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  • Premade meals

    Our lives have officially become crazy. With 3 girls (1 newborn) under 5 and dual physicians, our time is becoming more and more valuable. And I don't want to spend it cooking. Are there any premade (ie not Blue Apron or something similar where they send you ingredients and you cook it) family meal services out there that deliver? I honestly want to come home and heat up healthy meals for us in the oven and be done with it. Anyone have something like this that they use and would recommend?

  • #2
    Depending on where you live, you may want to search locally. I think many metro areas have locally prepared meals for delivery.

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    • #3
      Our local grocery store offers the service. It is quite expensive, the quality is decent but not as good as Home Chef or Blue Apron, and not as healthy. But it can work in a pinch. When we cook we try to make double everything so we have at least 2 meals out of one cooking session. A deep freezer with such meals is very handy.

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      • #4
        My wife usually prepares a meal as though a football team is coming for dinner. We just put the leftovers in the frig or freezer and heat them up as the need arises.
        Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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        • #5
          If you’re in an urban area, you should be able to find people who will do this for you, but you have to be hooked into the community. Check FB and CraigsList, ask colleagues (including midlevels), and friends. This sounds like a fantastic business for lower-compensated hospital employees to get into. They have the contacts and may want to earn extra dough (so to speak).

          On a related note, i have free BlueApron boxes to give away if anyone wants to try them. No, I do not get any kind of compensation but I think this is how BA grows their user base cause it’s kind of fun to give away free food. I use 3 companies and BA is the easiest to work with and extremely responsive about giving credits if they leave something out of your box,which does happen. PM me if you’re interested - I have 3 in my account at the moment. I’ll need your email to give to BA.
          Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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          • #6
            Yelp is a good place to start to see if you have any local services.  Where I live, there are about 10 local services available.  Some deliver once a week, some twice a week.  I use two services--one locally and the other from Munchery dot com.  Munchery doesn't deliver hot food to where I live but I am able to order reheat-able food from them.  The Munchery food is delivered from San Francisco, packed neatly in a box with a bunch of cold packs.  Just reheat in the microwave and eat.  The food is generally delicious.  I alternate between the services to not get bored but my kids prefer the Munchery food.  One negative is lots of packaging, whether you use the local services or Munchery.  I had tried the Munchery cooking kit and enjoyed cooking with new ingredients but with a bunch of kids running around and after a hard day in the office I do not want to do anything more than reheat my food.  I do try to stretch the portions by adding lots of veggies.

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            • #7
              Hungry Root is pretty amazing. My wife's sister ordered too much for their family and gave us the excess. Everything was excellent. Very little, if any, preparation needed for the meals.

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              • #8
                Get a vegetable steamer and a box of aluminum foil in the pop up food service sheets.  Fish and veggies or meat and veggies should be good to go.

                1) Chop up veggies and place in steamer.  Set for 10-15 minutes.  Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, squash, etc. all should be good to go.

                2) Fire up the grill

                3) Place salmon, tilapia, or other fish in an aluminum packet with lemon juice, dill, and white wine; or beer and blackening seasoning in a foil packet sealed to keep the moisture in.

                Packetized fish will cook to "done" in about 10 minutes and won't dry out and taste bad until 20+ minutes.

                You also could grill a steak or some carne or pollo asada in about 5-7 minutes.

                You don't need to pay for Blue Apron or another meal prep service.  You just need things that are tasty, easy to prepare, quick to make, and forgiving to cook.  Vegetable steamers are super easy, because you cut up the veggies, put them in with water, set the timer, and check back in 15-20 minutes.  Fish in water, wine, or beer in a packet is super easy and super forgiving if you leave it out for five or ten minutes longer than you meant to.  Steaks area little more demanding for flipping at the right time, but not in any way too involved for prep time, culinary talent, or cleanup time.

                Preparing a half week or week's worth of food on a Sunday is a valid strategy too.  Likewise, crock pot dishes started on low before you leave for work are a reasonable cost, low stress way of making food too.

                Spend less on the cut of meat, spend more money and time on the quantity and quality of spices and the length of marinade / seasoning time.  Best wishes and bon appetit!

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                • #9
                  Do you have a dream dinners near you? We used them for quite a while. I paid to have them assemble the meals and then we would just swing by and pick the meals up for the month. It worked out great. The meals don’t taste as fresh as blue apron, but definitely don’t require the time the blue apron does!

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                  • #10
                    Try Huel. Google it.

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                    • #11
                      From Huel’s website:

                      “Why do we need Huel?

                      We are in the middle of a food crisis. Modern food production methods are inefficient, inhumane, and unsustainable. The world currently produces one and a half times the amount of food needed to feed every person on the planet, yet over 800 million people still do not have enough food to eat. In the US, 30% of all food is thrown away. 100 million children in developing countries regularly go hungry and are significantly underweight.”

                      Jeez, this kind of political diatribe gives me indigestion. Humans are omnivores. Our eyes face forward, not to the sides. We have canine teeth and only one stomach. The only way I’m going to sip dinner through a straw is if I have the misfortune to have my jaw wired shut after a facial trauma.

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                      • #12
                        Check out Freshly.

                        Their meals seem pretty healthy and taste good.

                        Meals cost about $10 per meal but they don't charge for shipping, which is unusual.

                         

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                        • #13
                          Sure but it's super efficient. I do t do it for reasons more so than what you describe but friend doing it swears by it and he's healthy and works out etc. Occasioannly cooks and rest does huel. May be for someone who doesmt wanna cool much hence my post.

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                          • #14
                            There are local companies in many places.  In our town we have used a place called Time for Dinner where you can actually go assemble the meals, or for a slightly higher fee pick up the same meals pre-assembled.  All are meant to go into a freezer and then basically into the oven with zero prep work.  They rotate their menu monthly.

                            My wife has taken to a slightly different service similar to above where the assembly is required, but comes with everything needed for the meal and most are easy to cook (i.e. I can do it).  It's more effort for her but has more variety and is still way cheaper than eating out/ordering and less effort than meal planning in our own.

                            With 3 young kids and two working parents in our household, I definitely am a proponent of these services.  My kids would basically be eating raman noodles and chicken nuggets every meal otherwise.
                            An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, & family
                            www.RogueDadMD.com

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                            • #15




                              Our lives have officially become crazy. With 3 girls (1 newborn) under 5 and dual physicians, our time is becoming more and more valuable. And I don’t want to spend it cooking. Are there any premade (ie not Blue Apron or something similar where they send you ingredients and you cook it) family meal services out there that deliver? I honestly want to come home and heat up healthy meals for us in the oven and be done with it. Anyone have something like this that they use and would recommend?
                              Click to expand...


                              I can endorse Let's Dish in MN...I'm assuming that isn't helpful to you, NEGas, but perhaps there is something similar in your area.  Good food, easy.  Pop it in the oven and play with the girls while it is heating up!

                              I hate to admit it, but we do a lot of Costco dinners (both theirs and the packaged ones).  It's easy and tasty, but not so sure it meets the healthy criterion.  We typically add a green salad to assuage guilt.

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