Can a Meal Kit Let Me Cook as Well as Bill Telepan?

The meal delivery service send meals that are ready in less than 10 minutes
Sesame chicken
Courtesy of Real Eats

Sesame chicken

Cooking for one tends to be an all-or-nothing affair. Either I’m (on a good day) prepping large-batch meals that can be parceled out over a week or (more likely) scrambling for something from the freezer and ending up with a mishmash of snacks and leftovers. I gotta be honest, it’s not a great system.

Delivery can get expensive, and those minimums mean a few days of leftovers, and I’ve shied away from meal kits because “feeding a family of four for under $10 a serving” doesn’t sound like the great financial deal advertised.

Then I was introduced to Real Eats meal kit. These individually packaged meals are boil-and-eat. Bear with me just a sec: These are chef-designed meals from the likes of Bill Telepan and former Tavern on the Green chef Katy Sparks, vacuum-sealed and ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

vacuum sealed

Alyssa Haak

Salmon wtih tahini sauce

The three-step process is so straightforward, I could manage it even exhausted at the end of the week. Step one: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Step two: Add the individually portioned packets to the boiling water for their indicated cook times (typically six minutes or less). Step three: Carefully remove with tongs, cut open, and serve.

This weekend, instead of my traditional hummus platter (yes, that’s hummus and carrot sticks), I feasted on beef Bolognese with polenta, and on Monday, instead of freezer dumplings, I opted for spiced braised chicken and lemony couscous.

Sure, I’m not learning any kitchen techniques, but I am tasting new flavors outside of my usual rotation — and eating well-balanced meals that won’t make my mom worry, all without the stress of having to shop for healthy groceries on a budget.

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Alyssa Haak is the restaurant and city guide editor who likes saying it's her job to eat or drink that. Follow her on Instagram at @akhaak.