As I mentioned in passing in a previous post, I’m trying out Terra’s Kitchen meal delivery service to see if it helps us eat healthier more regularly. I do great at meal planning and grocery shopping. Where I have difficulty is getting things prepped in advance as my weekend runs away from me, which means I often end up not being able to make the meals I planned as the week starts rolling. Which then, in turn, means I can end up tossing a lot of food that’s gone bad before I can get to it. When I started doing some research and some math (comparing the cost of TK versus what I spend on groceries), I decided it would be worth a try.
Terra’s Kitchen seemed the best option of all the options out there to get healthy meal options that my husband (a relatively picky eater) would still enjoy. I chose to have my box delivered on Fridays because I do my grocery shopping on Saturday—that way I could do my meal-planning around my TK delivery and get groceries for whatever was missing.
I got my first delivery yesterday, and was really impressed right off the bat that FedEx got through despite the weather! The box got to my house around 10a, so I was able to try it out immediately for lunch (stay tuned).
One of the differences between TK and other meal subscription services is the box. Most come in regular boxes with chemical ice packs inside that you have to then recycle, in addition to all the boxes and bags and such that the meal parts come in.
TK, instead, uses a little mini-refrigerator case. Although the meal components still come in plastic containers, those are recyclable. The ce packs in TK get sent back with the refrigerator case—the case and packs all get reused as much as possible.
The box is an impressive feat of design! These are latches on the front. You break the white wrap-around tabs and then pull up the latch to open the box top.
Here’s the refrigerator box inside. The box flaps fold back and attach to a little magnet on the sides of the box so they stay out of your way while you’re unloading the case. Genius!
The top of the refrigerator box lifts off to reveal the drawers with the food inside. Everything is pre-sorted and, in many cases, pre-chopped. When it comes time to make dinner, it’s mostly a matter of opening a container and adding it into the pot or pan.
Don’t get me wrong—I love cooking...when I have time to cook. But the idea of being able to have a home-cooked, hot dinner on a weeknight and only having to take about 15-20 minutes to get it ready? Golden.
The recipe cards are on a good card stock and three-hole punched so you can put them in a binder. That means the recipes are mine forever, even if I stop doing TK. The instructions (on the back of what’s shown here) are clear, the layout is great and easy to follow, and it includes a list of the other ingredients you’ll need in addition to what was sent. These other ingredients are pretty much limited to water, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The ingredient packages are all coded with numbers that let you know which recipe they’re for. his made it really easy to check to make sure I’d gotten all the ingredients, plus I stored them in my fridge and pantry grouped by recipe so it’s an easy grab when it comes time to make them.
The pre-minced garlic and ginger are handy ut a little smelly in my fridge.
It’s clear all their recipes are prepackaged at the warehouse as I had two recipes that had repeat ingredients but got two different packages, each with the same ingredient in the amount for that recipe. Again, that’s great for convenience when I go to make it, but I did wince at the extra plastic containers involved. The containers are all recyclable, so there is that.
This first time out, I got a discount on the box, so I decided to go ahead and add a couple of things. They have several other categories from which you can add on: lunches, desserts, snacks, beverages, and then extra proteins or sides. I went the lunch route, and bought soup (they come in sets of two bottles of one flavor), and a salad.
TK carries the Zupa Organic Superfood Soup, and I got the Carrot Coconut Lime. I also got the Apple Walnut Chicken Salad, and ate that for lunch today. In addition to the apples, walnuts, and chicken, the salad also had shredded carrots and blue cheese. The dressing was a light balsamic vinaigrette. It was quite tasty, and the serving size was perfect. I do salads with chicken breasts all the time but I tend to just dump the other stuff in without measuring—goat cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, whatever crunchy thing I put over the top. That can lead to trouble in WW Points World. This way, everything is pre-measured for me, leaving a lot less up to my whim at the moment. I probably won’t order the lunch stuff regularly because I can definitely do it more cheaply, but it’s nice knowing it’s there if I know I’m going to have a super-busy week. For any of you who routinely eat lunches out at work or whatever, though, I’d say TK’s prices would be quite comparable, and it’s a lot healthier.
And here's our first official Terra's Kitchen meal! I wanted to use the tilapia right away--I don't like having fish sitting in my fridge for too long. My plating leaves a little to be desired--no restaurant-worthy aestethics here, but it was tasty.
When I make this recipe again--and it was good enough that I will--I'll cut the salt back a little bit in the orzo. Other than that, I absolutely loved it. My husband really liked the fish but he's not a fan of pasta so the orzo didn't do much for him. He also doesn't like whole cooked tomatoes, but I love them. He ate some of the orzo and all the asparagus (the one part he did like of the side), and then I have to admit to finishing off his orzo and tomatoes. Yums. I had to tell him that I hadn't realized until I got the shipment that one of our other meals this week has a very similar orzo-tomato based side, so I'll probably be getting a little extra to eat that night too. I guess I was in an orzo mood the day I made my selections.
I had two quibbles with this first TK cooking experience. First, although they expect you to have olive oil in your pantry, they don't require you to have butter in your fridge. They sent me two little pats, each wrapped in a little foil package. I couldn't figure out any possible reason that they would have for not saying, "We expect you to own butter." Butter is probably more omnipresent than olive oil is, and it wasn't a special organic butter or anything. Odd. The second quibble was with the recipe itself: it tells you to cut the lemon in half and THEN zest and juice it. I didn't read ahead or I'd have zested it first, then cut it in half for the rest of the process. Not sure why they decided to do it that way because it's definitely not SOP. Other than those two little things, I can see why this would be a handy way to do things for very busy people or people just starting out. The portions of herbs and pice you needed are included, so no more buying a whole bottle of spices or a big bunch of herbs for the few sprinkles you use for that one particular recipe. (When it comes to summer, I have an herb garden, but I don't have a good window to move it inside during the rest of the year.)
I tried one of the Zupa soups for lunch to day. A big "nope" on that one. A bit too spicy and strangely sour. I won't bother with those again.
I'll post pics of my other two TK meals later this week on Instagram. So far, I like it, but my jury is still out on whether a meal subscription service is right for us.
(Later edit: I wrote most of this on Friday, which is why it's entitled Food Friday. I didn't get it finished until Saturday so now it's misnamed, but I'm not going to sweat that!)