I have such a hard time with dinner. In a time before children, I enjoyed cooking. Now, I would rather be doing anything else. It overwhelms me. I’ve tried making menu plans and trying to organize freezer meals and it always works for a time, and then I fall back into the same old rut. The dinner question mostly brings up feelings of panic for me.
Consequently, I was really excited to review E-Mealz. E-Mealz is a simple system for grocery budgeting and menu planning. The weekly menu prints out as a single page and includes a corresponding grocery list. It really is a time saver in terms of planning. There are many choices for meal plans such as store-based (use the weekly specials as the basis for their meals), vegetarian, low-carb, Gluten-Free, and others. Moreover, E–Mealz has been exclusively recommended by Dave Ramsey since 2007.You can see view all the available meal plans and samples of each here.
I wondered if E-Mealz would work for us. My kids are picky. I am picky. My husband says he’s not picky, but he kind of is, too. Maybe this is why I don’t like making dinner!
I chose a vegetarian meal plan because, although we aren’t vegetarian, we do not prefer to eat pork or beef. It was love at first sight. The vegetarian meal printed out as two pages of menus and included lots of vegetables and fruit. The dinners for the first week sounded appealing, too.
Well, maybe not egg salad sandwiches. I also added in chicken to quite a few meals, since there is no way my husband would be satisfied with a vegetarian diet:)
The shopping list was easy to follow. I love how each ingredient has the corresponding meal number next to it (on the left). This makes it easy to adjust the menu and know quickly which items I won’t need if I cut out a recipe. I also like that there is extra room to write other things I might need. I appreciate that the list includes the staples I should have on hand (in case I might not, or might have run out).
The first meal, Orange Tofu with an addition of grilled chicken was a great success with both of us.
The second meal – Greek pita pizzas – was equally successful and I ate it before I remembered to photograph it!
The third meal was also a success. (Eggplant and provolone sandwiches with pesto)
My husband raved about these vegetables on the grill (and he is not a vegetable lover).
The next meal, Tamale Pie, was such a flop that I didn’t photograph it, but I think the cornbread mix I bought is to blame. The inside of the pie was good.
The peppers were a bit too soggy for my husband, but I enjoyed them. However, after being stuck with all the leftovers, I was quite done.
And the same with this almond penne. He really did not like this one and the recipe made a lot. I ate leftovers of this for a week.
I didn’t expect to love every recipe so I was still excited. I felt we had had two great weeks of meals. However, the next two plans only had a few options that seemed appealing to us. Did I mention my husband and I are picky? (And why am I not mentioning the kids, you wonder? If you think they even tried one morsel of any of this food, you do not realize just how picky they are!)
That puts us at this week, the week the review is due. I switched plans in the middle of last week (you are allowed one switch per month) because everyone on our private TOS forum was raving about delicious fish and chicken recipes. We switched to a Publix Family Meal Plan. Again, because we are picky eaters, I am having a hard time with the menu. I have deviated from it a lot, but at least I can accumulate some fish and chicken recipes for my husband for the next few weeks until our three month subscription is over.
- You are billed for 3 months and it is automatically billed to your credit card UNLESS you go to the website and cancel.
- If you or anyone in your family is picky (like ours), E-Mealz is probably not a good fit. You are better off creating your own meal plans of family favorites.
- ALL the planning work is done for you.
- The recipes are nutritious and have good variety.
- The recipes are simple to follow and do not take much time to put together (not including cooking time)
- The E-Mealz program is inexpensive – it works out to $5 per month.
- The recipes are budget friendly.
I love the concept of E-Mealz, but ultimately and unfortunately, we are a bunch of picky eaters, and I need to see a few more weeks of meal plans to know for sure if it can work for us.