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.