Meal Prepping for Dinner? Cutting Through The Options

Meal prepping for dinner - CookinGenie

21 Apr 2021

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Meal Prepping for Dinner? Cutting Through The Options

Today, the age-old question of how to meal prep for dinner is more complicated than ever. With a range of different meal delivery services, prepared and frozen foods delivered to your doorand a wide market for takeout, the choices are seemingly endless. Now, entering the fray is a new service, CookinGenie, which rethinks the idea of dining at home by bringing a culinary expert into your home to prepare a delicious, home-cooked meal in your very own kitchen. So, with all these choices available, let’s look at the process, price, positivesand negatives of each to find out the option that might work best for you 

 

Meal Delivery Kits for Meal Prepping 

Meal Delivery Kits

Price: 

$-$$ With so many different meal delivery kits available, the prices can run anywhere from $5/meal to $18/meal. But for most mainstream services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, $10-12 per meal is standard.  

Process: 

Visit the website of one of the many meal delivery services, create a profileand begin choosing your dishesWith a few clicks, you can have boxes of fresh ingredients and recipes arriving as soon as the next day. Then, unpack the box, follow the recipe, and cook yourself a meal 

Pros:

  • The recipes are quick and easy to make.  
  • Feeling of accomplishment from cooking your own food 
  • You can customize the number of meals you want. 
  • Kits are accommodating to dietary restrictions and allergies.  
  • Precise portioning cuts down on food waste. 
  • The platform is easy to use, offers plenty of fresh, healthy choices. 

Cons: 

  • Kits come with excess packaging to get rid of.  
  • Subscription required. 
  • For hungrier eaters, portion sizes may leave a little bit to be desired.  
  • On occasion, ingredients may arrive spoiled.  
  • Dishes are not quite chef or restaurant quality.  
  • You still need to put the time and effort into cooking and cleaning up afterward.  
  • Usually supporting a large, multinational corporation.  
The bottom line:

Easier than shopping and cooking for yourself and cheaper than eating out, meal prepping kits are a good mix of affordability and convenience. But if you’re looking for a more memorable experience that you don’t have to cook yourself, there are better options out there. 

 

Ready to Eat/Frozen Meal Delivery Service 

Frozen Meal Delivery Service

Price:

$$ There are many different services that ship frozen meals to your door, and they can all fluctuate on price, with some high-end options out there. However, you can normally expect to pay about $11-15 per meal, plus shipping fees 

Process: 

Create a profile on a frozen meal delivery site such as Home Bistro, choose your meal(s) or meal plan(s)wait for delivery, and pop the box in the microwave to heat up. 

Pros:

  • Good variety of chef-inspired meals that come with protein, starch, vegetable, and sauce.
  • Many of the meals are highly tailored to specific diets such as weight loss, keto, and paleo. 
  • Most of the meals are ready to eat after just a few minutes in the microwave or oven 
  • Frozen meals can keep in the freezer indefinitely.  
  • No cleanup required.  

Cons:    

  • Many services don’t begin to offer free shipping unless you order a certain amount.  
  • Reheating frozen food can feel boring and impersonal; food may be bland 
  • Boxes may take a while to arrive. 
  • Sometimes food may come partially defrosted or not reheat evenly.  
The bottom line:

There’s no denying the convenience of being able to pop something in the microwave and have a hot meal in a few minutes. But while frozen meals have certainly improved from the days of supermarket TV dinnersthey’re more of an occasional fare than something you’d want to eat regularly.  

 

Takeout/Delivery

Takeout

Price:

$-$$ Depending on where you’re getting takeout from, the price can fluctuate greatly. 

The Process:

Call up a restaurant, go online to order, or use one of the many apps like DoorDash or Uber Eats to set up a pickup or delivery.  

Pros:

  • During the pandemic, it’s easier than ever to get takeout 
  • There’s a great variety of places to get fresh, healthy, delicious takeout from. 
  • Usually only takes about 30 minutes to get food.  
  • Supporting local businesses.  

Cons 

  • You have to drive to the restaurant or pay extra delivery fees. 
  • Generally, one can only get one type of cuisine at once and may not have leftovers to enjoy all week.   
  • If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, it could be tricky to ensure the meal fits your needs. 
  • Food apps layer on their service charges and those can add up. 
The bottom line:

Generally speaking, takeout is a relatively affordable, convenient way to have dinner once or twice a week.  

 

CookinGenie for Meal Prepping

CookinGenie for Meal Prepping

Price:

$$ Prices will differ by Genie and by dish, but most are between $10-$15 per portion. 

The Process:

Visit CookinGenie.com, type in your location, and you can browse through our many talented genies. You can look through each genie’s menu and profile individually, or search by dish or type of cuisine. Then, select the dishes you want to order and pick a time and date for a genie to come to your home and cook for you. They will arrive with everything they need, cook you a delicious meal, and restore your kitchen to the state they found it in.  

Pros: 

  • CookinGenie food is fresh, wholesomeand delicious.  
  • A skilled cook preparing restaurant-quality food for you adds a unique personal touch 
  • A wide variety of different cuisines and dishes are available at once. 
  • Service is accommodating to dietary restrictions and allergies.  
  • Generous, family-friendly sizes of 4 or 8 portions.  
  • Flexibility; date night, dinner parties, special occasionsweeknight family meals, and meal prepping can all be taken care of by CookinGenie
  • You don’t have to leave home, cook, or clean. 
  • Supporting a local business and local chefs.  

Cons: 

  • CookinGenie does require some planning ahead.  
  • May take a couple of hours after the Genie arrives for food to be ready.  
The bottom line:

In terms of affordability, CookinGenie is on par with takeout, cheaper than frozen meal delivery, and just a hair more than most meal kits. But that small difference is well worth it when you consider the superior food and convenience of not having to cook yourself. With so many options out there, it can be hard to decide what the dinner plan should be. But all things considered, in terms of taste and overall value for your hard-earned dollars, CookinGenie stands head and shoulders above the rest.


Related Post

30 Oct 2019

Gig economy is changing the worker employee relationship. By allowing people to specialize in a specific area of their expertise, it allows many workers to do the thing they are best at. Which can drive prices down and provide an excellent income for many professionals.

But how does the Gig Economy work for an experienced cook? In the traditional path you would be trained in a culinary school. Then you would begin working your way up the ranks in a local restaurant, taking on more and more responsibility as your skill set improves. From there you would work your way up the culinary ladder by then working at larger more prestigious restaurants. Once they’ve built a skill set and a name for themselves some cooks choose to strike out on their own. From this point they can either move into event cooking, and catering or they can move toward opening their own restaurant. Both of which require the use of a commercial kitchen, and a staff. This is not a small investment and not easy to get off the ground even if you are talented in the kitchen.

Some Cooks are exploring the gig community as a way to step out of the hustle and bustle and pressure of working in a restaurant. They work gigs such as event cooking, weddings, corporate gigs, even food trucks are an extension of the gig economy. Of course, in this line of work it’s a tough survival, the competition is steep and it’s hard to accomplish a steady income.

There are more opportunities than ever for cooks who are wanting to expand their audience and built their reputation. There are apps that have been developed like DishDivvy and Appetivo. Which allow cooks to prepare meals for their own kitchen for pickups. The downside is a lack of reliable income, never knowing how many orders will or won’t come in, and working on a schedule set by customers. All of this can make it hard to make plans.

Then there are new experience-based opportunities like Feastly. That offers services like pop ups, cooking classes and dinner parties hosted by expert cooks. This would be a fun way to expand your clientele and network with other cooks, but the events are only available in a handful of cities and the competition is fierce. Again, this isn’t steady work so even if you make your way into this elite group you can’t count on it for a reliable wage.

This is where becoming a home cook really begins to shine as a perfect option. You collect a handful of clients who you get to know. You prepare the food you love to cook. You set your hours and your availability. You can enjoy the security of a regular wage without the pressure and non-stop grind of restaurant or catering life. If you’re a cook looking for a better path and searching the gig economy. Maybe it’s time to consider being a home cook yourself, you might just be pleasantly surprised at what you find. To learn more about this please go to  www.cookingenie.com

References:

https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2018/home-cooks-gig-economy-food-app-dishdivvy/

https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/02/gig-websites.html

https://experiences.cooksfeed.com/browse/?market=all-cities

 

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Meal Kits vs. Personal Chef – Which is right for you-CookinGenie

12 Aug 2021

In this day and age, there are seemingly endless options to feed ourselves. One popular method is the do-it-yourself meal kits. There are hundreds of companies offering this service; therefore, a variety of options.

Another option, personal chef services, are gaining traction and becoming a trend for their unique and incredible dining experiences.

Today we compare and contrast the two most amazing services here.

Meal Kits:

 We talked to one of our friends about her experience with certain popular meal delivery services.

We asked her if the experience of using a meal kit was easier, tastier, healthier, and cheaper than the companies advertise?

Overall, she said she had a positive experience with the service. There’s a great collection of healthy, fresh dishes. The boxes came with conveniently sized, pre-portioned ingredients and straightforward, easy-to-follow recipes that came together in 45 minutes or less. It was much quicker and easier than meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for yourself.

She could customize her orders to have more or fewer meals per box. As soon as the next day, the boxed food would arrive at her door. The service accommodates those with allergies and dietary restrictions, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, keto, gluten-free, and paleo options.

When the boxes arrive, the ingredients are of good quality and taste, but it depends on the expertise of the person cooking. She spends about sixty dollars a week to get six meals. Some premium items cost a little more, but generally, you can expect to pay about 10 dollars per meal. It is a bit more cost-effective than eating out.

She also mentioned that the ingredients come with excess packaging, leaving boxes, plastic sleeves, and disposable containers. Occasionally boxes come with missing ingredients or items that are wilted, moldy, or otherwise spoiled.

For her and her family, the portion sizes are mostly sufficient. There are no leftovers.

Finally, while the dishes are simple and easy to make, she has to cook herself. She spends about 45 minutes cooking a typical dish from the box and about another half hour or so cleaning up afterward.

Personal Chef Service:

Personal chefs have been around for a long time. Traditionally used by the rich and famous, now there are more options for affordable personal chef services. Personal chefs provide many helpful services. Some chefs specialize in meal prep for busy families, while some create special occasion multi-course meals for an in-home dining experience for you and your guests. The costs vary depending on the special occasion and the amount of food needed. Meal prepping is comparable to Meal kits, whereas the multi-course meals will depend on the number of guests and the number of courses on the menu.

Personal chefs shop groceries for you, come to your house, and cook for you right in your kitchen. After cooking, they clean up after themselves. With a personal chef, you can customize your meals based on your dietary needs. They can take care of meal prep for the family and create a custom menu for your dinner party as well. They hand-select the ingredients and cook them in front of you. Quality and fresh food are always a priority. With a personal chef, you don’t spend time cooking or cleaning up. Time-saving is a huge bonus.

Personal chefs are gaining traction as more and more people are working longer hours and have demanding lives. People are focused on health and also looking for enriching experiences. The focus is not only fresh, wholesome food, but a personal chef strives to provide a unique dining experience for you, your family, and your friends.

Conclusion:

In the above, we discussed both meal kit service and personal chef service. Let us know in the comment section, which services are your favorite and why.

If you are​ planning to host a dinner party or looking for an unique dining experience with a personal chef, please​ try CookinGenie.

Personal chef service by CookinGenie:

CookinGenie offers a wide variety of delicious foods from different cuisines, in family-friendly sizes. Like these services, they are very accommodating of allergies and dietary restrictions. They tailor a meal to fit your exact needs. You can use the website to book a chef, pick out the menu, schedule a time, and pay in just a few clicks. The chefs (‘genies’) are friendly, professional, and lend a personal touch to your dining experience. With a varied lineup of talented home cooks and trained professional chefs on the platform, CookinGenie strives to provide a delicious wow factor. When you order from CookinGenie, you are supporting a local family-run business and local chefs. If you’re looking for an easy, affordable way to have fresh, healthy meals while saving time, personal chefs provided by CookinGenie are worth a try! Book your chef here.

 

Written by:  Jared Kent

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Who decides what we eat - CookinGenie

04 Nov 2020

A few years ago, an infographic went viral that showed how most of the world’s food brands are owned by just a handful of corporations. 

Image Source: visualcapitalist

Around the same time that this infographic started circulating, a study found that nearly 60% of the calories in the modern American diet come from processed foods.  

 How did we get here with our food 

 In the early years of our countryhome cooked meals & fresh cooked meals were the ways to eatWe plucked our own chickens, grew our own vegetables, made our own bread. We ate whole foods made from scratch. There were innovations—a company called Van Camp sold canned beans to the Union Army during the Civil War, Clarence Birdseye introduced frozen foods in the 1920s—but for the most part, we knew where your food came from or at least knew the local farmer or butcher who provided our ingredients. 

 It was post World War II that our food supply really started to change. Food manufacturers who had secured government contracts during the war saw their profits plummet. To make up for lost wartime revenue, they started introducing new food innovations designed to appeal to housewives’ demand for convenience, like Minute Maid concentrated orange juice, Duncan Hines cake mixes, and Minute Rice.1 

(Also ReadMade to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis)

The way Americans shopped for food was changing, tooTurn-of-the-century housewives bought their food from the freestanding grocer, butcher, and dry goods stores. They’d hand their shopping list to the store clerk, and the clerk would pick all the items for them. The first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, opened in Memphis in 1916, and this new store model—where consumers roamed through the store picking out their own items from the shelf—quickly caught on. According to the National Women’s History Museumbetween 1948 and 1958, the number of supermarkets in the United States doubled to over 2,500 and for the first time, it was cheaper to buy processed food than fresh.   

 Suddenly there were lots of money to be made in packaged convenience foods and the mergers and acquisitions began. Large companies started gobbling up smaller brands, and the steady consolidation of the industry continues to grow. In the last 20 years, there have been 9,007 mergers and acquisitions in the food, beverage, and grocery space, according to The Food Institute.  

 Industry watchdog Food & Water Watch says that all this consolidation means that these companies have an outsized influence on the food choices, diets, and working conditions of people around the world — not to mention the impact they have on the environment. Reduced competition gives these corporations control of the market price that farmers get for their crops and livestock. It’s led to the decrease of family farms and the growth of factory farms, ecologically damaging farming practices, and more and more unhealthy processed foods on grocery store shelves.  

(Also ReadAvoid wasting food: save $1600 per year)

Amidst all this, what can we do to eat healthy? We love eating out and that will always remain an enjoyable experience. But the sure shot way to eat healthily is to have more home cooked meals. Meal prepping can also be an effective strategy. But if modern life gets in the way of fresh cooked meals or meal prepping, consider businesses like CookinGenie. CookinGenie can send a Genie (culinary experts ranging from classically trained chefs to specialized home cooks) to your house to make home-cooked meals for you and your family. Click here to view our menus and book your Genie today & enjoy fresh cooking from wholesome ingredients.  

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