What are you making for dinner tonight?
Chances are you have an idea. But if you’re like me, you might have no clue.
I have slowly been making confessions on this blog over the last two months…
…My obsession with pillows, spray paint, white, the list goes on.
Another confession to add to the list is that I am a terrible homemaker.
I make more messes than I’d like to admit and while I clean the house regularly the one major thing I neglect is my kitchen. Not in a DIY sense but a “I have no idea what to make for dinner” sense.
Yes, here it is.
I can’t cook.
Okay, now before you think I’m a total loser, I can cook… with a recipe.
Well, duh. I should hope so, Rachel!
I tend to tell people that I am a “baker” not a “chef”.
Meaning I don’t know what “season to taste” is exactly but I do understand “1t of salt”.
I don’t even remember how I found it, so let’s just say it found me.
What is emeals, you might ask?
It’s an online weekly meal planner. They have tons of options from Singles to Large Family, Vegetarian to Diebetic plans and it budgets your weekly dinner menu. I happen to be a very picky eater (shame on me, I know) so I was very hesitant to even sign up because you have to pay and the minimum registration is 3 months.
However, it was only $7… I have spent way more on way less. I bought a $16 cheeseburger one time… it wasn’t even that good. So when it comes to making good decisions I try to think when I have spent my money poorly and not do that again ;)
A good example would be that I go to the grocery store about every 2 weeks (I make daily trips sometimes to get missing items) and I like to walk up and down each aisle and read labels and just veg out. I have no children so this is my opportunity to just stroll and shop and get my retail therapy.
The problem? I’ve got no game plan. None. No list, no ideas, just me and my cart.
And let me tell you, that cart gets filled to the brim every time.
I don’t buy junk food, I buy practical foods.
Lots of produce, bread, milk, juice, meats. The normal shopping list.
The problem with this is that my quantities are chosen at random. Which isn’t very helpful when you need 2 onions and you only bought 1, or you bought 4 tomatoes and only used 1. See where I’m going here?
I’m a Mess, with a capital “M”.
What do you do with a person who is a mess at the grocery store and ends up with a lot of spoiled food?
Break it down for them… nice and slow…
Here is what I did.
I signed up for emeals.com for a 3 month subscription for $21.
I printed last week and this week’s meal plans and sat down and looked at the menu.
The hubs and I like to eat out about twice a week, usually with friends or just a little date night (remember, no children) so I only want roughly 5 dinner plans a week.
Okay, pick 5 and make your list.
I decided the best option was to make a little book.
I might have printed the front page for you guys ;)
I wanted to use page protectors since I will be reading the recipes while cooking and making a mess.
You get two pages per week. The list on the left is your menu with recipes. The list on the right is your shopping list. You can choose which grocery store you want to shop at as well as how many people you are roughly feeding.
Doug loves leftovers so we signed up for a small family (4 people) plan.
My favorite part? The part where it tells me how much I will spend if I hit all the sales (in red) for the week. Yup! It already knows what your sales are and tells you the best way to hit them all.
Whenever I have a meal I am not interested in making/won’t eat I simply cross it out. Then I go to the coordinating shopping list and cross off those items so I don’t accidentally buy something I don’t need.
I have been using this system for 1 month and let me tell you, it’s fantastic. I’ve saved a ton of money. I’ve made probably 20 new dishes and loved them all! I seriously have cooked with ingredients that I never would have imagined using in my life and loved it. We honestly haven’t had a single meal (except for one that I totally screwed up) that we didn’t like. Most of them are “Oh wow, this is really good. You should make this again.” The poor thing has been eating my lowly awful food for 6 years and never said a thing. Now he can’t wait for me to make dinner and neither can I. It’s so empowering to be able to just open your fridge and have everything you need right there and just… cook.
I also spend half as much time at the grocery store and have to make 100x fewer little trips between major shoppings which is always nice considering we aren’t exactly in town.
When I shop now I look like this chick:
Okay maybe I still stroll a little bit… I like grocery shopping, what can I say?
But I am much more organized and efficient and get more things that we need and less that we don’t.
I feel like I’m making more educated decisions and I can see how this would be a gift if you have children. I mean seriously, you just print and go.
Isn’t she adorable? I have no idea who she is but I don’t look nearly as cute at the grocery store!
Check out their Pinterest pins here.
You can get a better idea of the types of meals they plan.
I so wouldn’t share this with you all if it hadn’t literally already changed my life for the better.
I am in no way being paid to say these words, it’s just really that great.
I don’t intend to end my sign up with them after 3 months. I will probably use them for a year and get lots and lots of good recipes in my book and then quit ;)
Examples of foods I have cooked in the past month:
Black Bean & Smoked Sausage Soup
Cheesy Sausage Calzones
Three Pack Pot Roast
Chicago Style Pizza
Yummy Shepherd’s Pie
Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
Sweet Garlic Chicken
Roasted Herbed Chicken
Bacon Cobb Pitas
Hamburgers & Baked Beans
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Pork Tenderloin & Corn-on-the-cob
All have been fantastic!!
They send you the menu every Sunday. I get so excited on Sunday mornings to see what’s on the menu for the week. I’ve even thought about making a menu board for the kitchen just so I can write it down.
I feel so fancy and proper :)
I do encourage you to sign up if you are a terrible meal planner/shopper like me. It has simplified my life so much more than I would ever have expected.
What was the last thing you spent $7 on that ended up being a waste?
Produce? Meat? Bread? Milk?
Sign up! (I’d say it’s free, but it’s not. Lol.)