Category Archives: Prepared Meals

Deconstructed Food: It’s Not Just for Chipotle Anymore

What’s in your meal?

No really—what’s actually in your meal? Have you read the ingredient labels on everything you’re eating? Do you know exactly what you’re putting into your body 3+ times per day?

Undesirable ingredients like sugar, preservatives and unhealthy fats often hide in the most unexpected products, including condiments, canned foods and snacks. Perhaps you didn’t know how frequently you consume small amounts of refined sugar and preservatives. But add it all up, and you may realize even “healthy” products aren’t exactly what they seem.

In response to growing concern about meal quality, many restaurants and food companies are starting to take a deconstructed food approach to their menu. Following Chipotle’s “build-your-own burrito” precedent, many other restaurants now offer their customers the chance to see each ingredient side-by-side before making a decision. Greater ingredient transparency means greater trust in the company’s offerings.

The Deconstruction Advantage

At About the Table, we like the build-your-own idea not just because it offers more choices, but because it allows you to consider each ingredient before adding it to your meal. If you know gluten and dairy present digestive problems for you, you can skip the cheese and tortilla and substitute guacamole and rice instead. You can ask questions about each ingredient—we’re always happy to talk food!

Building your own meal also encourages you to experiment with different flavor combinations and become a more adventurous eater. Knowing any choice you make will be a delicious one, you can feel comfortable diving headfirst into the array of spices, flavors and textures.

Bring It Home

Deconstruction isn’t just for restaurants, either. At home, you can recreate the experience by setting out different ingredients and letting everyone in the family build their own meal. For kids, this lets them try new foods and makes them feel like they’ve participated in making dinner.

Need ideas? Try Egg Roll in a Bowl with different sautéed veggies, ground pork, rice and sauces like tamari. For a fun dessert option, give Ina Garten’s Strawberry Shortcakes Deconstructed a whirl. Mexican, Greek and Italian food themes also work well.

Add Build-Your-Own Options

About the Table specializes in customized menus that appeal to all palates and ages. Ask us to add deconstructed food options to your meal service and start broadening your culinary horizons—while knowing every ingredient is a healthy, whole-food choice. Contact us to get started with personal chef services.

Too Hot to Cook? Try These No-Cook Meal Ideas This Summer!

Has it become too hot to cook in your kitchen this summer? The thought of turning on the oven or stove is less than appealing when you’ve been out in the sun all day. But don’t let the heat spoil your appetite. There are plenty of light, no-cook meal ideas available to beat the heat while keeping your family well-fed!

Key Ingredients for No-Cook Meals

1. Seasonal Veggies: When building a meal that doesn’t require the stovetop or oven, think veggies first. Summer is the ideal time to enjoy a variety of raw veggies, from sugar snap peas to bell peppers. Invest in a spiralizer to make fresh “noodles” out of zucchini, carrots or beets. Avocados are incredibly diverse and can be transformed into anything from salad toppings to creamy sauces. Try this recipe for Caprese-Stuffed Avocados for a light twist on traditional caprese salad.

2. Pre-Made Proteins: This is also the perfect time to use canned meats such as tuna, chicken or salmon. Any of these proteins can be combined with mayonnaise, diced veggies and a few spices for a wonderfully flavorful salad. Scoop it onto crackers or into butter lettuce leaves for a crisp, refreshing meal.

3. Leafy Greens: Salads can easily become the centerpiece of the meal if you’re dreading turning on the oven. A southwestern-flavored salad with corn, black beans and tomatoes lends itself to a variety of other toppings like peppers, guacamole and salsa. Or try a Greek salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives and cucumbers.

4. Gourmet Items: Who says dinner needs to be plated? Fill up the table with platters of gourmet deli meats and cheeses, raw fruits (like figs) and veggies. Add your favorite dips, and let everyone gather around the table and build their own meal. This could easily become a picnic dinner if you want to venture to a park to eat.

Too Hot and Tired to Make a Meal?

Let us help! About the Table can prepare light, refreshing cold meals for you and your family to enjoy all summer long. Contact us here to set up a weekly meal plan.

Already a client? Ask us about including more cold meals on the menu!

5 Must-Have Produce and Meal Ideas for Summer

Every season I like to introduce new meals and ingredients to my clients’ menus. It keeps things interesting, and it’s healthier, too! Mother Nature knows exactly what we need each season, and in summer, it’s all about raw, delicate fruits and veggies to keep us cool and hydrated.

Produce in season doesn’t require much preparation because it’s perfect as-is. But incorporating these fresh ingredients into your dishes in new and unique ways will add intrigue to your plate—and bring the whole family around the table.

When planning your weekly meals and snacks, take a page from About the Table. We’ll be highlighting these seasonal favorites in our clients’ menus. Add them to your grocery list or let us do it for you!

Summer Produce & Meal Ideas

Cherries: Perfectly sweet and tart, take advantage of cherries while you can (as much as you can). They’re a great snack to enjoy on the go or at the beach. You can also incorporate them into your side dishes and desserts. Think: cherries over vanilla ice cream, homemade cherry jam and this Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Feta.

Berries: Another snackable fruit to have on hand, berries are bursting with nutrients and antioxidants. Try all varieties, from strawberries to blackberries, in muesli, yogurt, smoothies and salads. Top with whipped cream for a sweet treat or macerate in balsamic vinegar to use as a sauce on grilled steaks.

Peaches: Juicy peaches are the stars of summer! And they pair perfectly with lots of unexpected ingredients. Some appetizer and meal ideas? Peach salsa over pork chops or pork tenderloin. Sliced peaches wrapped in salty prosciutto. Grilled peaches with mascarpone cheese and honey. Or, keep it simple and add raw peaches to your cheese boards for easy entertaining.

Eggplant: Ripening in July and throughout the season, eggplant is a diverse ingredient I love to cook with. Hearty dishes like eggplant parmesan and eggplant rollatini are ideal for a crowd—especially if you have vegetarians in your family. For a weekday meal, try grilled eggplant and chicken served over arugula and spinach salad.

Bell Peppers: Sliced, stuffed or stir-fried, the opportunities with bell peppers are limitless. Enjoy raw with hummus. Stuff with meat, rice and tomato sauce for a one-pan Mediterranean meal. Cut into matchsticks and add to a veggie and chicken stir fry with brown rice (one of our faves!). Peppers come in fun colors so mix and match them all to add a rainbow to your plates and platters.

Too busy this summer?
Vacation, camp, beach days, work…your schedule is probably jam-packed! Skip the fast food and let us come up with seasonal meal ideas just for you! We’ll keep you healthy and happy with fresh dishes stored in your fridge or packed in a cooler for your travels.

Contact us to get started or to request your summer favorites!

Father’s Day Dinner and Gifts for the Foodie

My favorite memories of my dad are the ones we spent enjoying a meal at the kitchen table or a restaurant. When I would visit my hometown in New Jersey from Delaware, we’d bond over food—or, more specifically, a bowl of black olives or breadsticks wrapped in prosciutto. It was our special time to catch up. And we both agreed that anything is better with a good cocktail and delicious dinner!

I attribute my business and my culinary success to my dad. He certainly cultivated my love of food. He taught me how to order steak, “as rare as the chef will let it go!” He even showed me how to truly appreciate the finer things in life, like a Tanqueray martini. To this day, I still utter his words after the first sip: “Ah, nectar of the gods!”

Not only was my dad a food connoisseur, he was also an entrepreneur. Because of him, I was able to turn my passion (and these cherished moments) into a career that lights me up day after day. The sheer joy that I get from sharing a meal is what motivated me to start About the Table. For this, and countless other reasons, I am forever grateful for my dad.

With Father’s Day right around the corner, I encourage you to treat your dad to something personal to create lasting memories. At About the Table, this time is extra meaningful, and we’d be honored to help you plan the perfect day for Dad.

Father’s Day Dinner and Gift Ideas

Special occasion dinner: Don’t worry about making a reservation in Delaware for the big day. Instead, let us prepare all of your dad’s favorite foods. Whether you’d like to enjoy Father’s Day dinner just with Dad or the whole family, we’ll bring seasonal dishes right to your door. No one has to cook. No one has to clean. Everyone gets to eat!

Cooking class: Roll up your sleeves and learn something new! Is Dad interested in baking or does he love pub fare? Has he always wanted to make pasta from scratch? We can tailor a class to suit his interests and preferences. It’s the perfect gift for the foodie in your life.

Personal chef service: Is your superdad super busy? Is he trying a new diet? Does he deserve a little relaxation time at the end of the day? Consider the gift of About the Table’s personal chef services. We’ll cook customized meals for him (or the family) so he doesn’t have to. Check out sample menus and options here.

Contact us now to book your Father’s Day dinner or special service!

Traveling This Summer? Order Meals to Go!

When beach season hits in Delaware, it’s time to head to the shore. Whether for the weekend or your annual weeklong getaway, there’s nothing better than summertime at the ocean. In addition to towels, sunscreen and those cute gladiator sandals, you can now take meals to go from About the Table!

We all know the foundation of every good beach day (or party) is the food. But heading straight to the grocery store when you arrive, and then cooking all your meals, will seriously cut into your relaxation and family time. Besides, who wants to do all that work on vacation?

Pack Travel Meals To Go

Our team is happy to prepare a luxurious picnic lunch to keep you full and satisfied between building sandcastles and surfing. We can also send you off with marinated steaks and vibrant salads for BBQs at the beach house. Need breakfast to start the day? How about homemade muffins or cheese and asparagus quiche?

We can prepare meals that are fully cooked or require minimal cooking, such as a few minutes on the grill. Just tell us about your trip, and we will help you decide what will work best. We’ll also give you simple heating, serving and packing instructions, as needed.

And it’s easier than getting a reservation…

Here’s How It Works:                 
                                                        
If you’re a current client, there’s no need to skip a week of regular service if you’re going out of town. Instead, let us know when you’re traveling and we’ll plan a menu you can enjoy on the road or at your destination. Call or email about 2 weeks in advance so we can plan accordingly.

If you’re not a current client, call or email us to learn how we can prepare meals for your getaway—or start a regular service. 302-365-0143

Sample Dishes:

• All-American Burgers
• Marinated Steak
• Tequila-Lime Chicken
• Garlic Roasted Pork Tenderloin
• Family-Style Baked Ziti
• Farmer’s Market Salad
• Quinoa Tabbouleh with Fresh Herbs
• Mini Muffins
• Egg Quiche and Casseroles

No matter your adventure, About the Table can fuel your summer excursions with customized meals to go. While you’re slowing down, we’re just heating up. Contact us for details.