Thursday, September 3, 2015

Meal Delivery: Blue Apron

Last week I posted a blog reviewing the meal delivery services of HelloFresh. This last week we tried another service, Blue Apron. Thanks to my friend Katie for sharing the company with us and sending us free meals to try (message me if you want some free meals and as I earn them I will send them out). They have almost identical concepts but just a few differences in the details.

If you want to review what we though to HelloFresh, read my post here:

Blue Apron

HOW IT WORKS: Same as HelloFresh except for price and how you receive your meals. It still comes in a big box with cold packs but they aren't individually wrapped per meal, just one big box of ingredients (with labels when needed). You get little bags called "knick knacks" that have additional ingredients that aren't the meats veggies or fruits (like butter, sauces, garlic, etc.) You pick your plan type (2-person or Family), delivery day (Wednesday through Saturday), and dietary preferences (uncheck the foods you don't eat). The 2 person plan for 3 meals per week is $59. The Family plan for 4 meals per week is $139.84 or you can do 2 meals per week for $69.92. Just like the other service you can skip any week or cancel with no penalty.

HOW IT ARRIVES: In a large box, all ingredients wrapped in a giant insulated bag with cold packs.

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Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken

with choy sum & jasmine rice

Ingredients: boneless chicken breast, jasmine rice, garlic, scallions, choy sum, thai basil, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar
Cook time: 35-45 minutes

Verdict: This was DELICIOUS, the mix of ginger, soy and sesame really give it a bold taste. This was John's favorite, he referred to it as "that yummy stuff that was as good as take out". I had never eaten choy sum as a side and it was really good and easy to prepare.

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Southern-Style Shrimp & Grits

with corn, zucchini & cherry tomatoes

Ingredients: shrimp, yellow grits, scallions, garlic, corn, lemon, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, butter, cheddar cheese, smoked paprika

Cook time: 25-35 minutes

Verdict: My favorite! Completely obsessed with this one, I would never in a million years think to make this but will most definitely make it again. Unfortunately John wasn't a fan because he doesn't like shrimp but he still ate it. The best part about it is the smoked paprika seasoned shrimp, which compliments the smooth, buttery and cheesy grits.

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Whole Grain Spaghetti

with corn, cherry tomatoes & mascarpone cheese

Ingredients: whole grain spaghetti, multicolored cherry tomatoes, garlic, corn, basil, mascarpone cheese, shallot, Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes

Cook time: 25-35 minutes

Verdict: Both of our least favorites but still really good. I never eat tomatoes because of the texture but I had no problem eating them in this dish. It is nice and light. The mascarpone cheese paired with the garlic make for a nice sauce.
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Finally Opinion: We loved Blue Apron and I already ordered our second box. I like their variety of recipes (this week we get to try Thai Chicken burgers and Catfish & Freekeh!) I prefer the way HelloFresh is individually wrapped in boxes. It helps to keep it all together in your refrigerator and for newbies prevent making mistakes....which I did. I used all the garlic in the first recipe because I hadn't read that the other recipes would need cloves from it later. HelloFresh is cheaper but not by very much. We will probably use both and just pick and choose based on the recipe offerings. I plan to try a few other services as well and will report back after we try them out.

My biggest PROS for using a delivery service:
  • It has prevented us from eating out, we have been having dinner at home almost every night.
  • Opened us up to trying new types of recipes I would have never thought of
  • taught me cooking techniques I usually shy away from (ex. cutting corn off the cob instead of buying frozen or canned corn)
  • And my favorite, I get 20-40 minutes of ME time to cook. It has been a huge de-stresser but still Sawyer likes to help with some recipes and that is still just as enjoyable.

I really don't have cons except maybe the choices of how many meals and for how many people. It would be nice to get one for 3 people and maybe just 2 times a week.

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