Meal prep kitchens in Baltimore - experiences?
I enjoy cooking myself a lot but with my very busy schedule, as a shortcut I was considering trying out one of the meal assembly kitchens in Baltimore -- Supper Thyme USA or Let's Dish, both in Timonium, or My Girlfriend's Kitchen off Falls Road in Mt Washington.
I have a tendency to think the food may not necessarily be 100% chow-worthy (given the nature of reheating frozen food), but has anyone had any experience with any of these? Worth the experience? Worth the roughly $3-4 per serving for the convenience? Are any of them just downright bad?
I've been to Let'sDish a few times. The food is good...sure beats all the chemicals in your typical frozen meals. They have a chicken with peanut sauce that is yummy! True, it is not gourmet, but I think it is worth the price for the convenience and variety. Check online for coupons.
I have had experience with both-food is "okay" but for the price I would just stick with fresh easy meals for a hectic day.
The convenience factor is somewhat of a misnomer since you have to remember to thaw it something I just couldn't get the hang of (most recipes take up to an hour OR MORE to cook when they are completely frozen).
I also didn't like the idea of taking multiple dishes out of my freezer and leaving them sit in the refrigerator for a week at a time. There were several times that even my best laid plans got in the way and I ended up throwing a whole entree out.
There is also generally at-home prep that needs to take place.
I know Supper Thyme has grab & go's but again, who has time to stop and see what they have, only to find I have to settle for something or walk away emtpy handed and have to go to the grocery store anyway?
I vote that if you want pre-made meals try Whole Foods, Trader Joes or your local market...at least you know you're saving time and a gas, otherwaise it just could be a wasted trip and frustrating.
I have also heard as well that some meal assembly stores are not doing too well, so you're not sure if you have a problem there is someone who can make it right.
Nicoleanne- I must disagree with you. Many recipes take less than 30 mins to cook and some go straight from frozen to cooked. It's a matter of being organized and planning.
That said, not all dishes are great- IMO some are fantastic given the circumstance of preparation. I have used Let's Dish for 2+ years now and have had few disappointments. "Chow" worthiness is relative- when you prepare the dishes yourself, you can add ingredients you like or leave out those you don't.
Regarding my Let's Dish experiences:
Shrimp over linguine was excellent (actually most of their shrimp dishes are great!)
Chicken w/ lime flavor was yucky- the crusted chicken dish was good
Salmon cuts in the Timonium location are extraordinary. I highly recommend
steer clear of the small cubed frozen chicken dishes- this chicken is not good quality and usually ruins the food it's paired with
One thing I've not been able to understand about this meal prep concept- so many people tell me that they think it's expensive. I don't get that- when was the last time you prepared a meal at home with all those ingredients and seasonings without any thrown-away leftovers for less than $4 a plate? Frankly, I think it's a bargain.
"It is simply a matter of being organized and planning"-
Yes it is a matter of being organized, but it's also a matter of my life getting in the way of the best laid plans!
I actually can cook healthy meals for less than that amount per person and do so on a regular basis in 15 minutes or less fro start to finish and I control what goes into my dishes not someone else, whom I don't know.
There are also plenty of great organic frozen dinners that can go from freezer to oven and cook in less than 30 minutes...