Monday, August 6, 2012

Freezer to Table

While I may be four days into this ten-day regiment of antibiotics for what turned out to be a sinus infection (don't you hate those?), I am really only starting to feel like myself again today. My energy levels are returning to normal, and I was motivated enough this evening to clean up around the condo, something that always falls to the wayside when I am feeling sickly (much to my OCD chagrin!). Even better, last night I actually wanted to help cook dinner, days and days after not wanting to even step inside the kitchen since it meant abandoning the cozy couch.

Whether you are single or married, a corporate ladder-riser or self-employed entrepreneur, coming home in the evenings and tackling dinner is always a bit of a chore, and adding sickness or any kind of issue to that makes it that much worse. Sure, the weekly grocery shopping definitely helps -- I am pretty sure there is a scientific negative correlation between having done grocery shopping and the number of meals purchased on a whim out that week -- but sometimes there are those nights where you come home and just think "ughghgh" when you realize it's time to make dinner.

Sure, I'd love to be the one living up to the Buckhead Betty hype, staying home on Sundays and prepping meals ahead for the week. Ha. As if! We all know that it gets down to Thursday and all you want to do is call up the local pizza joint. Then any diet regimen and exercise momentum are gone and gone right with that empty pizza box.

I recently had the opportunity to try out a local life-saver for just those said occasions. Half-Baked is a local Buckhead operation that serves up oven-ready casseroles, perfect for any person or family wanting some delicious home-cooked meals without the effort.

J.J., Half-Baked's super chic co-owner and cook, was kind enough to pull out a few of her special frozen meals for us to try. It didn't take me but just a few days to have one of those nights where I knew cooking wasn't going to be happening. Knowing it was going to be a doozy of a day, I pulled out her Eggplant Lasagna the night prior, dropping it into the fridge to start defrosting. An hour later in the oven that night and we had a lightened-up version of lasagna that tasted absolutely nothing like a "light" version. In fact, I forgot it was technically a "light" version until just now, ha! The lowfat cheeses, sauce, eggplant and mushrooms combined into something homemade and awesome.

The second dish we tried was the "Cheese-o-roni" -- a fun name for what was insanely amazing mac n' cheese. It had crackers all over the top and a rich cheesey sauce that definitely satisfied the guys' munchies one late evening at home. Since I hadn't defrosted the meal ahead of time, I popped the dish out of the tin foil and into a glass casserole, dropped it in the oven as it was preheating and cooked it for about 40-45 minutes.

While we have not yet tried our last sampler meal, the Chicken Tetrazzini, I am anxiously awaiting another "busy" day where we can let J.J. and Lee do the cooking! I think it might be this week ... :)

Ready for some home cooking that you don't have to do yourself? Check out Half-Baked's menu for appetizers, main dishes, veggies and desserts (oh, the desserts!!). All of the dishes come in three sizes. The small meals, just $11.99, served up two generous portions perfect for a hungry couple, but you can also order a Medium for $22.99 that will serve a family of four.

Half-Baked is located on Roswell Road just north of the merge with Peachtree. They are open 10-6pm on Monday-Friday and 10-12pm on Saturdays.

Buckhead Betty tip: These meals would make fantastic gifts for new moms, or for a neighbor family if someone is in the hospital or really sick! 

Disclosure: I was provided complimentary meals from Half-Baked as part of this review, but all opinions are my own.