Time. It’s the one thing I never seem to have enough of. Time to plan out meals for a week, time to make a grocery list that covers everything I need for the week. Time to go to the grocery and pick up everything. These are all areas I’ve constantly struggled with as a working Mom. But I think I’ve finally found a solution for it, and it’s a meal kit service called Dinnerly. Disclaimer- this post contains affiliate links, but the opinions expressed are my own.
I’ve been thinking about joining a Meal Kit Service for awhile. I get the advertisements from companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh all the time. But at costs of around $10 per serving (not per meal), I could never justify the cost. At that price, you might as well just dine out, and save yourself from having to do the dishes. It just wasn’t an expense we could justify.
I’ve also checked out meal planning services. These are kind of the in between option. They plan out the meals and tell you what you need to buy, but you still need to do the grocery shopping. Saving time from not having to do the meal planning would be a step in the right direction, and this is what I was getting ready to do. Then I found Dinnerly.
$5 per serving
Let’s cut straight to the why. Dinnerly’s service costs only about $5 per serving, about half of what the others are charging. For a normal family of four, that’s about $20 per meal.
If you pay attention to your grocery shopping and meal planning, you can probably cook a decent dinner for well less than that. That’s what smart meal planning can do for you.
But how many of you have time to plan out all your meals like that? Taking the time to research recipes, finding ones that you can make in a decent amount of time, without having to worry about obscure ingredients you don’t use that often. It takes a lot of work, and time.
Dinnerly does all of that for you. The meals are planned out, they ship you all of the ingredients you need, and all you have to do is put it together. If you think about how much time you save every week from this, all of a sudden you start to realize what a great deal the Dinnerly service is.
They provide all of the ingredients
This is a pretty important piece, probably more important than might be first obvious. The recipes they provide are pretty healthy, including lots of vegetables. And this is where things get interesting. Whether its zucchini, or tomato, or scallions, they always send you exactly what you need to prepare the recipe.
This is huge to me. Think about this for a second, if you were doing all of this yourself, you’d have find the recipes, make the shopping list, and then go to the grocery, and pick up the specific quantities of things you need to make each meal. It’s very tedious and time consuming.
Lots of Variety
Not only does Dinnerly send exactly what you need to make each meal, it varies a lot from meal to meal. For example, in our first kit, our three meals were Pork Shumai Meatballs with green beans, Open Face Cheesburgers with grilled squash, and Chicken and Pepperoncini with fresh. Spinach.
Nobody in our house professes to be a big lover of vegetables, but we always tried to include one in all our dinners. It was almost always corn. With Dinnerly, we’re getting a vegetable in every meal, and a different one each meal. And, the preparation is making vegetables I wouldn’t normally even look at tasty. The variety is nice, and you never get that ‘this again?’.
One of the biggest reasons I love the Dinnerly service so much is that the ingredients are all fresh. There’s no processed foods, additives, or any of the other ingredients that make a lot of the packaged foods so bad for us nowadays. With this service, my family is simply eating healthier.
If you’re doing meal planning, and avoiding the frozen foods aisle, you can get the same result yourself. But with the time saved by letting Dinnerly do the meal planning, it’s well worth it.
We’ve been subscribed to the Dinnerly service for several weeks now. Here’s how it normally goes. First, on Monday, they send you an email letting you know what’s coming. You can take a look at the recipes, and decide which meal you’re going to do on which days.
On Tueday, you get an email letting you know your kit is on it’s way. Sometime during the day, it gets delivered, and it’s packaged in such a way as to keep the ingredients that need to be kept cool iced down.
The package includes everything you need for three different meals. We designated one drawer in our fridge for the kits and put everything in there. This way, when it comes time to prepare, none of the ingredients get lost amongst everything else in our fridge, and it’s easy to find what we need.
From there, you prepare the meals according to the recipes.
Then, on Saturday, you get another email from Dinnerly with options for the following week. You can actually pick and choose your three meals from about six options.
After several weeks of using the service, there are a couple things we have noticed. The kits are supposed to serve four people. And 75% of the time, this seems pretty accurate. With only three of us, including one pint sized nine year old, we always have leftovers.
The meals are typically pretty hearty. Our very first meal was the Pork Shumai Meatballs, and it didn’t look like much sitting in the bowl. But the sushi rice was more filling than it first appeared, and this ended up being one of our favorite meals so far. This has happened a couple times now.
However, the occasional meal is a little lighter, and may not be as filling if you’ve got a hungry family. You just need to be cognizant of this and be prepared to serve an additional side if this happens.
Cooking and Preparation
For the most part, the recipes are spot on with prep time and the best way to do the prep. We’ve found it’s best to read through the recipe beginning to end once before getting started, because there are some prep activities that can be done in parallel or that overlap. But if you’ve got all your ingredients handy, and space to work it, it’s pretty easy from there.
In certain cases, we’ve made adjustments to the cooking instructions. For example. One day we had stuffed burgers. The recipe called for cooking these in a skillet, but we used our Foreman grill instead. This made it much easier to drain away all the drippings and cook the patties all the way through.
It helps if you know how things cook on your range and in your oven, so you can make the adjustments when you need to. If you’ve done any sort of cooking, you know that things do cook differently from range to range.
Prep and cooking times average between 30 and 60 minutes per recipe. This may seem like a long time for busy professionals, but remember that all of the ingredients are fresh. The only way you can make meals faster is by using processed or packaged foods.
Now that we’ve been subscribed for several weeks now, I can say that we’re hooked. I really enjoy the variety of recipes that we get, and how everything is packaged up and ready to go. We’re definitely getting our money’s worth.
With the different types of tastes the meals present, it’s like going out to eat every day. I really enjoy the variety, and how each meal is completely different than the previous one. It’s really hard to do this if you’re doing your own meal planning.
I enjoy cooking, and my husband does too. It’s nice that we still get to do this part of it. All the meal planning and selection of ingredients is done for us, and we are left with just the part we like the best.
Oh, and one other thing. Have you ever tried to make something you found on Tasty? Not once have I ever been able to make something that looks like what they show. Not, one time, ever. However, with almost every dinner I’ve made so far with Dinnerly, the meal presentation turned out almost exactly as their picture. Next to cost and taste, this might not seem like a big thing, but it seems pretty huge to me.