In my last blog I wrote about and reviewed several meal kit services. These services deliver nationwide and give you meal options to choose from and then based on your choices ship all the ingredients you need right to your door.
If you are interested in going more local and are in the Tallahassee area and don't necessarily have an interest in signing up for a service there are several options right here in Tally that can take some of the work and prep out of getting wholesome, balanced meals on the table.
Fresh Market offers lots of great options for prepped items that can make the whole process of figuring out what to eat easier. One of my family's favorites is their Little Big Meal – all the fixings for a balanced meal for four (and often more) for $20. Even if there are just two in your household, you could get a few lunches out of it too. They offer something different each week, changing each week on Wednesdays. Right when you enter into the store they have all the items you need with instructions on how to put it all together. I like to add more of whatever the vegetable included with the meal is, both boosting the nutrition and extending it to provide one or two more servings.
One of our favorites is the Roasted Chicken Roll Ups with Vegetables, an all-in-one sheet pan dinner that is pretty much ready to pop in the oven and be ready to eat in about 30 minutes. Some other offerings are Chicken Parmesan – another one of our favorites, Shrimp Pho, and Crab Cake Sandwiches. If you want to know what is being offered for the week you can check their website at www.freshmarket.com/specials/little-big-meal.
There are a few other deals worth mentioning at Fresh Market. They offer $2.99/pound chicken and chuck every Tuesday. Their chicken breasts are hand-trimmed, all-natural, 99% fat free and come from chickens that are fed an antibiotic-free and 100% vegetarian diet and their chuck is ground fresh daily. The great thing is that it is packaged up and ready to grab in a cooler, so no waiting in line. Another option I take advantage of regularly is their $5 rotisserie chicken that they do every Thursday. These are just a couple of the weekly deals they offer that not only help with planning meals, but also help you save a few dollars.
Of course Publix has an abundance of choices and options to get dinner on the table, but with nearly 40,000 products it can be overwhelming and therefore easy to get in a bit of a rut.
A new find I just discovered is the Publix Aprons Meal Kits. Each kit is chef-inspired and is designed to be an option to prepare restaurant-style meals in your own kitchen. The meals are prepped and portioned in advance with all of the ingredients besides some basics like salt, pepper, or cooking oil, and are available in the Meat department at many of the Publix stores in town. They rotate their options periodically allowing for lots of variety. The servings vary from two to six and kits start at $12.99.
There are different options depending on the time you have to spend in the kitchen and how many people you are trying to feed. Their Simpler Prep Aprons Meal Kits, for example, are ready in six steps or less. Some of the options include Asiago Chicken Pasta – a creamy, tasty dish with mushrooms and spinach, Island Shrimp and Rice – a Caribbean style dish with mango and a mix of bell peppers, and Asian Turkey and Green Bean Sauté – an Asian inspired dish that is simple but full of flavor. Give one a try and see what you think.
Another great option is my friend Suzy's food truck, Rustic Eats. She does a pre-order menu that includes healthy soups, often vegan, lightened up casseroles with vegetarian options and side dish salads and protein salads (tuna, chicken, egg) etc. The items are available for pick up Wednesdays at Tallahassee Nurseries between 3:30 and 4:30.
Some of her recent pre-order offerings include Tomato and Goat Cheese Quiche, Shrimp & Grits Casserole, Lentil Vegetable Soup, Mexican Chicken Chowder, and one of my favorites of hers, the Curry Chicken Salad! She doesn't just do pre-order options though, she is also set up at Tallahassee Nurseries 2-3 days out of the week for lunch with a variety of yummy salads and sandwiches like the turkey, fig, and brie panini with spinach and arugula and a kale, pineapple, and quinoa salad with feta, cucumbers, black beans, and peppers.
Both her pre-order options and lunch options change weekly. You can sign up for her newsletter at www.arusticaffaircatering.com to get informed of each week's offerings and when she'll be set up for lunch at Tallahassee Nurseries. Just scroll to the bottom of the front page of her website to subscribe. She emails every Sunday with the week's menu and schedule.
Prep Pros is another local option, owned by a Florida State Alumni. With Prep Pros you choose a meal plan that best suits your preferences and dietary needs, choose how many meals you want to receive daily, anywhere from 2 to 5, and you get daily deliveries of fresh, not frozen, completely prepared for you, ready-to-eat meals delivered to your home or work (also available for pick-up).
They do lunch and dinner options as well as breakfast. Some of their offerings for breakfast include the Breakfast Pita Pocket – eggs cooked with spinach, peppers, onions, bacon, and cheese with a side of apples and peanut butter and the Tally Bowl – eggs, sweet potatoes, chicken sausage, diced tomatoes, and green onions. Their lunch/dinner options include items like Shrimp Tacos, Salmon with Brown Rice and Broccoli, Italian Balsamic Chicken.
They also have an a la carte option to order proteins, entrees, and sides to make your own meals, including flank steak, grilled shrimp, pulled pork, and salmon. Some of their side options are rice and beans, cilantro rice, plantains, garlic roasted Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
Pricing starts at $45 per week. This is a great option if you just simply don't have time to cook or just don't want to. Instead of running through the drive-thru you could have fresh, balanced meals delivered right to you. More info can be found at prepprostally.com or by calling (850) 888-3147.
So, there you go, lots of options to help you with the process of planning and preparing balanced meals to keep you nourished. With a little forethought and a little help, getting meals together and on the table can be stress-free and simple.