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Originally featured in our Aug/Sept 2014 issue

With a busy week ahead, the thought of pre-prepared, perfectly portioned meals arriving on the doorstep assuages all kinds of stress: stress over what to eat when there’s no time to grocery shop; stress over maintaining healthy eating habits when time and willpower are in short supply; or stress over feeding the others in the family when there’s little energy to even feed oneself. The Good Dish is a pre-made meal company striving to simplify the most important part of the day, and their “Positively Primal” line of meals makes it easy to eat Paleo when schedules are tight.

Created by brother and sister duo Becca and Chris, this inventor-entrepreneur and French Culinary Institute-trained chef, respectively, combine their skills through The Good Dish with a mission to make life simpler and healthier for families.

The Good Dish allows customers to sign up for one to four-week’s worth of meals, or two or five-day plans, with the addition of snack packs and dietary customizations available. All “Positively Primal” meals are free of gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, refined sugars and processed oils. Some lunch options include Fresh Cod Provencal with Spaghetti Squash, and Chicken Sausage with Zucchini Noodles, while gourmet-inspired dinner options could look like Lemon Oregano Salmon with Curried Cauliflower and Grilled Balsamic Vegetables or Grilled New York Strip with Sweet Potato Wedges. The Good Dish prioritizes quality, and bases their “Positively Primal” menus on a foundation of fish, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, roots and nuts.

The “Positively Primal” sample pack The Good Dish sent Paleo Magazine offered a diverse mix of flavors and preparations: There was the Pesto Chicken Breast with Grilled Asparagus and Zucchini; the Sliced Beef Tenderloin with Carrots, Asparagus, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms; the Sear-roasted Herb Turkey Breast with Cauliflower, Celery and Baby Greens; and finally, the Flank Steak Roulade – made with spinach, roasted red pepper and zucchini – with Baby Greens and Sweet Potato.

Each meal came vacuum-packed in a small plastic tray, and the entire sampler pack was meticulously wrapped in insulated boxes with several cold packs to keep the never-frozen, always fresh meals safe from spoilage during shipment. Meals can be reheated in the microwave or warmed gently in a pan of simmering water, and this easy preparation makes these meals perfect for a quick dinner when prep time is limited or makes packing a lunch effortless in the morning before work or school.

At first sight, the meals seemed small and plain – protein and veggies can only stimulate the imagination up to a point, after all – but upon sampling, the quality of the food and care with which it was cooked proved excellent beyond that first judgment. How can a beef tenderloin stay so perfectly moist, cooked to the exact texture and temperature of something straight from a four-star kitchen? How can grilled asparagus still retain its crunch, or a steamed carrot stay crisp and yet tender?

The chefs at The Good Dish display their skills through the painstaking attention paid to each meal. For example, the zucchini in the Pesto Chicken meal was perfectly al dente, with a buttery flavor that suggested a slow braise in homemade bone broth. The Sliced Beef Tenderloin lived up to its name – the meat was absurdly tender, with a rich flavor that can only come from high quality beef. With each meal sampled, the vegetables continued to vigorously prove their freshness, while the meats easily gave way to a fork with only gentle prodding, even after reheating in a microwave.

Anyone can follow a recipe, but not everyone can do the basics well. Couple that with cooking in bulk, packaging the products and shipping it across the United States and, well, the “Positively Primal” end result is impressive indeed.

For more information about menus, pricing and shipping options, visit The Good Dish website.