Meal Kit Round Up and Deals- Updated for 2022!

In my 12+ years as a blogger, I have reviewed a fair number of meal kits on the market. With the seemingly never-ending quarantine and the new normal being social distancing, something different is now more appreciated than ever.

I love trying out meal kits, they are a great way to try new recipes with new ingredients that I may not already have on hand. Here are a few of the meal kits that I’ve tried, links to reviews, and any deals or coupon codes I could find.

My number one local Meal Plan company is Dream Dinners (a review can be found here). There are locations all over the US, and my go-to location in La Mesa.

If you’ve never checked out Dream Dinners, Check out this great deal!

Learn how to meal prep with Dream Dinners. Available at our local stores, the Meal Prep Starter Pack will help you get dinner on the table with up to 4 family-style dinners for just $79.00.

  • Chef-created, family-friendly recipes are prepped in our local assembly kitchens.
  • Ready-to-cook frozen dinners leave you prepared for dinner.
  • Easy to follow instructions making both cooking and clean up simple and stress-free.
  • 20 years of experience.

Overall, my favorite mail order/delivery meal kit company is Dinnerly.

They have a nice mix of kid-friendly dishes and stuff that is decidedly more “grown-up food”. I wrote a review here. In addition to having a nice mix of dishes to choose from, the other thing I like is that Dinnerly is the first subscription meal kit service to offer $4.49 per serving. My big qualm with meal kits is that the meals can sometimes be upwards of $8-$10/per serving. At that point, you might as well go out for dinner!

Freshly is the next up on our highly received Meal companies. I reviewed Freshly in 2016, and it’s a little different that most of the other meal companies in that all of the food comes already cooked. All you do is heat and eat.

The portions are big, so if you wanted to stretch them, all you would need is an additional side, like a green salad.

Right now when you use Promo Code: LAUNCH15 you will save $60.00 on your first 4 orders($15 per order).

Gobble has a really great deal. Choose your meals and receive Gobble box for $36 for 6 meals. I recently ordered this, so we’ll see how it turns out! Here is why I decided to try it:

    • Choose your meals from our diverse weekly menu. Gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, & vegetarian options are available.
    • Their team of chefs does all the tedious prep work for you — no more chopping, measuring, or sink full of dishes
  • Your freshly made 15-minute dinner kits will arrive in a refrigerated box to your doorstep. No commitment. Adjustable to your schedule.

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about Meal Kits that you have tried and which ones have worked for you and your family!

Dream Dinners: 8 Meals in The September Mini Bundle

It’s that time again! La Mesa Dream Dinners mini order is perfect if 12 is too many meals this month. By Friday, September 16th at 9am, you can order this mini bundle for just $189 for 8 medium-size meals. You can cross grocery shopping and meal prep off your to-do list, giving you more time to savor time with your family and friends!

The September Dinner Bundle includes:

  1. Arroz con Pollo
  2. Outlaw Chicken Burgers with Crispy Shoestring Fries
  3. Chateau Chicken with Almond Butter Sauce
  4. Meatball Marinara Stuffed French Bread
  5. Creamy Pesto Tortellini
  6. New Orleans Jambalaya
  7. Central Park Garlic Chicken with Creamy Herbed Peas
  8. Lucky Dragon Pork Tenderloin with Jasmine Rice

This limited-time offer ends on Friday, September 16th at 9am! Call or Text 619-460-6800 or email lamesaca@dreamdinners.com to reserve yours.

Recipe: Lemon Herb Chicken

This recipe has been fine-tuned and constantly evolving for a while.  It originally started as a copycat of the Greek Chicken restaurant near me. This chicken is now a million times better.

Lemon Herb Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (I use breasts or thighs)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (I like sweet onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil of your choice (I like olive or avocado)
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Prepare the marinade:

  1. Pat chicken dry and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl juice the lemons, set the lemons aside.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together.
  4. Chop up juiced lemons, add to marinade.
  5. In a large ziploc bag, pour marinade and add chicken.
  6. Allow chicken to marinate for at minimum 2 hours- I usually let it marinate overnight.

Cooking the chicken:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 T. oil or spray pan with spray release.
  2. Cook chicken on each side until brown and internal temp is at minimum 165.

This chicken is also great grilled! I love serving this chicken with a crisp cool green salad, hummus, and pita.

 

Cream Dinners: Flash Sale! Don’t Miss Their Kid Picks Mini Bundle!

It’s that time again! Time for a Dream Dinners Bundle Sale!

Kid-Approved Meal Special

Don’t forget to stock your freezer as you do your back-to-school shopping! The Dream Dinners August kid-picks meal bundle is perfect for this season of busy weeknights, homework, and new class schedules. Order in the next 72 hours to get eight medium-size meals from the August menu for just $185*. You can cross grocery shopping and meal prep off your to-do list, giving you more time to savor the last days of summer!

The August Mini Bundle includes:
  1. Pub Style Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
  2. Sizzling Sirloin Fried Rice
  3. Chicken Enchiladas
  4. Backyard BBQ Chicken with Corn Medley
  5. Bacon Popper Chicken with Summer Grilled Vegetables
  6. Family Pizza Night – Grill Edition
  7. Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken Tenders with Cheesy Stovetop Cauliflower
  8. Homemade Turkey Parmesan Meatballs with Cavatappi

A Medium Meal feeds 2-3 adults (honestly, it’s usually 3+ in our house), so you’ll be getting 16-24 restaurant-quality meals for $185!

This offer is only available for a limited time

Contact your store by Friday, August 19, 2022 at 9am to place your order.

Our local store here in East County is La Mesa, run by Marsi and her friendly staff! Store Email: lamesaca@dreamdinners.com  Store Phone Number: 619-460-6800.

Managing a Household with Neurodivergencies (ADHD, ASD, etc.)

Earlier this week my friend Sam posted on Facebook, “Neurodivergent Friends what are some tools you use with others that help you with daily life, communication, relationships?”

A few friends posted that they needed help with meal prep, day-to-day stuff, and as y’all know, that’s my bag, baby!

Both my kids are Neurodivergent (ADHD/ASD and ADHD), and their dad has ADHD (combined type/ C) and because of that, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our daily life and how we function. And while our processes and schedules may not work for everyone, hopefully, these tips give you some idea and hope if you need it.

Some of these directly affect/benefit the kids, and some make my life easier, which in turn makes their lives easier.

Having an accurate(ish) pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory. I have made my own sheets in the past (using Canva), but the ones from Organized Home are great.

Meal Prep and meal planning (this includes using Dream Dinners once every few months). This frees up time each night to read, hang out, bathe, and get kids ready for bed.

Meal Prep can be as easy as cut up veggies, fruit, pre-portioned foods, and easy meals or side dishes prepared in advance that only need to be heated up to avoid wasting money eating out because “there is nothing to eat”. Also having one night for take-out. And I have a whiteboard that lists our meal plan for the week- I try and post it weekly on Instagram.

The Snack Box- I also organized our fridge and pantry to be more ND-friendly. Stuff that should be eaten (healthy food like fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc.) is at kid eye level in clear packaging and is labeled (I use expo markers on my Rubbermaid containers), and I have a “Snack box” in the pantry that is available 24/7 for hungry faces. It’s got individually portioned shelf-stable snacks and meal components. And on days when I am too tired/rushed to cook we have “Meal of snacks” where I serve a variety of snacks on old-school sectioned cafeteria trays- fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese, cookies, and a drink (juice or iced tea is a hit).

We have a list of snacks on the fridge so the kids know what there is to snack on. It is a visual list (I drew it), and when we are out of specific items, I cover the picture with a piece of posit note.

Calendars– in the kitchen, and one in each bedroom. I update them weekly, plus the grownups use the calendars on their phones and we have a shared family calendar. Kids get reminders each day in the morning and afternoon of any appointments or events that will take place during the day. The visual and auditory reminders really help cement the appointment in their mind.

Visual reminders– next to the front door at eye level there is a sign that reminds us we need: cellphone, wallet, keys, and garage door opener. It’s laminated.

Visual schedule– this is mainly for the kids. I drew up a daily schedule using words and pictures. I wrote a post about it here.

Lists– Everyone has a “Care tasks” list each week that includes appts, returning borrowed items, and tasks to do throughout the week. You can read about my weekly Care Tasks here. 

Larger font digital clock with day of the week, date, and what part of the day (morning, afternoon, evening, night). The kids can read a clock, but it can take time to engage their brains and count by 5’s, but the “old people clock” as it was marketed on Amazon helps them instantly and helps a lot with the “is it time for xxxxx yet?!?!”

Using your phone to stay on top of details- I saw this on Facebook in a group and I’ve started doing this. If you have an iPhone, there is a notes section in each contact. I’ve seen them used to keep track of favorite fast food at various restaurants, favorite foods/drinks, clothing sizes and brands, favorite colors, birthdays, and anniversaries. It’s such a game changer.

The fidget/stim box– we have a plastic box full of fidget/stim toys for everyone to grab when they need to focus. And everyone has some in their room too. This includes headphones to cut down on loud sounds (I buy the landscapers kind from harbor freight). We have 3 pairs in the house and two pairs in the car. For those not familiar- fidget toys can help calm the body so the mind can focus.

Some favorites include pop-its, hand strengthening eggs, fidget cubes, fidget spinners, stretchy tubes, pop tubes, and stress balls (the kind with Orbeez are super satisfying). Amazon sells really great fidget toys mutli-packs.

Medication Boxes- We refill our medication boxes each week (both AM and PM).  The three of us take our meds together each morning at breakfast time. Our medication boxes live on the kitchen counter, along with our pill minders: Jon Cena and Skeletor.

Stuff has a place– The kid’s shoes and backpacks are always by the door during the school year, ready to be cleaned out and refilled each night. My car keys and purse live in the same spot, the pool key has a special spot. The extra toilet paper and paper towels are always in the same spot (under the front bathroom sink). These are just a few examples of the ways that we remind ourselves and create routines. Creating routines can give us a sense of normalcy and be calming.

The Family Binder– One last thing that doesn’t directly “help” the kids but helps the family, especially in times of emergency is the family binder. I’ve had one since 2010 in various incarnations. I have a really old post about it here.  It’s basically my brain in paper form. It’s got all of our important papers, insurance info, important phone numbers, policy numbers, warranty information, receipts for expensive/valuable stuff, copies of most recent IEPS, copies of diagnosis paperwork, lists of everyone’s meds, doctors info, etc. Think of it as all the info you’d need if you lost power for an extended period, your house burned down, or there was a tornado.

There are a lot of other things that we do in our home to help the kids- keep them safe, regulated, and happy. The stuff listed above is just a small sample. Everyone’s home runs differently. And this was and continues to be a lot of work. The examples above are continually changing, and evolving in our home, and are a combination of 11+ years of hard work, learning, and failing. Some of this stuff I did to try and get organized in my late 20s, even before I was married and had kids.

 

 

Dream Dinners: Save Time & Savor Summer with a July Mini Bundle!

It’s that time again! Time for a Dream Dinners Bundle Sale!

Summer is all about making memories, so we’ve put together a bundle of under-30-minute meals to maximize your time in the sun.
Order in the next 72 hours to get eight medium-size meals from our July menu for just $180*. Spend more time by the pool and less time grocery shopping and meal prepping this summer!

The July Mini Bundle includes:

  • Kentucky Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Fries
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Sandwiches with Onion Rings
  • Coconut Shrimp with Tropical Chili Sauce
  • Orange Asian Chicken with Garden Vegetable Rice
  • Turkey Florentine Burgers
  • Charred Honey Lime Grilled Chicken
  • Backyard BBQ Chicken with Corn Medley
  • Creamy Tortellini with Bacon and Peas

A Medium Meal feeds 2-3 adults (honestly, it’s usually 3+ in our house), so you’ll be getting 16-24 restaurant-quality meals for $180!

This offer is only available for a limited time

Contact your store by Friday, July 22nd at 9am to place your order.

Our local store here in East County is La Mesa, run by Marsi and her friendly staff! Store Email: lamesaca@dreamdinners.com  Store Phone Number: 619-460-6800.

Dream Dinners: Kick Off Summer with a June Meal Bundle!

It’s that time again! Time for a Dream Dinners Bundle Sale!

This deal is only good through Friday, June 24th at 9am, so if you are interested, please your order ASAP.

This bundle is great! You will get eight medium-size meals from the June menu for just $190!

 

The June Mini Bundle includes:

  1. Texas Roadhouse Burger
  2. Backyard BBQ Chicken with Corn Medley
  3. Summer Grilled Pesto Chicken Pizzas
  4. Sonoma Grilled Steaks
  5. Al Pastor Pork Street Tacos
  6. Buffalo Ranch Chicken with Summer Grilled Vegetables
  7. Summer Shrimp Boil
  8. Peach Bourbon Chicken with Almond Green Beans

A Medium Meal feeds 2-3 adults (honestly, it’s usually 3+ in our house), so you’ll be getting 16-24 restaurant-quality meals for $190!

Our local store here in East County is La Mesa, run by Marsi and her friendly staff! Store Email: lamesaca@dreamdinners.com  Store Phone Number: 619-460-6800.

Dream Dinners: Earn Free Dinners & Special Offer for your Friends!

Dream Dinners in La Mesa has a new Meal Prep Workshop program.  This is an exciting new twist on the in-store party and it’s a great opportunity for you to introduce your friends to Dream Dinners and earn fun rewards!

Here’s how it works:
As the host, you attend the workshop for free! You also have the opportunity to earn up to $75 in host rewards!

Your friends pay $50 to attend and learn about Dream Dinners. This includes three pre-prepped medium-size meals, and everyone will get to assemble the Campfire Cobbler Trio, at this private, in-store event with your friends. They’ll enjoy delicious samples of our food. They also have some exciting perks for them if they place an order at the workshop!

Call/Text 619-460-6800 to learn more and schedule your event!
If you’ve never tried Dream Dinners, it is a great meal prep company with locations all over the US. I love Marsi and her staff at the La Mesa Location. When compared to other meal prep/meal plan programs, the prices and freshness are out of this world. For more about why Dream Dinners is tops in my book, check out this post.

6/6/22 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgIt’s Monday Morning, and that means Meal Plan time! Can you tell I’ve had my coffee already?

I shopped over the weekend and did some meal prep as well. We should be set for the week!

School is over on Wednesday, and we’ve got two weeks off before summer school starts. I’ve got two lazy days planned for the end of this week, but after that, we are starting fun activities and we’ll be out and about!

Saturday is Bitty’s Birthday Party and we are having a fairy themed affair. Snacks, wands, and wings (fairy wings that is).

Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

With the increase in food costs, we are leaning more and more on our CSA box each week as the base of most of our meals.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods. On Friday night I ran to Sprouts and picked up the monthly freebies, and redeemed all of the Social Nature Coupons I had in my wallet. We’ve got all kinds of yummy snacks and treats!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate.  The big kid still brings lunch from home.

Dinner: We’re still working our way through our Dream Dinners order for the month, and I’ve got two meals ready for this week.

5/30/2022 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

I came back from my camping trip a few hours ago, and I’m already done with the meal plan for the week.

I’ll hit up the store tomorrow AM after I take the kids to school. We need just a few things… like MILK!

Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

With the increase in food costs, we are leaning more and more on our CSA box each week as the base of most of our meals.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate.  The big kid still brings lunch from home.

Dinner: I picked up our Dream Dinners order last week, and we’ve got a couple on deck for this week. I’m leaving a lot of prepped foods for the rest of the family to enjoy while we are out camping.

    • Monday: Nug night- crinkle fries, apple slices & strawberries
    • Tuesday: Savory chicken with sesame honey butter, corn, broccoli
    • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner (eggs, pancakes, fruit)
    • Thursday: Charhouse Chicken Sandwiches with Heirloom Potatoes,
    • Friday: Takeout night!
    • Saturday:  Leftovers
    • Sunday:  Breakfast Burritos, fruit