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Meet The Half-Scratch Meal Hacks That Make It Even Easier To Get Dinner All The Way Done

After eight months of baking bread and meals at home, the joy of cooking has worn thin.

Megan Baldwin · 11 months ago

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Eight months ago you were making your own sourdough from scratch. Hundreds of at-home meals later many of us are finding the joy of cooking has worn thin. Enter a new crop of heat-and-eat options that are an elevated upgrade from the Hamburger Helper you grew up with. For parents, these half-scratch meal hacks mean less time in the kitchen and more time for all of the other things on your list. And for kids, the new options introduce far away flavors and make it easy for them to participate in the meal prep process. Ahead are a few to add to Instacart.

1. Down to Cook


Down to Cook

Like Hamburger Helper without the meat. This ready-in-ten-minute meal prep kit shows you how to transform all the veggies into protein-rich patties, balls, or crumbles. Kids will love being able to make veggies disappear (like magic) and hey, you might even get them to eat a broccoli floret.

2. Home Chef



Kroger’s new Home Chef meal kits come with fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards … everything you need to cook a delicious meal from (almost) scratch! Family favorites like chicken fajitas can be prepped in five minutes — in other words, between your Zoom calls. And the customizable weekly menu lets you filter by carb-conscious, calorie-conscious, vegetarian, and under-30-minute recipes.

3. Mosaic Meals

Mosaic Meals

Mosaic Meals

It's OK, you don't have to cook. This surprisingly healthy Brooklyn-based meal service makes it easy and tasty to avoid takeout. Keep a few on hand when you’re struggling for meal ideas, or for when your kids want to eat cereal for dinner but you want to eat an actual meal like some kind of maniac.

4. Freshly



A private chef would be nice. This meal delivery service inches you closer with simple, chef-cooked meals, delivered to your door. With options like Cauliflower Shell Beef Bolognese and Harvest Time Chicken Risotto, there are enough options to please a picky family’s palette.

5. Yumble



This upgraded version of the classic TV Dinner offers awesome-for-kids meals delivered weekly. You pick from a menu of kid-friendly options like Veggie Bean Burritos, Meatball Mac & Cheese, and Hidden Veggies Pocket and Rice, then they take care of shipping the ready-to-heat-and-eat foodstuffs to your door.