Whether you’re stressed out with no time to cook or you just feel like some self-indulgence, Marleen Kookt may be just what you need: healthy, home-cooked, delicious meals that are easy to reheat and serve. Lori Evans and the Amsterdam Mamas Editorial Team had a sampling of the goodies.
There are all kinds of reasons parents can feel pressure when trying to prepare weekday healthy meals: two parents working, one parent traveling, single-parent doing it all, illness in the family, pregnancy, a deluge of holiday guests, kitchen renovations, and of course just plain busy, exhausted, and needing a break.
Marleen Kookt offers a convenient and much needed service for those times when people want real food but do not want the grease of take-out or the bother of going out … especially with kids.
Presto! Easy Online setup
To begin, you start by making an account at Marleen Kookt. You can see immediately if you are in the delivery area, which covers all of Amsterdam, including Noord and much of the Nieuw-West, Diemen, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Badhoevedorp, and most of Amstelveen.
Don't forget to enter the discount code MAMA5 to get a special Amsterdam Mamas discount for your first delivery! You can pay by iDeal or Direct Debit!!
Currently, much of the website is in Dutch but it has a landing page in English which explains the concept. If needed, you can work around the Dutch by using the translate feature available in some browsers or by copy-pasting into Google Translate. And you can always contact the company in English by phone or email with any questions and you will be answered quickly by friendly, helpful people.
Once you have an account, you can order for one or as many days as you want for the coming week. As long as you place your order before 11:00, you can get your meals that same day. Delivery is scheduled in 30-minute blocks between 16:00 - 20:00.
How Does the Service Work?
There is a different menu for every day of the week containing:
- A soup.
- A choice of three mains: one meat/fish dish, one vegetarian, and one "classic" dish (typically meat/fish as well). There is a vegan option once a week too and an additional luxury dish on Fridays.
- A kid's menu.
- A dessert.
The menus change from week to week and dishes are only repeated after three months. Although the website warns that the food may not always resemble the pictures, our experience was that the photos were accurate representations of what was delivered. Prices struck us as super reasonable too for food of this quality. Mains start at €11.50 for a single serving, but decrease on a sliding scale so that a four-person dish only costs €32. Soup is €4 (and the serving is so generous that you could easily share one between two as a starter). The kid's menu starts at €5 a head and desserts are a fixed €1 each.
What We All Want to Know: How Was the food?
The six of us were unanimous: the food was delicious! We sampled everything on the menu for that day:
- Spanish Vegetable Soup.
- Tender beef brisket with stamppot (Dutch mashed potatoes with added green vegetables).
- Thai Massaman Curry Chicken Meatballs with Basmati Rice.
- Mushroom Lasagne.
- Thai Crispy Chicken Wraps for the kiddoes.
- Hangop (yoghurt) with pepernoten (traditional Sinterklaas spiced cookies) crumble for dessert.
The Massaman Curry meatballs were the favourite, with a nice amount of zing but not too spicy for this spice wimp. The flavorful vegetarian soup was also very popular; its taste and texture resembled ratatouille. The beef brisket was wonderfully tender and moist and the mushroom lasagne was cheesy and warming. We all agreed our children would enjoy the crispy chicken in the wraps and we would be happy to see them eating the shredded carrots and bits of corn and tomato that came alongside. All of the dishes tasted “clean” and fresh – no hidden fats or artificial tastes.
It’s possible children could feel the dessert was “too healthy”, but the adults all enjoyed what felt like a nice, sensible finish to a big meal.
Portions were generous and filling with a healthy ratio of meat to vegetables. Only the dessert was quite small, but we all agreed that that way we could allow ourselves a daily sweet finish to our meal without over-indulging. Everything was easy to reheat in either the oven or microwave. The dishes came with clear directions for heating. Nothing in the oven took more than 30 minutes to warm, and we even put three dishes in together. We heated the soup on top of the stove but it could easily be done in a microwave as well.
It’s More than the Tasty Food
The care that is taken with the food permeates every aspect of Marleen Kookt. It's truly top-notch, even elegant:
- Meals are delivered in reusable bags with flat bottoms that are easy to set on the counter without tipping.
- The meals arrive in lovely white porcelain bowls that can be heated in the microwave or oven and that look beautiful on the table, unlike the unsightly plastic or aluminum trays of your typical take out meal.
- The delivery people are punctual and friendly.
- The food looks beautiful (as well as tasting great); it’s clear that everything is made with care and pride.
- Additionally, there is the effort towards ecological sustainability. Reusuable dishes mean that there is less plastic waste, although there is still some in the plastic wrap across the tops and occasionally, when Marleen customers neglect to return their dishes punctually and she runs out of spares, food does get delivered in disposable plastic. The delivery is done by electric bakfiets, so you have less delivery pollution.
We struggled to find any! You do have to do the dishes afterwards but if you have a dishwasher even that is simple. The cleaned dishes are picked up with your next order. If you aren’t going to order again for a while then you need to schedule a dish pickup.
Marleen only delivers on week nights and closes for a week over Christmas and New Year (25 December to 1 January). Sometimes, you still have to fend for yourself.
If you have severe allergies, this service may not be for you. The website is clear that traces of common allergens may be present, despite the great care taken. The food always comes with a full ingredients list. If a dish is listed as gluten-free, it will be, including soy sauce or other condiments. If you have any doubts, again, it is easy to call or email for clarification.
Gift Meals - to Yourself or Another
Have you wanted to cook for someone in need but lack the time to do it yourself? Give a Marleen Kookt gift voucher! You can purchase gift cards online.
Why Not Go to a Restaurant Instead?
If you have small children you know that eating at home can be soooo much easier than going out. Think about taking the pressure off having a house full of guests for special occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter by ordering in Marleen's special occasion menus and enjoying these celebrations at home. If you are coping with pregnancy, a newborn or an illness in the family, eating at home may be necessary, and can be more comforting. Frankly, restaurants are generally much more expensive. With Marleen Kookt, you can eat delicious food in the comfort of your own home: you’re basically hiring yourself an expert cook to send you a good variety of tasty meals delivered when you want or need it. So kick off your shoes, relax, and enjoy the food!
To learn more aboout how Marlene Kookt can simplify your life (with a healthy dose of lekker thrown in) visit their website.
Marleen Kookt has paid to be featured on Amsterdam Mamas because they believe that their services would be of interest and benefit to our readers, and we think so too. For more information on sponsored posts and advertising on Amsterdam Mamas, please see our Advertising and Disclosure policy.
Lori Evans is a writer and musician/piano teacher from the USA, now in the Netherlands for over three years. She recently moved to Haarlem with her techie husband, her delightfully grumpy 16-year-old son, and two easy-going cats.