I love to cook. (I actually enjoy doing the dishes, too!) Cooking brings me joy. Besides for the therapeutic and rhythmic aspects — and all the aromas — from cutting, whisking, slicing, and searing, I also get satisfaction from feeding people. But there are times when I just wish I can open the fridge or freezer and, voila, dinner is already made. Somehow, a kitchen fairy snuck into my home and whipped up a meal that can be served in minutes — one that’s as easy as thaw, heat, and serve! Whether you’re too busy to cook or hosting a party for the holidays — or any occasion — an already-made meal is ideal.
Harry & David prepared meals take the guesswork out of meal prep and planning, says Andrew Whitticar, the brand’s senior merchandising manager of specialty foods. “They allow you to focus on the important things, like entertaining, family, and friends.” His favorite is the Cherry-Glazed Pan-Seared Lamb Chops. And who can blame him? Just look at those chops!
You can create a gut-busting wholesome meal experience from end to end, Whitticar points out, with deliciously crafted appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts. These inspiring meals “really require minimal effort to make you look like a cooking show star!”
We thought it would be fun to illustrate the main ingredients that go into making some of our favorite prepared meals, a prepared meal deconstruction if you will, that then become the star of your dinner table.
Ingredients: Water, Unbleached Pastry Flour, Seasoned Chicken, Whole Milk, Potatoes, Carrots, Onion, Peas, Corn, Celery, Butter, Chicken Base/Stock, Dried Carrot Juice, Turmeric, Sea Salt
Chicken pot pie is perhaps the greatest comfort food of all time, and this traditional version has one of the flakiest crusts on either side of the Mississippi, along with the savoriest of fillings.
Ingredients: Beef Tenderloin, Unsalted Butter, Pastry Dough, White Mushrooms, Water, Onion, Eggs, Canola Oil, Breadcrumbs, Salt, Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Granulated Garlic, Parsley
Filet mignon on its own is quite the impressive and elegant — yet simple — dish. Now take that tender, juicy filet and coat it with a savory duxelles and encrust it with a flaky, buttery pastry, and you have beef Wellington. This savory conversation starter, which makes for a lovely addition to any holiday table, was named after the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, for his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815.
Ingredients: Water, Mushrooms, Asiago Cheese , Whole Milk, Grilled Chicken Breast, Artichokes, Farfalle Pasta, Onion, Unsalted Butter, Canola Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Lemon Zest, Thyme, Black Pepper
If the food pyramid handed out blue ribbons, this dish would surely receive one, as it offers a mouthwatering mix of protein, carbs, vegetables, and even dairy (shredded Asiago cheese!). And it looks so special, you may want to get dressed up to eat it. A bowtie perhaps?
Ingredients: San Marzano Tomatoes, Basil, Roasted Red Peppers , Vegetable Stock, Heavy Cream, Tomato Paste, Olive Oil, Brown Sugar, Sea Salt, Ginger, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Garlic
While chicken pot pie may be one of the best comfort foods, a big bowl of tomato soup — especially one where the bowl is made of sourdough bread — may top it. The first time I had a soup bread bowl was après-ski in Vermont in 2001. I was sold and hooked immediately! Each slurp warms your entire body. Plus, you can eat the bowl, so cleanup is nearly nil. An unexpected surprise with this prepared meal is the two double chocolate chunk cookies. All that’s missing is the grilled cheese for dipping.
Ingredients: Roasted Sweet Potatoes, White Quinoa, Red Quinoa, Sweetened Dried Cranberries, Red Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Water, Lemon Juice, Canola Oil, Orange Juice Concentrate, Salt, Granulated Garlic, Black Pepper
Quinoa is vegan. Sweet potatoes are vegan. So are the cranberries and red and green peppers. If you weren’t down with grains and vegetables before, you will be after eating this flavor-packed salad.