Monday, April 18, 2011

One Step Further

Last week, I mentioned how easy/wonderful it has been for me to use e-mealz. On Friday, I printed my list and did the grocery shopping, spending under $150.00 for a week of meals (and various sundry items) for a family of four.

Now, what you're about to see is not my idea. I wish I had kept the reference to the blog that I found this on! I would love to give credit where credit is due. If anyone reading this happens to have seen this on another blog, please leave a message so I can update! (*Update: An anonymous commenter sent me the link! Thank you, Anonymous Commenter!)

So remember; not my idea!

I tried this last week and it worked so wonderfully! Tyler came home, opened the fridge, and said, "Mom, you're brilliant!" I quickly mentioned that I got it from another blog and he came back with, "Yeah, but you actually did it!"

Ok. I'll take that one.

"Her children will rise up and call her blessed." Proverbs 31

[Cue the choir music]

Ok, where was I? Right! Bless-ed!

What this saintly woman had done was organize her meals in her fridge. She printed out the recipes with photos on the fronts and put them on cards. She then gathered all the ingredients for each recipe, placed them in the plastic bins, and put the recipe card in the front.

Now, I happened to have a ton of empty plastic shoe boxes that I was about to toss toward the church yard sale. I thought this was a great idea, but I couldn't see myself typing up recipes, finding photos, and then printing them out. In fact, I knew this would get old in a heartbeat and take too much time for me.

Then I looked at my e-mealz list.
All I had to do was cut the recipes into strips! I then stuck them into the bins and gathered the ingredients as I was unloading the groceries from their bags.

Meat, veggies, canned tomato sauce; all of these fit neatly into the bins.
I had to adjust my refrigerator shelves to make a little more room, but there they are!

Glenna did the unloading and assembling yesterday.
Since she was making dinner Friday night and using chicken broth, she remembered that one of the recipes called for 1/3 cup of chicken broth, measured it out, and put it in a baggie while she was cooking. Otherwise, I would have just put the can in there.

Now, any one of us can grab a bin and we're good to go! Dinner on the table within 30 minutes!

Ok, here's some FAQs:

1. Will the meat stay good?

Yes! The meat doesn't spoil since most meats can stay in the fridge for a week without spoiling. If you're worried about the meat being used at the tail-end of your week, go ahead and freeze it first and then place it in the bin. It will safely defrost in the bin and not on your kitchen counter.

2. Do the veggies get limp because they're not in the crisper?

I did notice the lettuce was a little wilted, so I put it in a baggie this time with a damp paper towel. I could also just keep the lettuce in the crisper, but the bell peppers, onions, and celery were fine.

3. Do you pre-chop the meats and vegetables?

No. That would take too much time and I would tired of this plan quickly. I'm already saving time by gathering all the ingredients. I spend the chopping time chatting with Glenna while I cook.

4. What about the side dishes?

I leave the side dishes in the pantry, but e-mealz suggests them at the bottom of the recipe. Since I've ordered the low-carb meals it suggests things like mashed cauliflower or spaghetti squash, but I just use potatoes and pasta instead. I tried making cauli-rice and cauli-mashed before and my family gave it a thumbs down. I'm not using the low-carb for the low-carbs! I just wanted meals that were devoid of processed foods and this is it.

It's a good idea to clean out your fridge, first. The bins do take up some room, but I was able to fit six of them in there. I have more than six meals per week so when I empty the first bin, I go ahead and assemble another meal, place the recipe in there, and it's ready to go. The remaining space in the fridge is for lunch foods and leftovers (also known as lunch foods). So far, all fits!

And, of course, room will be available as the bins are emptied and removed.

Try it!


Phyllis said...

I saw that somewhere, too, but I can't remember where it was either. :-)

Jessica Leigh said...

Kudos to whomever created this system, because I find it to be brilliant, as well!

Sandra said...

My daughter has been using e-mealz for some time now for her family of 4. She loves it!! This idea of sorting ingredients into bins is great. I'm forwarding this to her as well.

Mrs said...

Phyllis, I'm sure it was a link on a blog I usually read, and I know we read a lot of the same blogs!

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