Apparently we are a culture of eating three meals a day. This was a surprise to me when we got married – oh, wait… you expect dinner? I thought my charm & wit would be enough to feed you.
Then you have kids. And kids have opinions. My kids’ opinions include: 1/3 not liking mac and cheese and 2/3 of them refusing peanut butter and jelly until they were about ten and 1/3 not liking pasta. This includes SPAGHETTI – who doesn’t like spaghetti??
My kid. (As a side note: My son hates meatballs and has made a pact with me that if I don’t feed him meatballs, he promises not to ever run away. Deal.)
I like to cook – I love trying new recipes and I enjoy being in the kitchen. However, the fact that dinner comes around daily, ingredients need to be shopped for and planned out – these are the factors that lead to dinner feeling a little defeating. Especially when no matter what you offer, basically your audience is begging for Chick-Fil-A. My husband follows Giordano’s on Facebook and they put a nicely placed deep dish on his timeline every night around 5 in order to entice people to order. Then I’m like, here honey, uh…have some chicken nuggets…?? (To be fair: Even though my husband doesn’t cook, he does absolutely help with running to Target with a list or going to get our “out-food” on the occasional days we eat takeout. He never makes me feel guilty for not cooking – and is happy to give me a break!)
So since I enjoy the cooking part, but struggle with the prep work, lately I tried two ways of meal planning – here are my reviews on each:
Here are two ways I’ve tried lately:
Blue Apron – Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that delivers once or twice a week to your house. You can get ingredients for two meals – each meal can serve either 2 or 4 people (depending on the plan you get), or you can choose to have four meals a week delivered. We are on the 2 meals for 4 people a week plan and have been doing this for the last couple of months. Here are the pros and cons:
-I LOVE this – a big box shows up on my front porch. Ingredients are pre-measured – little tiny packaging to hold the little tiny amount of rice vinegar! Little individual holders for the one little farm egg! -and you get just enough to make the meals. Since I love trying new foods, I’ve enjoyed the new recipes and ingredients. I had no idea there was such a thing as fairytale eggplants or finger limes!
-I love that the meals feed us as a family of 5 – although it says it’s for 4 people, because two of my kids don’t eat as much, we get away with serving 5… and there’s always plenty of food.
-You cannot customize the plan, however you can ask for certain modifications, such as having no seafood recipes included. Otherwise, you get what they are sending. You CAN skip a week if you will be out of town, or if you just don’t think the meals will work for you.
-The meals are “fancier” than what I normally would cook for my kiddos – and that’s why we have decided to quit getting Blue Apron. While I loved the meals and never had one I didn’t like, the kids and my husband are just not quite into the food. But if you’re into trying new foods and the idea of summer squash doesn’t scare you like it scares certain people I live with, definitely try Blue Apron! We are paying $69.95 for two meals for four (although we feed 5) people – this is definitely higher than me shopping for my own meals, but it is cheaper than eating out. And fresher. And probably healthier.
Summary: Less stress, more money, easier to be prepared and more fun to cook with ingredients all pre-measured and delivered!
You can sign up HERE.
Six Sisters Meal Plan – this meal plan sends you six dinners, two sides and two dessert recipes a week, and includes a grocery shopping list. The foods are typical to Six Sisters cookbooks (think Taste of Home- basic casseroles and meat & potato meals). While the meals say they feed 6-8 (usually), we always have leftovers. Here’s how I feel about this meal plan:
-Unlike Blue Apron, I (of course) am the one going to the store to buy the ingredients. Yes, the shopping list helps, but if you knew how much I dislike grocery shopping… I do still wish magical fairies delivered groceries to my doorstep. So it doesn’t eliminate the step of grocery shopping BUT it does make it easier.
-The shopping list is great! It’s organized by section of the grocery store. I’ve only had two times when an ingredient was left off the list or incorrectly listed – out of about 8 weeks of getting these meal plans, that isn’t too bad (although it did lead to some frustration when making that particular meal and discovering the ingredients were not on hand).
-The food! This is the kind of food my family likes – roasts, casseroles (Million Dollar Casserole being their hands down favorite right now). Some weeks I skip the dessert making because we don’t usually eat dessert -but they are good ideas… And bonus, now that you have received these weeks of meal plans, you now have all the recipes to mix and match for future weeks.
-The plans are not customizable – although Six Sisters does have a few different options available – including a healthy eating one. There is a gluten free plan, a smaller family option and the family option which is what I use. Go HERE to see the plans.
-The cost is from $5 a month to sign up for the recipes which are sent to you on Friday mornings. Well worth it, in my opinion. The meals have definitely upped our grocery budget, BUT it does make a lot of food. Also, if you want to skip a meal with a pricey roast – just eliminate that recipe and cross out those ingredients on the list. Takes a little more work, but totally doable. In its simplest form, you get the email, print out the recipes and shopping lists – put the recipes in a binder, go shopping with that handy list and you’re all set to cook each night!
Sign up for the Six Sisters meal plan HERE.
Summary: Not totally healthy meals, delicious, not completely customizable, easy to shop with the list and makes plenty of yummy family food!
Any other great meal plans you’ve been using or suggestions for meal plans I should try?? I would love to know – let me know in the comments!