Can A Meal Kit Let Me Cook As Well As Bill Telepan?

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.

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.

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.