One of the most satisfying parts of working at Schinkels’ is seeing the looks of relief, happiness, or pure joy on the faces of customers. Yes, Joy. I’ve seen it. And, as we slowly increase our ready made selections for you, it is happening more and more often. Ready made really does mean Joy (AKA “Easy for You”). Let me explain.
Customer is exhausted after working hard all day. This Customer has walked into the store hoping for inspiration for dinner. Sadly, this Customer is not looking forward to spending time in a kitchen working on chopping, cutting, mixing or cooking for the next hour. Tired Customer is thinking “Hot dogs are easy. Is it bad that we’ve had hot dogs three times this week?” This lucky Customer asks for some advise.
Staff member directs the customer to one of our ready made meals, or fresh meat options, and informs the customer that they just need to bake, grill or warm up and serve with one of our prepared salads. Customer realizes that dinner can actually be easy, delicious and nutritious. Customer sheds tears of joy and goes home with a spring in their step, knowing that a relaxing evening with fine food and relaxing family time is waiting for them.
Might seem a little exaggerated, but seriously, I don’t believe even the most avid cook really wants to figure out a menu, buy groceries and spend the time in the kitchen, when “real life” has them working a little too hard, and rushing a little too much, and stretching a little too thin. I love to cook, but I love to cook when I have a day off, or when I have time to plan and organize and prepare ahead of time. Now that I’m working full time, it’s really the last thing I want to do most nights.
No Time for Meal Prep
Greg and I leave work most nights at 6:00. After working 10+ hours, I want something that either gets warmed up in the micro wave, or something my kids can turn the oven on for at 5:30 so it’s ready when we get home. I love that we have dinner as a family most every night, but I don’t want it to be at 7:00 or later because we had to start cooking at 6:10. And, living on a budget means that we don’t use restaurants and take out very often.
And, unfortunately, I don’t have “Meal Prep” days like I used to have when I worked part time or didn’t work outside the home at all. Those days were glorious. A whole day spent making menus, planning grocery lists, buying all the ingredients, making multiple recipes and packaging them all in lovely, labeled dishes in the freezer. I knew that I was ready for any unforeseen dinner emergency or friend who needed a meal, or last minute guests arriving. Sigh. Those were the days. Might have had 4 to 8 little people in my space, but I could cook at my own pace.
Now, not so much.
My day off is my day off. Can’t say I spend it lounging by the pool, but I’m not wasting it on meal prep, either. There are many chores waiting patiently for me to tackle in my spare time.
So, I’m incredibly fortunate and blessed to own and work at Schinkels’ Meat Market. So seriously lucky, I just can’t stand it some days.
We have options all over the store for easy, affordable, and deliciousness that I can just bring home and warm up or grill for dinner. Or, call one of my kids to bike by the store and grab it so they can have it ready for me. If I’m on check out duty, I’m almost overloaded with all the choices I see go past my scanner.
We’ve got Micro Meals, either fresh or frozen. Lasagna, Chicken Divan, German Perogies, the list goes on and on. Last count, we had more than 20 different ready made meals (not including the meat pies) that are all made by our staff, using fresh ingredients, in our store every week. They are even fully cooked for me, so I just heat up in the oven or microwave, and we are good to enjoy. We also have an “On the Go” freezer pack that includes some of our more popular meals, so you can stock up and have them on hand for any occasion.
Ready Made Salads
Summer time means salads, but I certainly don’t want to turn on my stove to start cooking noodles or potatoes. Let alone making sure I have two stalks of celery, half a pepper, a carrot and half an onion handy to add to a salad. And then I have the rest of the celery, peppers, carrots and onions sitting in your fridge for too many days until I find them soft and have to compost them. Especially when I can just let Aileen or Tammi or the other staff make those fresh and ready salads for me.
Yup. We do that. All the time. Every day. 150 lbs of potato salad went through our store in a week in the heart of summer salad season. We’ve got more than 10 types of salad to choose from. Greek, Caesar, Chicken, Potato, you name it, we probably have it. And it was made fresh, just for me. I mean, just for you, our customer.
Specialty Meat Options
Slavenkins started the trend in our fresh meat counter as we tried to have some items that were put together for you and ready to cook. We seasoned and mixed some ground pork, then formed it into tubes and wrapped it in bacon. Little bit of work for us, but it saved you a bunch of steps at dinner time. All you need to do is place those tender bits onto a BBQ or in a fry pan and cook. Serve it up with a couple of those salads I just mentioned, and you are good to sit and enjoy dinner. No mess, no fuss.
Now, we have so many options in the fresh counter, some customers get a little overwhelmed when it comes time to decide which one to choose. Kabobs (at least 3 kinds offered daily, often 6 or more in July and August), Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops, London Broils, Flattened BBQ Chicken, Greek Chicken, Schnitzel, and so many more, I won’t list them. You will just have to stroll down our counter and see them for yourself. We are thrilled to be able to prepare these for you fresh every day so you don’t have to.
Now, I am usually one of the staff who make many of these Fresh Specialty Options. I get so much satisfaction when I can hardly keep up with the demands for “4 more Greek Chickens, please”, or “Could you make just 6 more Chicken & Veggie Kabobs?” It actually makes me smile sometimes when I think about how easy all those customers’ meal prep will be. I consider how much they will enjoy their relaxing meal with their families.
I love that I am paid to do the cooking I love to do. Now, I get to do it for lots of families. As a bonus, at the end of my shift, when I’m pretty tired, too, I can bring something delicious home. Something so easy, one of my teens can cook it on the grill. Another one will set the table, and the third one tosses the salad. I’ll be folding laundry and switching loads and a couple other things while Greg pours the wine (and milk). But it will all get done and we will all be able to sit and enjoy some quality family time around the dinner table in under 15 minutes. Perfect end to a busy day.
Sigh, I’m so blessed.