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Harry & David vs Magic Kitchen
Who has the best Prepared Meals? How many times have you come home after a long day and stared blankly at your refrigerator or pantry, trying to figure out what to eat? Or stopped at the drive-thru for fast food because the thought of coming up with something for dinner was just too much?
You're not alone. For people who'd like the convenience of fast food with the benefits of home cooking, Prepared Meals are the answer. For every imaginable palate and preference, there's a prepared meal service that can help. Several of today's most popular services send you high-quality, often organic ingredients - including fresh produce like shallots and herbs - saving you the hassle of planning your meals and going to the store.
When it comes to making an impression, Harry & David has your back. Well known for having a gift for every occasion, especially with respect to food, this store sells gift baskets, gourmet treats, and more - ideal for personal or professional presents.
It might surprise you to learn that Harry & David also carries a decent array of delicious entrees, appetizers, and other meal options, with even the most complicated menu items requiring only that you reheat them before serving at your company dinner or family gathering.
Of course, because their focus is not solely on Prepared Meals, Harry & David doesn't carry as many options as other services in our review. Still, you'll find over 3 dozen options from appetizers like an Antipasto Wine Pairing Collection to premium main courses like Surf-and-Turf or Salmon Wellington. Be sure to look at the customer reviews on the items you choose; some of them may not taste as good as they look, according to the comments.
Looking for a best-seller? Search for the Sliced Ham and Turkey. Priced at $64.99, this main course has over 60 reviews and an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, Harry & David leads the pack. Their commitment to their shoppers means that refunds and replacements are easy to get, if your Prepared Meal is anything less than stellar. Another customer-friendly perk offered by Harry & David is the Celebrations Passport. With an annual membership fee of $29.99, you'll get free shipping for one year - not just at this store, but across several brands like 1-800-Flowers and The Popcorn Factory. Given that you can spend up to $11.99 just to ship one item from Harry & David, that membership would easily pay for itself after a handful of gift-giving occasions or dinner parties.
If you're looking for a healthy, fresh-ingredients meal after a long day at work, or a meal plan to help you lose weight, you won't find it at Harry & David. On the other hand, if a special event is on the horizon and you want to put together an impressive meal - without all the planning, shopping, or work in the kitchen - this is one of the best choices you'll find.
For more than 15 years, Magic Kitchen has made it their goal to offer Prepared Meals for seniors and more. Especially for those who don't have access to pots, pans, or a full kitchen, their flash-frozen, TV dinner-style meals are convenient and come in a variety of menu plans for different dietary needs.
Looking at the options provided by Magic Kitchen under the "Dietary Interest" part of the site, you'll quickly see why this service is so useful for seniors. Menu options include:
No matter which one you choose, each Prepared Meal typically consists of two sides and an entree. Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach, Eggplant Parmigiana with Polenta & Spinach, and Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Saute are some of the more popular entrees on the menu.
You'll find options for purchasing meals a la carte or as part of a package. If you'd like or order individual Prepared Meals, you'll find them categorized by Mains, Soups, Sides, Desserts, and Snacks. Some of those are listed as "family size", so if you need to have a cake big enough for visitors or want to serve a meal to guests from out of town, you'll be able to do all of your shopping in one place.
To get started with Magic Kitchen, you have to reach out to them by phone or email. While that's definitely less convenient than companies that let you sign up for Prepared Meals online, it's part of their process for getting you a customized package that perfectly meets your needs.
What will it cost? That depends on your unique plan, but here's the sample package offered for reference:
Signing up for the Magic Kitchen email newsletter could also be helpful. They give you information about special deals, and when we signed up we also got a 10% discount off our next purchase.
As with most Prepared Meals providers, there are no contracts or commitments with your plan. Deliveries can be shipped automatically on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. And, you can select the individual entrees in your plan or have them selected for you by Magic Kitchen staff according to the dietary parameters you've indicated.
All of your meals are prepared in and shipped from the Magic Kitchen warehouse in Kansas; they come packaged in dry ice in a recyclable, reusable Styrofoam container. Unfortunately, you have to pay at least $18 to $20 in shipping costs; your final cost is determined by the weight of your package and your zip code.
We appreciate the company's satisfaction guarantee. Should any of your meals arrive in bad condition or spoiled in any way, it will be replaced at no extra charge. And, if any of the Prepared Meals aren't 100% delicious, you can either ask that it be replaced in your next order or that you receive a store credit. Magic Kitchen aims for round-the-clock phone coverage for any questions or concerns, with primary business hours of 7:30A-11:30P Central every day.
Now, for the most important question: how do the Prepared Meals actually taste? Customer responses are a mixed bag. For some customers, especially within Magic Kitchen's primary audience (namely, senior citizens needing healthy meals that are simple to prepare), they and their caregivers say that it's been a good fit. But, others not in that particular group have complained that the meals get watery after being reheated, and that the unappetizing photos of the entrees are an accurate representation of how they taste. Plus, given that the meals have an average cost per serving of $12 or more, they're often disappointing for people wanting more than a reheat-and-eat Prepared Meal.
Magic Kitchen is a good resource for seniors and people who have a specific dietary plan to follow, who want the convenience of TV dinner-style meals that are also healthy. But, their Prepared Meals are priced on the higher end of the spectrum, and they're probably not too appealing for younger customers who want fresh ingredients and new recipes to try in the kitchen.
If you have a loved one that needs to start eating a special diet for diabetes or other medical issues, you can choose a prepared meals company that offers ready-to-reheat meals packaged similarly to a TV dinner and that have been carefully created by nutritionists specifically for that condition.
On the other hand, maybe you've been tasked with bringing a mind-blowing main course to an important company function, but your skills in the kitchen are limited to boiling water and burning toast. No problem: just choose a Prepared Meals service that focuses on gourmet-level, special occasion entrees like chicken cordon bleu or even surf-and-turf.
When deciding which company is a good fit for your delivery of Prepared Meals, you'll soon notice that there's a wide variety to choose from. How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some things to consider as you look at each service:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Prepared Meals Delivery Companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right company to deliver the kind of meals you want, directly to your doorstep!
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