Harrisburg business serves busy families with heat-and-eat meals

July 5, 2018

A new business is giving people in the Harrisburg area an easier way to have a family-style meal.

Pam Harris started Emer-GenZ Eats & Treats in March. The prepared-meal business is based out of Lava’s Javas & Treats in a retail center on the north end of town. Customers can stop in the coffee shop for a fresh or frozen dinner or grab one using the drive-thru.

“They can pick it up on their way home from work, and by the time everyone is settled in at home, it’s ready to go,” Harris said. A fresh meal can be reheated in 20 minutes or less. “It’s perfect for families with young kids who are busy with activities.”

Harris took her love for cooking and baking and turned it into Emer-GenZ after health issues led to her early retirement as a pharmacist. She learned her culinary skills at her grandmother’s side, and many of the recipes she uses are time-tested family favorites. Those relatives also are her “guinea pigs” when she finds something new to try.

“I make food like you had growing up,” Harris said, including tater tot casserole, goulash and meatloaf. Customer favorites are chicken enchiladas and brisket. In the summer, the menu includes lighter dishes and options such as marinated steak or pork kebabs that are ready to go on the grill.

Emer-GenZ also takes special orders, including Harris’ cheesecakes, and can help with food for family gatherings. Harris recently cooked 20 pounds of taco meat for an event.

Everything is made from scratch, including Harris’ spaghetti sauce, which she simmers for eight to 10 hours. Her goal is to make healthy meals, so she adapts recipes to cut sodium and fat while keeping everything tasty.

Harris posts her menu on Facebook and does all of the cooking with the help of Lava’s owner Laura Klenk and a couple of part-time staff members. Fresh meals typically are available Tuesday through Friday.

Except for the grilling options, all of the ingredients are cooked, so customers just have to reheat the meals. After a day, unsold meals move to the freezer, and Harris discounts them. At the end of the week, she’ll have a “clean out the freezer” sale if anything’s left.

“I try to keep them really reasonably priced,” Harris said. “My goal is for all of them to be $18.99.” The family-size meal can serve six to eight. She also offers smaller portions and has been making Keto diet-friendly and gluten-free versions with two servings for $12.99.

The next step for Emer-GenZ is buying an old ambulance to use for making deliveries. Harris also envisions using it at events to sell coffee and desserts, such as her cheesecakes and mason jar parfaits.

What started as a business that combined Harris’ love for cooking with something that “would be flexible and keep me busy” has turned into a successful, growing venture.

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Harrisburg business serves busy families with heat-and-eat meals

A new business is giving people in the Harrisburg area an easier way to have a family-style meal.

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