Several years ago, I asked the question, “What’s the deal with mail-order meals?” and began a quest for an answer.
At the time, I was hoping for some inspiration and new ideas for meals to throw into my mealtime repertoire. I also decided that while the mail-order meals were a great thing for busy people who didn’t have the time, energy or desire to go to the grocery… but I loved going to the grocery store too much to let that go.
Chatting with a neighbor not long ago, she mentioned that she’d been trying the mail-order meals since it was just the two of them she was cooking for. She enjoyed having everything delivered and ready to cook; he said, “Why not just go to the grocery store?!”
As luck would have it, within days I received an email coupon for a mail-order meal deal I couldn’t refuse. At $2.99 per meal, I was once again sucked into the easy ways of grocery shopping for pre-planned meals with a click of the mouse. And, I was excited. My husband said, “Why don’t you just go to the grocery store?!” Ha.
I’m not going to lie – I’m totally stuck in a rut in the kitchen. So completely tired of my own cooking that I could almost cry every time I have to prepare something for us to eat. These months of cooking all of our meals and not feeling the excitement of going to the grocery store as often as before has gotten to me.
I’m sure my husband will agree that tacos, chalupas, soups and beans can only be mixed around so many different ways, even though I do change them up. A chalupa is still a chalupa, and yes, I love chalupas, but I’ve grown chalupa-weary and needed some help climbing out of the rut.
When our UPS man delivered the first box of mail-ordered meals, I felt that old excitement start to bubble up. I purposely didn’t look at what meals were coming because I wanted to be surprised.
With reusable ice packs in the insulated boxes, the box could be left on the porch for hours if need be… but I heard the trucking coming and met him at the door. The meals were wrapped separately, and included everything but olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Some of the meals were not for the novice, but I didn’t want them to be too easy. You can choose your level of difficulty, depending on how you wish to be challenged. I’ve been taking it easy enough for too long – it was time to kick things up a notch.
Each meal comes with very easy to follow recipes with pictures and hints, and the recipe cards are great for making the recipe on your own in the future.
I love leftovers, and we had no leftovers with these meals… until, drawing from past experiences, I added an extra pound of organic beef from our freezer to the Gravy Lover’s Meatballs meal. Leftovers make my life easier, and food so often tastes better the next day.
As I write this, we’ve completed our first box of mail-order meals, and I eagerly await the next one. For the same price as one lunch out for the two of us, we’re eating six really tasty meals, all made at home, that are adding new recipes to my recipe file.
Gravy Lover’s Meatballs
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 slices white bread
1 medium yellow onion
4 cloves chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons of concentrated beef stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, soak bread with 6 tablespoons of water; break it up with your hands until pasty. Stir in beef, chopped garlic, about 4 tablespoons of diced onion, 1.5 teaspoons of salt, plenty of pepper. Form into one-inch balls. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, and then roast the meatballs until they are cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. (Note: I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen so I cooked them in the electric skillet, turning often to brown all the sides and then let them cook at 200 degrees, covered, for about 10 minutes.)
In a large pan on the stovetop, melt butter over medium heat. Add remaining onion with a healthy pinch each of salt and pepper to the butter and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons flour; stir until lightly browned. Slowly stir in 1.5 cups water and stock concentrate. Simmer until thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low.
Add meatballs to pan with gravy and stir to coat. If gravy is too thick, stir in a splash of warm water. Serve meatballs over buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, hot rice rice or whatever you feel like soaking up some good gravy.