This opportunity to use and review a MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership came at the perfect time! Preparing dinner each night has never been one of my favorite things to do. By the time evening rolls around [more like crashes into me unexpectedly!], I don't want to think about it - much less make it. Mix in homeschooling and then add a newborn to the home scene and meal-making each evening just got harder to handle, especially if my husband isn't home to help with one aspect or another. Enter MyFreezEasy to save my sanity! (Okay, truth be told: my sanity may have already been lost and beyond saving at this point... but at least these advanced prep freezer meals helped things go more smoothly - especially on our busiest nights!)
MyFreezEasy comes from the maker of $5 Dinners, Erin Chase. It is a subscription-based service that delivers plans for 10 easy freezer meals each month (in the form of double batches of five meals). These dishes are designed to be relatively quick to put together and fairly easy on the budget too. For the particularly ambitious food preppers out there, Erin also offers a "20 Meals Plan" as well.
How does it work? Basically, you choose from several available plans for that month, customize your choice (if desired) by choosing a different number of servings or swapping out any recipes that you know you wouldn't want for ones you like better, print the ready-made shopping list, directions, and labels for your plan, shop for any necessary ingredients, prepare or assemble the meals, store them in the freezer, thaw when needed, cook them, and then serve and eat! It's also possible to use the plans to "eat one, freeze one", where you freeze a duplicate of each meal that you make for dinner, rather than making all ten freezer meals at once.
The MyFreezEasy service offer both a basic and a premium membership option. Basic membership offers 5 new plans each month and premium membership provides 8 to choose from. In my premium membership, I could pick any of the following themed plans:
As you can see, there are a few plans that center around a specific meat. They are provided to cater to grocery store meat sales. Or for those of us who who shop at Costco (which could be most of the people on this island, I think).
There are also helpful videos for the traditional meal plan each month, where you can watch and learn how to do things, getting nice little tips and tricks along the way. Highlight videos are posted for the other plans too. Plus, other videos are available to help a newbie get started with the service!
It is worth noting that the meal plans are only available during the month they are released. Past plans are not accessible. However, there are also a bunch of recipes available separate from the meal plans provided for the month. So if a member has certain needs or preferences, they can choose to easily swap out recipes in any of the meal plans for something different from the available recipes on the website, or a user can use those recipes and create a custom meal plan of their own.
When building a custom meal plan, categories for available recipes to choose from include:
We received access to the premium version of the Freezer Meal Plan Membership. I jumped online as soon as I could and took a look around at the various videos and information on how to get started. Thankfully, things seemed pretty straight-forward and easy to figure out.
Since I have Celiac Disease and can't eat gluten, plus members of my family have some other minor allergies to contend with, the flexibility and options available to me through this service were much appreciated. I had access to all eight meal plan variations for the month and looked them all over to see which would suit us best. It is a nice, thoughtful addition that every recipe includes a notation of how to make it dairy-free and/or gluten-free when feasible (which is likely helpful for those new to such restrictions), but it wasn't hard for me to quickly figure out on my own, since most adaptions were simply omitting the cheese or using a gluten free version of pasta or another gluten-y ingredient. Sometimes the instructions would say there wasn't a great dairy-free option for the meal, but I think some of those would actually still be possible if using a suitable dairy-free cheese substitute (though it might not taste quite the same, perhaps).
After looking things over, I decided to customize our meal plan for the month to accommodate our preferences, current pantry stock, and allergies. For our first plan we chose include the "Slow Cooker Italian Chicken & Vegetables", "Spanish Rice Skillet", "Swirly Taco Pasta Skillet", "Chicken Pineapple Curry", and "Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin". I also changed the serving size on two of the meals from 4 to 6, which automatically updated the ingredient amounts for each respective recipe accordingly.
I'd like to have access to the assembly or pre-freezing directions on the website, but as far as I could tell, these instructions only showed up when everything was downloaded or printed. But having them ahead of time would let me to preview more of what I'd need to do, saving computer memory and time if I decided against making the recipe. Granted, downloading or printing everything let's me keep it all for future use, especially since the meal plans change each month and past plans aren't stored on the website. However, I'd still like the small convenience if seeing all directions and waiting to download it until I know if it's a "keeper".
The next Saturday, my husband and I tag teamed both ingredient prep and baby duties! We chopped veggies, cut and browned meat, made a sauce, and got everything ready. Then I was able to assemble the meals into freezer bags fairly quickly. The whole process was supposed to take an hour, but I think it took us more like two hours. I blame this partly on it being our first time through and we noticed a few ways we could be more efficient next time. We're also a bit slow when chopping produce and could be quicker with those knife skills. Additionally, we found a couple of minor errors on the ingredient and recipe lists that had us double-checking things to be sure it was correct before proceeding. In the end, we had TEN meals (two of each of the recipes we chose) - nine in the freezer and another that we planned to make that night for dinner... and I have to say it felt great to have all those dinners on hand!
We have since tried each of the other meals and liked them well enough. The pork tenderloin was our favorite, followed by the chicken pineapple curry, then the taco pasta skillet, then the slow cooker Italian chicken and vegetables (in which the potatoes mostly fell apart and the carrots had an odd texture), and then the Spanish rice skillet. We would make three out of five of these again.
Overall, we liked this freezer cooking meal plan and my husband suggested we use it regularly. It's been quite nice to have meals in the freezer and not have to think about dinners on busy nights! Some aspects of the plans still had some kinks or minor errors, but these can be worked around and I imagine they will likely be fixed as the service continues to develop. And for people who need a little help figuring out what to make each week and/or those that would enjoy having things prepared in advance, this could be a good choice to look into for freezer meal prep and cooking plans.
Just was with any meal plan, cookbook, or recipe website, there were dishes we enjoyed, some we thought were just acceptable, and those that we disliked. A unique aspect of this service is that you can customize, swap out recipes, and build your own meal plan, which is just wonderful. This kind of thing could easily be rigid and limited, but the creator of MyFreezEasy obviously is aware of the many differences in dietary needs and preferences from one family to the next and offers plenty to be suitable for a wide range of users.
Find out what others thought about the MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership, and the recipes and plans they used, by clicking on the banner below!
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I'm a homeschooling mom of three, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.