you shop. For example, if you shop at Aldi’s, you can pick that plan. Then your meals for the week will be tailored to what is on special in the store that week. For me, I choose the Any Store plan. I shop mainly at a military commissary and wanted to see how this plan worked. On the designated day of the week I would go to the E-Mealz website and download my weekly menu (with recipes) and shopping list.
- Go shopping. The shopping list has everything you need to make every meal for that week. Pantry staples are printed within parentheses and then listed at the bottom of the page. All other ingredients are categorized by general store area on a one page shopping list. Each meal is numbered and the ingredients needed are given the same number as the meal. This makes it nice if you decide to not make a meal. For example, if you are not going to make meal number 1, you find all shopping list ingredients labeled with a 1 and cross them off.
- Cook. The recipes are printed directly on the menu. Each recipe is simple to prepare, yet a complete meal. Along with a main dish for every day, side dishes are also listed. On the menu, some recipes are labeled “Slow-Cooker” or “On the grill”. This gives you options for those days that may be busy and a slow-cooker meal might mean the difference between going out to eat and eating at home.
Want even more detailed information. Visit the E-Mealz website. You can read about the founders as well as look at sample menus for each of the available plans. There are many plans available including Low-fat plans, Gluten Free plans and menu plans for 1-2 people.
E-Mealz is available as a 3 month subscription for $15.00. This breaks down to approximately $1.25 per week.
I also want to mention the option to give E-Mealz as a gift. There is an option to give E-Mealz for a 6 or 12 month period of time. I find this idea intriguing and can think of several situations it might be a useful, unique gift. Click here for more information on Gift subscriptions.
As I mentioned before, I was skeptical over whether I really even needed E-Mealz. I found out I loved having it around. Not having to sit with my cookbooks making a menu and compiling a list was a tremendous time saver. I could quickly glance at the menu, and start cooking knowing I had all the ingredients I needed.
I choose the Family Meal Plan – Any Store. The plan says it serves 4-6 people. This was accurate for our family. We have six people in our family. Dad and Mom, Matthew (18), Sarah (14), Benjamin (9), and Rebekah ( 8). It is a rare night anymore that all six of us are together. Matthew is in college and working 30+ hours a week. Dad works a crazy, unpredictable schedule. So most nights there are only 4-5 of us sitting down to dinner. We had enough food for everyone to eat the amount they wanted, and most nights there were leftovers.
Another big question is cost. By choosing the Any Store plan, it was not tailored to any sales. I found it to be a bit more expensive than what I was spending, but not enough to be a deal breaker. I tend to buy some things in bulk at Costco once a month. So when a meal called for a bag of frozen vegetables, I crossed it off the pre-made list and used what I had stocked in the freezer. Same goes for pantry items like chicken broth, or canned tomatoes. I could just use what I have stocked away and not buy these items week to week. I had also been trying to have more meatless meals each week, and E-Mealz has meat almost every meal, so I could easily see where the extra expense comes in. If you are used to flying by the seat of your pants and having no plan for dinner, I think this will definitely save money.
I do not have a picky family when it comes to eating. While everyone has something they do not care for, on the whole we eat a wide variety. With E-Mealz just about every meal was a hit. We even had meals that I don’t think I would have ever made, yet we enjoyed the variety. Matthew was especially enthusiastic about the BBQ Pizza meal and the Ribs in BBQ sauce (Can you see the theme in those two meals?). Sarah and Dad loved a salad that had shrimp and bacon in it. One of my favorites was a Zucchini Hamburger bake.
If you couldn’t guess, I am recommending E-Mealz. If you are skeptical like I was, just try it for 3 months. Better yet, Christmas is coming, tell someone this would make a good gift. This has turned out to be a product I didn’t know I needed or that it even existed, but I have grown to really like it. I think what sealed the deal for me was being able to hand my husband a list on his way out the door to work, and have him come home with all the ingredients I needed for a week’s worth of meals.
There were many Crew Members who tried various E-Mealz plans. Visit the Crew Blog to read what other Crew Members thought of the plan they chose.
As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received a 3 month membership to e-mealz for free, in exchange for my honest review of their product.