If you’re like most parents, getting a nutritious meal on the table — one that everyone will like and that doesn’t involve plain noodles or chicken nuggets — is about as easy as getting a five-year-old down for nap time. But put down the pasta, Mama! Read on to find out more about One Potato, a cool meal delivery service that aims to feed whole families fresh, organic meals, and maybe even get your little chefs helping out in the kitchen, too. (Really!)

photo: One Potato

What is it?

One Potato’s goal is simple: It wants to help you make just one meal for your whole family. Yep, no more “kids meals” for grown-ups, or “grown-up food” that kids won’t eat. With One Potato’s 30-minutes-or-less recipes and ready-to-go ingredients, you’ll be able to quickly make nutritious meals that are simple enough for most picky eaters (Pizza! Burgers!) and that actually taste good (Chicken tikka masala! Potato spinach dosas!).

“[Weelicious] was all about me not wanting to be a short-order cook and wanting to make one meal the whole family would eat,” said One Potato CEO Catherine McCord.  “People kept saying, ‘I’ve got the cookbook, I’ve got the recipes, just please send me the food.’ . . . That’s why One Potato was born. It’s so that three nights a week you don’t have to menu-plan.”

McCord knows a thing or two about feeding kids. A mom of three kids and a trained chef, she founded the popular recipe website Weelicious after her first son was born. The site, and two bestselling Weelicious cookbooks that followed, offer a slew of recipes that kids and their parents will enjoy. She founded One Potato in 2016 and the company, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, recently expanded to include all of California as well as Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.

Like other meal delivery kits, the One Potato box is delivered weekly and comes with all the ingredients you need to make your chosen meals. All of the ingredients pre-measured and pre-chopped. Basically: All you have to do is cook.

Of course, DIY dinner deliveries are nothing new. But for busy moms and dads, One Potato has one cool thing going for it: It’s the only such service dedicated to feeding the whole family. Which means, the turkey chili or vegetarian Calzone will be gobbled up just as readily by your 3-year-old as by you and your hubby. At least, that’s the goal. (See this writer’s personal experience with One Potato below).

Another win: It also dishes up all organic, locally-sourced meats and produce. And, servings are tailored to reflect children’s portions: A “Five Potato” plan, for instance, is designed to feed two adults and three children (though we found that our delivery boxes had plenty of room for second and third helpings).

photo: One Potato

Pre-Measured, Pre-Chopped… And Cookie Dough!

You know your time is valuable when you nix the idea of mashed potatoes because peeling is just… too… much. With One Potato, all of the ingredients, from the seasonings to the veggies, are ready-to-use so that all you really need to do is throw everything together according to the directions (which are also simple). This isn’t meant to be a gourmet meal, after all; it’s a family dinner your kids can help you make.

Every week, One Potato gives you a choice of five seasonal dinners plus six staples that are always available (these include turkey, beef, & veggie burgers, plus spaghetti & meatballs and one-pan chicken). Each recipe has step-by-step instructions with photos — plus tips on how kids can help out in the meal-making.

To top it off, every One Potato delivery comes with a roll of organic slice-and-bake cookie dough.

photo: One Potato

Did Someone Say Prizes?

Of course, not all kids will want to try a baked chicken arepa just because Mom says it’s “kid-friendly.” So for kids who need a little more incentive at the dinner table, McCord has created a program (set to launch by May) that will offer badges and prizes for everything from helping in the kitchen to making small talk at the table. When kids collect enough badges, they can trade them in for prizes.

The program was developed based on Harvard University’s “Family Dinner Project,” which touts the plethora of social and emotional benefits for kids who eat dinner as a family,

“As much as One Potato is a food company,” McCord said, “it really has such a bigger mission and that’s to get families eating dinner together.”

What’s the Cost-Benefit?

Now’s about when you wonder: What does all this cost? The answer: Not as much as buying all of the required ingredients separately (though more than if you were to stick to the traditional kids’ staples of chicken nuggets and noodles). A “Four Potato” plan (which feeds a family of four) with three nights of meals, for instance, costs $104 weekly. That breaks down into about $8 a person. Not cheap, but certainly less than going out to eat.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Our Take on the Experience

Our first One Potato box arrived Tuesday night — too late for Tuesday’s dinner, but that was OK; at least I had the rest of the week covered. The box was sufficiently cold-packed, so I wasn’t worried about anything going bad in transit. Note: McCord, who subscribes to the service herself, said she leaves her boxes overnight before she even opens them. That’s how cold they are.

All of the ingredients were clearly-labeled and fresh, with each night’s chosen meal contained in its own bag.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Making the Meal

When it came time for cooking, the step-by-step instructions were a cinch to follow, and while my two older kids weren’t all that interested in helping out in the kitchen (because TV), my littlest foodie happily busied herself placing fries onto a baking sheet — an accomplishment which compelled her to try at least a few bites of the finished product. I also loved that I didn’t have to cut said fries.

We ordered three meals for our first week. These included: Turkey burgers and fries; Chicken and quinoa burrito bowls; and turkey chili with cornbread. Of the three meals we tried, the turkey burgers were far-and-away the fam favorite, though I’m embarrassed to admit that the lightly-seasoned, oven-baked fries just weren’t McDonalds enough for my kids.

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The burrito bowls were enjoyed by everyone, with the best part being the buffet of toppings bowls lined across the table. Helping themselves to their own toppings meant way more toppings than quinoa. But, dinner was eaten=success.

The chili was a little too flavorful for my kids (even despite the fact that I left out most of the spice). But that’s probably my fault for choosing chili for three kids whose most out-of-the-box dining experience is a California roll. They did devour the cornbread though, and hubby and I enjoyed the chili leftovers the next day.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Still Going…

Despite the chili fail, I decided to continue our One Potato subscription (and still going!). We’ve since tried a few other meals, including ricotta spinach ravioli, chicken burgers, pea-lafel cakes (which are, basically, falafel cakes made with peas), and another round of turkey burgers. The kids don’t always eat everything on their plates, but I love that I’m exposing them to more culinary tastes than crispy Dino nuggets and ranch dressing.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m no Pinterest mom. Eventually, the hope is that seeing turkey chili on the table won’t be such a surprise.

Until then, at least the burgers are organic.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

One Potato
Available throughout L.A.
Cost: Plans start at $59.79 per week.

Have you tried One Potato or another meal delivery service? Let us know your family-favorites in the comments below!

—Melissa Heckscher

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