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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This mom's a-cookin!

Or I will be as soon as I get back from the store.

"What's for dinner?" is my second most dreaded question. The first is "Do I have any socks?" But I digress. Back to the food...

I don't really enjoy cooking. Part of the reason is that it seems I have about 4 meals in my repertoire. So last week, when I saw a menu-planning deal from Relish! on, I decided to go for it. Just $16 for six months worth of customized menu plans and corresponding grocery lists.(I had referral credit from Eversave, so I got the deal for free which made it a no-brainer.)

Today I logged onto Relish! to build my menu for the week. The process was pretty simple. There were 15 entree/side pairs to choose from.(New menus are put up every Thursday.) There were also 10 freezer meals to choose from. And if those 25 meals didn't offer enough variety, there was a list of meal ideas broken down by categories like: Kid-friendly, Lower Calorie, Slow Cooker, Vegetarian, Simple Gourmet, Budget-friendly -- and more. I did have to call the customer support number to figure out that if you offer over the letter code at the end of the meal idea, you can figure out which category it belongs to.

Here's the menu I put together:
  • Drumsticks with Lemon-Pepper Marinade | Almond Rice Pilaf
  • Slow Cooker Beef Tacos | Dinner Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing
  • Crispy Baked Fish | Creamy Slaw with Golden Raisins
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwiches With Cilantro Tapenade | Sweet Potato Fries
  • Baked Penne with Ricotta and Spinach | Baguette With Dill Butter

If we end up just loving one of the meals, I can go back into my Relish! account and mark it as a favorite to add to my meal plan whenever I want.

I could have chosen as many menu items as I wanted, but they recommend starting with 5 to keep your grocery list and budget reasonable. You can choose how many servings you want -- 2, 4, 6, or 8. Relish! scales the recipe for you and then builds your grocery list.

The grocery list organized by section of the store and is marked with a code for which recipe the item will be used in. That way if I decide not to make the drumsticks (A), I just go through the list and cross off everything that is marked with an A.

Is that not awesome?! Even better, I found a free iPhone app that will keep my menu and grocery list as close as my phone.

The good news for any of you kitchen-challenged folks out there is that though the Eversave deal is over, is offering the same deal right now! You'll pay $16 for six months of customized menu planning. And if you "like" the offer on Facebook, you'll get another $1 discount! For a fraction of  what it costs to go out to dinner, you can get six months of just-right-for-your-family menu ideas, recipes and grocery lists.

Let me know if you try it. I'll let you know how our meals are this week. And if you're one of those people who are never at a loss for what to fix for dinner and who love to cook, I'm free next Tuesday.


Annie said...

What a great program!

Are you going to be blogging TBL tonight? :)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to build my menus too! Another bonus about purchasing the SavySource deal is that a portion goes to a local school of your choice! love it!

Joanie said...

That program sounds perfect for you!

Beth Zimmerman said...

I'm going to have to try this! I need to get both the grocery budget and our diets under control immediately ... if not sooner! Thanks for sharing!

Beth Zimmerman said...

I did it! Easiest menu and grocery list EVER! I think I'm in love!

Sharon said...

Wonderful!! Please update to let us know how you like it. :) I wasn't familiar w/ this one, but I've looked into E-Mealz several times. Your menu sounds nice and diverse!

Joanne said...

Amy I look forward to seeing how you enjoy this program. Let me know if you like it or not -- my SIL actually wrote a book for mom's like you (and me). Its called a Practical Dinner Guide for Real People and I might be able to get one for you if you think you might be interested.

I also want to thank you for dropping by my blog -- I should have added more to my remark about not watching TBL --- we have a new series airing in Canada called "Village on a Diet" and its really pretty good. Not sure if you can find it online or not but I am hooked after the first episode and look forward to seeing this whole town lose weight together.