We all have those nights - they happen more now that school's in, I think. The day gets away from you and you're sitting at your desk (or in your car, mid-schlep) at 4:30 and you're suddenly caught up short. "What are we going to have for dinner?" The easy choice is takeout or fast food, but the angel on your right shoulder says "You should be feeding your family something healthier." And face it, are you really going to be able to get to the market before you have to sling hash? Probably not.
Enter Healthy Habits Kitchen of Wellesley. I discovered Healthy Habits Kitchen last spring - I was Googling meal assembly places (a la Dream Dinners) nearby, and the HHK site showed up. I put them on my to-try list and never got around to it. Then the Foodie Mommy favorably reviewed HHK in early September. Her review incentivized me to finally check it out.
HHK offers "meal assembly" services - you step into their kitchen and HHK's staff has everything you need to prepare multiple meals for multiple mouths: ready-to-assemble, homemade food that can be popped into the oven or heated on the stovetop when you need it. You schedule an assembly session, pick meals from the rotating menu, stop in and the HHK kitchen becomes your kitchen. HHK does the shopping, chopping and measuring . . . . and even better, they do the clean-up. Another option is to raid HHK's refrigerator and freezer - for $1 more per meal, you can pick and choose from meals that are already prepared.
So what makes HHK different from all the other meal assembly places? Susan Schochet, the owner of HHK, is committed to quality, whole, healthful ingredients. HHK recipes include only natural seasonings, juices, extracts and herbs, and HHK strives to offer fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. And here's what got me: All HHK meals are 400 calories or less, 30% fat or less, and 800mg of sodium or less. For most of us, this is as close as we'll ever get to having a health-conscious personal chef in our kitchen.
I visited HHK in September and bought a half portion (serves 2-3) of the Chicken Marbella for $19.99 and popped in my freezer. I whipped it up for dinner last Tuesday night - D. was pretty much gone for the month of September, and I wanted him to try this out, too.
We were wowed.
First off, the preparation couldn't have been easier. All the meal components come packaged in a small box that fits easily into your freezer (or fridge, if you're going to cook the meal within a day). I took it out the night before, and put it in the fridge to defrost. The next night, I took it out, followed the easy-to-follow instructions to the letter, and 40 minutes later I put a meal on the table that I'd even serve to company. All I added on my own were steamed green beans. The chicken breast pieces were tasty and moist, and a glaze of brown sugar made them pretty to boot. The sauce had a wonderful sweet-savory thing going on with big dried plums, giant capers, green olives, lots of garlic and oregano - even white wine (included in the kit in a cute little plastic container) to bring it all together. You serve this over some ziti that's also included with the half portion, and you have yourself a super-tasty AND healthful meal in practically no time.
The HHK menu changes monthly - you can check out the current options on their site. Nutritional and ingredient information is listed with each entree. HHK also offers an assortment of side dishes and desserts, if you're interested.
You can also arrange private parties at HHK - get a group of friends together to catch up and assemble meals . . . HHK will provide the munchies. Or, do what I did and for only $1 more per meal, take the lazy-woman's route (hey, it's supposed to be convenience food, right?) and go pick and choose out of Sue's refrigerator and freezer.
P.S. Please note well that I am no one's paid rep here - I visited HHK of my own accord, and while I chatted up Sue a bit (ask L. about my "chatting habit"), I paid for my meal and am under no obligation to give a favorable review.