Oh Joy

making dinner easier...
14 Jan 2016

Oh Joy Kitchen

I am not one of those people who can make dinner from scratch every night. Or even most nights. By the time I get home from work, I have a few hours with my kids before they get to bed and I want to maximize that time as much as possible. We try to cook mostly on the weekends when we have more leisurely time. So during the week, we often use services that help make meal preparation easier and faster. Since there are so many out there and I'm always in search of the best, I have tried a lot of them. I wanted to share my favorites with you in case you're like me and just need a little help every so often...

1. Restaurant food delivered - There are lots of places that offer take-out delivery. But when you just need lunch or dinner right now, there are a couple favorites I use in a pinch. I've used these delivery services way more times than I'd like to admit, but it's been so helpful when I'm home alone with both kids and can't manage to make dinner on my own (or when I want to treat my employees to milkshakes for an afternoon treat). As soon as you load the apps based on your address, they tell you what restaurants you can have meals delivered from and the approximate time it would take. A person who works for the service picks up the food and bring it too you. It's kinda like the Uber for take-out delivery.

DoorDash has the most options (at least in my area). It updates you every step of the way with when the order is placed, picked up and on the way to you. It's usually accurate but I have had handful of times the delivery was late or I've had to check in.

Postmates offers delivery from select restaurants. I find them to has less options than DoorDash, but the timing and consistency is more accurate. With this app, you can track the driver on a map so you know exactly where they are and when they'll arrive.

Munchery

2. Prepared food delivered - This is an option that's in-between restaurant delivery and assisted recipe meals. The food is already made and simply needs to be heated up. This costs less than restaurant delivery and is something you can plan for in advance.

Munchery delivers healthy cooked meals to your door. All you have to do is heat them up and enjoy. This has been super helpful on those days when Bob gets home later than usual from work and it's hard for me to cook while watching both kids. It's more affordable then getting straight delivery from a restaurant and the biodegrable packaging it comes in is oven and microwave safe making it super easy.

Din

3. Cooking Assistance Meals - There are a ton of these types of services these days that try to make cooking easier and faster (yet still healthy).

One Potato offers family-friendly meals (that encourage kids to help cook!) with fresh ingredients delivered to your door. The meals here have bigger portions than other services I've tried and meals catered to the more picky eaters you might have in your family. Inspired by recipes from Weelicious—the focus on family totally comes through.

Din is delivers all the ingredients needed to make restaurant-inspired, home-cooked meals. These days with our busy jobs and schedules, we need to be able to make something within 30 mins or less. With Din, many of the components are pre-prepped for you—that way you really can make the whole meal from start to finish in 20-30 minutes. (They are only available for delivery in California and Nevada right now, but I'm guessing more states will become available as they grow).

Purple Carrot is a vegan option by chef Mark Bittman who advocates for part time vegan living even if you aren't vegan. 

4. Groceries Delivered - When you realize you don't have anything to make for breakfast tomorrow or the day is just too crazy to get to the grocery store, grocery delivery just makes life easier. While I actually love grocery shopping (and can find it relaxing), it's not always relaxing when you have to bring two kids with you. So I cut myself some slack sometimes and have groceries delivered. And, instead of loading everyone up in the car to go buy food, I can spend time with them doing way funner things and pay a small delivery fee for the groceries to come to me. 

Instacart

Instacart offers delivery from your favorite local grocery stores where someone is actually going to your local store (like Whole Foods) and picking out what you want. I love that a real person is shopping so when you ask for ripe peaches, there's a person who will try and pick the ripest peach for you.

And yes, these services do cost a little more money, but for me they're worth the few extra bucks for a delivery fee or service charge to gain that extra time at home with my family. Modern conveniences like this have helped me to worry less about everything I need to do and get a little help when I can.

Have you guys found any other cool apps or services like this that make your life a little easier? Please share your faves as I am always looking for options!

P.S. This post is not sponsored. These are all services I currently use or have tried within the last few months.

{Photo by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester}

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