I’m the type of girl that loves the process of cooking. I love planning the meal, chopping, prepping, cooking, and eating a healthy and delicious meal with my family. But let’s face it, most of the time we wake up, hit the ground running and don’t have a spare second to think about dinner.
We recently had the privilege to try a few products offered in the Cook Simple lineup. They boast of ‘Healthy Home Cooking Made Simple’, but I have to be honest, I was skeptical! I don’t typically eat my dinner out of a box and the ‘All Natural’ phrase on the front doesn’t always mean much to me, but it was also ‘Gluten-Free’ and ‘No Sugar Added’ – now we’re getting somewhere. I flipped over the box and saw the list of ingredients…I could pronounce all of them and I knew what they were! They truly were All Natural ingredients.
At this point, I’m pretty impressed and I was ready to cook this Tamale Pie - Black Bean Chili with Cornbread Topping. I only needed to add a few other ingredients including ground turkey, cheese, and an egg. The directions were simple and within 45 minutes my family was sitting down eating a meal I could feel good about – even though it came out of a box! The ingredients in the box were all ingredients I normally use, only some of them were dried.
My family felt good about it too! Since the ingredients were dried the flavor was slightly different than we are used to. And something to note, I had a little trouble with my cornbread topping. I reached out to the Healthy Pantry team and they were quick to reply suggesting the following tips to ensure a great result:
- Make sure the oven has plenty of time to pre-heat. Some ovens with the countdown timers on pre-heating claim they're at temperature in 8 minutes or so and it's usually not the case. 20 minutes should be sufficient time.
- Spread the topping evenly. If it's got twice as much topping in one part of the dish, it will not cook at the same rate.
- Place it in the center rack and in the center of the oven so there aren't "hot spots".
- Rotate the dish after 8 minutes so it can heat as evenly as possible.
One other suggestion is to whisk the egg well before adding it to the topping mixture, then mix well to incorporate.
Cook Simple Founder Keith Lauver, told us, “If someone doesn't have a great experience with one of our kits, for any reason, we're happy to offer them a replacement kit at no charge to try again!”
We also tried Punjabi Curry which was even easier to prepare and will be a regular go-to meal for our family!
It isn’t often that you find a shelf stable product that is free of preservatives & additives, gluten free and super tasty! We definitely recommend grabbing a few boxes of Cook Simple products to keep on hand. Check out their full line of products.