I did something recently that I should have done a long time ago. I tried out DinnerTime UAE for a week. I’ll confess – one of the things I complain about to my husband most frequently has to be about the planning of what we are going to eat for the week. It’s a never-ending cycle that just goes on and on… and since we had Baby Arabian Notes I feel it even more. If it’s not breakfast, it’s lunch, then a snack, and just when you’ve barely finished lunch it feels as though it’s time to start planning dinner. I just always seem to be planning what someone is going to eat! And although I pride myself on being an organised person, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t do everything…

UPDATE: The lovely people at DinnerTime have offered a free bag of organic fruits when any of my lovely readers order a dinner set for the first time – just quote ARABIAN NOTES anywhere in the address or delivery notes field. 

On days too numerous to recall, just as I am mentally high-fiving myself for having had everything food-wise ready for the baby without drama or last minute panic, of course Mr. Arabian Notes walks through the door and I groan as I realise it’s already that time, and yet again I have neglected to think about what we’re going to eat ourselves (let alone even having had the time to buy what we need to eat!), cue another 10 minute frozen pizza being thrown in the oven or a hasty decision for whichever company can deliver something to our door the fastest. Time and time again we vow over a lukewarm, soggy burger delivery that we need to start eating better, and to taking immediate action tomorrow to resolve the problem. But of course, tomorrow never comes does it…?! And in between work, kids and everything else, week after week we seem to have the same conversation over the same uninspiring quick and easy food.

I had heard about DinnerTime UAE before and always thought it sounded like a good idea, but had never done anything about it because in my mind it was probably too expensive, or too much hassle. But it couldn’t have been better timed – just as I was groaning about how to make it through another week of meal planning (or lack thereof!), I received an email from DinnerTime inviting me to try out their service. It was the perfect answer.

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Basically, they send you a box with four meals worth of ingredients, along with a brochure with all the recipes and instructions on what to do and how to prepare each meal. They even tell you how to store the food to keep it fresh until you need it!

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I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but thought it was worth a try. The image below shows everything I received in my DinnerTime package. I had looked through their menus for the week as they have a choice – you can choose between the standard, gluten-free, vegetarian or paleo options – and I plumped for the paleo option. Partly because I wanted to find out a but more about what all this fuss about paleo eating is, and partly because quite honestly I liked the sound of the dishes on that menu the best!

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If I’m being completely honest, I felt a little hesitant after the mound of food arrived on my doorstep… I know, I hadn’t had to do any shopping so that was one bonus, but the reality of seeing the book and the recipes was a bit daunting. I was actually going to have to do this now – and it looked like a lot of work. Now don’t get me wrong here – I do enjoy a bit of cooking, and though I’m no Nigella, I’d go as far to say I can cook. It certainly has been known… 🙂 We’ve just fallen into one of those ‘busy’ ruts, and decent food at dinner time is the thing (er, one of the things) that has taken a big hit.

That evening, I set about making the one choice on the menu that sounded a) like the one I fancied most, and b) the one that sounded the easiest – Aussie Style Beef Burgers.

I did have a bit of an ‘Oh my god’ moment when I realised I needed to make my own tomato ketchup, but that aside, this one was as it sounds – pretty straight forward. And in actual fact, making my own ketchup from the ingredients provided (and a few staples from my own cupboards) was really very simple. Who knew?

Of course being Paleo friendly, there were no bread buns, instead the bun was made from big fat delicious slices of roasted sweet potato. I’m not gonna lie, it was a ridiculously easy meal to make and it tasted bloomin’ good too – a moment worthy of an actual high-five, I think you’ll agree 😉

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Aussie style beef burgers paleo style

The rest of the week’s menu consisted of Grilled Salmon with tossed garlic, chilli and almond greens, a pumpkin, coconut and spinach curry and finally, Chicken and veggie tray bake.

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Grilled Salmon with tossed garlic, chilli and almond greens

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice there’s no image of the chicken tray bake. Well, what can I say about this… after having been distracted by an incident involving the baby rubbing garlic in his eyes (don’t ask) and the screaming panic that ensued, I’m afraid I declared this meal not worthy of a picture due to it being a little, er, shall we say – well fired? Yes, I’m afraid I hang my head in shame on this one, though in my defence, a) it still tasted really good and b) I did mention earlier that I’m not exactly Nigella in the kitchen.

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Pumpkin, coconut and spinach curry

But all in all I think the dishes turned out pretty well, and for the most part, pretty much as they were intended. The food delivered was high quality, and some of it even organic. I was pretty impressed. Above all, it was just fantastic not to have to think about what we were going to eat that night and to know that all the ingredients were already in my cupboards. There is a short list of ingredients they recommend you have at home already – some of them I did have, and a couple of them I just left out but everything still tasted great. So would I do it again? Yes, do you know, I definitely would. Especially since a new email from them just popped into my inbox announcing their new ‘Quick and Easy’ meal box – three quick and healthy meals a week that each only take a maximum of 30 minutes to prepare and cook!

DinnerTime UAE boxes cater from two to 10 people and start from only Dhs240 for the week. Find out more and order yours on the DinnerTime UAE website.

UPDATE: The lovely people at DinnerTime have offered a free bag of organic fruits when any of my lovely readers order a dinner set for the first time – just quote ARABIAN NOTES anywhere in the address or delivery notes field and you’ll receive a complimentary bag of organic fruits with your order.