Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review and Giveaway: Relish! Meal Planning Services CLOSED



I don't know about your household but we seem to have the same meals night after night. My husband would be happy rotating buffalo wings, pizza and steak for eternity. And my son's standards are so high he'd make Chef Gordon Ramsey cower. I'd like to be more adventurous in the kitchen but when it comes to family meal planning, I feel like I fight a losing battle. Time is of the essence and I never seem to have enough to devote to gourmet dinners. I lack the creativity and expertise to come up with unique entrees and sides all on my own. Especially those that will please the boys' picky palettes.

So when I was invited to review a new online weekly menu planner from Relish!, I felt as if my prayers had been answered. Run by a team of moms, I knew they were on to something.

Relish! offers complete meal planning services, with printable grocery shopping lists and recipe storage and organization. Each week, you simply choose five entrees and one dessert that appeal to you, as illustrated below:



With the click of a button, a comprehensive grocery list will be tabulated for you to take along to the store, so you won't forget any essential ingredients, along with all of the recipes and instructions to prepare a delicious, healthy meal. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy right?! Best of all, all dinners are kitchen-tested and take 30 minutes or less to prep! Below is a sample grocery list:



Relish! also assists you with "dime-and-dash" express meals for families who want a quick and inexpensive alternative to fast food, as well as monthly freezer menus to prepare for those times you just can't get to the store - or, like me, you're just burned out and need a cooking break. You also have the option to upload your own favorite recipes so you can mix and match old and new staples. Playing hostess? Not a problem! Relish! allows you to customize your serving size and their "This and That" feature offers tips, advice and suggested menus for events of all kinds including cocktail parties, holidays, date nights, seasonal or themed parties - even school lunches.

I have to say I am very impressed with Relish! The site is easy to navigate and incredibly user-friendly. And the service is invaluable! The entrees range from somewhat exotic (Paprika Tilapia over Parmesan Polenta) to traditional homestyle (BBQ Chicken Pizza) so you are sure to find something that everyone under your roof could enjoy. They incorporate various food groups to create nutritious, colorful meals. I found the handy dandy Recipe Legend especially useful so I could quickly and accurately find meals labeled Kid-Friendly, One-Pot/Crockpot, Vegetarian or Low Calorie.

We've made several meals from Relish! with excellent results. Our favorite thus far has been the Spaghetti and Baked Meatballs with homemade Garlic Cheese Bread. The prep was relatively easy and the ingredients were things I already had on hand. It only took me a half an hour to make and it really tasted great! My husband went back for seconds and Nate was licking his fingers from the tasty meatballs. This will definitely be a meal that we adopt for good.



I also love the holiday entertaining ideas, which are going to be perfect for our upcoming Christmas party. I've already printed some of the recipes so I can make a sophisticated, home-cooked gourmet meal that tastes as if it were catered.

The only potential drawback to Relish! is the price. The subscription fee of $7/month may turn people off initially since the economy has many families pinching their pennies. However, over time, the subscription can easily pay for itself. Relish! dinners and sides cost less than $85/week and by sticking to a list, you can surely save more than $7/month. For the cost of two lattes, you can gain access to creative, time-saving meals that are good and good for you. How many cookbooks would you have to buy to get a collection this concise?

Bottom line: I would definitely recommend Relish! menu planning to get you out of your dinner rut. You can shop just once a week, get organized and save money in the process. What's not to...well...relish about that?

BUY IT: You can purchase a subscription to Relish! on their site by clicking on the Subscribe link. Just in time for the holidays, you can also give a gift subscription to that busy mama you know who is in desperate need of some help in the kitchen!

For those of you on a gluten-free diet, you will want to check out their sister site, www.GFreeCuisine.com.

WIN IT: One lucky winner is going to win a 1-year subscription to Relish! That's a $58.80 value!

MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): What is your biggest meal planning challenge? Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile or if you are not a blogger!

SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!

1.) Follow my blog or subscribe via reader or email. Comment telling me which method you chose. If you already follow or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry)

2.) Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this contest. Just leave me a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry)

3.) Add my blog button and/or my holiday button to your site and leave a comment with the link to where I can find it. (1 entry for each)

4.) Enter any of my other current giveaways and leave a comment telling me which one(s) you entered. (1 entry each)

Giveaway will end on December 17, 2009 at 11:59pm EST. Contest open worldwide. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: I received a free one-month subscription from Ann at Relish! to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The opinions expressed in this review are purely my own. Your experience may differ.

51 comments:

Thena said...

My biggest mean planning challenge would be cooking something everyone will eat. I have a couple of picky eaters that would eat chicken, hot dogs, or pizza everynight.

Thena said...

I subscribe via email.

mverno said...

cooking something that can be eaten at more than one time as everyone eats at different times. mverno@roadrunner.com

Lisa said...

My biggest challenge is finding time to cook dinner! I don't get home from work until after 7 on most days, so at that point, I don't feel like making a huge meal.

lsamolovitch at gmail dot com

Lisa said...

I subscribe via reader.

lsamolovitch at gmail dot com

bethany said...

Biggest meal challenge for me (well I have lots of them!) but it's hard for me to cook for a grown man and a two year old, in the same meal. Oh, and I'd love a little bit more time during the day too!! Thanks, I've heard Relish is AWESOME!

bethany said...

I follow via google reader! Thanks!

bethany said...

entered Joshua Bell

bethany said...

entered Sound of Music

bethany said...

entered Lysinet

bethany said...

entered Bei Bambini

simone/ thebubbledies said...

Our biggest challenge is eating together. DH & I work alternating sched so at any given time only one of us is home. Thanks! thebubbledies(at)gmail(dot)com

simone/ thebubbledies said...

I follow your blog. Thanks! thebubbledies(at)gmail(dot)com

tantalizingtastes said...

Finding a recipe that's healthy and doesn't take forever to prepare!

Tarah
tarah716[at]ymail.com

Deal Daddy said...

Our biggest meal planning challenge would be time, we don't have a lot of time and so we end up just eating out because we haven't had time to think of meals and make sure we have the groceries for those meals.

Deal Daddy said...

I follow you through friend connect.

Carrie said...

My biggest meal planning challenge is that I just run out of creativity...

carriemschmidt at gmail dot com

Carrie said...

I follow your blog through Google Friend connect

carriemschmidt at gmail dot com

JESS said...

My biggest meal challenge is dealing with 2 little girls who are very picky, a mostly vegetarian (but fish is ok too!) diet and a mother in law who moved in with us and prefers meat-and-potatoes! We are all over the place and desperately need assistance! jess (at) yahoo.com

JESS said...

I am following you through Friend Connect! jessgates (at) yahoo.com. I noticed I gave the wrong email address in my previous post. Whoops.

Gerrie said...

My biggest challenge is that I don't cook! I have started cooking a little more lately but my husband is a wonderful cook and my MIL lives with me also so the only time I have to cook is when both of them are working.
gerrie.shaeffer@yahoo.com

Gerrie said...

I am an email subscriber
gerrie.shaeffer@yahoo.com

Gerrie said...

I have your main button
http://northcarolinamomma.blogspot.com/
gerrie.shaeffer@yahoo.com

Gerrie said...

I have your holiday button
http://northcarolinamomma.blogspot.com/
gerrie.shaeffer@yahoo.com

Gerrie said...

twitter follower @shaeffermom and tweeted http://twitter.com/shaeffermom/status/6696032855
gerrie.shaeffer@yahoo.com

Gerrie said...

I entered the Bei Bambini giveaway
gerrie.shaeffer@yahoo.com

Gerrie said...

I entered the Dove self esteem giveaway
gerrie.shaeffeR@yahoo.com

Laura said...

My biggest meal planning challenge is eating the same things all the time and an over reliance on prepackaged foods.

bookloon@gmail.com

Cheryl said...

My biggest meal planning challenge is finding time to cook a meal with a very demanding 2 year old and relying too much on prepackaged foods.
cln1812@gmail.com

Cheryl said...

email subscriber:
cln1812@gmail.com

Cheryl said...

i follow on twitter as cln1812 & tweeted:
http://twitter.com/cln1812/status/6754948716

Cheryl said...

entered dove self esteem giveaway
cln1812@gmail.com

Cheryl said...

entered Putumayo Kids giveaway

Laureen said...

My biggest meal-planning challenge is coming up with ideas for dinners. I am bound by my desire to prepare a healthy meal (leaning towards vegetarian, would love raw, gluten-free!), my children's palates and my husband's pickiness. Errr! Add to that my procrastination and there you have it...a perfect mess!

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

Laureen said...

I follow your blog (Laureen Marston-Hindi)

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

Laureen said...

I entered the Putumayo giveaway.

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

Laureen said...

I entered the YouCanMakeThis giveaway.

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

Laureen said...

I entered the Dove Self-Esteem Fund giveaway.

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

Laureen said...

I entered the PreHistin giveaway.

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

KowgirlsRule said...

I subscribed via Google Reader.

Tracy said...

My biggest meal planning challenge is making everyone happy without having to make several different meals

cloud10277@hotmail.com

Tracy said...

Email subscriber
cloud10277@hotmail.com

Tracy said...

Following on twitter @cloud10277

cloud10277@hotmail.com

Tracy said...

Tweeted
http://twitter.com/cloud10277/statuses/6764044408

cloud10277@hotmail.com

LadybugMama said...

My biggest challenge is, the less healthy the meal is the less expensive it is, it seems. Trying to eat healthy is expensive.

LadybugMama said...

I follow you via google friend connect as LadybugMama.
fefebelkin[at]live[dot]com

LadybugMama said...

I subscribe via email.
fefebelkin[at]live[dot]com

LadybugMama said...

I have your regular button on my blog.
http://smoochesformooches.blogspot.com/
fefebelkin[at]live[dot]com

LadybugMama said...

I have your guift guide button on my blog.
http://smoochesformooches.blogspot.com/
fefebelkin{at}live{dot}com

Sahm Lee said...

Trying to plan more than a couple days worth of meals is my biggest problem. I hate having to run to the store every other day just so I can cook. Thanks for the contest!
airalynn@gmail.com

Sahm Lee said...

I follow your blog.
airalynn@gmail.com

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