From entry-level take-and-bakes to multicourse feasts, these Front Range meal kits help novice and advanced cooks alike get dinner on the table.

Prep Cook

Los Dos Potrillos barbacoa box:
Family-owned Los Dos is beloved across metro Denver (with locations in Centennial, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, and Parker), but we say that its ready-to-eat dinner packages are worthy of a drive from wherever you may be. Place a timed order to pick up a curbside carryout box of tamales, enchiladas, carnitas, or, our favorite, beef barbacoa. Available Monday through Thursday only, the barbacoa kit feeds four generously with juicy, chile-marinated beef, a cup of the consommé that captured the drippings as the meat cooked, refried beans, rice, tomatillo salsa, onion and cilantro, and freshly made, consommé-dipped corn tortillas. The only skills required are calling in your order (you won’t see the kits online; follow Los Dos’ social media for new options), competent driving, and chewing before swallowing. From $50;

Line Cook

Osaka Ramen ramen kits:
It’s easy to order Osaka Ramen’s near-perfect noodle soups fully prepared, but there are myriad benefits to going with its spicy miso, tonkatsu, or shoyu ramen kits instead. You’re more likely to achieve the pleasure of slurping ramen at its zenith of flavor and texture if you heat the broth and cook the noodles yourself. Chef Jeff Osaka simplifies the process by including written instructions that (benefit alert) come on recipe cards illustrated by Denver artist Feed Thy Wizard, depicting the deconstructed bowl you’ll soon dine on. Veggies like mushrooms and spinach, and proteins like tofu, pork belly, and eggs also taste better prepared à la minute, as do crunchy garnishes like fresh sprouts and scallions. Osaka’s team handles the prep work; you just need to don an apron to finish off your bowl to your liking. From $13;

Sous Chef

A paella meal kit from Food Lab cooking school in Boulder. Photo by Matthew Stacey, food styling by Briana Theraube

Food Lab paella kit:
An evening of enjoyable cooking and learning is what’s in store when you buy one of this Boulder cooking school’s Anytime kits (paella launched last fall; tagines come out this spring). Let’s say paella is on the menu: Owner Casey Easton and instructor Andrew Eppler Zindell will provide the ingredients (including fresh produce and meats, if you’re cooking locally; nonperishable items if not) via pickup or delivery, and even send equipment, like a paella pan, with a kit upgrade. Then, they’ll guide you through each step of the meal with recipe cards and an hour-long video. You follow along, composing a green salad with sherry vinaigrette, whisking saffron aïoli by hand, and slowly cooking a sofrito base as the heart of your paella. The main event, a stunner with chorizo, chicken, and mushrooms, comes together just like Easton promises in the video, and even experienced cooks will sit down to a satisfying dinner having learned something new. From $59;

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia joined the 5280 staff in July 2019 and is thrilled to oversee all of the magazine’s dining coverage. Follow her food reporting adventures on Instagram @whatispattyeating.