September 17, 2012

There are a lot of things in life that I'm not, but wish I were. One of those being a cook. I don't like cooking meals. Like, ever. If I were asked to cook something for a pot luck, or a party, I could handle that. I love making snacks, appetizers, and desserts (especially). However, to be the one responsible for preparing a meal from start to finish and making sure it tates good - intimidates the hell out of me.
My husband is the oldest of 5 boys and enjoys cooking, so he is the chef in our house by default. Every once and awhile I will prepare the meal, but it's not my forte and I don't want to fail miserably, so I pass the buck to the experienced one in our family.
I'm envious of the people who can just throw this and that together and make the most delicious meal. The person I think of most often is Aunt Vicki. She is definitely a "little bit of this and a little bit of that" and it always, always tastes so divine. Not even kidding. I love going to her house and will always choose her cooking over take out. Always. (and if you know me, you know my preference is take out, especially when it's my night to cook.)
Anyway, the reason for this post is because I stumbled upon this blog and just started pining through her posts. After awhile, I came across a post about "". I had joined up with "e-mealz" once upon a time, so I gathered they were pretty similar. And they are.
I may not be a cook, but I am sort of a planner and like to plan out a menu a week at a time. Typically this is done on Sunday, but I have slacked a bit the past couple of weeks.
Basically you join the plan by choosing a membership. Build A Menu membership rates include:
  • 1 month – $8
  • 3 months – $22
  • 6 months – $40
  • 12 months – $76

(I chose the $8 - just to get a feel for it)

Here are the steps as shown here:

You can Build A Menu in three easy steps:
Step 1: Choose your store
Step 2: Choose your recipes
Step 3: Print your recipes and shopping list
Here are some notes to help you make the most of your experience with Build A Menu.
1. The cost of each recipe in Step 2 reflects what it would cost you to walk out of the store with the ingredients for just that recipe (minus staples, which are not included in the costs.) If you use half a bag of cheese in one recipe and the other half in another recipe, the cost of each recipe will reflect one bag each. Once you’ve selected all your recipes, our menu builder will combine your choices and your shopping list will show you only need to purchase one bag of cheese, making your total cost lower in Step 3.
2. You can click on any of the recipes prior to selecting them to see the ingredients used. An easy way to keep your grocery bill down is to make use of ingredients already in your pantry or freezer. If you recently stocked up on a sale product, look for recipes that call for that item and you’ll be able to cross it off your shopping list.
Here are a couple of recipes from my recipe selection. (We don't have several of the stores they have pre-selected, so I chose Wal-Mart. Of course, there is an option which says "None of these stores". I didn't select that one, but I would assume that it prints the shopping list, but may not list the price, or it may list an average.)

(They have options for kid-friendly, slow-cooker, low carb, cost efficient, gluten-free, vegatarian, etc. and you can pick and choose from each category, you aren't just limited to one!)
Here is a portion of my shopping list. Overall, I selected 8 meals and 1 dessert from the options available.
Build a Menu - Walmart Shopping List
DATE: September 17, 2012
Prices are approximate and may vary by store. Unless otherwise noted, prices are based on store brands. Be sure to check the list of staples at the bottom of the list to be certain you have them all.
LF = Low Fat FF = Fat Free GF = Gluten Free
QtyShopping CategoryCostRecipes by Ingredient
1 green bell pepper(s)$0.68Chicken Veggie Pasta
2 tomato$1.48Chicken Veggie Pasta, Slow Cooker Chicken Quesadillas
2 onion(s)$1.28Chicken Veggie Pasta, Slow Cooker Chicken Quesadillas
1 16 ozcarrot(s) (16 oz bag)$0.78Chicken Veggie Pasta
2 crownfresh broccoli$3.56Broccoli, Ham & Cheese Salad
1 red onion$0.67Broccoli, Ham & Cheese Salad

I didn't post the entire shopping list, but the end total was $95.07 - not too shabby for a family of 4 (and 8 meals + 1 dessert).
All in all, I'm excited to try this out for at least a month. If nothing else, I have a month to gather additional recipes for our mouths to try and to add a little bit of a variety in our weekly menu.
Another great thing about this website is a portion of your membership $$ goes to charity and you get to select from a list, where you want your $$ to go. Yay!
If you decide to give a try, please comment back and let me know! I'm excited to share reviews with anybody else who tries it.
**I'm not affiliated in any way with and did not get paid for this endorsement.**

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