Guys, I don’t cook. I can bake, and over the past 9 or so months I have gotten pretty dang good at it. The first couple of years that I attempted to bake were, shall we say, very unsuccessful. All it took was a little practice, some good luck, and finding recipes that are VERY SPECIFIC, and I started experiencing some success. Like anything, the more you do it, the more you pick up on little intricacies and techniques that carry over into other recipes. Now baking is pretty dang enjoyable for me, and I take a lot of pride in what I create and when people make that face after taking a bite like they just collapsed into bed after the longest day of their life or just got into a warm bubble bath after walking 2 miles in a blizzard.
But back to cooking – I leave that to my husband. I am perhaps the least adventurous eater you have ever met. I have the palette of a 3 year old. I like carbs and fruit and that’s pretty much it. I don’t like my food to touch, I am picky as HELL, and I am that annoying person at the restaurant asking for like 7 different modifications on the meal (basically take everything off and just add pickles. Pickles only.)
I’m not sure what came over me, but one day out of the blue I decided I wanted to try a meal delivery service. I had received a coupon for one company in the mail and decided to research and ask friends their opinions and then try them all out. People spoke up in favor of all the major players – Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, and Home Chef. The most enthusiastic and most “voted for” by friends was Hello Fresh, so I decided to give that a try first.
Here’s what happened:
I found out that the same things that apply to baking, also apply to cooking. I decided to make all the meals on my own, to take over my husband’s role and do every meal start to finish. The thing I love about Hello Fresh is the explicit, step by step instructions. It’s hard to mess it up, especially when they give you pictures. We’ve now received three boxes (that’s 9 meals) and I’m here to give you my pros and cons:
- Very specific step-by-step instructions with pictures
- Each meal is already in the exact portions necessary – in other words, they send you exactly the amount of each ingredient that you need
- You can choose from a variety of options each week and pick which three meals you want sent to you
- You can “opt out” or “skip” any week you aren’t interested and not pay
- Ingredient quality has been great
- Attractive packaging
- Taste has been great!
- Pushes me outside my comfort zone for both cooking and eating
- Can’t beat the convenience of having everything delivered directly to your door
- Referral program – referring a friend gets them $40 off their order and $20 off of your own, and is unlimited
- 2 out of 3 deliveries arrived a day later than scheduled – this wasn’t a big deal for us, but if you were expecting a box for dinner that night, that would be super frustrating
- Most of the recipes followed the timelines well, but a couple took significantly longer than the recipe stated
- Some portion sizes were very small, we order the box that is for 2 adults and on a few occasions some of the serving sizes seemed a little sad – ie we had mashed potatoes as a side and included was one small (half the size of my palm) potato to feed us both.
- Price – at $59-69.95 for 3 meals to feed 2 people, its definitely more than we would spend at the grocery store.
- Lots of packaging waste – I feel bad throwing away all the packaging and ice-packs used to get everything to us – it is a huge and heavy chunk into our garbage
Here are a few of the things we made:
- New York Strip Steak Panzanella with watercress, heirloom tomatoes, and garlic croutons
- Meatloaf Balsamico with sweet potato mash and green beans
- Char-grilled BBQ Chicken with creamy green bean and potato salad
- Smoky Romesco New York Strip Steak with asparagus and toasted couscous
- Panko Parm Poulet with potatoes over baby spinach in a creamy lemon dressing
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken over risotto primavera
- Vietnamese Marinated Steak with quick-pickled veggies and jasmine rice
As you can see, we stick with a lot of steak and chicken recipes. I draw the line at fish, I WILL NOT, and I cannot do a vegetarian all-veggies meal either, although both of those are options with Hello Fresh.
Overall we have been really happy with our experience and find it has been a nice change to do a box once a month or so. That means once a month we don’t have to meal plan, we don’t have to grocery shop for those meals, and we have everything we need delivered directly to us. Once a month we are trying new recipes we’ve never had before, and I am very slowly learning how to cook!
What have you all tried and what is your favorite?
If you want to try Hello Fresh and receive $40 off your first box, click here or use code ASHCRT at checkout.