A baller review of meal boxes from Green Chef and City Market
Attention, meal delivery service fanatics. We’re back with a second round of reviews for your reading pleasure. Our hope for you this chilly fall season is that if WE try to make food from a few specialty, out-of-the-box meal delivery boxes, it will convince you that there is life outside of Hello Fresh.
Last week, we tried PeachDish and Sun Basket, both of which were pretty pro in their own fancy ways. THIS WEEK, you’re in for a meaty treat, cause we are reviewing the Prep + Pared meal kits from City Market, which don’t need a FedEx label (unless you live hella far outside Durango). You can just grab them at the ol’ grocery store. We’re also trying out meals in a box from Green Chef, the only certified organic meal delivery service around.
Here’s how things turned out. (Hint: we saved the best boxed meals for last.)
Price: $18 for two meals and four servings, although if I recall correctly, we got them on sale for about $15
Membership: Not required because you just snag them from the refrigerated bin at City Market.What we triedChicken enchiladas with red sauce
How was the packaging?The packaging on these meals was fine. It was a nice touch to have the meals sitting in a brown box – it felt kind of earthy, to be quite honest – and each component of the meal was packaged nicely in its own spot. However, I didn’t really dig having to drain cooked chicken. Something about that seemed really...gross. I’m not sure why. Everything else was pro, though, and my avocados, which tend to be under-ripe when purchased separately at City Market, were the perfect consistency to make guacamole. So, that part was a win.
Our score: 3.5 out of 5 spatulasHow easy were these to cook?OK, so I’m going to apologize to City Market in advance, because these were the very first prepped meals I’d tried to cook, and I am going to tell you right here and now that I hated every single part of it. I don’t know if it was because I was tired from work or what, but I felt like they were a major pain in the ass. There wasn’t really a reason to feel that way – not that I can pinpoint, anyway – but for whatever reason, these did not feel like easy meals to conquer. I just didn’t feel prepared to make them. I think on any normal day they’d be easy enough. Just maybe avoid these boxes when you’re stressed out?
Our rating: 3 out of 5 microwavesSo, how’d they turn out?As you likely gathered from my mini-rant above, these did not turn out very well.
Here’s part of the deal. I grew up in south Texas, and I am very picky about my Tex-Mex. These enchiladas were not Tex-Mex. They were soggy and bland.
One of the main issues is that the chicken came pre-cooked, and cold chicken is really gross to shred with your fingers, which this recipe required of you. Another issue is that the recipe didn’t actually ask you to warm up the chicken. It just asked you to throw the damn stuff in the pan full of “sauce” (I take issue with that term being used for what was on top of these bad boys) to warm it up, which didn’t warm it up. It just made it less cold. These enchiladas also called for flour tortillas, which I have a real issue with. Flour tortillas do not belong in enchiladas EVER. I don’t care what you say. I know what I’m talking about here.
Also, while we’re on the topic, enchiladas should always go in the oven, yet this recipe didn’t want you to put them in the oven. It wanted you to be finished after you rolled the lukewarm chicken and sauce into the tortillas and covered them with sauce and cheese. I put them in the oven anyway – yes, I’m a rule-breaker, and no, it did not work out well – to melt the cheese on top, and all it did was cause the sauce to separate into watery and chunky components, which made the flour tortillas a soggy mess of inedible. (THAT IS WHY YOU DON’T USE FLOUR, FOLKS.)
Anyway, these were not edible and I ended up having to throw away most of them because no one in my house would eat them, not even for this story.
I ended up just eating the guac with a spoon for dinner. That stuff, unlike the enchiladas, was fine. The rice was all right. /meh. It was rice.
Our rating: 1.5 out of 5 at-home Michelin starsWould we snag these City Market meals again?Heck no. Not this enchilada box, anyway. Maybe the other meals are better, but these enchiladas? Burn them in a flour tortilla fire.
Who would like these City Market meals?These meals are for people who either really have no clue how to roll corn tortillas or are desperate to make something inedible to ruin someone else’s day.
Price: Green Chef does things a little differently. Their prices are per meal, and range from $10.99 to $12.99 per meal. You can order the two-person plan, which contains six meals/servings total per box, or the family plan, which contains two dinners for a family of four, which works out to eight meals/servings total per box.
Membership: You do have to have a membership, but Green Chef allows you to pick when meals are ordered – so you can have them sent over every week, or every two weeks, or every four weeks. Kinda rad, if you ask us. Especially if you’re someone who tends to work late and/or nonstop...not that we’d know anything about that.
What we kinda love about these: So. Much. Variety!! Green Chef lets you order paleo, or vegan, or gluten-free, or omnivore, or keto, or vegetarian...or so on...boxes, and all of them are certified organic, and none of them contain GMOs, toxic pesticides, irradiation, sewage sludge, antibiotics, growth hormones, or steroids. MF’in win if you as us.What we orderedItalian breaded pork chops
Chicken with enchilada sauce
How was the packaging?This was some pro packaging, you guys. The brown paper bags that contain the veggies are recycled and compostable, and I LOVED that most of the vegetables were pre-chopped and ready to go. I do not want to chop a stupid onion when I’m starving, or when I’m at risk of burning something, and I did not have to do that with these meals. Things were ready to freakin’ go. Heck yes. My kind of box.
If I have to chop cilantro, I’m a’ight with it. If I have to chop carrots, I want to burn down the kitchen. The fact that most of the ingredients were chopped and ready to go kept my feelings of destruction at bay, and kept the meal edible. Hell yeah, that’s a win.
Our score: 5 out of 5 compost pilesHow easy were these to cook?I’m pretty intimidated by both pork and steak, but let me tell you, if all pork and steak were this easy to figure out, I’d be the Gordon Ramsey of journalism. Part of what helped was that the recipes were broken down by the main dish and the sides, and they were even numbered so I knew exactly where I should be and when. I didn’t feel the need to jump ahead because of how well laid out these instructions were, and – praise the food gods – I didn’t burn anything or undercook anything, either. Everything was easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5 microwavesSo, how’d they turn out?I’m going to just brag a bit here and tell you that I CONQUERED THE HELL out of these meals. Green Chef is by far my favorite of the boxes we’ve reviewed so far. The meals were so easy to make, and even with my subpar kitchen skills and sticky child hands touching everything, these meals were still gotdang delicious.
I’m not exaggerating, either. I wasn’t sold on the recipes initially – especially the sides, which were things like pinto beans, corn, and slaw – but they turned out so nicely. Pork isn’t easy to cook, but it’s really freaking easy to overcook, and thanks to this recipe, I made it work. Even the steak, which I’m normally intimidated by, turned out pretty well.
So did the sides, which were ultimately my favorite part. The barley and mushrooms that accompanied the pork chops looked like a sloppy mess as I was cooking it, but it ended up tasting like delicious Parmesan risotto, and I ate the leftovers out of a pan with a spoon.
I did the same thing with that colorful slaw that went alongside the enchilada chicken. Please send that in every box. It is the cabbage bomb.
Our rating: 5 out of 5 at-home Michelin starsWould we order these Green Chef meals again?Honestly, you can tear these Green Chef boxes out of my cold, dead, lazy hands. I loved them. The food isn’t as Instagram-worthy as some of the other boxes we’ve tried – chicken on a bed of beans and corn isn’t exactly pretty – but they were so delicious that I truly do not care. I do not care if you’re jealous of what my Insta-meals look like, because they taste so good, it ain’t even worth worrying about the pretty plating.
Who would like these Green Chef meals?Um, e’rybody. You Durangatangs are hella conscious about things like organics and sustainable farming, and Green Chef is the only box out there that’s certified organic. Add that to the fact that the recipes are killer, and you’ve got yourself a big ol’ winner with this one.