Hello all! Thank you for taking the time to check in with Taking Pure Joy. This post is geared specially toward existing and perspective clients who are looking for ways to work with a Private Chef in a pocket book friendly manner. Last week's post highlights 3 easy ways to optimize your order from Taking Pure Joy in order to fit your budget. If you haven't given it a read yet, please do here! One section of this post addresses the fact that making your own side dishes to compliment the mains you order form us can save you a chunk of change with very little added effort/stress. This post dives deeper on that. Enjoy!
As our How it Works page says, Taking Pure Joy's pricing structure consists of 2 components, (1) a flat labor rate of $40 per dish plus (2) the cost of groceries. We are sometimes asked why we charge the same labor rate for sides, snacks, desserts, and baked goods as we do for entrees. The simple answer is this: Some of these dishes take less time and effort than our entrees, but others do not. Others take equivalent or even more time and effort. Thus, early on, we decided to keep it simple by maintaining a consistent labor rate across all dishes.
You may be thinking, "Heck! I don't want to pay the same amount for a salad as I would for a Paella!"...and you know what, we totally understand. A salad, no matter how long it takes us to prepare, is not going to fill you up as much an entree. If you feel that adding that side to your bill doesn't make sense for you, that is A-OK. That being said, not all of our entrees include the veggies and carbs that you need for a well rounded meal and we still want you to have that, even if it's not all from us. So, here is what we suggest:
Go ahead and order your main dishes from us. Order that Paella, that Korean BBQ Short Rib, those Garlic + Parmesan Scallops. Allow Taking Pure Joy to serve as the back bone of your weekly meal plan and supplement with your own side dishes! You do not have to be a wiz in the kitchen to prepare a tasty side or two, nor do you have to have a ton of extra time. Below are some suggestions for easy dishes that you can throw together to round out your Taking Pure Joy meals, (usually in less time than it takes to heat your entree up!):
Keep some fresh veggies on hand. Our favorite combo for a quick, no brainer salad is cherry tomatoes, english cucumber, avocado, and feta or goat cheese (of course you can omit this if you are dairy free). Toss your favorites together with your preferred salad dressing and you're done!
A note on dressing: If you're looking for store bought, we like anything from Primal Kitchen
. Try this 3 pack
of some of their top rated dressings from Amazon. If you are looking for something from scratch, throw together some good quality olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, white wine...anything!), and some salt + pepper! Sometimes we throw in some dijon mustard as well. If you have a little extra time, a food processor (or blender), and are feeling a little bit adventurous, try this
summery favorite from Cookie + Kate
If you have a little extra time, go ahead and halve (hot dog style) your favorite veggies (we LOVE carrots, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, and sweet potatoes), smother them in olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them in the oven on a cookie sheet (cut side down and on aluminum foil to avoid those dreaded dishes) at 400 degrees F for 30-45 minutes and...voila!!! Enjoy!
Give a rough chop to some of your faves (we suggest zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus for quick cooking options) and toss in a pan with some olive oil, salt + pepper. Sautee until softened to your liking. If you are feeling like adding some flair, try the same method with whole padron peppers. These little guys are very mild to mild in spice and are a fun snack food or side dish.
A simple pasta is an underrated thing! So go for it! Boil some water (make sure to salt it!), toss in fun new pasta shape, and add your favorite sauce! We love Cucina & Amore
's Basil Pesto (find it at most grocery stores or on Thrive Market here
). Red sauce? We like Cucina Antica's Organic Marinara
Gluten free? There are some awesome GF options out there that you can pick up at the grocery store or even order through Amazon! We think that Thrive Market is a great resource for ordering some of these specialty ingredients. Some of our preferred GF pastas are Tolerant Rotini
(lentil) pasta, Tinkyada
brown rice pastas, and Ancient Grains quinoa pasta
if you are looking for a little extra protein.
We LOVE faro, couscous, wheat berries, and barley. For gluten free options, try wild rice, quinoa, or
Feeling adventurous? Try subbing half of your cooking liquid with coconut milk! This is a favorite for us, especially when paired with fish or asian dishes.
- Roasted Potatoes OR Sweet Potatoes
We halve them lengthwise, smother them in olive oil, and roast for ~25 minutes at 425 degrees F in the oven. Line the baking dish with foil to avoid a mess. No dishes!!!
Treat yourself and pick up a loaf of bread from your favorite local bakery! Fo those local to Santa Cruz, we are HUGE fans of Companion Bake Shop
's Light and Fluffy Loaf.
Ok that's all we've got for you as of now! We hope that this helps in your endeavors to supplement your Taking Pure Joy Entrees in order to keep within your budget. As always, feel free to email us with any questions here
. We are always happy to help walk your through any meal planning/side dish prep.