When most people think of ready-made meals, they envision inexpensive supermarket food that is often high in fat and sugar.
But with mLots of closed restaurants and lockdown cooking fatigue will tire even the most enthusiastic home cooks. Many would like to try gourmet meal plans at home.
This has spurred the rise of some very fancy ready-to-eat meals – from the Love Yourself health conscious keto plan, which sends you all your food for £ 135 prepared Noble House for five days – run by a former Gordon Ramsay chef and delivers top notch frozen ones home oven-ready meals.
There was also an explosion in Meal sets and Recipe boxes with plateaway and restaurant kits being put on the market so people can Create your favorite food at home.
So is it worth paying seven times the price of a frozen supermarket meal to try a curated meal at home? Here FEMAIL tries the classiest dishes on the market …
COSTS: Meals cost around £ 6.50 per person
WHAT IS IT: ByRuby recipes are made with natural ingredients that they say are delicious when cooked from frozen water.
Meals include Ruby’s Fish Pie, free range roast chicken, bacon and leek cakes, wild mushroom risotto, miso ramen with rice noodles and tofu, and free range chicken in bone broth.
byRuby also offers a subscription service. Just tick the meals you like, then indicate how often you would like them to be delivered. Voila, they come in an insulated box so you don’t even have to be there when they are delivered.
FEMAIL’S Georgia Simcox tried them out.
ByRuby recipes are made with natural ingredients that they say are delicious when cooked from frozen water. FEMAIL’S Georgia Simcox tried them out
GEORGIA SAYS: ByRuby’s meals were convenient, tasty, and tasty – especially the chicken, leek, and bacon pie. I don’t think you would be able to guess it was frozen food if it wasn’t served in the classic plastic wrap.
It went in the oven for 45-50 minutes and left the pastries nice, flaky, and crispy. There was a good amount of filling and a good ratio of all the different ingredients in a rich sauce. It was a very generous portion size and good value for money. Similarly, the fish pie was also full of flavor and the lemon really came through.
The spinach ricotta cannelloni were delicious too, with lots of filling channeled perfectly through each of the tubes. All it took was 40 minutes in the oven which made it a really quick and convenient lunch. The pasta was perfectly crispy, with a rich and smooth tomato sauce and creamy bechamel. The grass-fed beef bourguignon was very filling and the meat was tender and not too tough. But it felt like it needed a carbohydrate to do it, like potatoes and more carrots.
I was disappointed with the “death by chocolate” brownies as they felt more like a cake than a brownie. They were quite crumbly and, despite their name, had no chocolate flavor. The ground almonds used in place of flowers gave them a nice taste and they are a great option for a gluten and dairy free desert. – Georgia Simcox
GEORGIA SAYS: ByRuby’s meals were practical, tasty, and tasty – especially the chicken, leek, and bacon pie. I don’t think you could guess it was frozen food if it wasn’t served in the classic plastic wrap
COSTS: Mostly prices at £ 6.95 per person
WHAT IS IT: The attentive chef says he offers healthy solutions for all lifestyles at every opportunity.
The company offers one-person, two-person and family meals as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, flexible, vegetarian and pescatarian diets.
Ready-made meals include smoky chipotle chicken, chickpea tikka masala, creamy coconut fish pie, and miso eggplant.
FEMAIL Hayley Richardson tried it out …
The attentive chef says he offers healthy solutions for all lifestyles at every opportunity. The company offers one-person, two-person and family meals as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, flexible, vegetarian and pescatarian diets. FEMAIL Hayley Richardson tried it out.
HAYLEY SAYS: I have to admit I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to ready-made meals – I have to find one that won’t make me feel a little sad inside when I scrape it out of its plastic container and onto a plate
HAYLEY SAYS:: I have to admit that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to ready-made meals – I have yet to find one that won’t make me feel a little sad inside when I scrape it out of its plastic container onto a plate.
But I can honestly say that these Mindful Chef frozen meals changed my mind. They were seriously good; full of flavor and impressively fresh tasting, especially when it comes to vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower which you would normally expect to be a bit moist.
They could easily pass as homemade food – it shows they were hand cooked in small quantities.
The Fiery Panang Chicken Curry was a favorite of mine – it was super spicy and the black rice (which came out al dente) and cashews gave it a nice crunch. The Moroccan lamb shoulder tagine was beautifully flavorful and tender too, and my partner also enjoyed the rustic chicken cacciatore and the smoky chipotle chicken.
Hayley tried the cashew chickpea korma with black rice (left) and the Delhi with spinach, fried butternut squash, and brown rice (right).
The Thai green chicken curry impressed me too; It tasted more like something you’d get to take away than a ready-made meal – the only thing that disappointed was the vegan creamy mushroom and butter bean casserole as I felt it lacked a bit of flavor and punch.
While I enjoyed cooking more during lockdown, the beauty of these handy meals is that you can take one out of the freezer and put it in the oven for 40 minutes (or in the microwave for eight minutes if you’re in Are in a hurry). and not feel like compromising.
Most cost around the £ 7 mark, which makes them more expensive than your average ready-to-eat meal. However, if you’re buying two-person servings it will cost you around £ 6 each, which is pretty reasonable when you factor in how much it would cost you to cook some of these dishes from scratch.
They also offer bundled deals on the website. I expect to order a batch to have it in stock when we get back to normal.
COSTS: Between £ 2 and £ 7
WHAT IS IT: Shuro Shirin was founded by two brothers who were inspired by their mother’s kitchen growing up. With its blend of aromatic flavors, spices, and healthy ingredients, the range is perfect for keeping the freezer filled with delicious, simple meals.
Food is a big part of Persian culture and while Persian food is full of flavor and nutrients it can be time consuming to prepare, with some of the stews (khoresht) taking all day – Shuro Shirin takes all the stress out with no mess, no stress and no cooking! The Shuro Shirin range is frozen as soon as it is finished cooking. This will capture all of the flavors so no preservatives are required and the food contains all of the vitamins and nutrients. For this reason, frozen meals contain far fewer saturated fats, salt and sugar than chilled ready-to-eat meals.
FEMAIL’S Latoya Gayle gave it a try.
Shuro Shirin was founded by two brothers who were inspired by their mother’s kitchen growing up. With its mix of aromatic flavors, spices and healthy ingredients, the range is perfect for keeping the freezer stocked with tasty, simple meals. FEMAIL’S Latoya Gayle gave it a try.
LATOYA SAYS :: Shuro Shirin offered me a selection of her vegetarian Persian dishes: saffron rice with dill and broad beans, saffron rice with barberries, eggplant and pea stew, Persian creamy barley soup, grilled eggplant and walnut dip, smoked eggplant and tomato dip and pistachio Baklava .
Meals arrived in an insulated box with ice packs to keep meals frozen during transport. I was impressed with the colorful packaging, which gave meals a welcoming look. Each meal had box instructions indicating the amount of time to microwave and stir before serving. The soup took the longest to cook with the recommendation to heat for nine minutes. However, I had to heat it a little longer as the center stayed frozen on my first try.
The photos I took don’t do the meals justice as each tasted like it was taken in a restaurant instead of sitting in a freezer and then microwaving.
I also shared the meals with my family, who agreed that the rice dishes looked freshly cooked. I would definitely consider ordering the dishes again. My favorites were the saffron rice with dill and broad beans and the pistachio baklava. I thawed the baklava at room temperature but it didn’t affect the texture or taste.
Latoya said: The photos I took don’t do the meals justice as each one tasted like it was taken in a restaurant instead of sitting in a freezer and then microwaving.
COSTS: £ 20- £ 25 for a box of ten dishes
WHAT IS IT: The Hamilton family have farmed the land around Strangford Lough since the 19th century and launched Mash Direct a decade ago with microwaveable mashed potatoes, parsnips, carrots and more.
The range now includes french fries with beer, crispy vegetable cakes and cauliflower bites.
Jessica Green from FEMAIL tried it out.
The Hamilton family have farmed the land around Strangford Lough since the 19th century and launched Mash Direct a decade ago with microwaveable mashed potatoes, parsnips, carrots and more. The range now includes french fries with beer, crispy vegetable cakes and cauliflower bites. Jessica Green from FEMAIL tried it out.
Jessica says: I loved this kit because it contained many flavors that I hadn’t tried before.
When I arrived, I was even more excited because the items looked well packaged with clear instructions and looked delicious. Cooking the ingredients was easy enough and the smells coming from my kitchen while the items were in my oven seemed quite pleasant.
Unfortunately, not all items lived up to expectations and were quite bland and definitely no better than some of the offerings in a supermarket.
Even so, there were some highlights, including the onion rings and the potato wedges, which were very enjoyable.
JESSICA SAYS: I was thrilled to receive this kit because it contained a lot of flavors I hadn’t tried before. Unfortunately, not all items lived up to expectations and were quite bland and definitely no better than some of the offerings in a supermarket
COSTS: About £ 2
WHAT IS IT: in the In January, Morrisons launched Nourish. A brand new range for healthier foods that gives the plates a little pizzazz and pizzazz and promotes the health of the customers holistically. The range includes 32 delicious products specially formulated for various health benefits: whether good for your bones, your gut, your heart, your skin health or your immunity.
The new range offers a variety of products that offer bold flavors and vibrant colors and are full of goodness. Nourish encompasses everything from fiber-packed purple grain salads with beetroot, beans, and grains to good-natured smoothies like the super smoothie made from orange and mango. And for protein-rich dinners, there are Naked Katsu Curries or a frozen Chicken Jalfrezi with chickpea and coriander rice.
FEMAIL’S Chloe Morgan gave it a try …
In January, Morrisons launched Nourish; A brand new range for healthier food that gives the plates a little pizzazz and pizzazz and promotes the health of the customers holistically. FEMAIL’S Chloe Morgan gave it a try …
JUDGMENT: I tried the Chicken and Bean Feast first. The Chicken and Beans Fiesta takes less than 9 minutes to cook in the microwave. Full of flavor, there was a generous selection of tender pieces of chicken breast that went perfectly with a spicy tomato, bean and vegetable sauce – all together with a vegetable-spicy long-grain rice mixture. However, the packet didn’t lie when it said it was 3 chilies hot – but I have a very low tolerance when it comes to spicy food! Very impressed to learn that the food was low in fat – not something that was marred by taste or aroma.
Next up, I had the Kickin Chicken Jalfrezi which was a vibrant color and the perfect level of medium seasoning. I have a big appetite and am afraid I might stay hungry, but the portion size was adequately filling – just enough room for dessert! The rice wasn’t oily or too dry and the added chickpeas and coriander were a tasty touch! Not quite comparable to a homemade curry, but not a very good, cheap and quick alternative.
Chloe tried the mighty meatballs and penne noodles (right) and the Singapore-style jackfruit noodles (left).
I also had the mighty meatballs and penne pasta. Noodle dishes bought in the supermarket are usually a big no from me because the noodles are usually clumsy and all stick together. However, I have to make an exception for this one! The noodles were neither slimy nor overcooked and felt like they came straight out of the pot. The rich tomato sauce meant it was full of flavor, while the cannellini beans and red peppers added two welcome new textures and an added crunch. And let’s not forget the meatballs, which tasted more like good quality meat than anything processed. A great meal for those in a hurry!
Last I had the Singapore-style jackfruit-style noodles. The middle spice warning of this dish can’t be missed! Two glasses of water later, I finally managed to finish eating.
Perfect for those who love that extra kick, but to me I felt like it overpowered the more subtle flavors of the creamy sauce, which was a shame. Still, the mixed vegetables and beans were a nice touch and the amount of whole wheat pasta left me completely full.
Skinny Food Co.
COST: Approximately £ 3.50
WHAT IS IT: The Skinny Food Co, a healthy food and beverage brand, has launched a range of Fake Away ready-to-eat meals that offer consumers the opportunity to enjoy a tasty and nutritious version of their favorite take-away meal.
The Skinny Food Co was born out of a need for great tasting, healthy products and powered by diabetic family members who were forced to avoid many preferred foods. That is why the new Fake Away® range is not only rich in protein, low in sugar and low in fat, but also diabetic-friendly.
The ready meals are ready to eat in just 3.5 minutes and contain fewer than 270 calories. They offer a tasty and convenient way to eat healthily. With recipes inspired by MasterChef’s quarter-finalist Chris Hale, the Fake Away® range features amazing flavors from around the world.
Claire Toureille from FEMAIL tried it …
The Skinny Food Co, a healthy food and beverage brand, has launched a range of Fake Away ready-to-eat meals that offer consumers the opportunity to enjoy a tasty and nutritious version of their favorite take-away meal. Claire Toureille from FEMAIL tried it …
CLAIRE ‘SAYS: I don’t usually eat frozen convenience foods because I’m usually wary of their sugar and saturated fat content, but Skinny Food was designed with that in mind, offering low-sugar, high-protein frozen foods that just need to be reheated. Meals come in easy-to-store bags.
I tried the Italian tomato fusilli that are part of their Fake Away line. While it was definitely tasty, I had problems with the consistency of the food because the fusilli were very moist and overcooked. I also had to add some salt to the mix which can be a disappointment when trying to cut down on your salt intake and move on to specially prepared meals.
COSTS: About £ 6.50
WHAT IS IT: Field Doctor, created by Square Pie founder Martin Dewey, Chef Matt Williamson and nutritionist Sasha Watkins, launched frozen foods earlier this year.
These meals are loaded with nutrients and flavor, each of which offers specific health benefits.
The range includes field green risotto, chicken pie with potato tip and Malaysian tofu curry.
Bridie Pearson-Jones from FEMAIL tried it out.
Field Doctor, created by Square Pie founder Martin Dewey, Chef Matt Williamson and nutritionist Sasha Watkins, launched frozen foods earlier this year. Bridie Pearson-Jones from FEMAIL tried it out.
BRIDIE SAYS: I was a little apprehensive about trying these as I’m often quite disappointed with even posh ready-made meals. But I was quickly convinced by Field Doctor.
BRIDIE SAYS:: I was a little apprehensive about trying these as I often find myself quite disappointed with posh ready-made meals.
But I was quickly convinced by Field Doctor. You can tell that really fresh, good quality ingredients are used.
I tried the field green risotto first and it is certainly greener than risotto. With British naked barley with peas, broad beans, asparagus, zucchini and kale topped with pecorino cheese and chopped almonds, it felt more like a chopped salad, but it was delicious nonetheless.
It’s very healthy, but by no means boring, and was perfectly flavored and flavored.
The Malaysian tofu curry which is gluten free was also very enjoyable. While it was high in coconut, it also had the mellow floral flavors and turmeric spices of Southeast Asian curry. In general, I stay away from microwave curries, but I would make an exception.
COSTS: £ 5.62- £ 6.50 per meal
WHAT IS IT: The Brook offers restaurant-quality ready-to-eat meals via a direct on-site service that customers can heat up at home.
Recreate restaurant favorites like Loaded BBQ Nachos and Teriyaki Noodles along with their signature cocktails with these ready-made meal sets, available as a one-time delivery or subscription service.
The menu also features decadent brunch options and a 7-course meal of charcoal sourdough, satay skewers, and vegan fish cakes.
Bridie Pearson-Jones from FEMAIL tried it out.
The Brook offers restaurant-quality ready-to-eat meals via a direct on-site service that customers can heat up at home. Bridie Pearson-Jones from FEMAIL tried it out.
BRIDIE SAYS: I’m a huge fan of black beans and cook with them a lot, so I was excited to try the black bean chilies – even though I had high standards too.
And The Brook met her. While it said cook frozen in 5 minutes, it was still frozen after six minutes in my microwave. It took me almost 20 to finish – but it was worth the wait.
After it was cooked I initially thought it seemed like a lot of rice compared to chili, but when it was all mixed together it looked pretty good.
The packaging suggests adding lime and coriander which I didn’t need to have on hand, but I added some freshly chopped jalpeno and Greek yogurt which really took it to the next level.
It was also pretty low in calories and still filling up.
BRIDIE SAYS: I’m a huge fan of black beans and cook with them a lot, so I was excited to try the black bean chilies – although I had high standards too. And The Brook met her
Bridie sagt: Die Verpackung schlägt vor, Limette und Koriander hinzuzufügen, die ich nicht zur Hand haben musste, aber ich fügte etwas frisch gehackten Jalpeno und griechischen Joghurt hinzu, der es wirklich auf die nächste Stufe brachte