Too busy to shop…

I love to cook – you guys know that because there’s a whole section of this blog devoted to food. But during the semester, my schedule is so crazy that I find myself more and more reaching for cheese toasties as an option for dinner. Sometimes, I can’t even cheese toastie because when I do have time at home, I want to be hanging out with Archie. I hate ditching him so I can do groceries, and I don’t, as a rule, keep bread in the house (because of the aforementioned cheese toastie addiction).

Meal boxes are a big thing these days and the idea of having the ingredients and recipes arrive on your doorstep takes the hassle out of meal planning, but they don’t take the pleasure of cooking away from those of us who enjoy it. I live alone, so the idea of having someone say  ‘this is what you’re making for dinner’ a few nights a week is such a time saver.

Because I lack the motivation to plan meals during semester, I’ve looked into meal subscriptions in the past but never actually parted with the cash for them. Why? Because one of the brands selling here in Australia doesn’t portion the ingredients, so, if the recipe calls for a cup of milk, they’ll send you a litre of milk not just a cup; and the other brand doesn’t allow weird semi-vegetarians like me to pick and choose between chicken, seafood, and veggie meals, they just limit the dietary requirements to meat eater, veggie, and GF.

And then Marley Spoon contacted me and everything changed!

Marley Spoon is a newer player in the Australian meal box delivery market and I am super impressed. They offered me a two person, two meal box to review here, and straight away sent me to their website to pick my meals. I went with trepidation, but found that when selecting, you can tell their system what you like and don’t like, so I was able to say “I like chicken” but “I don’t like red meat” to filter results. The website then makes suggestions based on your choices and automatically adds them to to your basket, but if it adds say, a pasta dish to your cart and you know you’d rather a curry dish, then you can change the selections right up until a week before. My boxes are delivered on a Monday, so as this blog post goes live, I’m waiting on this week’s box to arrive on my doorstep, and need to check that the meals for next week are correct.

Knowing what you’re getting well in advance is great because while they send most of the things you need, there are some needed pantry staples like oil or salt and pepper that you’ll need to provide yourself.

My first box was set for delivery between 8am and 6pm on a Monday, and even though I teach on Mondays and expected the box to be there when I got home, it arrived before I’d even made it out of my PJs! This was great because I had a chance to unpack and store the cold things before I went to work. But if it had arrived while I was out, all the meat is super well packed in a cold bag, separate to the fresh stuff that could wilt. It would have been fine in the bag until I’d made it home.

I’d chosen a fish and a chicken dish and cooked the Italian Fish Stew with Beans first up.

My first impression was that this meal was supposed to feed two people and the fish fillet provided seemed tiny for a stew. The beans bulked up the dish and there were more veggies than meat, but following the instructions for preparing meant that in every portion I served, there was actually quite a bit more fish than I expected.

The instructions are really clear, with pictures to demonstrate each step an a recipe card that I’ve actually copied into my own recipe books in case I wanted to replicate later (but some of the recipes do repeat, so if I really loved something I could just choose it again).

The portions are really generous. My box is for two people, and because it’s just me here (well, Archie’s here but he doesn’t eat human food), I was happy to plan to cook one night and eat leftovers the next. This is pretty much exactly what happened with the second dish, the Peruvian Roast Chicken with Green Sauce, but the fish stew lasted for two substantial dinners and two smaller lunches, maybe because the beans made it really filling. There are also options for three or four meals a week, but a two meal box does me for almost four meals, and allows me the flexibility to choose what I’d like to eat for the rest of the week.

While they’re reasonably generous portions, unlike some other boxes, they don’t provide you with too much of anything, meaning there’s very little wastage. I had some kale stems and carrot peels which I used up the next day making some vegetable stock paste, and some of the green sauce from my chicken that was a tiny bit too generous for the amount of chicken I was given, sadly went in the bin. If I order that box again, I’d probably use half of the yoghurt provided for the sauce and freeze the rest for something else.

While I was sent this first box in return for a review, perhaps the best endorsement of Marley Spoon I can give is that as soon as I was done with my box for the week, I signed up as a paying customer. I can’t wait for my box to arrive today. And next week. Ooh and the week after next there’s something really yummy coming…

If there’s anything you’d like to know, please leave me a comment below.

*This is a sponsored post in which I received one complimentary meal kit in exchange for writing this review. The post, like others on this blog, contains affiliate links and I appreciate you clicking through via my blog if you’re thinking of using Marley Spoon’s service. 

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