Our Experiment with a Meal Delivery Service (Part3)

Welcome to Part Three of our experiment with a Meal Kit Delivery Service. If you haven’t read Part One click here if you haven’t read Part Two (I’m gonna cry) click here.  As you should be familiar with by now, I’m hopping, we’ve been doing the Meal Service for three months and things are swimming along.  The food is still great. We’ve enjoyed everything, even things I wasn’t so sure about.
Shall we start?

As teased last month, I’m gonna tell you about how we save 20% on our meals and provide you some general advice and s few tips and tricks that we’ve learned.  So here goes.
Our trick for saving 20% on our Meal Kit Delivery Service is to buy gift cards.  We go to Costco (if you don’t have a Costco Membership talk to a friend who does) and buy the gift cards for the service it saves us an instant 20%.  Not very exciting and maybe a bit anticlimactic but that’s how we save money.  Every couple of weeks we head to Costco for whatever we need and pick up the gifts cards.  We don't make a special trip so getting the gift cards makes sense.
Another way you can save money on these services is to try a different one for the length of the free trial period.  I’m not a big fan of this method, but people do it and it works for them. There are several different meal delivery services out so bounce around and try different ones. Just don’t ask me what they do when they’ve tried them all and have to pay for it, cause I’m not sure.
Anyway, moving on.
What we’ve found with our Meal Kit Delivery Service is don’t be afraid to shake things up and experiment with what they give you.  We’ve got several spaghetti (red sauce) type dishes, and they were all right.  When we got the next one I decided I was going to shake things up, and I added my own Italian spices and it took the sauce to the next level, which really made me happy.

Don’t be afraid to add a little butter, yes it’s bad for you. Yes the meal services are trying to present you with a healthful meal option. Still, a little butter goes a long way for flavor. So, if you want to add some buttery flavor to what you're cooking or to vegetables go for it. I won’t tell.
Two of my co-workers, who are on the same plan as us, will put the spice rub or marinade on the meat the night before they cook it.  They say it adds a lot more flavor and I believe them.  I tried it once, and it really does amp up the flavor of the meat.
The other trick I have is, watch the salt.  Almost ever step instructs you to ‘salt and pepper to taste’ remember it’s ‘to taste’ so if you want to cut down on the salt do it.  To me this seemed like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how you get caught up in following the step-by-step directions.
Speaking of directions.  Do yourself a favor and read through the direction at least twice before you start.  Then decide the steps you can combine and the ways to lower your pan and bowl count, cause you’re gonna use a lot of them.
When it comes to the oil always use olive oil or extra virgin olive oil.  It’s really the best way to cook everything.
When it comes to pans we use non-stick or cast iron.  So if you don’t have non-stick pans or cast iron get one.  It makes clean up so much easier.
When it comes to clean up, do it while things are cooking.  You’re gonna go through a lot of pains, bowls and knives so clean as you go.  Otherwise you’re gonna have a lot of clean up at the end.
And there you have it.  Everything I’ve learned about our Meal Kit Delivery Service.  If you want to try it, go for it.  The options are great and the food is good.  Even the stuff you may not love. We plan to keep going.  If we stop I’ll let you know and tell you why.
As with Part One and Part Two here are photos from our dinners. 

I hope you enjoyed this series and found it interesting and fun.  Feel free to ask questions.  In fact I encourage it.  I love hearing from you. 
Until next time have a great week.

Our Experiment with a Meal Kit Delivery Service (Part 2)

This is Part Two of our experiment with a Meal Kit Delivery Service.  If you haven’t read Part One click here. We’ve been doing the Meal Service for two months now and things are moving along nicely. We’re still enjoying and looking forward to getting our weekly box with our food and menus for the week.

In this installment, I want to talk about portions and value for the dollar.  This is a big topic online and even amongst my coworkers, family and friends.  They ask or say things like, “Is it really filling?”, “That doesn’t seem like a lot of food.”, “Oh, I’ve heard of that but it seems kind of expensive.”, “It looks really complicated, is it?”, etc. So, let’s get to it. Shall we?

When it comes to portions and meal size, you need to understand one thing about me (and my hubby, but me more so) I love food.  I love to eat and I really love good food.  As I tell my friends, “you don’t get a body like mine, but passing up on seconds or sometimes, if the meal’s really good, thirds.” So, I was worried about portions.  When we got our first box, and I looked at what they said was three meals I thought, “well crap, that doesn’t look like near enough food.” We got things like two sweet potatoes as a side dish, or a quarter of a head of cabbage, or basically a cup of dried rice.  Those were the side dishes?  Ugh. Then I looked at the proteins and I almost laughed. Ten Ounces of ground beef for two grown men. Who were they kidding?

Anyway, our first meal was Burgers and Slaw with Roasted Sweet Potatoes. We skeptically followed the directions and put the meal together.  After it was altogether and looked similar to the picture on the direction, we sat down to eat.  As I’ve mentioned before the meal was excellent, but the big question came when we finished and looked at each other.  I asked Eric, “So, are you full?”  he looked at me and said. “Actually, yes.”  I nodded my agreement.  To our surprise we were both full.  Sure, we could have both had another burger, but we didn’t need it.  We were satisfied.

And satisfied is how I would describe every meal thereafter.  Have we been stuffed?  No.  But after each meal we were full and comfortable.  Which, I’ll admit was a nice feeling.

What the Meal Service does well is portion control.  What you think might not be enough food actually is.  Are there leftovers?  Nope.  Not in my house.  But I have a co-worker who only eats half her meal and saves the rest for lunch the next day.  She’s not a big eater.

A foreign concept to me.

One of the side benefits of the Meal Service is we’re not eating as much, which has the additional side benefit of us both dropping a few pounds.  Not a lot, but still I’ve noticed.

Major Disclaimer and I want to make this very clear.  The Meal Service is not a diet plan.  Not by a long shot. So, don’t confuse the two.

Now, let’s talk about value for the buck.

This is another big area that people question, and I did too.  But, what I’m finding is that for the quality of the ingredients (organic, locally grown, blah, blah, blah) we’re getting the cost seems right.  “But, how can you say that?”  I hear all the collective yells.  Very simply, our Meal Service costs $60.00 a week (three meals $20 each, six servings $10 each) Eric, and I have made two receipts on our own, using the exact ingredients from the provided receipts.

When we went to the store to buy everything for the meals it actually cost us more per person.  One, was $10.75 per person (this was for the Fried Rice) and the other was just under $11.50 per person (this was for the Chicken Enchiladas).  So not a lot, but that is how it broke down on the days we bought the ingredients.

Now, I’m sure if we bought the food on a different day the costs might have changed, but considering how close everything was cost wise it all worked out and I’m not that much a penny pincher.

When it all comes down to it, the quality and the quantity of the meals is worth every cent we’ve paid. However, we’re not paying full price for our Meal Kit Delivery Service plan.  

“What?” you ask.

“How?” you say.

Well, you’ll have to wait for my next installment to find out my cost saving tips and tricks. As well as some overall general advice for how to make the most of the Meal Kit Deliver Service.

As with Part One here are my photos from our dinners.  Yes, we really did make all of these. I’m quite impressed with how good they all look

Hmm, maybe I should be a food photographer. Have a great week everyone.