Modified Meal Planning Made Easier
Dealing with a modified diet or two in a household is a challenge in and of itself. Add to that the chore of meal planning and you've got some work cut out for you. I have always struggled with meal planning—so much so that a couple of posts back I hinted around for your tips on the subject.
I think I got two.
So does that make it safe to say that many of you are in my boat? More often than not you dread the four o'clock hour? You're in a dinner rut?
Well, I've found something that might help out. It's called Gfree.
Gfree is a menu planning service that provides all of the tools you need to prepare healthy gluten-free dinners. And, it is the only gluten-free recipe website to offer an automatic grocery list creator (woot! big time saver).
Gfree truly is the answer to “what’s for dinner?
Here's how it works.
1. Once a week you log on to www.gfreecuisine.com
2. From a menu of 10 meals you choose the five (each includes a side) you will make that week.
3. Hit "Print PDF" and a PDF document of the recipe cards and a shopping list are automatically generated.
4. Head to the store to pick up everything you'll need for the week.
For those who like visuals ...
Here is the menu we chose last week.
Here is what the shopping list and a recipe excerpt looked like.
Note the recipe codes and how they correspond with the shopping list. If you are unable to make a particular dinner, simply cross off all the items on the grocery list with that code. Have additional items to pick up? There's lots of room at the bottom of the page to pen them in.
And here is what those meals looked like.
Three of the sides are not pictured as I used produce that was in my CSA box.
Why I like Gfree and why you might, too.
1. With Gfree, meal planning can be a family affair. On Thursday night we all sit down at the computer and each pick out a meal for the week. Friday I do the shopping.
2. Each menu item includes a main dish and a side—usually a vegetable. It keeps meal time simple. Two dishes ... done.
3. With a click, the shopping list and recipes are adjusted to suit the number of servings you need.
4. When I used to plan for the week, it took me 1-3 hours on a Sunday to find recipes and write-up a shopping list. With Gfree, the week's meal plan and shopping list is done in 5 minutes. A serious time saver!
5. I like that two nights are left open for eating out or leftovers. Depending on the week I may choose five meals—or just three. Though rare, the weeks I choose three are usually because we are on the go and five home-cooked sit-down dinners just aren't likely to happen or I just want a little wiggle room to be spontaneous.
6. Armed with my printed and stapled shopping list and recipes I feel organized.
7. There is a nice variety of chicken, beef, seafood and pork entrees, and usually at least one vegetarian option.
8. Most recipes are easy to modify to fit your dietary needs. Some are not. All recipes are gluten-free. Those that are dairy-free are marked "DF". I'd love it if Gfree highlighted the egg-free recipes. Maybe that will come. Bottom line, if you feel comfortable with modifying recipes or winging it a bit, you're good to go. If you have 129 food allergies, Gfree may not work for you. The best way to find out is try it for 3 months—you're only out $30.
9. Recipes are easy to follow and not overly complicated.
10. On average, five Gfree dinners and sides cost less than $100 per week.
11. And there are the extras; gluten-free bread recipes, freezer recipes and gluten-free dessert recipes are also on the site as well as helpful suggestions for dairy substitutions.
12. With Gfree I have branched out. I have tried techniques and dishes that I haven't or otherwise wouldn't have tried. I have impressed my husband with some fancy lookin' and tasty meals.
13. Ms. Carol Fenster is behind a lot of these recipes. She is one of the queens of gluten-free. Umpteen cookbooks published and just a real lovely person.
The only challenge I have encountered is that each week I get a box of produce from our local CSA farm. You never know what will be in it and the Gfree sides rarely coordinate with what's in the box. So again, I modify and improvise. If a side calls for caramelized onions and green beans but all I have is carrots and zucchini, then caramelized onions with carrots and zucchini it is!
If this sounds like something you'd like to try, visit Gfree. The cost is only $10 a month. Relish (Gfree's non-gfree sister) starts at $7 a month. Armed with a shopping list and a plan, I easily save $10 in impulse buys alone.
Enter to Win a 3-Month Subscription to Gfree!
***I have just been made aware that some of you have been unable to leave comments and to enter the giveaway. I have just opened a support ticket with my web host. Big apologies. Until this is fixed, if you are unable to leave a comment, please click here and send, via the contact page, the number of entries you qualify for and I will add them to the comments when back up and running ***
The team at Gfree is offering a 3-month subscription to Lexie's Kitchen readers.
To Enter: To enter you may do one or all of the following and tell me you did in comments below:
1. Leave a comment below
2. "Like" the Gfree Facebook page
3. "Like" the Lexie's Kitchen Facebook page
4. Tweet this review
5. Share Lexie's Facebook post of this review with your Facebook friends
6. Pin It, Stumble it, share it any other way
Deadline: Leave your comment(s) by 5:00 p.m. (CST) Monday, September 19, 2011
Have a great week and happy meal planning. I am off to the kitchen to start on a Lightning McQueen birthday cake for Miles. That should make a good post. Stay tuned! : )