Marley Spoon Answers the Question, "What's For Dinner?"

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During the holidays, we had the opportunity to try Marley Spoon meal delivery service. Its goal is to maximize the cooking experience by providing fresh, seasonal ingredients to our doorsteps and detailed but easy instructions how to prepare the meals. It was a risky time of year for me to commit to the review, but I knew we would mostly be home preparing for the holidays and with all the parties and running around, it would be nice to have a wholesome, home-cooked meal, especially something a little outside our typical line-up.

How Marley Spoon works: Each week new recipes are available online and you get to choose which you want to try and when you want the ingredients to be delivered. If you want to get a sense of the recipes, check out their best of 2015 here. Everything arrives in a chilled box with a detailed instruction card and just the right amount ingredients for each meal so there is no waste. You can skip a week or pause your account at any time. Shipping is always free.

Pricing: Marley Spoon offers Family Boxes (four to five people) and a Two-Person Box. Pricing is extremely attractive at approximately $8.90-$12.00 per person depending on the frequency of your boxes. That can be less than eating out (certainly in the Tri-State area) and most likely less than buying the ingredients for the recipes yourself since the measurements are exact.

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We opted for two recipes, an Enchilada Bake and a Stuffed Peppers dish. The food arrived as promised, tightly packed and cold. The instruction cards are detailed and easy to read. The ingredients looked and tasted great- Pat LaFrieda beef, organic produce, etc. Both Leo and I enjoyed the meals. Neither are meals we've eaten at home before. Unfortunately, our children are too picky for these choices at the moment but as they get older and broaden their horizons, the Family Boxes will be perfect.

It's worth noting that these are not heat and eat meals. They require substantial prep and active cooking. For example, the Enchilada Bake required cutting the veggies, grating the cheese, heating the tortillas, cooking and seasoning the beef, then assembling and baking it in the oven. There are days when I'm up for working in the kitchen after a long day and others where I simply am not. That's why I really appreciate the ability to schedule deliveries a couple of times a week and skip as needed.

For us, the major benefit of Marley Spoon is that it (1) allows us to plan in advance and not get stuck wondering what we should have for dinner (2) allows us to try new recipes with ingredients we may not typically cook with and (3) provides the exact measurements of quality, fresh ingredients. I would definitely use the service again. In fact, I just asked Leo to have a look at this week's meals to let me know what catches his eye. It's nice to mix things up and try new recipes.

Where Marley Spoon delivers: Currently, Marley Spoon delivers to most zip codes in: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Have you tried a meal delivery service before? What are your thoughts?