Oct 142012
 

You know the drill – stumbling home from a busy day of work or school and starving for dinner, but no matter how creative you get with your condiments and beer, they won’t constitute a meal. Don’t worry. Gone are the days when “quick and easy dinner” means Hot Pockets and Famous Amos. With Meez Meals you really can have 30 minutes meals. Take that, Rachel Ray.

Meez Meals philosophy is healthful, convenient food that you can cook from scratch. They just measure and prep all the ingredients for you, so you can pop everything on the stove when you walk in the door and without worrying that you’re missing a critical ingredient.

All the meals sound delicious and have a good nutritional balance of protein, whole grains and fresh produce. Meez Meals tries to source from local businesses, like Testa Produce and Greco & Sons for produce, Phoenix Bean Products for tofu and Bennison’s Bakery for bread. Every meal is vegetarian, although some meat suggestions for omnivores are included. I’ve been stalking the menu for several weeks (there are five meals to choose from each week) and I haven’t seen one that I wasn’t interested in trying. Nor have I seen any repeats.

Last week, I prepared and devoured two Meez Meals – rotini with caramelized fall vegetables and Mediterranean mushroom tacos – with my roommates.

Ingredients, all labeled and bagged

Lentils took about a half hour to cook, but even in a dazed stupor and trying to do a couple hundred pages of Impressionism reading while cooking, I couldn’t mess up. The directions are easy to follow and there is even a hotline you can call each evening from 5-8 pm if you really get stuck. The only minor imperfection with the meal is that many of the kale leaves were yellowed or black, but there were plenty of vibrant green leaves, so I really couldn’t complain. Portions were huge – what was described as portions for two ended up easily feeding three with plenty to spare.

My first bowl of rotini and lentils. Yes, I went back for seconds.

See? Portions really are huge!

Mediterranean mushroom tacos were perhaps even more delicious, and even quicker to make. It took us less than 15 minutes from when we entered the kitchen to when we were sitting at the table eating our meal. The mushrooms came in a bag with onions and seasoned with rosemary. All we had to do was cook them in a skillet for seven minutes before adding the cannellini beans. Then we quickly toasted our corn tortillas (yay for corn and not flour!) and we were ready to eat another hearty vegetarian meal. The lemon crema made with kalamata olives was divine, and such a pretty lavender color. Sliced almonds were the perfect crunchy final touch.

Mediterranean mushroom taco ingredients

Ordering two meals a week with two servings a meal costs $55. When you consider how convenient the service is, along with the generous portion sizes and how fun it can be to cook with your family, friends or significant other, it seems like a great option for anyone who loves cooking but might not be the most creative or doesn’t always have time to shop for groceries. You are technically cooking from scratch, but with all the prep work done.

Mediterranean mushroom tacos

Ready for your close up?

Meals are delivered each Monday in reusable cooler boxes, and you can order each week, so there is no long-term commitment. So far, Meez Meals has delivered to more than a thousand households in the past two years. If you want to give them a try, mention “Chicago Bites” in the notes when you place your first order for $15 off.

I was invited to try Meez Meals as a member of the media.

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