Thursday, September 29, 2016

Eating Freshly

I tend not to do reviews here - that's why I have a review blog. But in this case, I'm writing about nearly a full week of food that I received from a company called Freshly, so it I decided to post here. because it's food.

Freshly is yet another service that sends you meals. (and if you want to order, there's a discount offered at the very bottom of this post) The difference between Freshly and some (most?) of the others is that Freshly dinners are completely cooked. No chopping, slicing, or cooking needed. You just poke holes in the plastic film on top, pop it in the microwave for one or two minutes to heat it, and serve.

It's like ... um ... TV dinners? Except that this food is fresh rather than frozen.

I'll have to say that the food doesn't look all that fancy when you first open the package. This is the Chicken Rustica, before I cooked it. It was a chicken breast with sauce and a cauliflower mash.

It looks much prettier when it's plated.

For size, that's not a dinner plate. It's a chicken breast, not a turkey breast. I like eating off of small plates, so that's what I usually use for photos. While it's still not the most stunning plate of food I'd ever seen, the flavor was really good, and the chicken breast was really tender and not at all dry. If you wanted to make it more fancy, some parsley, chopped chives, or even a sprinkle of cheese would do a good job dressing it up.

My one quibble here is that my usual meals have a much larger portion of vegetables compared to the protein portion. On a normal day, I'd probably eat half of that chicken and three times as much vegetable. But that's just me.

This was actually one of my favorite meals of the bunch. I was impressed with the chicken, I liked the sauce, and I'll probably make cauliflower mash really soon. It was quite tasty.

Next came the garlic shrimp dinner. I always feel like if something's going to go bad, it's going to be the seafood. So I wanted to eat that quickly and leave the more robust foods for later.

This was good, but I had an urge to serve it with rice or noodles. Even zucchini noodles. For a meat-eater, I really really like my vegetables. With rice, I could have easily made this two full meals or more, but I ate it as-is for one meal. It had good flavor and plenty of shrimp. They weren't the super-giant shrimp, but they were a nice size.

I chose just one of the many breakfast options from Freshly. The green chili and sausage frittata was the only meal that actually looked good in its original packaging. It's warmed up here, but they only difference between heated and unheated was that the cheese was melted after it was heated.

But that didn't stop me from serving it on a plate. You totally don't need plates for these meals because the containers they come in are sturdy, but I prefer eating off of a plate.

This was a nice breakfast, but I'll be honest and say that I ate it for lunch. It made a really nice light lunch.

Next up was the grilled flatiron steak.

I loved the spinach. Yeah, here's me talking about vegetables again. The potato hash was good and had both sweet potatoes and white. I thought the steak was a bit overcooked, but it was still pretty tender. Still, I would have preferred it cooked a bit less. It reminded me more of pot roast than steak, but the flavor was good.

I loved that this came with a large portion of the spinach along with a petite portion of the potatoes. Yeah, I like my vegetables a lot. I'm going to keep saying that. Get used to it.

I didn't mention this before, but all of the packages for the different foods have a nutrition label along with a list of ingredients, so you know what you're getting.

The steak dinner was 510 calories, which seems pretty reasonable, considering you've got creamed spinach. With, you know, cream. Plus a hunk o' beef. I didn't check all the other dinners for their calorie counts, but this one seemed to be one of the heartiest.

Next up was the Chicken Livorno.

This was another one that I thought was a bit light on the vegetables. It had beans with some greens and tomatoes, but I would have loved some broccoli or green beans or something else that had more of a fresh, light flavor. But, that's just me. I'm sure some of you are shaking your heads and saying that you don't really want more vegetables than what you see on that plate.

I had this for lunch and didn't finish it. Actually, I ate about half of it. And then I had a brilliant idea. I cut the remaining chicken into small pieces, then cooked some noodles in a pot with some Better than Bouillon chicken flavored stock mix. I added the leftover chicken and beans and greens to the pot with the noodles just long enough to warm them. Yup, it was soup. And it was pretty good.

So, what does this tell us? You can adapt these meals if you don't want to eat them completely as-is. And you can stretch them, too, but adding more vegetables or a salad. Or, you know, a promise of dessert.

Last was the meatloaf. I was a little skeptical, because meatloaf can be pretty personal. Everyone loves their own meatloaf or their mom's meatloaf, and other meatloaves never measure up.

That said, this meatloaf dinner was my other favorite. The meatloaf was good, and it came with peas and potatoes, so it was a nice balance.

Overall, I liked what I ordered, and I'd be happy to eat any of them again. I think if I was eating these on a regular basis, and if I wasn't someone who liked to cook, I'd stock up on bagged salads and maybe some frozen vegetables. That way I could eat half of the protein with all the vegetables for one meal and then have the rest of the protein with my frozen vegetables on another day. And probably a salad on both days.

Yeah, I like my salads as much as I like my vegetables.

For people who don't like vegetables as much as I do, these would probably be absolutely perfect as-is.

This particular food box service is geared towards people who don't like to cook, don't want to cook, or don't have time to cook. But who also don't want to bother with all the fuss of going out to dinner. Or people who want a decent lunch at work, as long as there's a microwave to use.

Am I going to order this for myself on an ongoing basis? Probably not. I like to cook, so it's unlikely I'd buy these for all of my meals from now on. But if I knew I had a week coming up where I was going to be crazy busy, this would really work. I mean, seriously, dinner was ready in two minutes. You can't beat that! And it would be great for people who are going through stressful times, people who just moved and haven't unpacked their cooking tools, or people who live in small spaces and don't want to fuss with anything too complicated.

I received this box of food at no cost to me; I've also joined their affiliate program, which means I get a little cash if you order though my link. It won't cost you any extra.

If you're interested in ordering from Freshly, click the link and get yourself a discount:

Chef-prepared, healthy meals delivered weekly. Get 50% Off!