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When it comes to grocery shopping, I’m very methodical. I always have a list and it’s always organized based on the layout of the store. I’m not a browse-the-aisles kind of shopper. And I can’t even blame my toddler for that. I simply like to get in, get what I need, and get out. Which, I hate to admit, is why I don’t enjoy grocery shopping with my husband — especially if it’s a trip to Costco. When he’s along, we inevitably leave with waaaaay more than what’s on the list. Undoubtedly, he’ll spy something that “we need” or “looks like a great buy.”
Usually, he picks out stuff that we don’t actually need or isn’t really a great buy (because, for example, our little family of three couldn’t possibly get through all that produce before it spoils!). But on a weekend Costco run last year, as we cruised through the refrigerated section, where the shelves are stocked with chicken sausage, ravioli, and ready-made meals, my husband slid a couple packages of Kevin’s Natural Foods Chicken Tikka Masala into the cart. Before I could question the purchase, he jumped in to say that this heat-and-eat dinner seemed like a great solution for the nights we need a super-quick and easy dinner, and also for when we just don’t feel like cooking. I couldn’t argue with him. Plus, I was curious to try this new-to-me find!
Find it in stores: Kevin’s Natural Foods Chicken Tikka Masala, $14.79 for 32 ounces at Costco
I pulled one package out a few days later, when the dinner rush was real and I had a hangry toddler on my hands. I’ll cut right to the chase: I was floored.
I read the package instructions no less than three times. Not because it was complicated — it was just the opposite. The instructions were so simple, I was certain I was missing something. I wasn’t. I heated the already cooked chicken in a skillet, mixed in the sauce, and, true to the packaging, dinner was ready in five minutes. Five minutes! (In that time I was also able to heat some leftover rice from the freezer, to round out the meal). It could not have been easier. And better yet, my family gobbled it up. The chicken was so tender, the sauce was really well-seasoned and flavorful, and it was all around a pretty delicious dinner.
The fact that the protein and the sauce are both already fully cooked and stored in separate pouches makes these dinners super convenient. But what stands out to me even more is the way the protein (in addition to chicken, the brand also has some meals with beef) is cooked. The meat is cooked sous vide, meaning it’s cooked in a vacuum-sealed pouch in a hot water bath, leaving it impossibly tender and juicy.
Soon after we finished all of our Chicken Tikka Masala stockpile, I discovered an even bigger selection of Kevin’s Natural Foods dinners (which happen to be Paleo-friendly, as well) at my local Whole Foods and Target. And when they went on sale, I snagged a few other varieties for us to try. The only downside of buying the meals at my local grocer is that the packages are only one-pound, versus the two-pound packages available at Costco. I’ve since tried the Thai-Style Coconut Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Chicken Piccata, Lemongrass Chicken, and Roasted Garlic Chicken, and they’ve all been a hit.
Now at any given time, you’re likely to find at least one package of Kevin’s in my fridge, and a few in the freezer. It’s also a standing item on my Costco shopping list … which, of course, is organized by aisle.
Do you have any go-tos that help you get dinner on the table in just a few minutes? Tell us in the comments below!