22 January 2014

Relish! {a review}

Since the fall I've had the opportunity to try out a fairly new meal planning website: relish!  I have tried a meal planning site before, but usually do my planning on my own--and have for six years.  I really love meal planning!  And sometimes I wonder if a meal planning website would make that job easier for me.  So I was curious to try out relish!  and see how it worked.

When you first log into relish!  there is always a feature article on the home page.  They vary in topics from breakfast items, special seasonings or sauces, to how to make homemade cocoa.  I often enjoy reading these.  There are also other articles with links toward the bottom of the home page that are about similar topics.  These can be very helpful to your meal planning--if you have the time to read them.  You can read more about their member benefits here.

I usually click right over to menus to see what recipes they're offering for the week (see a preview of what they offer here).  I get a reminder email each Thursday when they post their new menus.  relish!  doesn't give you a set menu each week, but offers a variety of about 20-25 recipes each week for you to choose from for your own menu.  They highlight recipes if they are vegetarian, kid-friendly or good for freezing so you can make note of that as well.  You simply drag and drop the recipes of your choosing into your personalized weekly menu.  They even give you the option to submit your own favorite recipes to share with their members, plus they if they accept your submissions they will automatically add them to your favorite recipes tab.  

After you have chosen your recipes there is an option to to create a custom shopping list from the recipes on your personal dashboard, with the ability to even send it to your mobile device should you not want to print it.  They even have a tab with printable coupons for name brand items available on their site.  These are both very handy features!

relish!  is a great site for someone who is just getting started on meal planning or for someone who doesn't have much time to sit down and plan their dinners each week.  The site is uncomplicated and easy to use.  There is a good selection of meals, plus it's nice to choose just the ones you like or want to try rather than having menus "assigned" to you as some meal planning sites do.  And I do love the fact that you can add your own recipes to their index to share with fellow members.  Oh--and did I mention that they even include Weight Watcher points with their recipes?  You can check out more of their FAQ's right here.

It is also very affordable--as low as $4.90 per month (check out their pricing here).  

I have found some very yummy recipes on this site and I especially like that they label the ones that are good for freezer meals since I am trying to make more freezer meals.  One such meal that is perhaps our fave that we've tried from the site is Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells.  It is just so good--and really so easy.  Plus it also works great if you freeze it before baking.  And did I mention that BOTH of my kids like this dish?  That's a huge plus for me.  

Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells
1 (12 oz.) pkg. large pasta shells
3-1/2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
2 cups mozzarella
3/4 cup Parmesan
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. dried parsley
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
Salt/Pepper, to taste
3 cups marinara sauce
Cook pasta; cool on waxed paper.  Mix the cheeses, eggs, herbs, and seasonings.  Combine mixture well.  Fill shells with the mixture (about 2 tbsp per shell).  Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, then place filled shells in dish.  Cover shells with remaining sauce, sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan and bake at 375F for about 30 minutes (or until cheese is lightly browned and sauce is bubbly).  
*Half of this recipe feeds my family of 4 just fine.  I like to bake half and freeze the other half for later.  Just cover it with foil, then wrap it in plastic wrap before popping in the freezer.  To bake it from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap, leaving the foil on.  Bake 50 minutes, uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until hot and bubbly.  (If you are freezing in a glass dish put it in the oven before turning it on and allow the dish to heat up with the oven).  

Now for my personal thoughts on relish!  

I am enjoying using this site.  I wasn't sure if I would since I have not really had problems creating meal plans on my own, using my own recipe files and cookbooks.  But I do like the ease of this site: the way you can choose just the meals that you like, the way that it creates a shopping list for you, and I always love sharing recipes!  Using this site has been a good and often very helpful experience for me.  

If you are looking to streamline your home life more, take control of your kitchen, and get organized on family meals, then I definitely encourage you to try out relish!  I don't think you'll be disappointed.  

Disclaimer: I was given a 12-month subscription to relish! in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.  No other compensation was received.  

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