Maria’s Gourmet Kitchen – it’s not Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or any of the other ones that bloat your Facebook Feed
Recently, I was contacted by Chef Maria Bedrosian who is the executive Chef and owner of Maria’s Gourmet Kitchen and she graciously offered to let my family try her dinner kits. If you are busy or a mom (or a human) I’m sure you’ve looked into Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or Sunbasket or at least be inundated with ads for them. Perhaps you love Prime Now (we do!). Really, anything to simplify dinner has been researched. However, I had never even heard of Maria’s Gourmet Kitchen. Since it is local, I definitely wanted to give it a try. Houston is world famous for its food so a Houston-based meal delivery option sounded like a no-brainer win-win.
If you are familiar with the national meal delivery set-ups Maria’s is similar but a little easier. With the nationals, you visit the site choose your meals and they send you a box of ingredients. Maria has more ready to go options. Which, is really great. Especially for those sports nights where you cannot stomach another drive-thru dinner. However, quite purposefully, I chose a meal that looked like it needed a little more help than just cooking to see what a “max” prep meal might look like, the time involved, and it was still easy-peasy.
As with the others, you visit the site and choose meals from the upcoming menu. Your delivery days are based on the area of town you are in and are clearly marked. Once you choose your location on the map it sends you to the meal options page. My delivery days are Tuesday and Friday. I thought a Friday delivery option would be great because even if I manage to meal plan and grocery shop and everything over the weekend, Sunday night I’m tired and have no interest in cooking. However, my family is also tired and they seem to not want to go out or order in (usually some nonsense about having eaten out all weekend). Having a meal waiting in the refrigerator prepped and ready to go seemed like a fabulous idea. (I even chose a fish dish so it would sit for two days and I could see how everything held up).
“… really great especially for those sports nights where you cannot stomach another drive-thru dinner.”
Now comes the fun part. Choosing your food! Maybe it’s just me but I really love picking out my meals. The meals are divided into delivery days and there are four weeks worth of options available. Each week has seven different options and each option clearly shows the price per meal and the number of servings still available. The prices are comparable to eating out (but you can eat in your PJs and you don’t have to tip) and the servings are generous. I fed three adults and two kids on four servings and it was plenty.
Most of the meals are heat and serve. The ones that do require a little more effort are still very easy. There is no chopping or mixing, which saves a ton of time (I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried explaining to Rachel Ray that I too could make a meal in 30 minutes if someone would come prep everything for me!). The directions may have you do things like boil a pot of water, bread shrimp, or sear meat. The spices and sauces are already made and just require pouring. In fact, the ones that are baked can be cooked right in the pan they were shipped to you in. Which means clean up is also fast.
For our first meal, I chose Miso Glazed Salmon. The food arrives in a freezer bag with ice packs. The bag is reusable, so you just stuff it in a closet and when they deliver your next meal you set it out on the porch to be picked up when they drop off. I love that it is not so wasteful. Have you seen the size of a box Amazon uses for a battery the size of a quarter – rubbish!
What’s in the bag?!
Food. Lovely packaged food. My bag included two baking tins. On the lid of each is the instructions and packed inside are the ingredients ready to use. I promptly stuck mine in the refrigerator for two days.
When it is time to cook you preheat the oven, open things up, spread them out, pour the sauce and bake. After two days in the refrigerator, everything was still good to go. The fish looked great the veggies were still crisp and fresh.
In twenty minutes dinner was ready and it was so good. Really, really delicious. So good that my nine-year-old wanted to more sauce to drink. That may be a different parenting issue but it illustrates the family friendliness of the recipe.
MGK is definitely a good one to have in your meal prep-arsenal. The process was seamless and easy which sometimes I just need. While this meal was provided gratis, Greater Houston Moms is under no obligation to review anything and we only do so if we really think it is something our readers would love as much as we do. This is definitely one of those items.
The only real critique would be in the future it would be great to see more easily identifiable “healthful” options. There is usually about one option per week that the whole meal would work for someone who is nut free, dairy free, gluten free, etc. There are healthy options in the rest of the meals, for instance, the pork chops have cauliflower rice but the sauce had dairy in it, which may put some off that meal. You could always skip the sauce but having options is great. The ingredients are clearly stated so if these are your issues you will be able to navigate the menu easily.
But wait there’s more! Chef Maria has provided Greater Houston Moms with a coupon for our readers. Visit Maria’s Gourmet Kitchen and use the code below for $20 off your purchase of $100 –which should definitely help you decide when you are perusing the menu! ?Enter the code at checkout: