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Quick Time Meals is a meal assembly kitchen in Altamonte Springs located near the intersection of SR 436 and SR 434. You don’t dine or cook there, but you do put together all of the ingredients you need for 8 or 12 main entrees, each of which provide 6-8 servings. I went there 2 weeks ago and assembled 12 ready-to-cook entrees (72-96 meals) in under 90 minutes with my fiance, and now I don’t have to worry about lunches or dinners for the next 6 weeks. My total cost was $194 ($215 for 12 entrees – $25 Restaurant.com certificate + $4 for certificate) or approximately $2.31 per serving, which is not too shabby considering that I have enough food now to get two people through a month and a half. All I pick up on my weekly grocery runs now are breakfast foods, fruits, juice, and veggies.
In real world terms, I estimate that Chris and I would be going twice every three months, for a total bill of $420 assuming no discounts. We spend an average of $250/month on groceries, or $750 every three months. The 24 QTM entrees would easily take care of our lunch and dinner needs for 90 days since we are both doing the smaller portions that go with eating 5-6 meals a day. ($750-$420)/3 months = $110/month left for fruits, veggies, breakfast foods, beverages, and other healthy snack foods. $27.50/week is plenty of cash to cover those types of items plus the occasional luxury meal in my household of two.
It’s a great value for busy people (need I mention the impending crunch time schedules in game development?) who want home-cooked meals but don’t have the time, inclination, or willing spouse or parent to do the tedious shopping, chopping, and other prep work that goes into cooking. It’s also great if you don’t know how to cook and don’t have a fully-stocked kitchen with dozens of different dry ingredients and seasoning on hand, but want to get away from TV dinners, fast food, and expensive restaurant meals. (For all of the singles out there, consider splitting a 12-entree order with a co-worker or two just to try out the service.)
These are also great items to bring to the next company potluck. 😛
If you have a kitchen at home with a baking pan, a covered sauce pan, and a 12″ skillet, and you can follow simple cooking instructions like “Defrost. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast in baking pan for 40 minutes.”, you can cook anything that you prepare at Quick Time. This is one of the main selling points for us–once I start living at the office for 12 hours a day/6-7 days a week again this summer and fall, Chris will have to fend for himself in the kitchen. When my projects go into alpha and beta phases, I am doing well to have plain baked chicken breasts, nuked frozen veggies, and a piece of fruit for lunch and dinner. I don’t mind eating like that, but I think Chris will be a lot happier with a freezer loaded with easy, ready-to-cook meals.
This is how it works:
1) You sign up for a free QTM account at their website, quicktimemeals.com .
2) Once you have an account, you book a session on their calendar and choose which meal package you want (8 or 12 entrees) and which specific entrees from their menu of the month you want to order.
3) I recommend purchasing a Quick Time Meals dining certificate worth $25 off the 12 meal package (normally $215) from Restaurant.com for $5 first using a 50% off code (code: RAINBOW good through May 20, 2007) to save some money off your order.
4) You’ll get a confirmation email with your ordered items listed.
5) Show up for your session with either a large cooler or a laundry basket to take your meals home with you.
6) At QTM, you’ll be given measuring cups and spoons, disposable food prep gloves, aprons, and enough ziploc freezer bags and/or foil pans to store all of your food.
7) At each station, you assemble all of the pre-cut ingredients for your entrees following the recipe/instructions posted at the station. Most of the time this involves scooping spices and other ingredients into a big bag with 6 portions of meat, sealing the bag with as little air as possible, and squishing everything around to mix. You may also mix a smaller bag of sauce separately. Once all of your meal components are ready, you stuff all of the smaller bags into a big Ziploc, slap a label with the name and cooking instructions for the meal on the outside, and move onto the next entree in your order.
Because all of the ingredients are purchased, set up, and pre-cut for you, you save a ton of time and can easily put together a dozen entrees in under two hours. You don’t even have to clean up after yourself. 😉
When you get home with your pile o’ meals, put them in the freezer and just pull one or two out each week on Friday night to defrost and cook on Sunday while you are doing laundry or watching the game.
This is the May menu selection. You get to choose up to two of each entree when you order. I’ve had the Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Rock Shrimp Quesadillas, and Ginger Sesame chicken so far, and they’ve all been great.
Asian Plumb Wild Pork Wings
Fish With Cilantro Lime Sauce
Crunchy Poppyseed Chicken Salad
Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce
Rock Shrimp Quesadillas w/Sofia’s Salsa
Ginger Sesame Chicken and Grilled Pineapples
40 Clove Chicken
Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Greek Pasta and Roasted Veggie Salad
Veggie Lasagna Rolls
Breakfast Strata with Potatoes, Rosemary and Swiss Cheese
Brandy Laced Tiramisu