Simplicity, Savings and Sanity: An eMeals.com Review

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I’ve Tried That’s reviews know no bounds. (Okay, there are a couple of things we won’t try, but for the sake of keeping this site PG, I won’t be listing them here…) While our focus has mainly been on earning money from home, we’re no strangers to trying ways to help make your life easier.

If you’re anything like you me, you hobble over to the refrigerator around 5:30PM, open the door for the 5th time that day, and get disappointed the magical food fairy hasn’t dropped off a steaming hot, already prepared, ready to eat dinner. This usually leaves you with two choices: throw together a quick meal with random ingredients around the house (salt and pepper’d Honey Nut Cheerios over spaghetti with a side of walnuts isn’t a thing people.) or rush out to the store and try and think of a recipe on the way and end up eating chicken with a side of canned vegetables.

Enter eMeals.com.

eMeals helps bridge the hunger gap before it even starts to grow. It’s a fantastic resource that provides you with seven recipes, a budget-friendly shopping list, and a way to manage your sanity each week. You’ll spend less time running back and forth to the grocery store, you’ll have meal plans ready at your fingertips, and your family and budget will thank you!

eMeals has graciously provided Halina with a free membership to take a look around the site and try the weekly meal plans. Here’s what Halina has to say about the program…

An eMeals Review

I have a wonderful storehouse of tasty recipes in my head, from sour cream cake to margarita pizza to sushi. However, this storehouse of knowledge lasts only for a week or two, after which I’m stuck racking my brains for something new to make. Sometimes I just give up on making hamburgers for the third night in a row and order take-out. Other times my boyfriend and I make do with a delicious homemade dinner of beer and ice cream.

Enter eMeals

What’s a busy work-at-home entrepreneur to do? Luckily, I recently tried eMeals, an online meal planning program that has dramatically simplified lunch and dinnertime for yours truly. With eMeals, I print out my 7-day lunch/dinner meal plan complete with all needed ingredients and how to prepare them. Also included in my printout is a weekly grocery shopping list. Depending on whether I’ve selected a particular grocery store, all grocery item prices specific to that store are totalled so I know exactly how much I’m spending on meals every week.

What does eMeals offer?

I can select from a variety of meal plans including Natural & Organic (my current choice), Vegetarian, Low-Fat, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Portion Control, etc. I can also select the household size that these meals will be prepared for; eMeals offers plans for 1-2 or 3-6 individuals. Finally, I can choose my preferred grocery store such as Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Wal-Mart or ALDI. Alternately, my grocery store preference can be set to Any Store if I shop at different/unlisted stores, farmers’ markets, etc.

Every eMeals meal is simple and easy to make, using an average of seven main ingredients and requiring about 30 minutes of prep time. I’m not wasting my day trying to find exotic items like cinnamon oil, avocado leaves and smoked Sicilian tuna. I’m also not wasting my money by buying extra food that later goes to waste. Best of all, the ingredients are affordable and can often be found on sale. In fact, eMeals tries to match its weekly list of recipes with store sales and seasonal availability so that you can take advantage of your store circular and local farmers’ markets.

I try eMeals

To test drive the eMeals plan and show I’ve Tried That readers just how pain-free meal planning and making can be, I created one of the suggested meals in my eMeals Natural & Organic Dinner Plan for 2 set to Any Store. Here’s an account of my trying this eMeal:

eMeal: Tilapia with Arugula and Tomatoes

Ingredients and associated prices:
½ lb. tilapia fillets (on sale for $8/lb.)
A pinch of crushed red pepper (5 cents)
1 T. flour (5 cents)
¼ cup dry white wine (25 cents)
1 T. capers (50 cents)
1 T. cold butter, cut into pieces (10 cents)
5 oz. bag arugula ($4 without coupon, $3 with coupon)
1 cup halved grape tomatoes (free from my garden, otherwise $2)
3 T. olive oil, divided (25 cents)
Salt & pepper to taste (negligible)
My total cost (with coupon and garden tomatoes): $8.20/2 meals = $4.10/meal

Pictured below is everything that I purchased or had on hand to make the eMeal. I did not add salt.

eMeals Ingredients

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the tomatoes, stirring occasionally until softened. Remove saucepan from heat; stir tomatoes into arugula. Set aside.

Sprinke tilapia with salt and red pepper; dredge in flour. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet; cook tilapia 3-4 min. on each side. Remove tilapia from skillet and add wine. Bring the wine to a boil and reduce its volume by half. Remove skillet from heat and stir in capers. Gradually add in butter until everything is combined.

Serve tilapia with white wine reduction sauce and tomato/arugula salad.

And here is the final product:

eMeals.com Review

eMeals: Save Money & Your Sanity!

eMeals costs as little as $5/month to subscribe and saves me the everyday hassle of planning meals, including the time that is wasted wandering the grocery store in search of ideas for lunch/dinner. It also saves me money because I’m not buying extra food (or junk food). Finally, unlike what I see on many recipe sites and food blogs, eMeals food doesn’t require expensive and/or exotic ingredients and complicated cooking techniques. With eMeals, the food is hearty, affordable and nutritious. And for this supercouponer, the food can also be purchased at discount by taking advantage of store sales and coupons.

eMeals frees up a good chunk of my time and money and thus helps preserve my sanity. This gives me the chance to do other things- like pursue my love of zymology! Na zdrowie!

Enter to Win 3 Free Months of eMeals!

eMeals has graciously offered to donate a 3-month membership to one lucky I’ve Tried That reader! Here are your instructions to enter this giveaway:

  1. Click here to check out eMeals
  2. Read the plans they offer under ‘Meal Plans’
  3. Leave a comment below with the plan you want to try most!

Note: You can sign up for eMeals today and still take advantage of this giveaway. If your name is selected, eMeals will extend your membership for an extra three months at no extra charge!

You can earn additional entries by following eMeals on Facebook and Pinterest! Warning: these links will make you hungry. Make sure you tell us in the comments that you’re following them so we can give you your extra entries!

We will be selecting a winner on Monday, August 6th 2012 and will post the winner in the comments.

The Bottom Line

eMeals is a fantastic resource that helps answer the question “what’s for dinner?” by providing you with an simple weekly meal guide complete with shopping lists and easy to follow recipes recipes. You can save money following their plans, but more importantly, you can keep your sanity intact and not have to worry about cobbling together a last minute meal plan.

eMeals was highly recommended here at I’ve Tried That back in 2009 and it’s only gotten better since. Sign up for a membership, enter to win 3 free months, and let us know what you think!

Photo credit by *clairity*

24 Comments

    1. Dana Carroll says:

      I think the low fat or portion control option for a family is the perfect option for me. Also, I am following on Pintrest.

    2. Clean eating for me!

    3. I would love to try the low fat plan for two people! I also followed on Pinterest. Thanks!

    4. Since I do a majority of my shopping at Publix, I would pick the Publix dinner for a family of 5. This whole concept sounds outstanding and quite clever. Thanks for the great review!

    5. I want to try the Portion control plan! I’m actually excersizing everyday, going to the gym and walking my dogs. Its been wonderful. I believe to lose the weight I want to lose I need to control my portions. I will take all the help I can get with that!

    6. I’ve also followed on Pinterest and Facebook!

    7. Thank you all for your kind comments! I really like the fact that eMeals offers lots of different food plans and store options. That makes the plan more in tune with real life. Thank you all again!

    8. About to have baby #2 and seriously interested in the meal plan that is a regular family menu serves 7 meals for 3-6 people. We like leftovers for breakfast or lunch.

    9. also liked and following on Facebook and Pinterest. Yay!

    10. Stephanie Cournoyer says:

      I want to try the natural and organic plan for two! This looks great!

    11. Hi Stephanie! I’m a member of the Natural and Organic Plan for 2 and the recipe ideas I receive each week are really imaginative- yet quite simple to make. I’ve taken my printed shopping lists from eMeals to Whole Foods or farmer’s markets and saved a ton of money by not buying stuff I don’t need. I hope you get to try this plan.

    12. Shannon Lindboe says:

      I liked you on Facebook. I am interested in Vegetarian.

    13. Hi Shannon, the eMeals plans are available in vegetarian. When you sign up for the service, you get to pick your individual plan preference at that point. Thanks for liking us!

    14. The gluten free plan would be great. We are foster parents and now have a gluten free member of the family now. so we are learning how to prepare meals. Having this plan woudl help so much.

    15. Shannon Amundson says:

      I’m interested in trying the Classic menu!

    16. would love to try the simple gourment! I’m not much of a cook but would do it if I knew how. Also, I work 30 minutes from home and prefer to take lunch versus buying lunch – I’m on a limited budget so the free subscription would be a blessing! thanks so much!

    17. It is vegetarian for me!

    18. I would love to try emeals classic. Help me talk my husband into it!

    19. Since I am a nursing student with a full time job I would love to try slow-cooker classic meals…I can use all the help I can get when it comes to meals.

    20. I have a family of 5 and would be interested in organic and also classic. Can I mix like that? With our busy schedule, this would be a lifesaver!!

    21. I was surprised there’s a slow cooker clean eating plan!

    22. I’m a new customer to emeals and pretty disappointed to say the least. Mostly for 2 reasons now… 1) First thing I was disappointed in was the layout/style of the recipe PDFs. They come as 3 recipes per page, I think it would be more convenient/add value/feel-like-I-am-getting-my-monies-worth if you would designate 1 pdf page per recipe and make it pretty. Make it look like a recipe card, so I can print and add to my recipe collection. 2) LET ME VIEW MORE THAN 1 “TYPE” OF RECIPE PLAN PER WEEK. I just switched my plan 5 times in one day in an attempt to download the past 2 weeks worth of recipes in categories I like (gourmet, classic, crockpot, healthy, vegetarian, etc.) and then it told me I can’t switch it again for another month. WTF? I would NEVER pay $60 or $100 a year for this service. AllRecipes is WAAAAY better. and cheaper. It’s not like emeals is “customizing” the recipes they are sending me to my tastes or anything. All emeals is, is literally an over-priced email of 6 recipes, sent to you each week that you have no input over, other than to say “I want crockpot recipes this week instead of “Classic” recipes. Seriously, you might as well google 6 recipes each week and save the $60. This is so not worth the cost.

    23. Halina Zakowicz says:

      Thank you for your comment, Emily. I tried the eMeals program and, while I liked the recipe layouts, did wish I could switch plans more frequently. I do believe that, if you’re stuck in a plan you really don’t like, you can personally request that the eMeals staff change it for you. Overall though, I think the plans are laid out for folks who are in a time crunch and just want to print out their meal plans and go. I didn’t know about AllRecipes- I’ll have to check it out. Thank you again for commenting!

    24. Thanks for this review!

      I just wanted to note that I am looking at several blogs reviewing emeals among others and have seen Emily’s post worded exactly the same on EVERY website I’ve looked at so far. Seems like a troll to me.

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