Trying The New Cooking Sites

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I love to cook and be in my kitchen, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does.  Granted, I went to cooking school and grew up with some very influential home chefs. I also have a crew at home – three hungry teenagers and a husband – so cooking for the five of us makes a lot of economical sense and a lot of sense for our health.

I am a big believer in learning how to cook and preparing most of your food in your own kitchen – for the sake of your health and wellbeing. But what if you really never learned to cook, or it’s just you and your husband at home now?  It doesn’t always motivate you to whip up super healthy gourmet meals if cooking just isn’t in your DNA. The Chinese restaurant menu is oh so close at hand.

Enter cooking delivery sites.  I just made up that name. I’m not sure if they are actually called “cooking delivery sites” and if someone knows another name for them, please let me know.

I’m intrigued by the concept of these companies for a few reasons. One, they take the guesswork out of what you are having for dinner that night.  Each week, you order your meals and then receive a box full of pre-measured ingredients, with most assuming you have basics like salt and olive oil.  A clear, easy to read recipe comes along and all you have to do is simply chop a few vegetables and the meats (or other ingredients if it is vegan), follow the recipe and you have dinner.  Good feelings follow.  While you didn’t plan or shop, you are in control of most of the cooking.

Full disclosure, I have not personally tried any of these sites. But I have recommended them to clients, with good results.  And as time goes on, these sites are getting more specific to what people want to cook. Here’s a couple to look into:

Green Chef. Green Chef’s claim to fame is that all their ingredients are USDA certified organic (the gold standard for organics). 3 meals delivered to your home each week insures your pesticide load is at a minimum.  You can choose from vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, omnivore or carnivore options. Their prices and calorie breakdowns seem to be less than the competitors and they give full detail of their suppliers.

Purple Carrot. This site is a little more near and dear to my heart because I really respect the owner, Mark Bittman, NY Times food writer and creator of the cookbook series, How To Cook Everything (if you don’t know him, check him out here). The emphasis of this site is on 100% vegan dinners that are healthy and easy to make. If you are not that familiar with vegan cooking, this site gives you a great way to experiment.

Blue Apron. Blue Apron’s goal is for you to get more creative in the kitchen and use off beat ingredients (ever heard of Yuzu juice?) that you might not experiment with on your own. Great idea if you are looking to up your game in the kitchen.  They give calorie breakdowns and recommend wine pairings with each meal.

Plated. While Blue Apron is nudging you out of your comfort zone of ingredients, Plated seems to keep you on the straight and narrow.  Simple ingredients translate into creative dishes.  While there are no wine pairings or nutrition breakdowns (thought they do mention a general calorie breakdown for most meals), they do mention local sources for their ingredients, such as the farms where the vegetables came from.

Now, I want to hear from you. Have you tried any of these “cooking delivery sites”? What do you think about having dinner delivered to your door?  Let me know in the comments below.

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