For those nights of home cooking when all you can manage is heating something up, Chicago's First Slice "To Your Table" program offers a great alternative to frozen dinners. Any guilt you feel about eating a prepared meal will melt away when you think of the fresh ingredients – including produce sourced from local farmers – and, best of all, the bigger goal you're supporting by participating in the program: feeding the hungry, homeless and disenfranchised.
Ten-week fall subscriptions are available for families of three or individuals and include three meals per week, three courses each. Meals can be picked up from the organization's Ravenswood location. Main course choices for the first week (pickup starts Sept. 11) include Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna, Open Face Chicken and Duck Ravioli, Chicken Vesuvio, Teriyaki Salmon, Spinach and Feta Phyllo Pie and Mushroom and Black Bean Tamales.
With the proceeds from meal subscriptions, First Slice partners with social service agencies to prepare high-quality meals for those in need. Chef Mary Ellen Diaz's philosophy is to offer the same quality in these meals that you'd find in restaurants – offering the needy the "first slice" of the pie, instead of the leftovers.
First Slice is currently preparing more than 800 three-course meals a week with its social service agency partners with the proceeds of its recent summer program.
Related: Conscientious Cook: First Slice
(Image: First Slice)