I was a bit skeptical when I found out that I was chosen to review the E-mealz menu planning resource, but I ended up falling in love with the program.
Planning meals for my family is a difficult task. I eat a completely gluten-free and milk-free diet, and I also watch the carb content of the meals to manage my diabetes. My middle child has a life-threatening peanut allergy which also limits the products we use. Thankfully, all of my kids are fairly adventurous in terms of trying new foods. We all have a few favorite dishes that I fix, but nobody likes repeating a meal very often.
E-mealz advertises that it's as easy as 1, 2, 3...
1. Pick a plan. When I signed up for E-mealz, I chose the gluten-free plan for any store. There are tons of other options, but it seemed like a simple choice given my diet restrictions.
2. Print and go shopping. I made this step a bit harder than it would normally have to be. I knew that we had several outside commitments and therefore I didn't need to cook seven dinner meals that week. I crossed off a few meals, made the easy adjustments to the printed shopping list, and then went shopping.
3. Cook and enjoy. This step was the one that worried me the most. I worried about the size of the meals because I normally serve more side dishes than E-mealz includes. I worried that my family wouldn't like the new recipes. I worried that the meals would be too much effort or take too much time.
The verdict: Lots of thumbs up in our house!
We did indeed have enough food to feed my hungry family. There were some nights when we even had leftovers.
I learned a lot by cooking according to the E-mealz plan. I learned that it's really not that difficult or time-consuming to grill food. I used to always leave those meals for weekend nights when I could delegate the grilling to my husband. I also learned that sometimes simple food is good enough. My family has a favorite hamburger recipe that I sometimes fix, but nobody complained when I made hamburgers according to the easier E-mealz directions.
We all found new favorites. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the way that my husband and all three of the kids loved the Spinach Quiche recipe. I've already fixed it again with one of our old favorite entrees.
E-mealz is a subscription based service that costs $15 for a 3 month subscription. My husband noted that it was quite a bargain if you consider that most cookbooks cost at least that much. Cookbooks don't often come with neatly printed plans and shopping lists, either.
You can find all of the basic facts about E-mealz on their Frequently Asked Questions page.
If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew thought about E-Mealz, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here. Warning: many of us started taking pictures of the meals we fixed. I assume no responsibility if you start reading other reviews and then drool on your keyboard.