I have been waiting to get this review out to you all to be sure this meal plan idea was as good as I had hoped – and it is!
Back in November I stumbled across the 21 Gluten Free Meals for $162 Plan from $5DollarDinners.com and wanted to give it a whirl. I was looking to really ease my shopping burden and also reduce the budget for our meals. I had also taken a great liking to freezer meals – spending a few hours on one day to prepare the meals and freeze them ahead of time so I really used my time wisely.
Here is my honest review of using the 5DollarDinners.com Gluten Free Plan from Costco.
First of all – the price for this meal plan is seriously the best ever – $2.49 for a complete list, shopping list, recipes, and preparation tips for creating and also freezing ahead the meals you can. I love the concept of getting nearly all the ingredients I needed from Costco because:
- They have great quality ingredients
- It’s one stop shopping
- They have a lot of organic items that you can easily use and not overspend!
If you do not need a gluten free plan there are two other menu plan options from Costco on her site. One is an Organic plan too.
Here are the recipes in the Gluten Free Plan:
- (2) Chicken Enchilada Casserole with corn *
- (2) Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup *
- (2) Orange Glazed Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and veggies * (will make potatoes day of)
- (2) Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry *
- (2) Shepherd’s Pie *
- (2) Beef Tamale Skillet Dinner with veggies
- (2) Southwest Rice Pilaf
- (2) Ranch Chicken and Potato Casserole with veggies *
- (2) BBQ Chicken Street Tacos with rice and corn *
- (2) Basil Balsamic Chicken with rice & veggies *
- (1) Sloppy Joe Bowls (cooked and froze)*
Out of this list I was able to make-ahead and freeze in either Ziploc bags or casserole containers all the meals with an asterisk (*). I did end up preparing the Ranch Chicken Casserole dish and placing all the ingredients together in a Ziploc and then placing in a casserole dish the day I cooked for our family, but it did not turn out as well as if I had made in a casserole dish and froze. So will do that next time.
So far our favorites are the Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry (this is so good!), the Shepherds Pie (super easy and really yummy – my five year old had three servings!), and the Chicken Enchilada Casserole.
Here are a portion of my meals before they were popped into the freezer!
My Cost Breakdown:
I totaled up what I spent for the items I needed from Costco for these meals. I added a large bag of onions from Costco, which were not on the list and spent $204 total, instead of the $162 that is advertised. Obviously that was close enough in my book, as every Costco is not going to have the exact same prices.
I would estimate the cost of the additional ingredients needed from the grocery store or what you already may have in your pantry to be around $20.
I actually was able to get two more meals made with the items that I purchased – so instead of 21 meals I got 23 meals, plus I had leftover sweet potatoes, rice, corn tortillas, tomato sauce, chicken broth, potatoes, and frozen veggies to use elsewhere with my family. So I estimate that for 23 meals I spent $224, so that broke it down to $9.40 per meal, which feeds a family of four.
Can You Even Imagine?
Will I be doing this again? You bet! I can re-use this $2.49 meal plan over and over again – I love that it’s simple recipes, easy shopping, and I can now tweak the recipes just a bit to exactly how my family loves them – more garlic and onions! 🙂
Don’t forget to grab your 2016 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner and Supplemental Pack which comes with a great weekly menu planner page too!
Here is a video where I share a bit more on my thougths