By Lani Gering
Dining In With Terra’s Kitchen!
This month we decided to see what the big deal is with having your meals sent in a “kit” with everything all set for you to just open the containers and start cooking. The likes of Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have been around for some time and I have had friends try them both with mixed emotions. Terra’s Kitchen is the new kid on the block. They are located in Baltimore and launched their first deliveries on March 1st. We were contacted by Terra’s Kitchen public relations people right before they started and were offered the opportunity to try them out. We took a little different approach than just fixing one of the entrees at a time. We invited our friends Dan and Kathleen to join us as we prepared three meals at one time. The portions are for two people so this worked like a champ and was plenty of food for the four of us.
According to the press information, “Terra’s Kitchen promises farm-to-front door delivery of fresh, seasonal ingredients that are pre-portioned and prepped for skillet-ready, chef-designed recipes. Each meal can be made in 30 minutes or less, giving families more time for the things that matter”. Also according to said release, the following three items set Terra’s apart from the rest:
Eco-Friendly Delivery Vessel: The unique vessel features proprietary, climate-controlling technology to keep high-quality ingredients cool and fresh for delivery. The eco-friendly Vessel is reusable and creates 0% waste, as Terra’s Kitchen will schedule a pickup date and time with its customers to retrieve it and reuse.
Clean & Chef-Designed Recipes: Libbie Summers, Head of Culinary Direction at Terra’s Kitchen and esteemed cookbook author, expertly combines high-quality ingredients for healthy meals, with options for omnivore, gluten-free, paleo and vegetarian preferences. With a rotating seasonal menu, each meal comes with a step-by-step recipe card to ensure that dinner is easy-to-make (think Southwestern Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl, Honey Mango Glazed Salmon and Blueberry Citrus Rice, Grilled Chicken Tacos with Avocado Goat Cheese Sauce or Creamy Squash Nests with Blistered Tomato “eggs” in under 30 minutes!).
Recreating The Family Dinner Experience: In an era where busy American families struggle to find the time for quality meals at-home, Terra’s Kitchen’s offers consumers an easy tool for quick meals, that don’t sacrifice nutrition or taste, and can go from the skillet to the table in under 30 minutes. All ingredients come pre-portioned and prepped – all you do is cook!”
Okay, to be perfectly honest since this was our first rodeo with the meal kit, we can’t comment on how it compares to the competition but we can tell you how it measured up to the hype. Here are a few Pros and Cons:
Pros: The “vessel” that the goods are delivered in definitely kept everything fresh (we didn’t actually get it open as soon as it arrived and everything was just fine 24 hours later) and is eco-friendly and can be used over and over again.
Cons: It is quite heavy and I’m fairly strong but it was a struggle getting it up the stairs to the office. And the many, many, many plastic containers that hold the ingredients aren’t so good for Mother Earth. See photo. Even the lemons and limes were in individual plastic containers.
Pros: You don’t have to go to the store! Someone has already picked over the produce and made the right selections, bagged it and shipped it fresh right to your door.
The menu items that they sent included a vegetarian, a chicken, a beef and a fish entrée. They are listed above. We prepared the squash nests, chicken tacos and skirt steak. The ingredients were fresh and it was nice to have the portions all squared away. The food was very good and it certainly was a treat to try something new. Goat cheese and avocado cream with fresh lime and jalapeno and blistered tomatoes for instance. The recipes are easy to follow and include tips for preparation. I will definitely prepare a couple of the items again.
The portions were fine for us and you definitely won’t end up with left overs. This would be important to someone who is watching their waistline and good for those of us who don’t like to waste food. We were very happy with everything.
Cons: There was more preparation than we thought there would be. Lots of grating, zesting, food processing and chopping/mincing. Keep in mind we did prepare three entrees in tandem so that added to the prep time. I’m glad that I had my mini-osterizer, a really nice grater and my Pampered Chef chopper!
The Dinner Experience:
There really aren’t any “cons” in this area. Since we turned our experience into a dinner party of sorts, it did take quite a bit longer than 30 minutes to pull it all together. I prepared the salmon entrée by itself, however, and I did get it pulled together in about a half hour. It didn’t require the grating and chopping that the other entrees did so that made a bit of a difference. We had a great time and a great meal.
The cost of the four entrees came to a little under $60.00 and it appears that they have included the cost of shipping in the price since the website touts “Shipping is Always Free!” While I know my dollar would have gone farther at the store had I shopped myself, you have to decide how much your time is worth and there isn’t any angst about deciding what to cook when Terra has done all that for you!
I recommend that you try it for yourself. Please visit their website for all of the details. Terraskitchen.com.