Maybe you’ve heard of companies like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or even Martha Stewart’s Marley Spoon.I have tried these, but sometimes, I don’t really feel like doing ALL the meal prep. I just want to throw a couple things together and voila – fresh meal, new concept (not my same tired old things) and healthy. Is it possible to have such a thing? With a resounding Hallelujah I found the perfect place right here in Denver. Local. Fresh. Yummy. (Now, I just need them to deliver to my zip code for real – not just for me to try it for a written review).
The Simple Jar. Simple Jar is the first home meal delivery service we tried. It consists of chef salads prepared in a giant mason jar. We loved the delivery because it was in an awesome insulated tote with cute jars. Because the jars were clear, it was easy to see that the ingredients were fresh and I knew exactly what was in them. It was simple for me to grab one to take for lunch. One of the salads we used as a side-dish to go with chicken that I grilled. For just my daughter and me, this was great – but I think about how my dad or my ex would want protein to go along with this, so these jars would leave a bit lacking for them. At a price point of $34.99 for three salads, I wonder if it is worth it when I can get a bagged salad from King Soopers on my Clicklist. My 17-year-old daughter said they were “trying too hard.” I think she was looking for a basic Cobb salad (Ranch Dressing) option. We tried all five of the salads together and she only really ate two of them (the Thai Noodle and Spicy Southwest). We both loved the Thai Noodle salad and if I could just order that one somewhere in a store as a grab-and-go option, I think we’d be good.
Five Eggs Meals. When I was little, I loved that every once in a while, my mom would tell us we could pick our own meals at the freezer section. She meant TV dinners. I would call Five Eggs a “fresh TV dinner.” They do seem to have several options that are Whole 30. So, if anyone is interested in maintaining that plan, this is a fantastic and easy grab-and-go option that doesn’t require having to do all that prep work on your own. The meals come in individual servings — which I find a bit odd given the company’s tag line, “Sit down and eat together.” We sort of enjoyed the choice of you-eat-yours-and-I’ll-eat-my meal — while we sit together to do so. While we heated multiple meals in one day, my daughter and I had to share each other’s to get a taste of each. We tried the Salmon, Pasta with House-Made Ricotta, Pad Thai, and Beef Stew. They are all very tasty. My daughter devoured the pasta (I hardly got a bit) and I loved both the Pad Thai and Beef Stew (and I’m not normally a fan of beef stew). Each meal was priced at $24 per week for two meals, which seems a bit expensive to me (mom’s family-sized TV dinners are around $9) – but for a healthy and fresh alternative along with the fun of trying something that is so much better than those TV dinners would be worth it. It was easy to prepare, as everything could just be put in the oven for a short time.
Spicy Radish. The last of the three meal delivery services we tried was Spicy Radish. They were thorough in checking that we would be home to receive the delivery. This was a fantastic cross between feeling like a chef (I’m talking to you time-intensive Blue Aprons) and real food that we would eat. First, we tried the Beef Bolognese. The pasta came separate from the sauce but, ultimately, we just put them in the same pot to cook. Next, we tried the Chipotle Chicken Fajitas, which were amazing. The amount of chicken was fantastic; the vegetables were roasted and put right in the same container as the chicken (so we could heat it all up). It also came with everything we needed from a tasty salsa, to mini tortillas and a black bean spread. The Spicy Radish website is a bit difficult to use when ordering. You need to time it just right, as you have to come back between Tuesday and Thursday to have it delivered that Sunday. There didn’t seem to be a way to do it say, for example, if you read this review on a Friday morning and wanted to get it right away. However, since we were only given this as a sample, and Spicy Radish doesn’t really deliver to my neighborhood, I cannot tell the cost or if it is just a re-occurring order that you need to cancel. I’d prefer to order each week rather than to have to think about canceling each week. I sincerely wish they would deliver to my address regularly, as this week’s menus look as divine as last week’s.
If these meal kits were delivered to my zip code, I would likely get Spicy Radish regularly, and supplement it with Five Eggs every once in a while. I would also like to see if any of these have a gift card program, so I could send a meal to a friend who just had a baby, surgery, or even to give to my elder parents (although not a lengthy subscription service).
*I received meals for free for the purpose of review. My opinions are my own (and maybe peppered with a bit of flavor from my teenage daughter).