Kitchen Survival Kits
When I see the word ‘kit” on a food item, I get excited. The kits that I love are meal kits and salad kits. Generally, it means ingredients are pre-assembled in one container for fast and easy menu options. These kits can definitely provide some sanity to your busy day!
Meal Kit Delivery Services
Meal kits have become quite popular over the last few years. They are delivered to your home via subscription service companies such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Purple Carrot, and Sun Basket, to name a few. Generally, chopping, dicing, cooking, and assembly are required. Some services deliver meals that need heating, but I like the plans that require preparing and cooking.
Home Chef delivered two meals per week to my home over the course of several months. I choose Home Chef’s low carbohydrate options, and most meals were around 500 calories. They also have options that help eliminate some ingredients like wheat, soy, and dairy. You can choose these types of preferences in the taste profile section on the app or website. Another meal kit service I use is Purple Carrot which features vegan recipes.
I enrolled in the service because my hubby is a beginner cook and wants to learn how to prepare a meal. I have two meals delivered on Thursday, which allows him to make two wonderful meals over the weekend. He soon realized the satisfaction of cooking and eating a well-prepared meal at home, and I received the benefit of eating his cooking. Food always tastes better when someone else prepares it. The recipe card integrates the directions for both the meat and the side dish into one, making it easy to prepare simultaneously. The recipes are ranked from easy, intermediate, and expert on the website to choose what is best for your household. We enjoyed every meal and saved the recipe cards to make them another time with ingredients from the grocery store. My hubby was not intimidated because the recipes are new to us, so he is not comparing them to my cooking. He gets all the credit!
Benefits of Meal Kits
- convenient because all the ingredients are included in the kit
- economical since the perfect amount of ingredients are shipped – no leftover spices or sauce jars
- educational and instructive for new cooks wanting to learn
- creative – offers new recipes
- inspirational – provides new cuisines
On the surface, meal kits appear expensive, but they are less costly than restaurant carryout and minimize waste since there are no leftover ingredients. Additionally, meal kits can provide another “chef” in the house. The meal delivery services will help beginner cooks expand their skills and give the prime cook a nice break. The biggest advantage I see, however, is trying new recipes and adding them to the menu rotation after the subscription is stopped.
Meal Kits at the Grocery Store
Another option is to look for meal kits in your favorite grocery store. Kroger acquired Home Chef, and some of the meals are now also available in-store. The kits are often on sale and sometimes have digital coupons to download to your loyalty card. Recently, I purchased a delicious Home Chef chicken meal kit that was on sale for $13.99 from a regular price of $16.99, and there was a $3 online coupon. That is a $6 savings, bringing the cost per person to $5.50.
I also purchased the salmon kit for 14.99 (usually $18.99), which brings the dinner cost to $7.50 per person.
The in-store selection is not as abundant as the online ordering, but it allows you to try the meals, and there is no delivery fee. They can be more expensive than a complete do-it-yourself meal, but convenience, no waste, and letting someone else do the cooking has its advantages. When I visit my mom out of town, I take these with me to easily provide a meal. They are also good to leave in my fridge for hubby when I go out of town and keep him out of the fast-food drive-through.
Another type of food kit that I love is the Salad Kits. I did a digital search on a grocery site, and there are 50+ salad kits available in the produce section from five different brands. The salad kits have numerous cuisine styles to match your main course: Asian, Buffalo, Caesar, Mediterranean, Santa Fe, Southwest, Steakhouse Wedge, etc. Many were on sale for 3 for $9. As a side dish, most serve 3. That is $1 per serving, and all the ingredients are in the bag. So fast, convenient, and budget-friendly.
Sometimes, I am overzealous with my meal planning and purchase too many perishable items. I plan a salad and vegetable for dinner and then don’t execute on one because I run out of energy and time. The salad can become a burden during the last minutes of meal preparations. With a salad kit, that does not happen. I open the package and have an instant salad. When we were remodeling the kitchen, I only had access to a refrigerator, microwave, and grill for 2+ months. No kitchen sink or stove! I purchased paper plates and throw-away utensils, and almost every night, we grilled pre-marinated meat from the butcher section of the store and a salad kit.