Attacking (and Winning) Dinner

In the last few weeks I have been winning at dinner. Winning the never ending urge to get Thai take-out or eat cereal. Through two new favorite services, Prep Dish and ClickList, dinner (and eating at home in general) is becoming manageable! I’ll give the logistical details on each service and then explain how I use them together to have delicious food.

Services:

Prep Dish is a paleo or gluten free meal planning service. The general idea is you take 2-3 hours one day for prep and then there is minimal work each day at dinner time. Prep includes chopping vegetables, seasoning meats to marinate, or make soup. Its whatever you can reasonably do ahead of time. Each weekly meal plan includes four dinners, a side salad, breakfast, and dessert. The portioning is for a family of four, so we end up with dinners and leftovers lunches. I generally make the dinners and either the dessert or breakfast, simply due to the quality of food. The service is $14 a month or $99 a year. I originally heard about it through The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast, where they had a special $4 offer. I figured I didn’t have much to lose and it was worth a try!

ClickList works with our Fred Meyer (and other Kroger stores) so that you can order groceries online and pick up at the store later. Its a $4.95 fee however I figured it keeps me from guying $5 worth of treats I don’t need 🙂 A trip to the grocery store is drive time + 5 minutes and that’s it! I have heard many moms love the service because they don’t have to get kids out of car seats.

How they work together:

You receive all the meal plans for a month at once, however Chef Allison also sends out a newsletter on Fridays with details and substitution ideas. Friday night I fill my ClickList cart. The grocery list is super easy to follow, it has each department broken down so it makes it easy shopping online or in person.

Saturday morning myself or my husband pick up the order. ClickList doesn’t even require you to get out of the car and you don’t need to tip. Its been a great experience for us.

Since writing this draft we had an experience of waiting 1 hour and 45 minutes for an order. I believe it was a random fluke incident but I wanted to be transparent that not every order has gone off perfectly. On that trip they didn’t charge the convenience fee and gave an additional $5 off.

Saturday afternoon/evening (or whenever) I prep. I generally FaceTime with my mom, watch Netflix, or dance around the kitchen to fun music. I try and make the time an opportunity to not think about the looming to-do list since I am already being productive!

If you go grocery shopping in store try to go on a different day from the prep. While its all doable in a day, it is very long and super exhausting. It can make the entire process a little overwhelming and its harder to feel sustainable. If you have Instacart or another grocery delivery service in your area, try using it for even more time savings. Chef Alison provides an Instacart link for each week’s menu. Sadly such services don’t currently reach north of Seattle.

Why I love it:

  • You only have to get energy and motivation together once a week. Its not a daily battle of take out vs. cooking, its a much easier choice when you already grocery shopped and prepped.
  • 40 minutes in the oven is the actual dinner time! For example, we had apricot glazed chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. On prep day I made the glaze and marinated the chicken in it, plus chopped and seasoned the veggies. Then on dish day I simply put the chicken on one pan and the veggies on another, into the oven they went, and I dealt with my other to-do list items for the baking time.
  • A full fridge of food is my husband’s love language. ❤
  • Our eating out has reduced. It hasn’t disappeared because both my husband and I like the experience but it has been pulled back to a few lunches with co-workers and Friday night pizza.
  • Because the grocery list is provided and food is prepped I am buying fewer random items and we are wasting less food.
  • So far our weekly grocery bill has ranged from $50-$100, this has been at primarily at Fred Meyer (with ClickList), some weeks Trader Joe’s and a few small items from Costco. So far we are under our monthly grocery budget!