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I used to think that since I was home during the day (because, y'know, I'm homeschooling and all), that I should probably get pretty good at putting good home-cooked meals on the table each evening. But it turns out I don't have nearly as much time as one might think, and since cooking isn't my favorite pastime, my goal has been to get in and out of the kitchen as fast as possible, and that hasn't always resulted in great meals. So I was very interested in reviewing a membership with MyFreezEasy through the Homeschool Review Crew. I received the MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership and have been trying a few new recipes and stocking my freezer with ready-to-cook meals.
MyFreezEasy is a freezer cooking method developed by Erin Chase of $5 Dinners, to help families save money and time in getting good meals on the table. And hopefully reducing the number of times you really have no answer for the dreaded question: What's for dinner?
|This is me, hoping there is something to eat under that lid.|
With MyFreezEasy, you can have ten to twelve meals prepped and into your freezer in about an hour. Erin has picked out recipes that work going from freezer to table - and combined them into sets of recipes with common ingredients, and with a master shopping list so it's easy to tell what you'll need and how much.
Here's how it works: With your Freezer Meal Plan Membership, you get access to eight new meal plans every month. There's even special meal plans if you are following a gluten-free or clean eats diet. Your membership gives you access to all eight plans too; and they are new recipes every month. Each download-and-print meal plan comes with an organized shopping list, all the instructions to prepare each recipe, printable labels for your freezer meals, and notes on modifying recipes to be gluten-free or dairy-free. And you'll also have access to highlights videos and full instruction videos on assembling all the meals.
Even better, with the Premium Membership (which is what we received for the review), you can create your own meal plans from the huge selection of recipes. Erin's right that this is a game-changer, because instead of getting a meal plan where three or four out of the five recipes just don't look like something that would fly with your family, you can pick out the recipes that you really want to serve to your family.
How did we use it? Well, I wanted to see how the pre-selected meal plans and the Build Your Own plans worked, so after getting familiar with the website layout, I started by downloading a few of the September 2016 Meal Plans - Traditional, Slow Cooker, All Chicken, All Ground Beef, and All Pork Chops. I took some time to look through those recipes, and then also explored the Build Your Own recipe options and put together a couple of meal plan packages of my own. I started with a couple of the simplest recipes for which I already had ingredients. Each recipe is laid out with an ingredient list that is for one meal, and with instructions for preparing one meal from start to finish, and instructions for preparing two meals to go into the freezer. A couple of the recipes I thought I was pretty safe to just prep them and put them in the freezer for when they'd be needed, and a couple of them I thought I'd be wise to make just one meal and see what the family thought before loading up the freezer.
One thing I noticed that will probably be very useful for some families is the ability to change the serving size of the recipes in the Build Your Own meal plans! The default size is for 4 servings, but you may change that to 2 or 6 or 8, depending on how many people will be at your table. And you can change it for each recipe too. So you could build a plan with a couple of 2 serving meals for when just a couple of you will be home, a couple of 6 serving meals for when the whole family is home, and an 8 serving meal to have handy for when your kid wants to bring a friend or two home for dinner after church. I did try that feature, by changing meal sizes to 6, but I quickly found out that Erin's serving sizes are generous, and 4 servings would generally be enough for us. By changing the serving size, the shopping list and ingredient list amounts will automatically change to reflect that, which is awesome! However, at one point I ended up with this in the ingredient list for a single meal of a chili: "1 1/2 x 2 15oz. cans of white beans" It was totally correct, but I had to stop and think for much too long! (And then I still wound up doing something wrong with that recipe, which was totally my user error, but caused by my attempt to do math while cooking!)
The shopping list though. LOVE the shopping list, because the plan makes it for me. By recipe, or by store section; and a complete list or a list just for the ingredients needed for the frozen part of the meal. In other words, for say, the Swedish Meatballs, it's only the meatballs that are prepped and put into the freezer, so I wouldn't need the broth and cream for the gravy until the day I plan to serve the meatballs.
In general, I found the instructions to be clear and concise, and I didn't feel I needed the full instructional video each time. I made use of the highlights videos which have some tips and tricks to help you out, and just give an overview of the recipes.
Alright, enough talk - here are some recipes we tried! (By the way, I am not a food photographer, and I don't feel like my photos are that good. Don't judge the food by my pictures alone!)
|Bacon Cheeseburger Nachos - quick dinner served with salsa,|
guacamole, and sour cream on the side; and with salad and fresh veggies
|Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef|
|Chicken and Ranch Macaroni|
(aka Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!)
Winners that didn't make it onto my camera: Triple Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese, Bacon and Ranch Chicken (So good!! Because BACON. And lots and lots of cheese!), Garlic Parmesan Pork Chops . . .
And in my freezer, ready for whenever they're needed, I am stocking a growing selection of meals ready to go. They include:
|Cuban Style Pork Chops|
|Garlic Parmesan Pork Chops|
|Mediterranean Chicken Thighs|
|Bacon and Ranch Chicken, and more!|
As you can see, I didn't bother using the printable meal labels most of the time, but they are there if I need them. You can print them on labels (or paper, like I did, and just tape them on) and they include the thawing and heating instructions, so you don't have to hunt up your MyFreezEasy recipe book each time you pull a meal out of your freezer. I did, in fact, turn my recipes and shopping lists into my own recipe collection, which I will add to as I get new meal plans each month.
My bottom line: MyFreezEasy is everything I like about the idea of prepping meals ahead of time and stocking my freezer, without the hassle of trying to figure out for myself whether a recipe will work to freeze, or pull together my own shopping list from various recipe books. I especially appreciate the flexibility of the Build Your Own Meal Plans, and the wide variety of recipes to choose from. These are meals that regular families can enjoy together, with ingredient lists that are relatively short and easy to find; and they are not just a bunch of casseroles. (My kids are opposed to eating anything called a "casserole"!) There's a wonderful balance of traditional and familiar dishes and dishes that have a bit of a flavor twist or an international food influence.
Would you like to try creating your own personalized meal plans with MyFreezEasy? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website: https://MyFreezEasy.com/
Pricing: Find all the information about membership and pricing on the Join Now! page.
You can connect with MyFreezEasy on Facebook, on Instagram, or on Pinterest. There is a Facebook group for members as well.
Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews.
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