Are you looking for a convenient way to enjoy fresh, ready-to-eat homemade meals? Then check out Weeknight Kitchen, an Inver Grove Heights-based meal preparation service that cooks ready-to-eat, homemade, family-style meals to share at home. They do the cooking – you do the eating.
Weeknight Kitchen serves the entire Twin Cities metro, and is growing – fast.
Unlike Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, Weeknight Kitchen is not a meal kit delivery service. You don’t get a box of food delivered to you, only to spend hours cutting, chopping, and preparing the food.
Instead, Weeknight Kitchen meals come totally prepared, hot and ready to eat – no prep, no cooking, no clean up, no mess. Meals are picked up at select times and location weekly, and ready to eat. It’s great for the busy family, or anyone who wants delicious, nutritious, homemade meals.
The Weeknight Kitchen menu changes weekly. Cost is $35 per order and each order serves 4-6. Meals are served in a 9X13 aluminum pan with extras on the side. Some recent menu items include:
- Meatballs in Red Sauce, “Olive Garden” Salad & Fresh Hoagie Rolls
- pulled Pork Carnitas Taco Bake with Fresh Fixings and Homemade Salsa
- Chicken and Dumplings, Berry Salad with Poppy Dressing and Fresh Bread
- Baked Pork Chops in Rice, Field Greens and Fresh Bread.
Weeknight Kitchen – how it got started
Preparing a home-cooked dinner and finding time to sit down and enjoy it with your family – well, it seems impossible these days. Almost everyone feels stressed out and stretched thin for time with work, school, sports, and family commitments.
But you can’t escape dinner duty. No matter what your day throws at you, you always get the question – “what’s for dinner?”
“So, the business idea just seemed very simple to me,” said Libby Mehaffey, Weeknight Kitchen co-founder. “Make delicious, homemade food and people will find time to sit down and share a meal. I’ve seen it work.”
Over the past six years I was a stay-at-home mom and I cooked all the time – and if I asked a neighbor, friend, enemy, or random cable guy if they wanted a plate of dinner – they said yes and gladly sat down for a meal.”
Mehaffey continued: “So my friend Jen and I started cooking out of my kitchen for family and friends over a five week test-drive. At the end of our pilot, people asked “what are we going to do without you?” Since then, we’ve moved into our second larger commercial kitchen (at the South Saint Paul VFW) and are growing our business daily, taking on new clients and adding additional pick-up locations.”
“Weeknight Kitchen meals are all homemade and served family-style,” added Mehaffey, who is from Hastings but moved to Inver Grove Heights with her husband in 2005. “Unlike other take-out options, we make all of our meals that day from scratch and package them to be shared with family and friends. No need to grab this for Sally and that for Bobby – everyone gets what’s for dinner and that’s that. Just making the decision of what to make for dinner can be half the battle.”
Weeknight Kitchen meals are available at “hyper convenient” locations – or at least that’s the goal.
“We have pick-up spots at daycare centers, corporate offices, and in residential neighborhoods,” said Mehaffey. “You leave work and grab your hot, homemade meal – or grab it at your neighbor’s house. It sounds a little weird at first, but it’s awesome.”
And, finally, Weeknight Kitchen menus are designed to be delicious to kids and adults alike. No fancy spices or chef-inspired concoctions – just simple, delicious, homemade meals.
While meal-kit services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh have exploded in popularity, one thing needs to be clarified: Weeknight Kitchen is not a meal kit service.
“While we do get lumped into that category – our business is really more like a local take-out restaurant,” said Mehaffey. “Some people have described our business as an “ice cream truck for grown-ups” and sometimes it feels that way – as our clients are so excited to grab their meals.”
Where did the idea for Weeknight Kitchen come from? Mehaffey explained:
“I grew up eating dinner daily at 5:30 p.m. with my parents and two sisters,” said Mehaffey. “It was a constant. Family life happened at the dinner table and that formed the backbone of my childhood. Unfortunately, people don’t sit down to share dinner at 5:30 p.m. anymore – in fact, some people don’t sit down at all. We want to bring it back. Family dinner is important. Lots of studies show that sitting down for dinner helps kids develop better eating habits, feel less stressed about life, and more connected to their family. Those are important things.”
Weeknight Kitchen – where to pickup
Weeknight kitchen meals can be picked up at the SSP VFW on Tuesday’s between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Weeknight kitchen can also be picked up at residential locations in Inver Grove Heights – one in Argenta Hills and one at Mehaffey’s home off Highway 3. Weeknight Kitchen also has pickup locations in Eden Prairie, Hastings, Oakdale, and Prior Lake. They are also currently seeking more pickup locations in surrounding communities – so if interested, contact Mehaffey at email@example.com.
“It sounds kind of weird to pick up a meal from someone’s house – but it’s a great model for us as it brings our meals to a location that is super easy for our clients – and that’s huge – once you try it, you’ll be hooked,” says Mehaffey
The Weeknight Kitchen dream team
Three Moms from the Midwest make up the talented and creative Weeknight Kitchen team including:
Jennifer Drane, a Registered Dietitian with a degree from Penn State and full-blooded Italian. Drane helps keep meals healthy and well-balanced and also provides a lot of drama to our work week.
Becky Mann recently retired after 32 years as a head cook at a local elementary school. She is amazing in the kitchen and provides a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cooking for a crowd. She is also Libby’s mom – so that’s pretty awesome.
Libby Mehaffey is a University of Wisconsin-Madison grad with a dream of owning a successful business, employing good people, and building something amazing. Menus are updated regularly.
Weeknight Kitchen costs and frequently asked questions
All meals are homemade that day in a commercial kitchen in SSP (SSP VFW). Everyone gets the same thing – no special orders or substitutions.
All meals are $35 (including $2.25 tax and $1.30 in processing fees).
All meals feed 4-6 people depending on ages/appetites.
All meals are delivered in a 9×13 aluminum pan with salads and extras on the side.
Allergies? Weeknight Kitchen posts its ingredient list on its nutrition page.
Gluten Free Options? Sorry, Weeknight Kitchen does not offer gluten-free options. There are menus that are gluten-sensitive available.
Weeknight kitchen meal plan philosophy
Weeknight Kitchen prepares hot, homemade meals for your family to share. Everything is made from scratch that day using fresh produce, lean meats, and real dairy products. The Weeknight Kitchen approach on nutrition is the traditional approach – everything in moderation.
Menus are designed to be well-balanced including protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates. The recipes come from family recipes, friends and other popular cooks and chefs – like Ina Garten and Martha Stewart.
With that, some of meals are more gluten-sensitive while others are carb-heavy classics, but both menus stick to their approach of “everything in moderation.”