Review: Gobble’s Pan-Roasted Chicken with Polenta Cakes & Roasted Broccoli

Rating 8/10

I was not excited when I chose this meal – pan fried chicken? -, but I couldn’t find a third meal that appealed more to my taste. Boy, was I surprised when this ended up being delicious!

The meal included 2 chicken breasts, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and broccoli crows, as well as prepared shallot confit, wine sauce, herbed butter and two premade polenta cakes. Preparation consisted of cutting the veggies, sauteing the chicken, adding the veggies and the confit and then putting all of that in the oven. Meanwhile, I heated the polenta cakes on a pan. After the chicken and veggies were done, I was supposed to transfer them to a plate, and then make a sauce on the pan with the wine sauce, some water and the herbed butter.

While none of this was complicated, it took me 30 minutes from beginning to end, not the promised 15. I am a slow cook, however.

The chicken did not actually cook through in the given time, but the vegetables were ready, so I finished cooking it on the pan I used for the polenta.

The results were pretty delicious. I loved the polenta cakes and the wine sauce, as well as the mushrooms and tomatoes together (I hate broccoli, so I left all of that for my daughter and took her mushrooms, as she doesn’t like them). The chicken was the worse part – as usual for chicken breasts, it was dry. I so prefer chicken thighs!

I also took a point off because this dish required both the stove and the oven. I really don’t see why it couldn’t be cooked stovetop and save the gas and time required to pre-heat the oven, as well as avoiding the heat in the summer month.

I got this kit for free due to credits and a welcome back promo code. Use this referral link to get a free kit for 2 with your first box.


Note: if you use my referral link I *may* get some credits in return, if I happen to be subscribed to the meal kit service at the exact moment you use the code – which is unlikely.



Review: Gobble’s Blackened Top Sirlon Steaks with Mashed Potatoes & Baby Carrots

Rating 7/10

This was a perfectly acceptable, but unexciting dish. Of course, I should know better than order any kit featuring top sirloin, a cut that is neither tender nor tasty. The blackening spice helped, but still, I wasn’t thrilled. A NY strip, tri-tip or ranch steak seasoned with just salt is better.

This kit, as too many of Gobble’s, required that you start cooking the steak and carrots on the stove and then transfer them to the oven. This, to me, is an unnecessary step and a waste of gas. So after slicing the carrots and seasoning the beef, I cooked both on my iron skillet on the stove. Once the beef was done, I removed it and added a couple of tablespoons of water to the carrots, covered it and cooked for a few more minutes, until the carrots were softish.

The mashed potatoes only required mixing with a pre-mix of poblano peppers & corn and then warming up. As my daughter doesn’t like poblano peppers and I don’t like corns and the two were mixed together, I just skipped that. I did add the cheddar cheese afterwards. I found the cheesy potatoes pretty tasty, but my daughter didn’t like them.

All in all, I wouldn’t order this kit again.

I got this kit for free due to credits and a welcome back promo code. Use this referral link to get a free kit for 2 with your first box.


Note: if you use my referral link I *may* get some credits in return, if I happen to be subscribed to the meal kit service at the exact moment you use the code – which is unlikely.




Review: Gobble’s Greek Pita Wrap with Grilled Vegetables & Hummus

Rating 8/10

Processed with RNI Films

This kit came with already made hummus, tzatziki, olive tapenade and za’atar spice, as well as a zucchini, a yellow squash, 2 roma tomatoes, a slice of red onion, a small bag of arugula, pita bread and pita chips. Preparation consisted of slicing the squashes, quartering the tomato, sauteing them for about 8 minutes and then assembling the pitas. You then serve it with a side of pita chips and hummus. So a super quick meal to put together.

I didn’t use the tzatziki or tapenade, omitted the onion and substituted the arugula for some spring mix I had to accommodate my daughters’ preferences. I also added some cubed tofu to add protein to the dish.

In all, she was very happy with the results. She found it a very tasty meal. She particularly loved the pita bread. The problem is that the kit came with only two pita breads – so one per person. That was not enough for the amount of filling there was.

This is also a pretty simple meal to put together on your own, though I wouldn’t know where to buy the spongy pita bread they sent.

I got this kit for free due to credits and a welcome back promo code. Use this referral link to get a free kit for 2 with your first box.


Note: if you use my referral link I *may* get some credits in return, if I happen to be subscribed to the meal kit service at the exact moment you use the code – which is unlikely.


Meal Kit Reviews: Which are the Best Meal Kits Out There?

For the last six months I’ve been trying different meal kits, both in order to avoid getting take out and because I just like reviewing things. Having tried most of the meal kits out there (all of them with promos which brought down the price significantly), I think I’m finally done.

Meal kits fall into 4 price categories, which I’ll call budget (~$40 for 3 2-serving meal kits), mid-range (~$60 for the same), premium (~$70) and super-premium (~$80). In order to compare apples to apples, my reviews are organized by price category and they are listed in my order of preference. Please click on the title of each Meal Kit to see a more comprehensive review.

In all of these months, I haven’t really had any major problems with any of my deliveries – I’ve had no missing ingredients, for example. Once a box didn’t come (which was fine, as I didn’t want it and had forgotten to cancel in time) and another time, the box didn’t come until after 11 PM, but that’s about it. Skipping has been a breeze, as has been cancelling.

Budget Meal Kits

There are two of these meal kit services, both products of mid-range meal kit companies. They offer simpler meals, with fewer ingredients that require the use of more of your staples. The menus tend to be very classic American.

Every Plate

Every Plate is HelloFresh’ budget offering. They currently only have 6 offerings, including a “premium” one that costs $6 more per kit, but they’re moving to 8 offerings in mid-March. That’s good, because I often can’t find 3 dishes I want to eat/make in their weekly menu.

I mostly liked what I got – the premium kit was particularly tasty. I really didn’t feel I was compromising too much by getting these kits.

$39 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Use this referral link for $20 off your first box (I might get a credit if I’m subscribed at the exact moment you subscribe).

Dinnerly

Dinnerly is Martha & Marley Spoon’s budget offering. They offer 8 choices a week, 3 of which are vegetarian. The meals are less refined than those by Every Plate and I enjoyed them less. In all, I wasn’t a fan.

$39 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Google for promos.

Mid-Range Meal Kits

There are several companies in this category. They tend to have more sophisticated offerings, they may include ingredients that are not as easy to come by (or that you’d have to buy far more than you’d want to) – but they still require that you use some of your staples. Some of these companies offer discounts for larger purchases. Here they are, in my order of preference.

HelloFresh

HelloFresh is the service I’ve tried the most, simply because they’ve sent me the most “come back” offers. They offer a variety of plans, and include one weekly “gourmet” recipe, featuring steak or expensive ingredients, for $12 more per kit.

Most of the recipes have surprised me as to how tasty they are – whoever is responsible for creating them does a pretty good job. That said, I don’t always find enough meals I want to cook in a given week, and lately it seems they’re downgrading their ingredients. Still, it’s a company I like to go back to (with a coupon).

$61 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Use this referral link for $40 off your first box (I might get a credit if I’m subscribed at the exact moment you subscribe).

Blue Apron

Blue Apron is actually very similar to HelloFresh, but it offers far fewer discounts. It does seem to have better quality ingredients than HelloFresh, however. The food I had was also tastier than I anticipated, and I would likely re-subscribe if I got another promo – but so far no luck.

$60 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Google for promos.

Home Chef

Home Chef’s offerings are a more middle American than the other two, and I’ve had gret difficulty finding kits that I really want to make. But the kits I did make were very good. While Home Chef has occasional premium meal kits, they also regularly have steak without a premium price (unlike other companies in this price point).

$60 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Use this referral link for $30 off your first box (I might get a credit if I’m subscribed at the exact moment you subscribe).

Martha & Marley Spoon

Marley Spoon was the meal kit company that least impressed me at this price-point. Granted, I only got two kits because their promo wasn’t that great, but neither of them was particularly noteworthy. They do have a large menu of choices, including 6 vegetarian ones. In all, I didn’t find a compelling reason to choose it over the other kits.

$61.50 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Google for promo.

Premium Meal Kits

It’s probably not surprising that as we go up in price, the meal kits get better. They either include more exotic and/or organic ingredients. Some companies offer even more adventurous/sophisticated kits – and some actually send you all the ingredients you need save for oil, salt & pepper. Here they are, in my order of preference.

Plated

I love Plated. It’s one of my favorite meal kits and, if I could afford it, it’s the one I would stay subscribed to. The offerings are pretty sophisticated, and they often include ingredients that I wouldn’t want to buy myself. More importantly, they include all the ingredients I need – including butter! I have greatly enjoyed almost every meal I’ve had from them.

Plated is also available at select Safeway supermarkets. The kits there usually vary in price depending on the ingredients, but they’re generally cheaper than with the subscription. They have a much lower selection, however.

$72 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Google for promo.

Sun Basket

Sun Basket distinguishes itself by providing a large variety of meals catering to special diets – from paleo to vegan. Most importantly, they don’t ask you to subscribe to a specific plan, but you can chose from any meal they provide. This is cool for families like mine that have members with very different food preferences. Sun Basket also sends more organic produce than other companies – and they’re probably the most environmentally friendly meal kit service.

Still, I wasn’t awed by their kits and I haven’t felt a compelling reason to re-subscribe.

$72 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Use this referral link for $40 off your first box.

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot is an all-vegan meal kit company. Having a vegan child at home, I gave it a try. Unfortunately, she didn’t like any of the three meal kits I got for her – and would not even eat the leftovers.

$72 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Google for promo.

Super Premium Meal Kits

In addition to the kits listed below, there are two other meal kits services which fall in this category. As neither offers good promo codes – and their offerings don’t seem particularly enticing – I’ve decided I’m not going to try either. Do comment if you do. Peach Dish – a Georgia based company – specializes in local ingredients and offers both international and classic Southern food. One Potato specializes in family-friendly fare.

Gobble

Gobble sends out meal kits that can be put together and cooked in 15 minutes. They manage this by sending pre-sliced vegetables, prepared sauces and some pre-cooked sides (like rice, lentils and sweet potatoes). Still, most kits require you to do enough that you do feel like cooking. Their meals are generally pretty good – one, specifically, was great – and I love how quickly they are to put on the table. This is a kit I’d definitely stay subscribed to if I could afford it.

$79 for 3 kits with 2 servings each. Use this referral link for 1 free meal kit in your first box (I might get a credit if I’m subscribed at the exact moment you subscribe).

Green Chef

Green Chef distinguishes itself by offering a variety of plans catering to special diets – everything from keto, to gluten-free to vegan. Unfortunately, they only offer five choices per plan, and you cannot mix and match between plans (though they do have an omnivore plan, still with only five choices). Once upon a time, Green Chef was fully organic, but since being bought by HelloFresh, they now send out non-organic meats.

The dishes I tried were pretty good, though they seemed overpriced for what they were.

$67 to $85 for 3 kits with 2 servings each, depending on plan (omnivore is $79). Use this referral link for 2 free meal kits in your first box
(I might get a credit if I’m subscribed at the exact moment you subscribe).

Ready Made Meals

In addition to meal kits, a number of companies have entered the market offering ready-to-heat, microwavable meals. Basically, an upscale version of your parent’s TV dinners. I’m not sure I’ll try enough of these to merit their own category, but I’ll list the one I’ve tried so far (I will also be getting Thistle next week – use promo code https://www.thistle.co/referral/MARGARI98F for $30 off your first order).

Freshly

Freshly offers fresh, refrigerated, microwable meals that you can heat up in just 2-4 minutes. Quality wise, they are way above any frozen meal I’ve tried. Indeed, taste wise they are as good as most meal kits. They do suffer a little texture-wise.

The biggest issue is that their menu doesn’t change much from week to week, so if you’re craving variety, you won’t find it here. They also don’t offer vegan meals. Still, it’s a good choice for when you have a busy week and you can’t make time to cook.

$60 for 6 meals (1 serving each). Use this referral link to get $20 off your first and second week (I might get a credit if I’m subscribed at the exact moment you subscribe).

Non-Subscription Meal Kits

In addition to the meal kits above, there are a couple of companies that sell meal kits that don’t require a subscription. I have not yet tried these ones, but I might in the future. Good Eggs, a Bay Area company, delivers 3 and 4 serving meal kits from an extensive set menu and Amazon.com sells kits through their Prime Fresh service (which costs $16/month).


Review: Gobble’s Japanese Style Steak with Jasmine Rice & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Rating 6/10

What I love best about Gobble meals is that it takes only 15 minutes to cook a meal. And yet sometimes, I don’t have the wherewithal to spend a mere 15 minutes cooking. Saturday night was one such night.

So I made the steak and microwaved the rice, and omitted the vegetable stir fry. The steak was good, the sauce was yummy on the rice. The rice was also very good (if Gobble fails, they should go into the business of selling refrigerated rice – they do an amazing job with it). It was a perfectly fine meal. I was left hungry, even though I had the bigger half of the steak and most of the rice (my husband had gone with the kids to ice cream, so he wasn’t hungry), but that may be because I didn’t make the stir fry (though if I had, I’d still not have eaten it, as it’s not my type of thing).

All in all, not my favorite Gobble meal, but acceptable.

I think I paid around $14 for this kit with a “welcome back” promotion. I would not have been happy to pay full price ($26) for this.


Review: Gobble’s Thai Tofu Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce

Rating 9/10

This was another Gobble winner this week. My vegan daughter just loved this kit for Thai Tofu Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce, and I loved having something good to give her.


It is basically a stir fry, with both curry sauce and peanut sauce – but the peanut sauce was particularly tasty. Flavor wise, this was a winner. And, because the only things that came ready made were the curry paste and peanut sauce, I felt like I actually cooked something for my daughter.

I think I paid around $14 for this kit with a “welcome back” promotion. It produced two generous portions.


Review: Gobble’s Burmese Shredded Chicken with Coconut Rice & Burmese Salad

Rating 9/10

This Gobble kit for Burmese Shredded Chicken with Coconut Rice & Burmese Salad has to be my favorite (tasting) kit meal so far! It was tasty, scrumptious, exotic, not spicy, just satisfying. It had a great mix of textures, it hit all the right notes and combined perfectly. This very much was a ‘sum of its parts” meal – I would have been very happy with a meal like this at a restaurant.

Even my super picky daughter liked it – she’d rate it 8/10!

My only criticism is that I didn’t feel like I was actually cooking anything. The coconut rice was pre-cooked, the chicken was pre-cooked, the sauce and vinaigrette was pre-made. All I had to do is arm things up and put them all together. Obviously all necessary to get this meal on the table in 15 minutes, but still, something was missing.

The taste, though, made up for it. Also, there was too little salad – about half as much lettuce as needed.

I (think I) paid ~$14 for this kit or $7 per serving, with a promo good for one week.




Meal Kit Reviews: Gobble is Great for Those in a Hurry

Of all the meal kits out there, Gobble may just be my favorite. The food is very good and it can be prepared in about 15 minutes. They accomplish this by using simple recipes and sending you some pre-cooked (lentis, rice). That convenience has a price, and Gobble has among the highest prices in the industry. Still, if I could afford it, I’d probably stick with Gobble because it gives you the satisfaction of mostly cooking a meal, without the necessary expenditure of time. Plus they have a good selection of international fare.

The Plans

Gobble offers plans for 2 or 4 people. You can order as few as 2 meal kits a week or as many as you want. Cost is $12 a serving (or $14 if you only order 2 meal kits) – that is $24 per kit for 2 or $48 per kit for 4. You also have to pay $7 shipping, regardless of how many kits you order. Thus, the standard plan of 3 meals for 2 people per week costs $79.

As other companies, Gobble usually offers discounts for its first week. Currently, you can get one free kit in your first box with this referral link.

Gobble also offers lunch and breakfast subscriptions, but I haven’t tried them.

The Food

Gobble offers mostly American and European food with some Asian, Indian and Mexican choices. They have numerous beef, chicken, seafood and vegetarian (but not necessarily vegan) choices every week. The dishes do take about 15 minutes to put together and most were quite tasty.

The dishes are simpler than those offered by other premium meal kit companies, but the ones I had were nice enough. Cooking speed is also achieved by sending some ingredients pre-cooked, you just have to warm them in the microwave. These precooked ingredients (rice, lentils, roasted sweet potatoes) were surprisingly tasty. Indeed, my daughter thought the rice was the best part of the vegan meal she had.

Pre-roasted sweet potatoes sent by Gobble

Ingredients seem to be fresh and of good quality, though I had some issues. Instead of one or two steaks for one of the recipes, I received beef slices – which made cooking them according to the instructions difficult. I contacted customer service and they gave me a $15 credit, which was nice.

Ingredients for one of the meal kits

Another problem – one that seems ubiquitous with meal kits – was that the portions of meats/seafood sent were of different size and shapes, meaning that you could not cook them at the same temperature without burning one. This I found annoying.

One piece of tuna was long and thin, while the other one was small and twice as thick.

Finally, several of their recipes required broiling. I am not always good about cleaning my broiler, and that’s a big task to undertake to cook a meal for a few minutes. I wish they gave alternative instructions for people without broilers.

The Shipping and Delivery

I was able to get my meals on a Tuesday. The day before they sent me an e-mail reminding me my delivery would be the next day but not giving me a tracking number. They can deliver as late as 8 PM, though I got all of my deliveries during the day.

The Packaging

The kits come in a recyclable cardboard box, just like those from other meal kit companies. They contain non-recyclable insulating material and freezer packs that have to be discarded in the trash.

Inside the box most of the ingredients come in plastic bags organized by recipe. Cold ingredients are at the bottom of the box, between freezer packs.

The Results

In all, I cooked 8 Gobble recipes. The two I originally ordered, three more that I got when I forgot to cancel my subscription in time (fortunately I had that $15 credit, so it wasn’t as expensive as it could be) and then three more that I got with a “come back” deal. Three of the recipes were chosen by Gobble for me, but fortunately they did a good job.

Blackened Chicken with Marble Potatoes & Broccolini
a forgettable dish

 Seared Flat Iron Steak with Baby Carrots & Harissa Green Lentils
Great meal quality, but it wasn’t a steak.


Thai Basil Tofu with Brown Rice
The tofu was tofu, but the rice was great!

Curried Beef Bowl with Basmati Rice & Mini Samosas
Very tasty!
Albacore Tuna with Pearl Couscous, Chermoula Vinaigrette
Loved the chermoula!
Burmese Shredded Chicken with Coconut Rice & Burmese Salad 
Best meal kit yet!
Thai Tofu Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce
Great Vegan choice
Gobble’s Japanese Style Steak with Jasmine Rice & Vegetable Stir-Fry
OK

In all, I was pleased with Gobble. Most of the recipes weren’t mind blowing, but they were good to really good and quick/easy to prepare. I particularly liked their steaks (which don’t have a premium price). However, it’s the high price that would keep me from subscribing to Gobble. At over $13 per serving this is about the price of takeout, and with takeout I get leftovers (though not meats of the same quality level). It seems a particularly low value if you are not eating steak and tuna. That said, Gobble does have more variety than what I can get locally through takeout.



Meal Kit Review: Gobble’s Blackened Chicken with Marble Potatoes & Broccolini

Rating 5/10

This meal kit was completely forgetable. I cooked it. I ate it – and despite the fact that it’s only been a couple of weeks, I can’t remember it at all. I do remember given the leftover broccolini to the dog (I don’t like broccoli or its derivatives) and she gladly ate it (she eats anything that is not dog food). But the chicken? The potatoes? No idea. The sauce looks good, though, and I feel I had a positive impression of it.


Meal Kit Review: Gobble’s Curried Beef Bowl with Basmati Rice & Mini Samosas

Rating: 8/10

With the rush of the holidays, I’m running very behind on my meal kit reviews – but I haven’t stopped getting them.  My second week of Gobble, however, was a mistake.  I somehow had neglected to skip it for the first week of December so I got stuck with 3 kits that I didn’t choose.  Given that Gobble costs $79 for a 3-kit box, that was a costly mistake.  Fortunately, I had a $15 credit because of the mistake they made in my previous box, so it made getting this box more “palatable”.

I was also lucky that the three meals Gobble chose for me werethings that I would have ordered myself – and they were all quite good.

My favorite thing about Gobble is how quick and easy it is to prepare its meals.  They send as many pre-sliced and pre-cooked elements as they can without compromising quality, and this kit for Curried Beef Bowl with Basmati Rice & Mini Samosas was no exception.  The tiny samosas came pre-cooked, so all I had to do was heat them up.  They were very good and not too spicy.  We often get fresh samosas from one of our local Indian food stores, so I don’t say this lightly.

The main meal was simple to put together.  The rice came pre-cooked, and all I had to do was heat it in the microwave.  Gobble sends a very tasty precooked rice, which tastes even better than the one I make.  The meat was quickly sauteed on a pan, to which I added the curry powder, the pre-roasted carrots and peas, a pre-mixed garlic/ginger/scallion confit and chicken broth.

The results were great!  It was a very tasty meal and both my husband and I enjoyed it.  At $21, it was equivalent in price to the cost, before tax and tip, of take out – though, of course, we didn’t get leftovers as we do when we order out.  Alas, the whole meal was ready much quicker than it would take to get a restaurant meal delivered.