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3 Things to Eat This Week: Home Cooking Edition

Food critic Joy Summers recommends three nutritious meal kits—because eating well can be hard around the hectic holidays


Photo by Stephanie A. Meyer

The Hallmark movies are inescapable, the festive Muzak assault in the aisles has begun, and my calendar is booked from here until next year: The holiday season has arrived. Between the gluttony and cookie tins, I’ve decided to give my little family the early gift of a fridge stocked with easy weeknight meals to balance the onslaught of goodies.

There are a million-and-eleventy meal kit services these days, but of those I’ve tried, these are my absolute favorites (for varying degrees of cooking skills/desires) that, most importantly, are things that kids will eat. I’ve got a toddler and a third grader whom I would like to place at least in the vicinity of eating the occasional vegetable. Having something stashed in the fridge is a lifesaver during this time of year, when we’re constantly scrambling and seldom eating the nutritious stuff.

For the Nearly Non-Cook: Let’s Dish

These might be the most picky-eater friendly meals. Let’s Dish is a local company that was ahead of the meal-planning curve. You can go into their several locations or order kits delivered to your door. They sent me a couple of easy-to-pull-together meals that are basically assemble-and-eat combinations and very kid-friendly—such as pasta, pot pies, or burrito bowls. Their Holiday Helper kits range in price from $55 to $145.

For the Occasional Cook: Local Crate

Have you seen these boxes popping up at local Targets? Local Crate is a Minneapolis-based company that has partnered with area chefs to create meal kits delivered to your doorstep. Past chefs have included James Beard–nominated chef Jorge Guzman and Food & Wine’s "Best New Chef" Jamie Malone. You know: fancy-pants food makers. But the recipes are totally and completely achievable. All come together quickly and easily enough that I just turn on a little of my favorite kitchen dance mix (Motown music) and, in between having sunshine on a cloudy day and the tears of a clown, I’ve got dinner and have rocked out all the day’s stress.

For Those Who Love to Cook: Project Vibrancy Meals

This one is my ultimate love—but it takes a little doing. I love food and the process of cooking for my family, but I get stymied in planning and shopping and stocking and accommodating everyone’s needs—ugh! It’s just so much. Stephanie A. Meyer is a cookbook author, blogger, teacher, and one of my favorite humans in general. She’s devised a brilliant meal plan that takes all the guesswork and worry out of cooking. Dishes are beautiful, nutritious, and utterly delicious. Every week, a detailed shopping list, plan, and recipes are emailed to you. You do the shopping (or use your Instacart app) and get cooking. One day is batch-cooking to prep, and for the rest of the week the fridge is like a tasty slot machine that just keeps paying out. One meal after another takes almost no time, and they’re easily adapted to dairy-free, gluten-free, Whole 30, AIP—whatever your needs. It says the meal plans feed two adults, but we use them to feed our family of four. A handy holiday survival plan is discounted for $69. 

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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