I recently tried out Blue Apron, a service providing perfectly portioned ingredients for at-home cooking. The recipes are great, but I found the amount of prep to be a bit much for my cooking-for-one lifestyle. It’s definitely something fun to try as a couple/family, but I’m entirely too prone to cereal for dinner to spend 30 minutes (minor exaggeration) dicing shallots. Plus, at about $9/meal, I can just go to the diner down the street. Not as healthy, but much, much faster.
Enter Top Chef Meals (not an affiliate link). These are made-to-order reasonably healthy pre-cooked and frozen meals delivered to your door for about $7/serving. I read up on them and saw that most of the reviews were pretty good, and written by people with reasonable expectations of frozen food. I ordered a decent selection, including the breakfast shown.
The food comes in plastic trays (microwave and oven friendly) with clear instructions. It’s highly recommended to allow the meal to thaw before heating. I, of course, didn’t see that until it was too late, so I heated it following the secondary instruction to double cooking times for frozen meals. In the oven, the meal should have (according to instructions) been ready to eat in 30 minutes. It wasn’t. Another 15 minutes was required to get it heated through. It’s a snow day, so no big deal, but on a work morning that would have been tragic.
As you can expect with frozen eggs, there was some water in the bottom of the tray after cooking. The bacon wasn’t exactly crisp, but it had a pretty good texture and a really great flavor. The oatmeal was basically perfect, lightly sweetened and not too mushy/pasty. The spinach quiche (also not an affiliate link) had that “these eggs have been frozen” thing going on, slightly weird texture, but the flavor was good. I will note that my entree didn’t have the crust shown in the product picture. I didn’t notice while I was eating it, so it obviously wasn’t a major issue, but wouldn’t that make it an egg bake or an omelet? Just curious to note.
I bought 2 of these, and am thinking I’ll try to cook the next one per the instructions (thawed) and in the microwave. The price on this was $6.25. Clearly more than it would cost for me to make a spinach omelet (because I’m not making a quiche) with bacon and oatmeal at home, but with this option I’m not storing/wasting ingredients for the 1 or 2 days I get to make myself breakfast at home. Note: I don’t buy bacon, because I can’t cook it fast enough feeding just 1 person.
Results: I’m looking forward to trying some of the dinners, because that’s where the value will really be for me. As someone who enjoys cooking, and especially enjoys making breakfast, I’m highly unlikely to buy any more of these breakfast meals. They’re good, and the quality is very reasonable, but this is the area I’ve already got a grip on. Evening meals, not so much.