While Holly tackled HelloFresh a few weeks ago, which delivers fresh, pre-measured ingredients for the home cook to prepare, I got the decidedly easier job of trying prepared meal delivery from two local companies. See below for my review.
My first delivery was from Malden-based The Foodery, which uses local suppliers to obtain locally sourced, fresh and seasonal ingredients. I chose and paid for two meals (each serving 4). The meals — packaged in reheatable aluminum tins — were both delivered on Sunday with a lovely note. One meal was a turkey-sausage, kale pasta bake, and the other was a chicken dish with lentils and green beans. What I liked: The price per person and portion sizes were very good. Ingredients were well labeled, including allergens. The meals were both delivered on Sunday evening — a plus if you are busy but not so great in terms of food freshness. The reheating instructions were very clear, and microwave instructions were included though oven reheating was recommended. The lentil dish tasted light and healthy and home-cooked. But that’s where the pluses ended. Unfortunately, while I liked the lentil dish, my husband didn’t. On the other hand, he really liked the kale pasta dish and even went for seconds, but I did not enjoy it. Something about it was just not appealing, and the pasta was soggy and overdone, which unfortunately tends to happen when pasta casseroles sit around.
Cost: ~ $10-14/serving
How It Works: You start by viewing their easy-to-use online menu and order by Thursday at 10am for delivery on Sunday. Your chilled meals come ready to reheat and serve. No cooking or subscription is required but there is a $50 minimum order.
Takeaway: I wanted to like The Foodery. I really did. The per serving price is very reasonable, but the food just didn’t do it for us — at least not consistently. This service might be right for some, though, particularly those looking to stay away from calorie- and fat-laden restaurant food but don’t want to break the bank. And who knows? I think we will try other dishes to see if there are some that make us both happy.
Service Area: Central & Greater Boston, including Newton, West Roxbury, and Roslindale
For my next trial, I received a complimentary delivery from Covered Meals. This service was recommended by a friend of mine who put me in contact with Chef Johnny Burke. Chef Johnny is a personal chef who founded Covered Meals as a way to bring his fresh, chef-inspired food to those (like me!) who can’t afford their own personal chef. The company’s ethos focuses on sustainable, locally procured, healthy meals. Indeed, much of their food comes from Allandale Farms. Chef Johnny’s creations eschew nuts and refined sugars while celebrating whole grains. All food is prepared in their commercial kitchen. Each meal comes with a soup/salad/starter, entree and vegetable side. For my meal, I chose the chicken sausage paella for two. This 3-part meal was served in 3 separate aluminum containers, which made oven reheating a breeze. Our meal included a starter of tabouleh salad with parsley and pickled onions along with a main dish of chicken sausage paella and a side of broccoli with feta and green raisins. First of all, I absolutely loved the broccoli side dish because I am a sucker for feta and dried fruit. The couscous tasted refreshing, and my husband and I loved the pickled onions. The paella did not contain seafood, which was a bit disappointing, but was otherwise good. We found the portions were generous even for hearty eaters. Overall, my husband and I gave it a thumbs up. (On a separate note, Chef Johnny tells me that Covered Meals is also available to cater dinner parties. Contact them to discuss further.)
Cost: $20/serving (price includes delivery)
How It Works: You sign up for an e-newsletter, which is delivered every Saturday. You review the menu for the week and place your order by Sunday evening. They ask for a two-serving minimum order but it is not required. Meals are typically delivered Monday-Thursday between 1-3pm. They will deliver to a cooler or even directly into your fridge! Ingredients are labeled. No cooking or subscription is required. Reheating generally takes 15-20 minutes.
Takeaway: Chef Johnny’s food is restaurant quality yet feels less heavy and rich and more like home cooking; a great option for foodies who want a break from takeout. It is fresher and healthier, and you know exactly what the ingredients are. We will definitely order from him again. If you like fresh, tasty inventive food, but don’t always have the time to prepare it, this may be a good option for you. Covered Meals also includes an option for gifting food to someone who has recently had a baby or suffered a loss.
Service Area: Newton, Wellesley, and Needham
Full disclaimer: I selected and received a complimentary dinner from Covered Meals in exchange for my honest review.