I have a confession to make: I love food and I can’t cook. Well, I am good with the microwave but that’s it as far as I’ll go with the appliances in my kitchen.
I love watching pretty much everything on the Food Network, but trying their recipes doesn’t end well. And now there are all these home meal kits and home delivery services, like Plated.
It’s like the universe is telling me to give cooking one more try.
So, I decided to take small steps. I didn’t want to get too deep into the cooking process; I wanted something that has little prep time, has simple recipes and uses quality ingredients – nothing processed or too spicy. I don’t know about you, but I am a wimp when it comes to spicy foods.
I wanted to find an affordable family meal plan, delicious dishes my entire family would like. I didn’t want to go too specialized, like a personal meal plan like Atkins either.
While hunting around online, I learned about all the meal kit delivery programs and the prepared foods you could buy on Amazon. I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing. Then I came across What A Crock.
It’s a meal-kit delivery service that prepares meals to be made in a crockpot. What a cool idea!
As I read more about the company, the more excited I got. They make the meals in their kitchen, so everything is portioned correctly and tested. I was very interested in their portions because I tend to eat too much in one sitting, which makes it harder to lose weight.
You can purchase a meal in one of their stores or purchase online. I looked at their menu and everything looked and sounded delicious. But how would they taste? Could these chef-designed recipes really be made in a crockpot? I decided to take the leap and purchased five dinner meals and a dessert (I couldn’t resist). I told my family what I was doing, and they were skeptical of the idea, not because of the company, but of me actually following directions and cooking (yes, it’s cooking because I am using a crockpot).
Ordering on their website was easy and they had a lot of meal options. I was spared a trip to the grocery store the week I planned the meals. My weekly menu consisted of chicken, beef, sausage, pasta, vegetables and pork – and a brownie. How it works is that you simply dump the meal pouches into the crockpot, set the temperature and go!
Monday – Chicken Pot Pie Stew
I chose this meal because it got me geared up for the cooler temperatures of fall. The ingredients read like a daily harvest of vegetables: carrots, corn, peas, and potatoes. It even came with an herb sauce (one less thing for me to make). The prep time was about five hours and all I had to do was drop it in the crockpot. There was a tip to add Pillsbury dough on top, but I didn’t get around to getting the dough. I worried that the stew would be watery, or like soup, but it wasn’t. It was delicious! I couldn’t believe that it tasted like home cooking. The vegetables weren’t mushy, and the sauce was tangy, not spicy. This is going to be on my “cooking list”! My only issue is that it doesn’t take as long as the other meals to make. It was a good thing I left work early to make this meal.
Tuesday – Sausage Meatballs
Nothing makes a Sunday meal special like meatballs and pasta. The meatballs are made from Maglio’s sausage. Maglio’s has been a staple in Philadelphia (PA) for over 60 years. They specialize in making quality sausage for retail food businesses. The meatballs were a good size and quite juicy. The meal comes with Grandma’s gravy, which adds even more flavor to the meatballs. The pasta completes the meal and is hearty (and saves me another trip to the grocery store). The proportioned ingredients were easily put together too. I was surprised at how this freshly-made meal reminded me of eating our favorite Italian restaurant.
Wednesday – Old Fashioned Pot Roast
I swore I would never make pot roast for my family since I wasn’t a fan of it growing up. But, the image and the description on the website won me over. It comes with a large cut of beef and a vegetable medley. It takes longer than the other meals, but it was worth the wait. The beef was so tender, and the vegetables were delicious – a mix of carrots, onions, celery, and red potatoes. However, my daughter didn’t care for the sauce. And you must make sure the crockpot is filled at least a quarter of the pot or the sauce will burn. I’m not sure if I am putting on “cooking list.”
Thursday – BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
I was very hesitant about making pulled pork in a crock pot. We have a few restaurants near us that make great pulled pork sandwiches. Yet, the pork came out great! It was so easy to pull apart with a fork. It had the ingredients you’d expect with a southern BBQ sauce, including paprika, molasses, and brown sugar. It was sweet and spicy, a good balance. I don’t care for sauces that one or the other. The website has some great recipes for serving the pork. Again, this dish takes a long time to make. So, this and the pot roast would be good for the weekend.
Friday – Mexican Chicken Fiesta
I thought I would end the work week on a festive note. My family has had authentic Mexican cuisine, so this was a no-brainer. You get strips of chicken breast that are cooked in a light chili sauce. Remember, I am not one for spicy food, but I was able to enjoy this sauce. There were green peppers, corn, bean, and onions. Each portion is a two-person meal, so I doubled up. I like having leftovers! I put the chicken and sauce in super-soft flour tortillas. You can also make it as tacos. For a heartier meal, add rice.
Friday Dessert – Vegan Double Chocolate Brownie
I just had to try this! It’s not for the crock pot, but it looked so good. It does have a fudgy-brownie consistency and didn’t have the oily taste as some box brownie mixes have. One bar is pretty big, but I am a die-hard chocoholic and got four bars (don’t judge). I suggest warming a bar up and adding a scoop of vanilla or pumpkin (seasonal) ice cream.
Americans Love their Crock Pots
Americans have embraced the crock pot. And why not? You can make a wholesome meal without a big kitchen mess.
From this experience, I would recommend the meal kit service from What a Crock. Each meal is made from fresh ingredients and there are some meals made with seasonal ingredients (e.g. Pumpkin Pie Perfection).
You’ll receive easy-to-follow recipes that come in the form of recipe cards, which are concise and fun to collect. I loved the fact that my grocery shopping was taken over by these delicious meals, and they made budgeting quick and easy. You can have them delivered to your home with convenient delivery dates when ordering online.
I have to say that the best meal was the Chicken Pot Pie Stew. If you are looking for a different meal plan, check out What a Crock today!
Guest Blog Provided by Ellen Ganime, a freelance writer who loves trying new cuisines and exploring the towns around her home. She lives in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, with her husband and daughter.