NO DISHES!!!!!! Ok, now that I have your attention.. Please read on.. Regardless on your family size, your kids ages, your work schedule, or whether you love to cook or not, we are ALL plagued
NO DISHES!!!!!! Ok, now that I have your attention.. Please read on..
Regardless on your family size, your kids ages, your work schedule, or whether you love to cook or not, we are ALL plagued with the same old question “What do we make for dinner??”
Although we love to cook, sometimes we just don’t want the stress of planning our weekly menu, or searching the flyers, the cookbooks, the internet or Pinterest (etc etc) for something new.
And to be honest, sometimes, life is just too busy to prep a well rounded meal.
Once in a while, even just the thought of doing dishes after the meal is enough to push us over the edge and before I can even ask my husband if I should cook something anyway, he’s already dialing the pizzaria..
I am not opposed to a pizza every once in a while, but as a mom of three kids ( 2 of which are growing teens) I try to stick to a nutritious, homemade meal plan as often as possible.
In any case, in November, I bought a pair of winter boots from the Bay ( I know you’re thinking what has this got to do with supper.. read on my friend..), and with my purchase I received a gift card from GoodFood. ( SEE? I had a point!) Curious, and procrastinating on making my grocery list for the week, I perused the menus and looked over their programs. Because of that, Facebook algorithms ( AKA crazy voodoo) has been sending ads to my feed on companies like MissFresh, GoodFood, and HelloFresh. These are all great option for anyone wanting to learn new recipes, or have pre-planned meals, but my issue is with the actual TIME of cooking and cleaning, not in my lack of ideas on what to cook. (If I have to scrub ONE MORE POT.. arghhh).
Thinking I wasn’t the only person wanting an easier way, I did some research and was really happy to find that we have some AMAZING cooks, ready to provide us with meals, RIGHT IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD!! How did I not know about this service before??
Lucky for you all, I took one for the team (hehe) and ate some delicious food from 4 different companies in order to properly “dish” about them to you. (see what I did there?)
Here are 4 local catering businesses. And although they are all very different from each other, they share some common goals.
- To provide affordable, prepared, mouth watering meals, and
- To help families swap “prep+cook+clean up” time, for quality family time.
For that result alone, I am happy to feature them here. In no particular order, here are your solutions for NO MORE DISHES.. EVER. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Christina’s Culinary Creations
Meet Christina Torino, owner/cook at Christina’s Culinary Creations. Christina lived in our quaint little town between the ages of 12 and 18, then spent some time in Montreal and just recently moved back here with her family of 5. She says it seemed like a safe place to raise her kids, and I think that is something to which we can all agree!
Although she would say her culinary background is very humble, she has spent her entire life watching and learning from her Grandmother, Aunt and then mother-in-law as they brought 100% authentic Italian dishes to life. You can’t get that kind of experience in school. Just ask Rachael Ray..she seems to be doing just fine.
Just 8 months ago, she decided to NOT return to her day job. Instead she followed her dreams of making her own schedule, doing something she loves while contributing to their family income, and most importantly, allowing her to stay home with her kids.
She started small by making lasagnas ( for which she rolls her own pasta!!) and posted them on her Facebook page – she received her first order the same day.
In fact, her first customer has been consistently ordering, almost weekly, for chicken parmigiana and meatballs!
Her top three most popular dishes are lasagna, chicken parmigiana or arancini. Personally, I’ve tried her Lasagna, and I have to give it to her, it’s delicious. The freshly made pasta makes all the difference in the world, and I will absolutely be ordering from her again. I also tried her stuffed olives..my mouth waters just thinking about them! I am not typically a fan of olives.. But man, they were sooo good..a must for any special occasion as an hors d’oeuvre!
You can check out her menu on her Facebook page Christina Traiteur et Evenements – Home | Facebook and with atleast 24 hours notice, you can place an order via messenger.
Don’t have 24 hours? She keeps some meals on hand for any last minute customers.
Christina is also available for small parties and events which include in house catering with full service – or hot plate style as well!
Follow her page because she also offers Holiday Specials that differ from her main menu (Like a full 4 course dinner on Valentine’s day) and currently a beautiful platter of Italian cookies like Amaretti and Anginetti, lemon and lemon blueberry loaves! Tea time anyone?
House of Chef James Mitchell
As a married couple, working parents and co-founders of their business, Danai Alexopoulos-Mitchell and her husband, Chef James Mitchell have found that balance is the key to their success. Together they created HOCJM by combining their individual passions. Danai had dreams of becoming the CEO of her own company, and balancing work with family without either suffering from the attention the other received. Her husband, having had 25 years experience in the culinary world, and a diploma in culinary arts from PIUS found that working for others meant long hours away from his family. With his schedule, “balance” wasn’t on the menu (I was overdue for a pun..) By combining their career goals, not only did they improve their own family’s quality of life, but they are helping other families in our community create memories around the dinner table.
Both are extremely passionate about the role they play in making their business a success. Stating that although life with a 4 ½ year old and 7 months old is hectic enough (Don’t I know it!!), they love both the challenges and the flexibility that comes with running their own business. Mostly though, they are happy to be giving back to the community, and helping families like theirs create memories around the dinner table.
My neighbor, who informed me earlier this week that she has ordered from HOCJM often, tells me they are genuine people that really do care about their community. If I didn’t believe her, their track record speaks for itself. They have worked with community wings, Community Hockey Teams and have also worked with the Edgewater school in projects concerning families during the holidays.
They have also been a part of the École des Étriers annual kids breakfast and a part of the Nichoire Gala 3 years in a row.
HOCJM present customers with a new menu to choose from every week, offering balanced meals that include veggies, protein and starches. They are pretty flexible if you need to swap some proteins out (Fish for one member of the family and the rest chicken), and are happy to cater to special requests. Typically they will have 6 main dishes, 2 soups, 2 salads and 2 desserts to choose from.
Their top three most popular dishes include the fully loaded Mac&Cheese (That sounds Amazing!), Sliders and the Garlic Sticky Chicken bites. I’ve tried the Chicken Parmigiana with gluten free pasta. The chicken was perfectly cooked (even when reheated for dinner!) and the marinara sauce was delicious! Portion size was perfect, and the instructions so easy to follow. It made my evening so much more relaxing, I would definitely order again!
There is no minimum to order, which is great if you only need one meal per week for say a busy weeknight, or weekend break from cooking. There is a minimum of 50$ order for delivery though, but pick up is an option too!
I found their website to be particularly inviting, super easy and quick to navigate. There are different options for portion sizes and a space to enter specific instructions, should you need to. You can have your whole week of meals planned, ordered and paid for in less time than it would take you to find a pen and paper to work on your own weekly meal plan!! Let alone the time you’ll save by not having to ask the kids what THEY want that week, to which both answer different things because for the life of them they cannot agree on ONE meal they both want..sigh. This definitely takes the guesswork out of the equation, and you’ll feel great knowing that you are feeding your family balanced, healthy meals. Cheers to that!!
You can find their weekly menu and the link to their website here. HOCJM offers catering for any occasion, an appetizer bar, buffer etc, and a private dining experience. Imagine your own personal chef for an evening..We could feel like Oprah or the Kardashians!! This sounds like a great idea for my 40th birthday next year.. I will start sending subtle hints to my hubby now..
Oh and a great idea for kids.. House of Junior Chefs School that will be launching September 2019. more news coming soon!!!
360 Degree Gourmet
360 Degree Gourmet
N Her company name perfectly represents her style of cooking. Her menu is inspired by International Cuisine, offering a wide variety of foods, catering to any taste bud!
Sandra is originally from Venezuela, where she was a journalist and classical musician (I know, right??!) and cooking for her, started as a hobby. However, once she landed in Canada 10 years ago, she honed in on her culinary skills, and worked for a company that catered to medical patients. Soon after, she took a course on meal preps for bodybuilding clients, and slowly through customer referrals, built herself a base of customers that had strict dietary requirements, and eventually decided to start her own company. Throughout the last 7 years she has diversified her menu to include Canadian, Latino, Mexican, Spanish, Vegan,Gluten Free, Keto, Paleo dishes..
She states that her love of food began very early on, having had Spanish parents and grandparents, constantly in the kitchen while she was growing up. Through their efforts, she learned that food wasn’t just a meal. It was meant to be enjoyed with your family and friends. It was a way of building memories and evoking emotions. “You cook food for the joy it will bring to you and your environment” She says. Having met her in the summer of 2017, I believe her. I was lucky enough to get to know Sandra, when we hired her to cater our backyard wedding. Her first question to us was, “What is your favourite food, what foods make you happy?”
She made us delicious appy’s and homemade paté. She also prepared the main meal, and was so flexible on every level, she was a dream to work with. (Although I was a bridezilla and changed my mind every few days.. Poor her) Had I known more about her at the time, I would have taken full advantage of her diversified experience, and I would have chosen a more flamboyant, and worldly menu. Well there’s always the next wedding.. Just kidding!
For your convenience, 360 Degree Gourmet offers a weekly menu. If you are looking to try new foods, or want to sample some delicious dishes from around the globe, then you can reach her on Facebook here Or on the website 360degreeGourmet . Her online ordering form is very easy to follow, and allows for special requests. She also caters events, and parties. (I am getting hungry just going back and forth on her website so I might just order some tappas for my future event of watching Netflix on the couch..)
You will find her very personable, with the added bonus of a cute accent. Enjoy!
La Cucina Di Jessika
I had a chance to chat with Jessika, when I picked up my order of Gnocchi and Marinara sauce last week. (Yum!!) She was friendly, kind, and chatty. But most importantly, she gave me the vibe that she truly loves what she does, along with everything that comes with it. She is proud, as she should be, of the successful home business she has created and grown over the years.
Jessika LeBlanc Alleruzzo has been owner and chef of her own catering business for the past 5 years. When her kids were 9, 7 and 5, she decided to leave her full time job in Saint-Laurent, and with the support of her husband, she took a leap of faith. She was done with the rushed lifestyle, late dinners, and lack of quality family time her long commute to work was causing. She wanted to be more available to her kids, and be a part of their extracurricular activities, but also find a way to contribute to the family income. Her catering business stems from being passionate about cooking from an early age. Whether in leisure, or by necessity, she always felt inspired in the kitchen, therefore opening her own catering business was a natural step forward for her.
Jessika comes from a diverse family. A French Canadian father, German mother, and Italian husband. Although I’m sure her husband can take some credit for her love of Italian food, she recounts a fond memory of growing up in Dollard. “My best friend’s mom was Italian and I absolutely loved her home cooked meals. I’d often eat there and since then I guess Italian food = family time, quality time”. Her goal is to recreate that feeling for others, with her homemade Italian dishes. Given her success, I believe she has achieved it.
Jessika offers a select menu of her tried and true favourites, these include main dishes, sides and desserts. Also, she uses fresh ingredients, her meals are never frozen, and she rolls her own pasta for all of her dishes! I haven’t had the opportunity to try them all yet, but I can tell you that I am definitely adding an order of Canolli to my future 40th birthday bash..I will be sending subtle hints to my husband..
Follow and like her page on Facebook here LaCucinadiJessika . You will find mouth watering palatable pictures of her hard work. Also, Jessika has recently added a new branch to her business and is now a representative for Epicure! For those that aren’t familiar with this line of products, it is a Canadian based company founded in 1997 that offers clean eating solutions with fresh ingredients. They are Gluten & Nut Free, and part of the Non-GMO project. You can order from her by going to this link Epicure Buon Appetito!!!