Have you ever wondered about those new meal-delivery services that have been cropping up lately?
I’ve been intrigued – they fill an interesting gap between cooking from scratch and succumbing to take-out. But as a serious home cook – who’s been preparing meals for my family for over 25 years – I honestly didn’t think that a service like this was for me.
But I was still curious.
So when the folks at Marley Spoon asked me if I’d be interested in doing a review, I jumped at the chance!
(image courtesy of Marley Spoon)
The timing was particularly good as we had just embarked on a gluten-free trial with Noah. It was not for any medical reasons, and so we didn’t have a hardcore plan in place – just that we wanted to eliminate white flour, and look for alternatives in the foods we served him.
We had been in it for a few weeks when I got the opportunity to check out Marley Spoon’s meal options – I had been looking for some inspiration and trying to come up with some new meal ideas that could work for the whole family, while being easily adapted to Noah’s new diet.
Ordering was easy-peasy – I selected my delivery dates and ordered our meals. When the first arrived I have to admit I was pretty excited to open the box. Inside was an insulated bag filled with literally every ingredient needed to make the meal (except for ultra basics like salt, pepper and olive oil). The meats and cheeses were further chilled between two ice packs.
Also included were large recipe cards that gave clear, visual step-by-step instructions. I especially liked this as I still struggle with the timing of multiple components of the meal, and ensuring that everything is ready to serve at the same time.
The recipe cards took the guesswork out of this, telling me – in order – when to prep and cook each ingredient.
I also loved that literally everything was pre-measured. I appreciated this on 2 counts: one, there was zero waste. No buying a whole bottle of a rarely or little used spice or condiment for a one-off use. And two, there was so much less mess (and fewer dirty utensils), and the process just seemed to zip right along. This was a pleasure on a busy weeknight.
And as for those ingredients? They were of exceptional quality. All of the meats were Pat LaFrieda, and the boxed and canned ingredients were all brands that I love and use myself. The produce was super-fresh, organic and portioned to eliminate any waste.
Best of all? New ideas! Each recipe (I tried three, all of which you see here) offered at least one fresh tip for this jaded cook, that I will definitely use again going forward.
The meatball dinner – I never made meatballs from sausage. Brilliant. The sausage is already flavored and seasoned, so all I had to do was portion and shape into little balls and roll in the panko. They were delicious. And though I’ve made roasted broccoli before, tossing the florets with grated parm was so yummy.
The pork tenderloin dinner – ever a fan of the sheet pan dinner, this one was a keeper for sure. The sweet-savory glaze complemented the mild flavor of the pork and parsnips, and the simple radicchio salad was a nice change from same-old greens.
The pasta taco bake – in a word, yes. Cheesy, saucy, and so comforting. Loved the cool crispy lettuce and onion topping, and we all had seconds.
To be clear, I did adapt the recipes slightly to accommodate Noah’s diet. I used my own GF panko on the meatballs and made a small portion of GF pasta for him. And I used GF pasta for the taco bake too. But all three of these meals were declared winners, and I will be making them again going forward.
So who is Marley Spoon best for?
A new cook who wants to be “hands-on”, but is a little insecure about how to start. This would allow one to focus on simple prep and cooking skills, without worrying about meal planning, or how to coordinate timing.
A gift! I would send this as a gift to a family with a new baby, or one that has just moved to a new home and is not completely unpacked.
A busy family (a.k.a., every family I know). I can see this being a great 2 – 3 night per week “reprieve” for a family that gets home late several nights and wants to have a home cooked meal, but doesn’t have hours to shop/prep/cook. Marley Spoon has a great blog, and I especially loved this post on cooking with kids.
If you’ve been curious too – and want to give Marley Spoon a try – I’ve got a great offer for you. You can enjoy $30 off your first Marley Spoon order by simply entering the code MSPOONDINNER16 when checking out.
Till recently limited primarily to the Northeast, Marley Spoon will be expanding delivery options beginning this week to Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
So what do you think? Is this something you might like to try? Let me know if you do!
Note: I was not compensated for this post. Marley Spoon kindly sent me three meals of my choosing in exchange for this review. All comments and opinions are – as always – completely my own.