I have a binder full of beautiful healthful recipes that I absolutely intend to cook...someday. Unfortunately my inspirations far outweigh my actions. Quick and easy end up deciding what appears on my dinner table during the week, much of that being microwaved frozen vegetables, whole wheat pasta or couscous, and beans or veggie burgers. So of course I gladly accepted a sample box of three dinners from a new Boston company, Just Add Cooking. It was established in 2012 by two Swedish-born dads who value unfussy, quick home-cooked meals. The idea stemmed from a service that is already very popular in Sweden: Boxes delivered to your home that contain easy recipes along with all the premeasured ingredients you will need to make the recipes.
To begin, you go to their website to see if your zip code falls within the delivery area. If so, you create an account and choose a plan (3, 4, or 5 meal box; the prices range from $107-$139). Each recipe feeds four people. They deliver once a week on Sundays between 2-6pm. You don't have to be home for the delivery; you'll receive a text when it's dropped off. You can choose from 5-7 recipes each week for your box, with three vegetarian options. Check out their recipe page for beautiful photos of each dish as well as the full recipe so you can see if the ingredients fit your family's dietary needs. You can cancel a week's order if you don't need it, or cancel your subscription entirely at any time through your profile page. The website is very user-friendly.
I chose sausage and broccoli rabe over pasta, haddock in white wine curry, and a chicken cassoulet with chorizo and pancetta. I don't eat a lot of meat and these recipes also used cream and butter, but they actually seemed the "lightest" of the choices and I figured I could modify the ingredients if needed. My box arrived a little early at 1:50pm on a Sunday. The ingredients were covered with cooling packs.
Also inside was an envelope with the three recipes, each just one page long including a photo of the finished meal. The directions are organized in rows, with priority of steps running left to right. For example, you are told to cook the pasta and as that boils you will chop the vegetables.
The ingredients were perfectly premeasured, from the meats to vinegars to herbs and spices. So no waste! The quality of the ingredients, especially the meats/fish looked very fresh and high quality. The website states that they seek out fresh, local and in-season ingredients.
Below is the sausage pasta dish. It looked the easiest with only seven ingredients. I followed all directions exactly as listed and I have to admit that I was impressed by a couple of things. One is that from prep to serving the pasta in bowls, it took me exactly 30 minutes as stated on the recipe. The other is that the flavor of the dish was pretty awesome. The ingredients didn't look that special but the meal was hearty and yet not heavy. I've never cooked broccoli rabe before and it tasted so yummy. I'll definitely be buying it in the store. My husband loved it too!
If I had to make one request, it would be for a wider selection of healthful recipes with more vegetables, beans and grains and less butter and cream. But the quality and taste of the recipes I made were excellent and they do seem to be adding new healthier recipes every few weeks. I think the price of these boxes for convenience and quality is reasonable, considering that the cost of take-out for a family of four would cost as much or more.
Just Add Cooking is now offering a special promotion in which they will donate $5 to the Greater Boston Food Bank's Holiday Food Drive for each box delivered in November. FitMamaEats readers can also receive a $20 discount—just mention the code FITMAMA at checkout. Try it out during the busy holiday season!
Disclosure: I received a 3-meal box for my honest review of this program.