Spice up your weekdays with these DIY meal plans
We get it: it’s the end of a long day, there’s nothing in the fridge and your fingers are hovering over the speed-dial for your favourite pizza parlour.
But, hold that thought – and perhaps try a recipe box before hitting call.
The concept is simple: choose your recipes or meal plan each week, and the ingredients are purchased, portioned and delivered to your door for you to cook a tasty dinner at home for you and your family.
Whether you’re on a specific diet, lead a busy lifestyle or just want to shake up your repertoire, we’ve found three options in the capital that could hit the spot.
With low-carb, veggie and family boxes to choose from, Hello Chef! is a great option for those who like to plan ahead, with menus posted online up to three weeks in advance. Ordering is flexible and you can pause your plan whenever you like.
The family box includes fish fajitas, brie-stuffed chicken, chickpea curry and meatball marinara, with each recipe supplied with a QR code on the box linking to the recipe online.
Instructions are clear and simple, with each recipe taking 30 minutes to whip up.
The fish fajitas steal the show, with smoky paprika coated fish, pico de gallo and avocado – we’re definitely going to add this one into a regular rotation.
The meatball marinara is another tasty hit, while the chickpea curry and brie-stuffed chicken are a cinch to prepare.
For bigger eaters, portion sizes, especially the carbs, are pretty generous – but you might want to add a few veggies to balance the dish.
With well thought-out, tasty food combinations and flexible deliveries, Hello Chef! is perfect for families on the go, with food that’s sure to please even little eaters.
From AED 331 for four recipes per week. Contact: 056 648 0597, hellochef.me
If you have specific dietary requirements, DinnerTime is the recipe box for you.
With menus for veggies, paleo and gluten-free eaters, DinnerTime certainly has
a lot of us covered with appealing options.
Most recipes do require a basic pantry, so it’s worth checking before you order.
We try the paleo plan, which includes fish, butter chicken, Thai sweet potato soup and
The ingredients arrive with detailed recipes and cooking instructions, so it’s a good idea to wrap your head around everything before plunging in.
The runaway winner is the Thai red curry sweet potato soup, which is creamy, spicy and delicious.
We also love the nachos served with sweet potato chips, chilli and cashew cream – a healthier take on a classic cheat meal, and the butter chicken goes down well, but requires a deeper hit of spice from our pantry.
With lifestyle friendly options, DinnerTime is definitely your box if you feel restricted by your diet and need some fresh inspiration.
From AED 240 for four recipes per week. Contact: 055 790 8733, dinnertime.me
With over ten options available weekly, Cook-A-Box has by far the biggest selection on test – great for people who want to try something new.
We do, so we opt for the vegetable burgers, halloumi and farro salad and a shrimp avocado quinoa bowl.
All the ingredients arrive pre-measured and portioned, so it really couldn’t get any easier.
A little preparation is required with the fresh vegetables, and a little skill to make the veggie burgers, but you don’t have to be a top chef to master these dishes.
Each recipe is straightforward and enjoyable, but our favourite is the farro salad, which, apart from being simple and quick to make, is something we’ve never tried before.
Our only gripe is some baked recipes don’t specify the oven temperature, so we have to guesstimate.
Cook-A-Box is great for people who don’t have time for a big shop, but want a tasty and varied meal at the end of the day.
From AED 332 for four recipes per week. Contact: 04 453 8711, cookabox.com