If the ongoing pandemic is changing the way you’re eating (and shopping), we’re right there with you. Thank goodness for local companies (and a few not-so-local) that make delish meal kits and deliver food so busy parents can focus on all the other things they need to get done during the week. Want to find out what you’re serving for dinner? Keep reading.

Chef-Created Dinners That Feed Everyone: FamilyMeals

Because eating out isn’t an option for most families in the time of COVID, and cooking dinner every night can be a chore, local Seattle chefs Jesse Smith and Maximillian Petty launched FamilyMeals. This dynamic chef duo (they're both parents, so they get it) work to create meals that excite parents, but are accessible for kids too, so families can enjoy restaurant quality dinners without leaving home.

How it works: Variety is the key to this local business pivot. From the menu that changes daily, to the subscription offers and meal sizes, customizing your chef-prepared dinners is a cinch. Start with a la carte menu items or opt for a subscription of six, 12 or 20 meals to make it through the month. From there, families decide on meal sizes. If it’s just you two stick with the regular order (serves two to three) or go all in with the XL—it serves six to eight. Whatever you order, it’s prepared fresh that day and delivered ready-to-heat to your doorstep by FamilyMeals' own delivery crew. All you have to do is set the table. Could it be any easier?

What’s it cost? $35-$60 per meal, including delivery.

We think you’ll love: Because everyone loves KFC (that’s Korean Fried Chicken), it’s a winner for December, as is the Honey Ginger Salmon.

FamilyMeals
Online: familymeals.us

photo: Homegrown Goods

Locally-Sourced Meal Kits & More: Homegrown Goods

Adding chef-created meal kits to their prepared meals and grocery delivery seemed a natural fit for this Seattle-based company, who kept hearing from customers that getting healthy, locally sourced meals to the table was a challenge during the pandemic. Enter Chef Michaela Skloven (Per Se, Gramercy Tavern and Franny’s) and some culinary creativity and the new dinner kits were born. 

How it works: It’s as simple as adding a meal kit, prepared meal or other kitchen provision to your cart and checking out. You’ll find your order on the doorstep the next day in a sealed box. Each kit is prepared daily, serves two and takes about 20 minutes to cook. Meals stay fresh for about three to five days, so there’s no pressure to cook it that night. Feel free to make your delivery a one time thing or make a weekly commitment to save 5% on all your purchases.

What’s it cost? Around $20 per dinner.

We think you’ll love: If they're on the menu, give the Tandoori Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower or Winter Vegetable Bake a try (psst.. fifty percent of the dinner options are plant-based). We also love that families can add kid meals that make breakfast and lunch that much easier to their order.

Homegrown Goods
Online: homegrowngoods.com

photo: courtesy Pick Me Up

Prepared Meal Two-fer: Pick Me Up

If there’s one thing busy parents understand, it’s other busy parents who are trying to balance kids, school, work and childcare. When Seattle parents, Rachael and Phil encountered this eternal problem, they came up with a solution. They took Phil’s skills as a chef and Rachael’s as an organizer to create Pick Me Up, the chef-prepared meal service that lets Seattle and Eastside parents get dinner delivered to their homes or to a daycare partner.

How it works: The system is streamlined through an app to make it easy. All you have to do is set up an account, select your meals and portion size (the meals serve one, two or four), heat and enjoy. The meals rotate weekly and each day has a couple of options to choose from; we love the kids meal variations offered for each too. From there, families can either choose to pick their meal up at a participating daycare or have it delivered to their doorstep, packed and chilled between noon and 5 p.m. the next day (order cut off is 10 p.m. the day before). While the kiddos set the table, you heat up the meal. Voila, dinner is served!

What’s it cost? Meal pricing varies, but generally speaking, expect to spend about $12-$25 per meal.

We think you’ll love: It’s hard to go wrong with the Burrito Bowl (carnitas or vegetarian), and the braised beef short ribs with mashed sweet potatoes and spinach are always a hit too.

Good to know: When you set up the app, use the code 1111 for home delivery.

Pick Me Up
Online: pickmeupseattle.com

photo: courtesy Dream Dinners

Meals for a Month: Dream Dinners

Dream Dinners usually provides a spot for parents to assemble meals using pre-measured, pre-cut ingredients to last them a while. Now, the company has pivoted to meet new needs and offers the same delish ready-to-make meals assembled, then frozen, delivered straight to your door. Get a whole month’s worth of meals when you try this new twist on a familiar family fave.

How it works: It all starts online with the monthly menu, where you’ll get an overview of the many meals being offered this month. Then it’s time to dig in and make your meal plan. You'll figure out how many Dream Dinners meals you’d like to serve each week and how many servings you need. Once your plan is complete, add meals to your online cart and schedule a delivery time too. Yep, it's that simple to feed the fam a month's worth of meals. Each order has a minimum purchase of either 12 medium or six large dinners. Meals are assembled by the Dream Dinners staff and frozen before they head your way.

What’s it cost? Prices vary depending on the meals you select, but plan to spend between $15-$20 per medium meal (feeds 2-3) and $35-$50 for large meals (feeds 4-6).

We think you’ll love: Since menus change often and favorites stay in the rotation, families will always find something they love. If they're available, put the lemon feta turkey sliders and Savannah grilled chicken with cauliflower on your meals list. Both are palate pleasers for the whole fam.

Good to know: If home delivery isn’t a deal breaker for you, you can pick up your ready-made meals curbside at the West Seattle or Mill Creek stores.

Dream Dinners
Online: dreamdinners.com
425-316-8260 (Mill Creek)
206-938-5999 (Seattle)

photo: courtesy ACME Farms Kitchen

Easy Access to Local Foods: ACME Farms + Kitchen

Co-founder moms, Cara Piscitello and Joy Rubey, started ACME Farms + Kitchen in 2011 with a simple mission–to make access to local food easier. As busy working moms of toddlers, the duo found themselves searching for a simple way to get clean, local food into their homes without having to haul their little ones around to farms, grocery stores and farmers markets. Now, nine years later, they're able to offer ACME boxes to families looking for the same all along the I-5 corridor, from Bellingham to Portland, OR.

How It works: Signing up for an ACME box is as easy as clicking a button and choosing a curated box that's right for your family. You can go the traditional route with a Surf or Turf Box or combo, or make things family focused with either a large or small Family Classics Box. There are also options for those who are grain- and dairy-free, low-carb, vegan or veg. Each box is fully customizable and you can set delivery to meet your needs: once only, weekly, monthly and more. Inside each box you'll find everything you need to make your meals, including pre-made sauces and portioned seasonings, as well as pantry items like chicken broth and coconut milk. There's no need to stop by the store, you're covered. Orders are submitted by Thursday at 9 a.m. and delivered the next Wednesday or Thursday, depending on where you live.

What's it cost? Between $6 to just under $8 per serving, depending on the curated box you choose.

We think you'll love: We're crushing on the ACME Kids Box, the first five of which were curated by Rubey's daughter, with additional boxes curated by kids in the community. These healthy boxes, filled with food kids love and recognize, help them make healthy food choices. And soon it's getting a make-over that will include food pics, empowering kids to create their own healthy lunches (just like those in the pics) straight from the box.

ACME Farms + Kitchen
Online: theacmebox.com

photo: @cutomplatechef

Nutrition Made Simple: The Custom Plate

A car crash in 2011 started the odyssey that brought Dean and Tamara Hobson from losing everything back to solvency and health. As the family made their way from Washington to Alabama and back again, Tamara became fascinated with and focused on rebuilding her family’s health through food. At each step in their journey, people flocked to Tamara's cooking and ever-growing knowledge base. What started as a local food delivery service for about 30 neighborhood families has grown into a citywide meal delivery and catering business focused on nourishing people. If you’re looking for a delicious meal you can feel good about feeding to your kids, this is it.

How it works: Weekly breakfast, lunch and dinner options rotate and deliveries are made twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. Be sure to order by 3 p.m. on Thursday for Monday delivery, and by the same time on Tuesday for a Friday delivery. Food is delivered fully cooked, and ready to eat once you reheat it, and it gets dropped in the personal cooler you set out on your front porch (don’t forget the ice packs!). You won’t find a lot of carbs or grains in these meals, just a whole lot of meats and veggies calibrated for optimal nutrition. Specialized meal programs are also available if you’re looking for help with Keto, Whole 30, cleanses and more.

What's it cost? Prices vary from individual meals to special programs, but generally speaking expect to pay between $9-$16 per meal for dinner.

We think you'll love: Word on the street is anything with salmon will send your tastebuds soaring. Also getting high praise are the Mediterranean Baked Yams and Zoodle (zuchinni noodle) dishes.

The Custom Plate
Online: thecustomplate.com
206-486-5840

Your Neighborhood Bistro Delivered: Fresh Chef Seattle

Chef Virginia Blashill runs a "virtual restaurant," delivering restaurant-quality meals to busy families, without the hassle of a brick and mortar building. It's a great option for those of us who crave home-cooked meals, but lack the time to make them. Simply put, it's the meal you wish you'd find waiting for you in your fridge at the end of a busy day. And to think all you had to do was set out a cooler and it magically appears.

How it works: Head to the website to choose meals from the menu that rotates weekly. Orders are placed by Sunday for delivery Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on your delivery zone. Meals are delivered fresh not frozen, so this is a great heat-and-eat option, no cooking on your part. Each is made from scratch in small batches, using local suppliers whenever possible. You can choose from entrees, soups, salads and desserts that are customizable to your crew. Choose regular portion sizes for hungry adults (they're quite generous) and smaller ones for kids. Keep in mind each entree typically comes with two sides so you can customize meals in this way too. There are also low-carb, gluten- and dairy-free options available, but all foods are prepared in the same kitchen. 

What's it cost? Prices vary, but entrees generally run between $10-$15.

We think you'll love: When it comes to feeding a family, you can't go wrong with Spicy Pork Street Tacos, Oven Fried Fish & Chips or a cozy comfort food dish like Chicken & Dumplings.

Good to know: Delivery is $10 and there's a $50 minimum; delivery is free for orders over $150.

Fresh Chef Seattle
Online: freshchefseattle.com
206-214-5134

photo: courtesy Maven Meals

Complete & Ready to Eat: Maven Meals

It was a bout of chicken pox a long time ago that led Maven Meals owner, Heidi Finley, to find her passion—food. Ever since she’s been studying nutrition, sustainable business and restaurant management, to create flavorful, healthy meals for people who are too busy to cook them themselves. With a focus on sustainability, service and exceptional food, Maven Meals caters to families who are on the go.

How it works: There’s no need to subscribe or meet a minimum order requirement here. With Maven Meals you simply place your food order (they offer breakfast, lunch and dinner options) Sunday by midnight, and Maven Meals delivers it on ice in an insulated cooler sometime between Monday and Wednesday of that week (delivery day depends on your zip code). They deliver as far north as Edmonds and as far south as Lakewood, as well as to the Eastside. A new menu is posted every Monday and it always comes with suggested pairings for entrees (listed right underneath) and the ability to filter for food specificity (think: vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, etc.) so you know exactly what’s available to you. The best part? Everything is ready to eat with a quick reheat or as-is, with the exception of some fish dishes that take a minimal amount of cooking.

What's it cost? Prices vary, but expect to pay between $12-$15 for an entree and one side.

We think you'll love: Try the grilled chicken sweet potato salad and you'll be hooked on Maven's culinary creativity. Soups are another strong suit (psst... we hear the clam chowder is some of the best around).

Maven Meals
Online: mavenmeals.com
206-557-7985

photo: courtesy Splendid Spoon

Quick & Healthy Breakfast or Lunch: Splendid Spoon

Bowls, soups and smoothies. Oh my! Splendid Spoon grew out of mom-preneur and French Culinary Institute-trained chef, Nicole Centeno’s desired to find quick and nutritious meals and snacks when she was pregnant with her first son. The service now delivers over 50 different meal options including soups (both hearty and light), smoothies, grain bowls, noddles and shots to busy families everywhere. If you're looking for grab-able lunches, snacks and breakfasts, make Splendid Spoon your new jam.

How it works: Splendid Spoon's plant-based foods are totally fresh, gluten-free and were developed hand-in-hand by registered dieticians and chefs, so you know they taste great. To get in on the action, you need to hit the website, choose and plan and then customize it. Lunch is at the heart of each plan, and it builds from there. Add in breakfast five times a week at the second tier and a reset (think light soups for dinner) when you choose the full monty. You can skip delivery whenever you need to, and food is delivered straight to your door via FedEx, chilled, using dry ice. Bowls and soups keep for a week in the fridge or freeze them for up to a month.

What's it cost? Choose from four different meal plans. $13/meal with the Lunch plan; $9.50/meal with Lunch + Breakfast plan; $9/meal with Breakfast, Lunch + 1-Day Soup Reset plan; $9.25/meal with the Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner + 1-Day Soup Reset plan

Good to know: If healthy eating is one of your 2021 goals, consider Splendid Spoon's Breakfast, Lunch & Reset plan your partner.

Splendid Spoon
Online: splendidspoon.com

photo: courtesy of Yumi

Fresh, Nutritious Meals for Baby: Yumi

Developed by two moms on a mission to create optimally-balanced baby food blends, Yumi is the latest meal delivery service to hit the PNW, and we couldn’t be more excited. Parents can expect chef-prepared, locally-sourced, organic baby food shipped directly to them each week when they sign up. Who knew it was so easy to be a rock star parent?

How it works: Yumi’s baby blends come in over 50 flavors, and span baby's major food-related milestones. Expert Chefs use seasonal ingredients to whip up your baby’s food using diverse flavors and nutrient-dense ingredients like chia seeds, spirulina and flax, so your baby is exposed to a variety of flavors and textures. Then the blends are shipped to your doorstep in fully-recyclable packaging, using ice packs to keep it fresh. It’s easy to make substitutions or cancel an order any time, and you’ll receive text messages letting you know where your food is from the moment it ships out to the moment it delivers. 

What's it cost? $4.30/meal for 1 meal a day; $4.06/meal for 2 meals a day; $3.75/meal for 3 meals a day (less if you bill monthly).

We think you'll love: Creative flavors are the name of the game at Yumi. We think your baby will go (goo-goo) ga-ga for strawberry basil pie, kabocha buckwheat bowl and beet hummus.

Good to know: Finger foods and pinchables are available for babies over ten months who’ve outgrown blends and are moving on to solids.

Yumi
Online: helloyumi.com

photo: courtesy Purple Carrot

Colorful Plant-Based Dishes: Purple Carrot

Whether you're looking to eat more greens, add color to your plate or just plain love veggies, Purple Carrot is for you. This weekly meal subscription service makes eating clean every day an afterthought, so you can focus your energies and efforts elsewhere, busy parents.

How it works: Families can have dinner delivered two ways with Purple Carrot. If you go with the meal kit, you'll get a box delivered to your doorstep, filled with fresh ingredients and everything you need to make an amazing meal, from the good stuff to the recipe. If cooking isn't high on your list, try Purple Carrot's prepared meals. Like the meal kits, they come straight to your door. But unlike the meal kits, these are heat and serve, ready to eat in just five minutes. From there it's as simple as choosing your serving size (two or four) and how many meals you want each week (two or three). Then you sit back, relax and wait for your meals to deliver, freshly prepared, boxed and on ice, ready for you to enjoy.

What's the cost? Meal kits start at $9.99/serving and prepared meals start at $12.99/serving

We think you'll love: That you can add snacks, like gluten-free chocolate chunk blondie cookies and dark chocolate covered chick peas to your order. Healthy grab and go is always good.

Purple Carrot
Online: purplecarrot.com

Meal Delivery Tips:

1. Once you find your favorite service, make sure you note your preferences, dislikes and allergies. Many services can accommodate these if they know ahead of time.

2. If you don’t have a cooler, buy one! The last thing you want is your delicious delivery spoiling in the sun.

3. Think about having your meals delivered to your workplace. This can give you instant lunch options, or can keep you from stressing out about your delivery waiting for you on your doorstep.

4. Order more than you need and freeze.

5. Did a friend just have a baby or is a parent recovering from surgery? Meal delivery is an awesome gift for anyone who might have more important things on their plate, or just as a time saver for a busy loved one.

—Allison Sutcliffe, Erin Cranston, Kristina Moy & Myriam Gabriel-Pollock

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