These days, there's an online solution to that -- a bit pricey, but still more budget-wise than restaurant dining. And on the plus side, you can sit at your own table, enjoy your own wine selection and dine at your leisure.
We've researched the Internet for kosher mail-order meals, and here are some of the results. They're certainly not comprehensive, but some of these are definitely worth checking out.
· Kosher Chefs Diet (590 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y.; 1-800-939-0663, Ext. 1; kosherchefs diet.com) -- According to senior sales representatives, the meals are not specifically geared to special diets but are planned to fit in with a 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat daily nutritional plan.
For special diets, a nutritionist is available to discuss your choices and needs. The meal plan starts at $22.99 per day, which does not include delivery. Meals are packaged and frozen, and shipped across the United States.
All meals are glatt kosher, certified by the Orthodox Union and Rabbi Benjamin Gruber of Monsey, N.Y. All dairy products used are cholav Yisroel. Each meal and snack is delivered with the seal of the O.U. and Gruber.
Preferences can be changed with 72 hours notification.
If within delivery distance, food may be delivered to your door by 5 a.m. each delivery day. A 31-day cycle of entrees is offered. The frozen meals come in weekly shipments, and are delivered overnight by FedEx (charges apply).
Each package will contain seven days' worth of meals (seven breakfasts, lunches and dinners). Each meal will be clearly labeled for easy identification and reheating instructions. The individual meal containers are both oven- and microwave-safe. Time for microwave cooking may vary according to wattage.
The preset, weekly frozen menu offers a 14-day variety of nutritious breakfasts, lunches and dinner entrees. The menu is diverse and appetizing with breakfasts such as Georgia-Peach Crêpes With Ricotta Cheese and Smoked-Salmon Eggs Benedict.
Lunch and dinner items include a Salmon Burger Over Lo Mein Noodles With Sesame Green Beans, Beef Stir-Fry With Vegetables and Wild Rice, Lime-Garlic Chicken With Sugar Snap Peas and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
· Park East Kosher Butchers and Fine Foods (1623 Second Ave., New York N.Y.; 212-737-9800; parkeastkosher.com) -- Delivery is offered throughout the continental United States, overnight delivery by FedEx. For Philadelphia customers, entrees are frozen. Salads and baked goods are packaged in refrigerated containers and shipped overnight. Within the New York area, orders are shipped directly to your door by one of Park East Kosher Butchers delivery trucks.
All products are handled and prepared under the supervision of the KOF-K.
Dishes offered are mainly traditional, with some vegetarian choices, like Eggplant Rolletini. There is a wide variety of soups, salads, beef, fish, chicken veal and lamb entrees, sides dishes and desserts. Cakes, breads and muffins are all pareve.
Menu items offer the likes of Beef Spare Ribs, Apricot Chicken and Grilled Lamb Chops. Desserts include Chocolate-Shaving Layer Cake, Oreo-Shaving Layer Cake, Mocha Layer Cake and Oat-Bran Muffins.
· Kosher Venison From Musicon Farms, Musicon Inc. (385 Scotchtown Road, Goshen, N.Y.; 845-294-6378; www.koshervenison.com ) -- Musicon was the first farm to introduce commercial glatt-kosher venison -- all slaughtered, inspected, prepared and packaged under the supervision of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregation of America.
The animals roam freely, and music to reduce noise level and stress is installed in the loafing barns. They're raised free of steroids and chemical additives, and fed an organic diet of hay, grains and fruit.
Carcasses may be cut into shoulder for stews and kebabs, ribs for spare ribs and chopped meat, saddle for London Broil or cutlets, hind legs for roast or scallopini and prepared sausage. Prices vary.
Venison meat is tender, so little cooking is needed. You can marinate the meat in beer, Italian dressing or an acidic fruit juice, such as orange or lemon juice. Cook quickly on high heat and serve immediately. Venison is best served rare to medium.
Note: The degree of doneness is difficult to judge based on color. Venison is a much deeper shade of red than beef, and will look incredibly rare or even uncooked while still medium. If it looks pink, like medium-done beef, you can be sure it's past well-done, and thus will be a little tough.
Meat is prepared for next-day delivery, packed in insulated containers, and may be shipped fresh or frozen nationwide. The company uses UPS next-day delivery for frozen meat more than 150 miles from Goshen, and UPS for less than 150 miles from the farm. Minimum order is $75.
· Kosher Bison (928-395-1049; kosherbison.com) -- A bison weighs anywhere from 900 to 2,000 pounds. It's available glatt-kosher, and the meat is especially low in fat, calories and cholesterol. Cuts are roasts, flanken, steaks, burgers and ribs. Ground bison meat is also available.
The meat is raised without antibiotics or artificial hormones, and is certified by the O.U.
It is chilled and shipped fresh or frozen, packed in blue ice, via FedEx or UPS overnight.
Satisfaction is guaranteed -- or you get your money back!
Bison Shoulder Roast
Recipe courtesy of Bison.com
1 bison shoulder roast (about 8 lbs.)
2 Tbsps. garlic powder
2 Tbsps. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsps. soy sauce
2 Tbsps. brown sugar
1 bottle dry red wine
11/2 cups beer
2 medium onions, sliced
Rub the garlic powder, pepper, soy sauce and sugar onto the meat.
Place in a non-metallic bowl.
Pour the wine and beer over the roast. Scatter the sliced onions around it. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Place the meat and marinade in a covered baking dish.
Roast uncovered for 3 hours at 300°.
Let the roast stand for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Serves 12 to 14.