Starting August 27, you can prepare Chick-fil-A chicken in your very own kitchen. The fast-food chain is the first to offer a meal kit service and will sell its "Mealtime Kits" at 150 restaurants across the Atlanta area until November 17.
Each delivery comes with pre-measured ingredients and cooking instructions. But unlike boxes from Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and similar services, you don't have to subscribe or order ahead to get your meals: These Mealtime Kits can be bought at the drive-thru or front counter. You can also order the kits through the Chick-fil-A One app.
You won't be making Chick-fil-A's classic fried chicken sandwich or waffle fries, but each recipe features the same antibiotic-free chicken that the chain uses. There are five recipes to choose from: chicken Parmesan, chicken enchiladas, Dijon chicken, pan-roasted chicken and chicken flatbread.
Each Mealtime Kit serves two people and costs $15.89 total, or $7.95 a serving. That's comparable to the major meal kit companies: Blue Apron comes out to $8.99 to $9.99 per serving and Hello Fresh costs between $7.89 and $8.99 per serving.
We got our hands on the chicken Parmesan kit and tested out Chick-fil-A's new line of fresh prepared meals.
Since our Mealtime Kit was shipped from Atlanta to New York City, it arrived in a large styrofoam box surrounded by freezer packs. When you pick the kits up in Atlanta starting August 27, though, they won't come on ice, so Chick-fil-A encourages you to put them in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchasing.
Here's what the box looks like:
It comes with a detailed, illustrated recipe card.
Fresh, pre-measured ingredients arrive individually packaged.
This particular recipe included marinated chicken breasts, yogurt packs, Parmesan panko crumbs, tomato sauce, ready-to-heat spaghetti pasta, broccolini, grape tomatoes, garlic Alfredo sauce, a whole lemon, a cheese blend and shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
The fact that the chicken came pre-marinated was a huge time saver.
According to the instructions, the only other supplies you need are cooking oil, a non-stick skillet with a lid, a baking sheet, a cutting board and a small mixing bowl. It also claims that you can start and finish the cooking process in 30 minutes.
I set my timer and got to work.
The cooking instructions are thorough and beginner-friendly. They even include helpful hints for the true novices like me. For instance, I didn't know if I could use all of the broccolini but Chick-fil-A notes that, indeed, "you can eat the entire stem, if you like."
The steps range from chopping and sauteing veggies to coating the chicken with yogurt and smearing panko crumbs on it. The chicken makes its way from the skillet, where it browns for a few minutes, to the oven, where it bakes for 15 minutes.
While the main course was in the oven, I whipped up the side dish, a creamy garlic and lemon pasta with tomatoes and broccolini:
The recipe was more involved than I expected and the meal was a more complex one than I'm used to cooking. It took me longer to prepare than the instructions promised — 45 minutes, from the moment I opened the package to the time I plated my masterpiece — but, to be fair, filming probably slowed me down.
Regardless, the time and sweat in the kitchen was well worth it. The food was good — and filling. The chicken was particularly savory and cooked perfectly. While the pasta wasn't mind-blowing, it was a nice side that brought the meal together.
Like any meal kit service, I wouldn't commit to using it multiple times per week, but it was a nice alternative to what I normally eat for dinner: A less-exciting home-cooked meal or overpriced restaurant food.
For that reason, I'd say that if you're in Atlanta between August 27 and November 17, stop by a Chick-fil-A and give the Mealtime Kit a try.
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