Ever been offered a free meal before? How about three? Our friend had some free invites from Blue Apron to give away so we were able to get three meals (a week’s worth) for two people at no cost to us. Yes please! It is hard to keep up with all of the food delivery service companies since a new one seems to pop up every month. Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service which provides you with 99.99% of the items needed to prepare and cook a meal. It is probably the most famous one I’ve heard of. But Plated, Freshly, Forage, Hello Fresh, and Chef’d are all becoming quite popular as well. Normally it would cost $59.99 for one week ($9.99 per meal). I looked to see if there were any discounts and currently Groupon has a deal for $39 ($6.50 per meal) which is a pretty cheap if you want to test drive it. You can cancel if you do not want to continue with the service or delay the shipment if you decide not to cook that week.
There is a predetermined menu they will ship to you if you decide not to make any adjustments. If you do want to control the choices you can log into your account and choose between a small variety of the weeks recipes. I was hoping for a bigger selection. There were about a dozen recipes to choose from, but if you chose one from the list it would automatically eliminate a few others. So instead of having a huge range of choices you really only had a handful of options. There are three main categories: meat, fish, and vegetarian. The box comes with ice packs to keep everything fresh and chilled for you if you aren’t home to receive the delivery.
One thing I like and at the same time dislike is how each ingredient is clearly labeled and packaged individually. It makes things really easy for you but might be a little wasteful.
There was even a cute dinky bottle of red wine vinegar!
Each meal comes with an easy to follow recipe with pictures. I like pictures! Yay! Another thing that saves you time. And that’s really what these meal kit delivery service companies thrive on. They try to make life easier. You don’t have to go to the market or worry about finding recipes to cook. All you have to do is come home and start cooking. The recipes themselves are also not very complex. In general, you shouldn’t have to worry about it taking a long time to prepare or messing it up if you are an inexperienced home cook.
Normally if I find a recipe online I tend to make adjustments based off of my preferences. Here I decided to leave them alone to taste their recipes as they intended them to be prepared. I mentioned how I didn’t think there were enough choices to choose from. Here’s why this could be a problem or a nuisance. I don’t like sweet potatoes all that much. Since you can’t make any modifications and I didn’t like any of their other options I had to roll with it. The instructions were easy to follow and the pork and sauce came out nicely. Maybe my distaste for sweet potatoes caused me emotional discomfort, but the pork didn’t move me or change my life in any way. The meat portions are perfect for one meal while the sides usually yielded extra for leftovers.
This catfish recipe was probably the most involved since there was a cornmeal breading step which included a whole lot of mustard.
This one came out pretty good too. I’m not a huge fan of raw tomatoes so I ate around them.
Out of all of the recipes, for me this was the most unique. I’ve never cooked bulgar nor have I used Ras El Hanout, a North African spice mix.
The Ras El Hanout infused the chicken with a strong bold flavor I loved. Along with the yogurt sauce and mint, we got a keeper here. I would definitely make this again in the future. Because of the delicious flavor combinations and the ease of preparation this recipe gets two thumbs up with a smile sprinkled on top.
To sum my experience up here are the pros and cons I found with Blue Apron.
Pros: Saves time and hassle of finding recipes and going to the market, easy to follow recipes with individual packaging, good portions, relatively inexpensive
Cons: Not much customizability, meal options are limited, wasteful packaging
Other things to note. They do offer plans that feed 4 or 6 people as well and are fairly flexible with a wide range of delivery times to fit your schedule. Some of the features of other delivery services seem worth looking into. Forage claims to save you more time by preparing some of the ingredients for you. Each meal takes 20 minutes or less to prepare. Freshly goes one step further and provides pre-cooked meals so all you have to do is heat the it up. And Chef’d lets you order one meal at a time from a huge list of meals including those created by famous chefs. So many choices…
Have you guys tried any of these meal kit delivery plans? What do you think of them?