pumpkin chili from healthy habits kitchen capability mom makes dinner in 20 minuteshealthy habits kitchen wellesley ma capability mom makes their corn muffinsLast week I drove through movie snow (you know the kind – huge flakes that you wish were fake even though they look charming?) on my way to visit to Healthy Habits Kitchen in Wellesley.  I was on task and didn’t even mind that I was driving in the snow.  I was off to visit, sample and write about them. This was exciting because I had already heard of them, and even tasted a yummy peach chicken dish of theirs at a local Farmer’s Market (which inspired this company dinner).  So on to, what at first glance, is an ordinary office building in the suburbs.  I knew the suite number but I didn’t need it  – I just followed the delicious smell (in my experience, office building never smell good). As I entered the clean, well-lit and inviting space, the owner, Sue Schochet, was on the phone but looked up as I walked in and smiled warmly at me.  One of her workers greeted me immediately but first washed her hands and as a confirmed “germophobe” (actual term mysophobe) I really liked this.

So what is Healthy Habits Kitchen? It is a company that takes the planning (including nutritional and calorie counting), shopping, and, my least favorite thing, the chopping, out of the meal preparation. It is like having a sous chef in your house – only better.  The meal kits are wonderfully planned and put together and you get a truly delicious home cooked meal that you actually cook but it is so much easier! The company tag line is balanced meal, balanced life and we could all use a little help with balance.

Sue met with me in a lovely space that adjoins the main food preparation area, there were several comfortable chairs, serving platters and a shelves packed with cookbooks. She gets her inspiration for menus from all over and the balance of the monthly offerings reflects this.  Sue also makes very thoughtful ‘kid-friendly’ meals that are not chicken nuggets but meals the whole family will enjoy.  The entire space is available for groups,(frequent users Wellesley Newcomers’ Club and the Ellie Fund) or just a casual group of friends, who want to get together – and put together meals. They host fundraisers and private parties, too.

During business hours, you can assemble your own meal kits or pick up already assembled meals.  This is a seriously great gift idea for an expectant mother (trust me – you don’t want or need knitted booties, you want food).  Now that I am a little older, I have less expectant-mother friends and more friends who may need meals for other reasons. I love that Healthy Habits also has a meal registry, it is like a gift registry for food. If you have ever organized food deliveries to someone, you know it can be challenging.

But, you ask, the food? How was the food? It was delicious. I chose the Pumpkin Turkey Chili and Corn Muffins.  Everything was nicely packaged and sealed in good quality plastic ziploc bags, labeled with nutritional information and clear directions. It was perfectly timed so that in 25 minutes – I had dinner on the table. I tried this (purposefully) on my flat-out busiest of carpool days. The best part was that I wasn’t stressed.  I like how everything is assembled so neatly and ready to go. The chopped onions, green and red (and the just right amount of) chipotle peppers filled one bag, ground turkey in another, and red kidney beans in a third. The sauce was in a large plastic container and the muffin mix in another bag.  My contribution was to add oil and water to the pan for the chili and to add the ingredients as instructed. For the muffins, I just added one egg and milk and popped them in the oven while the onions and peppers were cooking. Simple.  Add a green salad (which we always have) and brown rice –  I like the frozen (in the green box) from Trader Joe’s but sometimes I make a big batch of brown rice one night and reheat it for another meal.

The monthly menu selection is varied and includes meat, fish, poultry and vegetarian offerings as well as (new!) crock pot meal kits. The ingredients are restaurant grade and local offering are used when available.  Look for them at your local Farmer’s Market (summer and winter). All in all a huge success. $30 for dinner for four in 30 minutes? Love it.

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