Picture this. It is 4:30 pm. You are almost done with work or close to it. The next phase of your day is about to kick in. The dinner, laundry, homework and bedtime routine phase. The phase that can honestly be more stressful than your day job. Why is the day job so easy yet time off at home is so hard? It is hard because there is not a schedule. There is no “this comes next or that has a deadline”. Dinner routines especially are left open-ended because the question is always the same, “what’s for dinner tonight?”. If you forgot to take something out in the morning then you already know that the meat will need to thaw out. If you are cooking a new recipe and are lacking an ingredient then you are more likely to stop at the store to get it and just “pick something else up”. This leads to careless decisions to get takeout vs. a home cooked meal.
What’s for dinner tonight?
How do we solve the problem of “what’s for dinner tonight?” once and for all? Well, we are going to need a guideline. Something that planned it out so we are looking ahead in anticipation of what we will need. Perhaps even a little help to tell us what to buy at the store, how much of this or that to get and even instructions to actually cook the meal?
Here are some objections that I have faced when I got in to the “what’s for dinner tonight?” slump.
- I forgot to take the meat out to thaw.
- I don’t have a specific ingredient to make this meal.
- I want to make something new but don’t have a good recipe.
- I have dietary restrictions that keep me from traditional meal plans.
- I have picky eaters in my family.
- I don’t know how to come up with a good recipe to make.
Sound familiar? If so then you know the feeling of desperation when dinnertime is just around the corner. What do you do? Do you cave and just pickup something? Do you sacrifice dinnertime and make it a few hours later? Do you turn to a baked pizza?
For all that said baked pizza, you get a thumbs up for creativity. That was my option many nights also until we literally could not stand the look, smell or thought of pizza anymore.
It was about two years ago that I designated time to do a thorough search for the answer to “what’s for dinner tonight?”. I was tired of being tired and hating my kitchen because I was not prepared for dinner. I bookmarked a few sites and downloaded a few apps to my smart phone but these solutions were lacking a few things.
A. I had to search the sites to FIND the recipes.
B. I was left with planning what comes next for our dinner plans.
Option B sounds like a beginners complaint but honestly I needed that “what comes next” action plan to get out of this dinner slump. I needed someone to tell me what to buy, how to make it and how many people it served. I also needed variety because I do have dietary restrictions and picky eaters in my home.
Another option I came across was the “meals in the mail” type planning. You’ve seen them. You pay to have a few complete meals shipped to you with the ingredients and instructions. I had issues with this. The first was the amount of time it would take to get started. Many of those “ship to home” plans wanted your money first and then meals would start shipping in 2 weeks. 2 weeks! That is still two weeks without meals and planning time for me. Then, the expenses. Those meal plans only gave you 3 to 4 meals per week and they were just dinner options. Not breakfast or lunch. That’s clearly not going to work. I passed up that option all together. Too expensive, too much hassle and I was still left with needing breakfast and lunch options.
Finally, I came across something that might actually work.
The solution was and still is the $5 Meal Plan.
Let me tell you a bit about this meal planning option I found and why it works for my family and will work for yours too!
Remember how I said the “ship to your home” meal plan options were so expensive. I am talking like $200 for 4 weeknight dinners. Yes, I said 4. Last I checked there were 7 nights I needed to plan on cooking for. $2oo is a BIG chunk of our grocery budget and certainly would have been an investment had we put that money up front and waited two weeks for our meal plan to start.
With the $5 Meal Plan, you pay just $5 a month and instant gratification with a weekly meal plan delivered right to your inbox! You did hear me correctly. $5 dollars a month! That breaks down to 20 quarters or 500 pennies a month. However you spin it, $5 is certainly in my grocery budget and affordable.
And how about these apples. On the $5 Meal Plan website, you can print coupons! Imagine printing FREE coupons, saving up to dollar or more on at least 5 items that you buy with coupons and having that as your budgeted $5 for your $5 Meal Plan subscription. Um, hello! It really is that easy!
… Money saving tips for when you’re shopping at the grocery store – $5 Meal Plan
With the $5 Meal Plan, you get a weekly meal plan that includes 5 dinner recipes and breakfast and lunch recipes too! Some of these recipes like the baked eggs with spinach, tomatoes and garlic recipe are plates I would have paid $15 for at a fancy brunch restaurant. That same $15 could have been 3 months of my $5 Meal Plan subscription AND I know have the recipe forever, know how to cook it and know exactly what ingredients are needed to make it!
Another favorite on this weeks (5DMP – 2018 – Week6) meal plan is the raspberry brownie parfaits! I don’t need convincing to be eating like this!
Easy and Quick Recipes
My house sort of goes in to panic mode when I get off work. I do work from home and can get some of the laundry and dishes done on my lunch breaks but the major things like cleaning, cooking and weeknight routines have to happen when I am off the clock. This is not even considering any weeknight with reasons to be away from home for soccer practice or dance.
When I get mentally prepared to cook, I need something that is easy and quick. I need to get it on the stove or in the oven and on the plate without sacrificing any additional time. $5 Meal Plans is designed to do just that. Each recipe has a “active time” and “cook time” timer right under the recipe title plus other helpful icons for things like being freezer friendly, slow cooker meals, one-dish dinners and accounting for chop ahead times.
The $5 Meal Plan really does take the guess-work out of meal planning with easy and quick recipes.
Budget Friendly Recipes
I cook for a family of 4. Feeding two children under the age of 10 is sometimes not cheap and I know will get tougher as they get older. My son once consumed 8 granola bars in one sitting! He snuck in to the kitchen while I was working and I guess was hungry outside of his afternoon snack. I walked around the corner to find granola wrappers galore. I sometimes feel like I am feeding two small horses because of how much they eat! I need budget friendly recipes that won’t break the bank with expensive ingredients. Thank goodness for my $5 Meal Plan. A lot of the recipes carry over to other recipes within the week where you will use an ingredient again. Most of the ingredients on the $5 Meal Plan menu will be used twice and on the website there are even recipes to make common seasonings in bulk so you won’t have to buy them at the store!
Accommodates Dietary Restrictions
I have EoE. Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic, allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus. I was diagnosed with it in 2015 and had to make some major dietary changes to keep the flare-up’s in check. Before diagnosed, I remember eating certain foods and literally choking on them or feeling my throat swell up after eating something with a trigger ingredient. My throat will literally become so irritated that I begin to choke. I was once at someones bridal shower and took a small bite of a cupcake. That small bite came with a big punch right to my digestive tract. I immediately started choking and had digestive repercussions for the rest of the afternoon. I’ve also eaten at a restaurant where the food served was typically “safe to eat” when considering the ingredients used. I, to this day remember having to run to the bathroom with the feeling of food stuck in my throat while the rest of my family was celebrating my sister-in-law’s 50th birthday party. Having this disease means I can NOT afford to cut corners. I have to stick to clean eating or my health will suffer.
Shortly after diagnosis, my gastroenterologist sat down with me and came up with a plan to help with my disease. His recommendations included medicine and a new diet plan. I needed to stick to clean eating and needed to stay away from food additives like MSG. I also needed to avoid gluten when possible. I didn’t have to go gluten free like some folks, but I had to eliminate it as much as possible. EoE is a tricky disease because the cause is not easy to diagnose. I took allergy tests, none of which told me anything about being allergic to something specific.
On a quest to stick with a meal plan that could accommodate such dietary limitations, I was happy to find that the $5 Meal Plan had a gluten free option. I can’t express how thankful I am to have found a meal plan that can get so laser focused on a dietary need. Like, everything in the meal plan was customized to my needs of being gluten free. Having something like this customized for me by a private dietitian would have cost hundreds of dollars AND would have been a reoccurring expense as the variety of my meals would change.
$5 Meal Plan has a gluten free menu that works! I don’t feel like I am eating the “special food” and I certainly don’t sacrifice any flavors because of my intolerance. I can go in to the $5 Meal Plan tool, customize my filters to gluten free eating and literally build a menu in minutes!
So if you have not already guessed by my raving review, the $5 Meal Plan is 100% recommended by me and I cook from that meal plan in The Hot Mess Kitchen. Yes, we do eat out maybe once a month but the majority of the cooking is done at home. My using the $5 Meal Plan, I am saving money, time and living a healthier lifestyle with better food choices on the menu.
I would encourage you to try the trial of the $5 Meal Plan so you can see for yourself. You can click here to get started and it will take you right to the sign up page and finally break the mold in actually knowing whats for dinner!
One last thing. You are not just getting a meal plan with the $5 Meal Plan. You are also gaining access to printable coupons, time saving strategies when cooking in the kitchen and money saving tips for saving even more at the grocery store. The $5 Meal Plan will keep your hard earned money in the bank and you will spend less than if you had no menu plan at all.