After moving, I decided to give a meal delivery service a try. There was a Groupon for six meals at GoReadyMade for $30 and there was a 20% off coupon code and $4 per meal seemed pretty reasonable to me so I decided to give it a shot.
My first problem was that I redeemed it like a day too late to get the delivery my first week after moving, so I had to wait an extra week but that was on me, I think they were pretty straightforward about the cutoff dates, I just did not read anything about that first.
Overall, I think the meals were fine but not exciting and I think that there needed to be more seasoning for the proteins because this sort of meal (no cooking required except some light pan frying) seems aimed at people who don’t cook much and therefore may not have a variety of seasonings available nor the knowledge of what might go well with the sides. I decided to season the meats with just salt and pepper, partially for simplicity and partially because the box with my spices in it was trapped under a heavy box of cookbooks that I was not ready to open yet. I doubt I would get this meal service again in the future unless I am moving or otherwise unable to access cooking implements because I like to be creative and make up my own stuff and this is very structured. Also, obviously, none of them looked as good as they do in the pictures, but that is just to be expected.
The serving sizes of the proteins might not be enough for some people but, since my surgery, they were more than enough for me. I ate maybe 2/3 of most meals in one sitting and saved the last bit for a snack later with one exception (the salmon).
Anyway, I got six different meals and ate two of them at work and four at home. Here are my observations:
Orzo and Tomatoes (with mozzarella and spinach)
I took this one to work with me because it had microwave-only instructions.
I cooked it in the microwave and ate the meal right out of its container, so I don’t have any pictures of it plated but it is pretty obvious that it did not look like it was supposed to. There was a ton more orzo than any vegetables. I think there were three tomatoes total in the whole thing. Having fewer bell peppers was actually good because I picked those out due to not liking them but I really could have done with more spinach and tomatoes. I kind of feel neutrally about the corn.
The cheese was all melted in and the orzo tasted pretty good because of it. I actually quite liked the flavor of this dish, which is good because I ate it at work and did not have the option to add additional seasoning. I was only disappointed by the dearth of vegetables. This was probably my second favorite meal of the six.
Beef Steak with Peppercorn Sauce (and herb roasted potatoes)
I did have a frying pan unpacked but I think I turned it up too high and/or should not have used butter instead of oil because my smoke detectors went off and with my nine foot ceilings and lack of a ladder, it was a pain in the ass to get them turned off. That was 100% my fault though and not at all a problem with the meal itself.
Just like the instructions said, I cooked the steak (seasoned with salt and pepper) on the stovetop and microwaved the sides. Due to my little alarm fiasco, I ended up undercooking the steak a little bit but again, that is on me. I am certainly no connoisseur, but I think the quality of the steak was perfectly fine. I think that the potatoes and green beans were a little limp but had good flavor. Perhaps they would have been better cooked in the oven but there was not an option for that.
I liked the peppercorn sauce although it was actually a little too spicy in a few bites, maybe there was a lot of pepper in those! It made the steak taste interesting and went well with the vegetables. Despite my poor job of cooking, I would say that this was my favorite meal of the six.
Butter-Basted Chicken (with thyme carrots and parmesan mash)
I did use a little bit more butter than was included in this package but otherwise, I seasoned the chicken just like the steaks, with just salt and pepper. I chose the Pan Fry & Microwave option, first browning both sides of the chicken with butter before adding the sauce to cook it for the remaining time.
The chicken was pretty much your basic boneless, skinless breast. It was not any more trimmed than I get it from the store, so I had to cut off some bits of fat, which you can see in the picture below. The extra brown stuff I put on the chicken was delicious bits from the pan and added to the flavor. Taste-wise, I would say that this was pretty decent. My only real flavor complaint was that there was not enough thyme to really come across on the carrots. I would rate this as a tie for number three/four of six.
Steak and Mac & Cheese (with cauliflower)
I seasoned the steak with salt and pepper and cooked it with a bit of olive oil on the stovetop using a lower heat (I was still getting used to having a gas range). It turned out just fine.
I wonder whether the Mac & Cheese would have been better in the oven because the texture was kind of rubbery in the microwave. The flavor was good though. I could taste the cauliflower, which I like. The steak itself, however, was boring. I know that is on me because I could have seasoned it more but I did not know where my McCormick’s was (well, I did, it was just hard to get to still). Anyway, this dish was fine but disappointing for those two reasons (lack of sauce for the steak and texture of the side) so I would rate it fifth out of the six meals I had.
Teriyaki Salmon (with snow peas and rice)
I made this in the microwave at work (I know, I’m that jerk, but the smell was not actually too strong) and maybe it would have been better cooked another way but the fish was not actually my problem with this meal.
I cooked this for less time than the instructions dictated, which was probably for the best. The snow peas were extremely limp and the rice was very dry. Adding the sauce did help the latter and made the salmon itself taste pretty decent. My first problem was the appearance of a terrible looking pea that had gone bad. I discarded it and the rice surrounding it before cooking and checked out the rest of the vegetables, which did appear to be fine. Again, I ate this out of the container so I did not plate it but I definitely could not have made it look like it does on the label anyway. This is the only meal I did not finish although I did eat all of the salmon (except the bits that sort of exploded as you can see on the sides of the container) and most of the not-fuzzy snow peas, there was just no point to me eating more white rice given my stomach size restriction. Maybe it was the gross pea that turned me off or maybe it is the fact that I always get top quality salmon when I visit my parents, so I have been a bit spoiled, but this was definitely my least favorite of the six meals.
Soy Glazed Steak (with wasabi mashed potatoes)
I cooked this the same way as the last steak, with salt & pepper in oil on the stovetop while I microwaved the side.
The steak itself was fine. The soy glaze was a little sweet for my taste (and sesame seeds aren’t my favorite) but it went well with both the steak and potatoes. I do think that the steak would have benefitted from being marinated but I actually think that about pretty much all of the proteins included in GoReadyMade meals. The wasabi potatoes were just fine although less flavorful than they could have been. I like to add horseradish to my mashed potatoes when I make them, so I think I was expecting something a little hotter but it is probably best to err on the side of not hot for most consumers. I am actually a giant wuss spice-wise so I am hardly going to make a big deal about that. Anyway, it was fine although nothing special. I rank it at the same level as the chicken above, tied for third/fourth place out of six.