Two weeks ago Barbara from Meals By the Week contacted me about whether or not her website would be a good fit as a SewCanShe site sponsor. I had to tell her that my sponsor spots were all full... but I practically begged her for the chance to review her meal planning service. I mean less time figuring out what to feed my family means more sewing time for me, right?
For $1.06 - 1.39 per week, Meals By the Week will provide you with a weekly menu complete with personalized meals and a shopping list based on your favorite store's current sales.
And here's a little background on my kitchen skills: they are sad. I hate cooking. I hate trying to figure out what to cook. And I hate grocery shopping. I'd much rather be sewing, planning a sewing project, or shopping for fabric, lol! We have an embarrassing number of Pizza Hut nights (thank goodness for $10 pizzas) and '450 Special' nights (that means everything in the freezer that cooks at 450 degrees, all on one pan... chicken nuggets, egg rolls, and pizza pockets come to mind). I never thought my blog would show pictures of food!
So I set up my subscription choosing Publix as my store and selecting the 'regular' menu (you can also choose low-cal or Paleo menus).
On Thursday (the day of the new Publix ad) my new menu showed up. It was planned to correspond to the Publix sales - yay!
I had forgotten to print my list before I left, but since Publix offers free wi-fi, I simply pulled it up on my tablet.
I spent about $150 on food for our meals and let me tell you how good we ate...
That first night I let Chloe choose what we ate and she picked this amazing baked tortellini and cheese casserole...
with spinach, pear, cranberry, and feta salad. Hey, we're eating heathy. And we ate all of that salad, it was so yummy!
Sunday night we sat around the dining room table (yes, I cleared the fabric off because I actually had food for a meal in the fridge) . We ate steak, real mashed potatoes, and these beautiful asparagus spears. My first time to prepare asparagus and my kids' first time to eat it! This delicious recipe with butter and parmesan was a hit. I'm not kidding. My kids all ate asparagus. Chloe cleaned out the serving dish.
My husband's remark (after the shock of sitting at the dining room table): 'I think we ate this meal on our cruise.' Sorry, I don't have a picture of the steak or potatoes. People were complaining that we couldn't eat already.
Wednesday night, when we have so many after school activities that we don't get home until almost 7, was no big deal. This taco soup was waiting in the crock pot. Yum!
One night was maple glazed Tilapia, almond green beans, and rice. Is this really our house? I can hardly believe it. (To be truthful, the menu included a basmati risotto, but since I already had plain rice in the fridge, I just got lazy and heated it up.)
Now I'm going to keep it real for you. One meal was Tex-Mex roasted chicken rubbed with a mix of garlic, chipotle pepper, and other aromatic seasonings. Well I decided to get fancy and cook a whole chicken in my rotisserie that I have not used in years. I read the instructions which said 15 min/pound and for some reason I remembered the chicken as 7 pounds (it was probably less) and I calculated that to be 3.5 hours. What was wrong with me???
What is the logo on that rotisserrie? 'Set it and forget it!' So I did. And when I came back, this is what I saw. I didn't even have to remove the chicken from the spit thingy. It had all fallen off, even the bones!
Luckily, I could salvage some of it for the chicken salad on croissant meal (with lots of mayo).
There were a couple things that I would change about the shopping list if it were my website. You can remove meals from the menu and shopping list that you don't want to make, but you can't remove items from the shopping list that you already have in your pantry. That would be nice. And the amounts to buy are sometimes tricky to understand so it would be useful to take both the printed recipes and the shopping list to the store together.
But I would not change the meals one bit, they were amazing and soooo much healthier than we usually eat. And easy to cook too. I think I actually spent less time in the kitchen because I didn't have to spend the usual 30 minutes just figuring out what we have the ingredients for. Thank you so much Barbara! For such a small price, this meal planning service is a steal!
This product review was paid, but all of the opinions and the photos (except for the logo above) are entirely my own.