I love cooking. But let’s face it, after a long day at work and either a quick trip to the gym or running around town doing errands, who really wants to spend the time and energy to cook a meal? One solution is Cooksimple. Cooksimple offers a line of inexpensive and budget-friendly gluten free meal kits made from all-natural, whole foods and no added sugars.
Cooksimple was founded on the principle that people will eat healthier if doing so is tasty, easy, and accessible. Cooksimple has designed a product line to do just that by removing the largest barrier for most people: the lack of time to cook at home. These meal kits are a breeze to prepare, and are flavorful, satisfying, and inexpensive, all the while delivering superior nutrition.
I recently had the opportunity to try a few products from this line. The instructions were simple, and in under 30 minutes I had a complete meal ready to feed a family of five! What I truly appreciated about these meal kits is the back of the box. Where it shows clear pictures of the ingredients you’ll need to buy. Also listed, are suggestions for variations and substitutions. Each meal requires you to buy 2-3 extra ingredients, such as ground turkey, canned tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, sausage or tofu. Some of the ingredients (soy sauce, eggs, olive oil, and canned tomatoes) I already had in my pantry, as most people probably do too. All of the meal kits are vegan on their own, and can be prepared with tofu, beans or other vegan meat alternatives to satisfy vegetarian and vegan diets.
Cooksimple meals have a lower sodium content than most boxed meals. This is a huge plus for me, not only for health reasons (too much salt is not good for anyone) but I also because I tend not to like to add much salt to my meals. These meals have about 50% less sodium compared to other boxed meals, and also rank higher in nutritional value and higher in fiber.
Cooksimple is all about making life easier, not weight loss. But it’s clear that they value nutrition and healthy ingredients. Cooksimple is sold in over 3000 stores across the U.S. and the full product line is also available for purchase online for $4.99 each. To find a location near you click here.
There are nine diverse and globally-inspired kits available including Tamale Pie, Cowboy Chili, Asian Burgers, Skillet Lasagna, Cranberry Wild Rice, Punjabi Curry, Tibetan Dal, White Bean Chili, and New Orleans Jambalaya.
The Tibetan Dal is classic savory Indian dish with aromas of cumin and turmeric, a hint of cilantro, and can be enjoyed as a meal or a special dip. This meal kit only required the addition of canned tomatoes and olive oil – super easy and super flavorful.
My favorite meal kit, by far, is the Asian Burgers. This savory recipe adds an Asian inspired twist to traditional burgers. The box suggests adding ground turkey, soy crumbles or beans. I added a mix of black beans, pinto beans, artichoke hearts and mushrooms which I chopped in a food processor before adding them to the oat and spice mixture of sesame seeds, onion, garlic, ginger, orange peel and sea salt. The burgers were delicious and moist, and smelled heavenly while cooking. The box also includes a package of rice, which for being ordinary rice, was also exceptionally flavorful.
The white bean chili was anything but mundane. The spices – chili powder, pepper, paprika, onion and garlic – are strong. Made with pinto, navy and kidney beans, I also added shredded chicken breast. I opted for water, not milk, but I think the milk would have helped cut the intensity of the spices. For a vegetarian dish, add more beans or tofu.
The classic New Orleans Jambalaya was surprisingly lacking in flavor, and I needed to add more of my own spices. I was expecting a spicy dish, but this was just lackluster. Using Andouille sausage will give it the kick it needs to kick the spice factor up a notch. If you use precooked shrimp do not add them until the very end. The shrimp only need a few minutes to cook and if you add them at the beginning, like the directions say, they will be overcooked and too dry.
So how do these meal kits really stack up against other boxed meals?
Stouffers is the highest in calories fat sugar sodium but also high in protein. Simply Asia noodle bowls are also high in calories and sodium!
It isn’t often that I find a gluten free product free of preservatives and additives that is healthy and super tasty! I definitely recommend buying a few boxes of CookSimple™ to keep on hand for those nights that you don’t feel like cooking.