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Archive for January 8th, 2013

Anyone who has been successful at losing weight will tell you that one of the biggest contributors to that success is planning your meals.

Well, that’s a bit of a problem for me because I HATE meal planning. It’s ridiculously time consuming to research recipes, make grocery lists, buy everything at the grocery store (and feel like I’m getting the best price) and then actually cook the stuff. Also? I’m kind of a terrible cook. I’m not creative in kitchen so I can’t just whip up something yummy without following a very detailed recipe. Maybe that’s why I’m so much better at baking. I NEED a recipe. I read it at least 50 times while I’m making something for fear of messing it up.

Anyway, meal planning is time consuming. And as someone that works more than 40 hours a week, I only get to spend a couple hours a day with my baby during the work week before I have to put him to bed. I refuse to spend that time cooking dinner, or doing anything else for that matter. Sometimes that means we don’t eat dinner until 8:30. And this ALWAYS means that if it’s not easy, it’s not worth it.

But this attitude doesn’t bode well for weight loss. Bummer.

Solution: Time for Dinner.

One of my best friends has been going to Time for Dinner for awhile now. It’s a place that let’s you come in, fix your meals for the week, and take them home to freeze them so all you need to do is set the meal out the night before and pop it in the oven when you get home. Delicious, homemade meals without the mess, prep time, and – happy surprise – Weight Watchers points already calculated for me on the labels! So last night, my friend took me to Time for Dinner so I could try it out.

Here’s how it works:

First, you look at the monthly menu online and decide what meals you want. Then you call and make an appointment.

Once you’re there, you grab an apron and get cooking. One of the things I love about this is that they already chop and prepare all the ingredients for you. So if your recipe calls for chicken, they’ve already trimmed it and bagged it into the portion size you’ll need for your recipe.

Here I am with our bags of pork for the Bangkok BBQ Pork.

meat

Then you just follow the recipe card on the table.

scoop

Scooping the blue cheese for my Artisan Chicken recipe

Pour

Adding the Worcestershire sauce

stir2

A little stirring action

stir

Looking good!

dollup

Spreading the mixture on the chicken

done

Top it off with breadcrumbs and pecans

Then you just seal it up, label it, and stick in the freezer when you get home. Easy peasy. Oh, and there’s ZERO mess to clean up. Once you’re done preparing a meal at your station, you just walk away. One of the workers will come over, clean it up, and set it up for the next person. Total time spent making our meals for the week was just 1 hour.

Even though it was just the two of us, there was another group of about 4 or 5 women that brought in their own beer and appetizers to munch on while they made their meals too. Such a fun and productive girls night!

I couldn’t wait to try the Artisan chicken I made so as soon as I got home, I popped it in the oven and 25 min. later, we had dinner. It was DELICIOUS. And only 7 WW points. My husband isn’t much of a blue cheese fan so he wasn’t as in love with it as I was, but he still ate two servings so it must’ve been pretty good.

I did a cost breakdown to see whether or not it’s a good value and for $60, I got 3 different recipes, totaling 18 servings/meals. That’s roughly $3.33 per serving. But since my husband will typically eat two servings for dinner, that’s only 6 dinners for the two of us, so$10 per dinner for 2. Could we eat cheaper than $10 a day for dinner? Yes. Healthier? That’s questionable. And considering how often I end up throwing away fresh ingredients, I may actually save money after all. But even if I don’t, I don’t mind paying a few dollars extra for a freshly made meal that saves me time, both in the preparing process and in the clean up.

I don’t think I’ll be relying on this for all of my dinners, but I’ll definitely do it again. Such a great way to spend time with friends, provide a good, healthy meal for the family, all while saving time in the process. Triple win.

 

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