Quarantine has made cooks out of us all, whether we like it or not.
Still, if you want to cut down on trips to the grocery store, simplify your cooking process — or even give the gift of food to somebody — Pittsburgh has a number of locally-based meal kit delivery services to choose from.
Here are five worth checking out:
Chip and Kale
Chip and Kale features vegan-friendly plant-based meals, like Southern Corn Fritter Bowls, Sweet BBQ Pizza (with tofu), Coconut Corn Chowder, Lentil Picadillo Tacos and Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls.
“We deliver plant-based comfort food kits all across the Pittsburgh area as well as ship across the country,” says John Lopez, of the Beechview-based Chip and Kale. “Our kits are prepped, frozen and ready to cook. We are different from some national brands in that if you like to cook but hate the cleanup, we have simplified the process.”
Recently, they featured a simple, warming dinner of Louisiana Bayou Chili — a twist on a traditional Louisiana stew — with onions, peppers, garlic, red beans and Cajun seasonings simmered in tomato broth.
All the shopping, chopping and measuring is done beforehand, and each meal kit is frozen fresh, without preservatives, and labeled with instructions that require only your pots and pans.
“Our meal kits are different from others because of the prep,” explains Lopez. “Our kits arrive frozen, numbered and prepped for cooking. Kits can last up to six months in the freezer. What we are able to do is lower the food waste because of this feature. No more wasting food and no more ‘eating your money,’ which is extremely important in today’s climate.”
They’ll also send meals outside of the Pittsburgh area as far as the Midwest, Miami and Maine.
PGH Fresh delivers “heat and eat” dishes that split the difference between comfort food and healthy nourishing cuisine, like Butter Chicken with colorful heirloom root vegetables and broccolini, Chicken Parmesan with Asparagus, and Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs with Asian Vegetables — which is also available in a vegan Impossible meatball version.
“We have been very busy for the first two weeks of the quarantine,” says Ling Wollenschlaeger, the company’s founder and head chef. “This past weekend, we flattened back to our normal order numbers. We are very fortunate in that sense. A lot of people reach out to send meals to their elderly parents and we are very honored to be able to help out with the elderly that definitely need services like us during this time.”
There are single-serving dishes, and portions that feed a family of four available.
The poultry is antibiotic and hormone-free, the beef is grass-fed and the pork is sourced from farms that treat their animals humanely, says Wollenschlaeger. “Making every dish/dressing/sauce from scratch also means we can accommodate clients’ dietary needs, such as low/no sodium, gluten and cheese.”
PGH Fresh delivers food via a subscription service, which saves you 20%, or offers one-time purchases.
They deliver all over Pittsburgh — a 30-mile radius from Downtown, as far north as Zelienople, as far west as Beaver, east to Irwin, and south to Washington, PA.
Fresh Prep PGH
Fresh Prep PGH specializes in simplicity. All meals are cooked and ready to eat, and just need to be heated up.
“At the moment we are still operating during these tough times,” says Bobby Franklin, CEO of Fresh Prep PGH. “All of our deliveries are contactless, and we text our customers prior to drop off.”
They specialize in comfort food classics like Pan-Seared Tilapia, Shrimp Scampi, Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers and Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce —a ll rounded out with a side of grains and/or veggies.
The specials rotate with each season and most meals can be customized, says Franklin, who notes that everything they cook is fresh, never frozen.
Discounts begin when a customer orders 11 meals or more. “We also have monthly meal packages of 40, 60 and 120 meals that can be used however the customer likes,” he says. “All the customer has to do is heat it up in the microwave for 1:30-2 minutes, and they have a meal ready.”