Best Prepared Meals
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Sunbasket vs Gourmet Station
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.
Headquartered in CA, Sun Basket brings you whole grains, "good fats", high-quality protein and nutrient-dense produce in every Prepared Meal they offer. You probably won't even miss the processed ingredients and added sugars that are so common in foods these days, because Sun Basket's entrees are delicious and healthy too.
Like many of the Prepared Meals providers in our review, Sun Basket's deliveries come with fresh ingredients and recipes to follow: no reheat-and-eat entrees here. For that reason, you should plan on having some basic pantry staples available, such as:
Sun Basket keeps it simple when it comes to Prepared Meals: choose between the Family Menu or the Classic Menu. What's the difference? If you've got kids, chances are good that you also have a picky eater in the mix. The Family Menu includes a number of kid-friendly entrees that also invite you to have your child help with the cooking. Even if your child follows a vegetarian diet, Sun Basket has a meal plan for him or her too.
On the other hand, if you prefer a wider variety of flavors, you'll want to consider the Classic Menu. Choices include the following varieties:
In this plan, it's no problem to select entrees across various cuisine types. Maybe you are a pescatarian and your partner has diabetes; feel free to customize your Prepared Meals plan to include recipes that meet both of those preferences.
Sun Basket keeps their pricing simple too. On the Family Menu, servings cost $10.99 each, and you decide if you want 2, 3, or 4 recipes to prepare every week. Each recipe in this plan makes four adult-sized portions. With the Classic Menu, you'll get 3 recipes each week, with your choice of 2 or 4 servings; each serving costs $11.99.
Sun Basket's Prepared Meals all come well-packaged to stay fresh, even if the box sits on your porch for a while. But, the company recommends that you refrigerate your ingredients as soon as they come out of the box (when appropriate). If you've ordered a Prepared Meal with shellfish or seafood, you'll want to eat it within 3 days of delivery, and recipes with mushrooms/delicate greens/poultry/meat should be prepared and eaten within 5 days. Because of those guidelines, Sun Basket doesn't offer delivery in Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, or some areas in New Mexico.
What do customers have to say about the Sun Basket experience? Some clients have enjoyed the Prepared Meals service for years. They've stuck around because almost every recipe has been a success, and Sun Basket reps have been helpful with sending timely replacements for those that didn't go over as well. Given that Sun Basket advertises a 100%, no-questions-asked refund policy, we'd expect that level of service.
However, there were also more than a few complaints from customers who said that getting that refund - or even a replacement or store credit - was not as easy as promised. Plus, some people who tried Sun Basket in addition to other companies offering Prepared Meals said that this service seemed to send recipes with smaller servings while charging higher prices.
Sun Basket gets points for having so many menu options, and for making kids a part of the process. You may need to be proactive in getting help for missing or spoiled ingredients, though, and you should expect that your portion sizes might be smaller than you'd like.
For more than 15 years, Gourmet Station's Prepared Meals have been delivered to over 100,000 customers. Their primary focus is gift-giving, especially for employers looking to give incentives to workers or holiday gifts to clients. But, everything that Gourmet Station sells can just as conveniently be purchased for a personal special occasion, such as an anniversary or birthday.
To see your options, start by choosing a category: Soup & Appetizers, Monthly Clubs, Gift Certificates, Meal Plans, Occasion Dinners, or Dinner Gifts. Of all the possibilities, the last one has the most impressive options:
Also, in the Dinner Gift category, you'll find Steak Dinner Gifts, Dinner of the Month, and Wagyu (Kobe) Steaks.
The Dinner of the Month option is also found as part of Gourmet Station's Monthly Clubs. If you'd like to spread your gift-giving over several deliveries - for yourself or for a lucky recipient of your generosity - your options include Soup or Dessert of the Month or even full dinners with 2, 3, or 4 courses.
But, most customers looking for Prepared Meals want something they can eat during a typical week. In that case, Gourmet Station's Meal Plans are the best option. Each package provides five meals a week for one person; cuisine choices include Americana, International, Parisian, Cajun, and Tuscan, with five entrees and side vegetables. You'll select Pasta, Beef, Pork, Seafood, and Poultry meals within each of those menu choices; the vegetable is determined automatically by the entree you choose. For example, the Tuscan menu may come with Oven-Roasted Veggies, or the International entree is accompanied by Creamy Spinach & Artichokes.
Every Prepared Meal delivered by Gourmet Station should be refrigerated that day and eaten within 3 days; otherwise, you should freeze it for later reheating. Meals are also expected to be reheated in a traditional oven, not the microwave. This isn't as convenient as some of the TV dinner-style Prepared Meals plans in our review, but it helps your gourmet food stay tasting - well, gourmet!
Your delivery options are limited to arrivals on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Although you can schedule your packages to arrive several months in advance, for a special occasion or other event, you'll still have to choose one of those three days because of UPS' delivery requirements.
Gourmet Station makes it incredibly easy to deliver a five-star restaurant-quality meal to your doorstep (or to someone else's), needing just a 30-minute reheating in the oven for some items. On the other hand, if you're trying to lose weight or you're looking for the most economical Prepared Meals plan on the market, this probably isn't the service you'll choose.
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!
Prepared Meals In The News
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