Use This: Let's Dish

Be sure to check out an OurTipsAndTricks-exclusive coupon towards the end of this tip!*

We have a serious problem at our house...I have limited time for cooking and I don't think Mrs. OurTipsAndTricks knows where our kitchen is.  

Enter Let's Dish.  Essentially, Let's Dish is a kitchen in a storefront where you can buy fully prepped, gourmet, and healthy meals for a reasonable price.**  Once you select meals from their extensive menu, either you or a store's employee use the Let's Dish kitchen to prepare the meal's ingredients, which often includes marinating a protein, chopping vegetables, and mixing grains with spices.  Once each meal is prepped and bagged, it's frozen.  All you need to do at home is the actual cooking, which is purposefully made to be simple. 
Let's Dish: 12 Locations Throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Minnesota
Why Let's Dish and Dish-n-Dash
Long story short, if you're like me and have limited time to go food shopping and prepare a tasty, balanced meal, Let's Dish takes a lot of the work out of cooking while still leaving the satisfaction of preparing a home cooked meal (and avoiding the guilt of take out).  

While you can assemble the meals yourself during an In-Store session, I prefer and recommend the Dish-n-Dash option.  For an additional $15 preparation fee, Let's Dish employees do the customized meal assembly for you, leaving you only the responsibility (and time commitment) of picking up your order.  To make a Dish-n-Dash order,  simply peruse the month's menu, select your 4, 8, or 12 meals, schedule a time for pick-up (e.g., after work), and pick it up when scheduled. 
Our Two Most Recent Orders
Important HintWhen ordering, make a note to split your meals.***  Without splitting, each meal makes six servings.  If you split your meals, the Let's Dish preparer will divide each dish into two separate packages of three servings each.  A split meal will legitimately provide a meal for three people.  

Here are the reasons why you should use Let's Dish:
  • The food is good and "fancier" than my usual home cooked meal.
  • For Dish-n-Dash, which I recommend, you don't have to do any kitchen prep work.  All the ingredients are prepared (e.g., marinated, chopped, mixed, etc.) and organized by Let's Dish staff based on your customized order.  Just pick it up.
  • The meals are relatively easy to cook.  Defrost a meal in the fridge the day before you're going to cook.  Cooking time is usually about 30 minutes.  Each meal's cooking requirements are detailed in the menu.  
    • That being said, it's not as simple as throwing a carton in the microwave.  You'll need to have items like pots and pans.  Options are usually provided for cooking meats (e.g., grill, oven, etc.). You'll have to boil water for grains (e.g., rice, couscous). 
  • The meals are packaged to order and can keep in the freezer for about 6 weeks.
  • The online ordering process is simple and quick.
  • Meals are easy to clean and sanitary.  I like how the ingredients are wrapped separately in individual plastic bags (see photos below).  There's no clean-up involved, besides throwing away the bags.
Here are some pictures of a split meal.  
Last Month's Smokehouse Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries: Split Meal
Ingredients Individually Wrapped: Marinated Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries,
Onion Crisps, Bacon & Cheese, and Barbecue Sauce
Cost and Promo Code
The 4-Meal Package (with $15 preparation fee and tax) costs $125.  Since we split our dishes, we actually receive eight meals.  This equates to $15 per meal or $5 per serving.  For the high quality of the food, that goes down as a good deal in my book.  

Now, because I care about you, our loyal readers, I contacted the fine folks at Let's Dish to see if they would provide you a special offer to accompany this tip.  And they have...

When you make any Let's Dish 4-, 8-, or 12-meal order (In-Store, Dish-n-Dash, or DishDelivery), use the promo code TIPSTRICKS to receive $10 off and a free order of cookies.  The only restriction is that there's a two-time limit per customer, but the code doesn't expire until the end of 2014.  

Enjoy!  And if you find this useful, share with your friends.  

* Our Tips And Tricks receives no compensation for this post, except we reserve the right to use TIPSTRICKS on our next two orders.
** I don't know the exact definition of "gourmet" and "healthy," but my gut tells me that Let's Dish meals qualify for both adjectives.  It's certainly more gourmet and healthier than any meal I'd make on my own.
***This is if you have a family of 2 or 3.  If you have a family of 4 of more, you're obviously not going to want to split the meal.

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