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Cooking Made Healthy Courtesy of Cook-a-Box

Reported by Loren Penney

If like me, a trip to the supermarket is a little TOO much fun then Cook-a-Box might be just what you need. This amazing home-delivery grocery service takes away the supermarket sweep of filling your trolley excitedly with biscuits (yum), crisps and all manner of unhealthy products and replaces your weekly shop with all the fresh, healthy ingredients you need to whip up some delicious dishes, pre chosen by you.

So how exactly does it work and how does it differ from ordering a ‘healthy’ take-away?

Well, as mentioned Cook-a-box delivers a weekly box of pre-portioned fresh and seasonal ingredients that when combined together result in mouth-watering, lean dishes from recipes that you have carefully selected dependent on your dietary requirements and preferences. Not only does this take away the stress of finding time to go grocery shopping around busy daily schedules but it also fills your fridge with exactly the right amount of food you’ll need for the week, minus any of those chococately treats that seem to mysteriously appear.

I was put on a two-week delivery plan to see if Cook-a-Box could really help me shift my bad shopping habits and kick-start my wedding diet.

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Firstly, something I love about Cook-a-Box is that the recipes change weekly offering great variety and eliminating the boredom that can come with normal diets – I mean, who wants to eat roasted vegetables three times a week? On the Monday of each week I was prompted to visit the Cook-A-Box website to choose from a selection of 9 new recipes for my next weeks meals created especially by the expert Cook-a-Box chefs.  I was pleasantly surprised with the choices and to see that there were a variety of dishes for both carnivores and vegetarians alike and even ‘pasta-tarians’ like me who are partial to the odd plate of spaghetti.

After emailing my choices to Cook-a-Box all I had to do was schedule an appropriate time for the free delivery which normally comes in a 3 hour window. It was all ridiculously simple.

As described, my boxes were delivered to me within the set time frame two days later and I’ve never been so excited to receive groceries!  Each large cool box contained all the ingredients to make my chosen dishes, pre-measured and sealed alongside detailed step-by-step recipe cards for each individual dish which can be kept for future use. Reading these recipe cards I was pleased to see that I didn’t need any additional ingredients or utensils other than the basics already at home; pots, spatulas, knives, cutting board, bowl, baking tray and aluminum foil were about the extent of my kitchen requirements and in my cupboards the only thing that Cook-a-Box didn’t supply was salt, sugar,pepper, oil and butter which even I had at home. The only piece of kit I wished I had at home was a blender which would have made some of the dishes slightly easier to prepare and something that I am going to invest in going forwards. The recipes themselves are also designed so that no advanced cooking skill is required which makes the overall cooking experience fun rather than a chore. I actually found I was looking forward to trying out new recipes each evening, as did my rather overly enthusiastic fiance!

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Each meal takes around 30-45 minutes to cook on average with some dishes taking less time, perfect for those days when you would normally speed dial your local pizza parlour, these cooking times are also all listed on the website so you can plan in advance according to your schedule.  Each recipe card comes with a summary of the nutritional facts of the dish itself listing calories, saturated fats etc so that you’re fully aware of exactly what you are eating at all times, this is also something that is particularly helpful for those looking to change their diet for the better.

One thing I did notice about the ingredients that Cook-a-Box sent was the quality. I was surprised with the high quality of meat, vegetables and even accompaniments such as honey which all appeared (and tasted) much fresher than those I normally find in your average UAE supermarket, for this fact alone Cook-a-Box is more than worth it.

For my first week’s meals, I opted to try:

  • Seasoned Steak Salad with Spinach, Red Cabbage, Feta and a Mustard Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Chicken with Apple Chutney
  • Grilled Pesto Haloumi Salad

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For my second week’s meals, I chose:

  • Sticky Beef stir fry with Spring Onion and Cashew Nuts
  • Beef Strips with Fettuccine and Avocado Sauce (Example Recipe)
Difficulty: Easy
Ready in: 35 mins
Nutritional Facts (per serving): 475 calories
Ingredients: Beef strips, Fettuccine, Avocado, Lime, Low-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt, Garlic, Tomatoes, Cooking oil, water, Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions: 1) For the Fettuccine full a pot with 1L of water & a pinch of salt
2) Bring the water to the boil
3) Add the Fettuccine and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until al dente
4) Drain and set aside
5) For the beef and Avocado mixture mash the avocado in a bowl until smooth
6) add 2 tablespoons of lime juice, yogurt, salt & pepper and mix well
7) In a large skillet, on a medium heat, saute the beef with a tablespoon of oil for about 2-3 minutes
8) Drain the beef and garlic and add it to the avocado mixture
9) serve the fettuccine with the beef and avocado mixture on top. Add the chopped tomatoes
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  • Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary Kebabs with a Greek Salad
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  • Pesto Chicken with Cherries and Green Beans
Of course, there were some dishes that I preferred over others and some that I have already made again of my own accord. The range in your weekly meals is great and the fact that Cook-a-Box send over every little ingredient you could ever need makes it a really convenient way to shop. It also made me a lot more of aware of what I was cooking on a weekly basis as well as educating me on correct portion control. I was never left feeling hungry and each dish chosen were a good reflection on my personal taste.
Would I use Cook-a-Box again? Most definitely!
For pricing and to place an order visit http://www.cookabox.com/

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