I love to cook. I love the chemistry of it. I love the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I feel when someone eats my food and I can tell they are really enjoying it. I love the good conversations shared over a well prepared meal. I love trying new things in cuisine and being adventurous with food.
What I don’t love… grocery shopping. Ever since Fresh and Easy (a chain of grocery stores that was a blend of Trader Joe’s and any mainstream chain) closed, grocery shopping is at least a 3-4 hour event. In order to get the type of ingredients I like to use I need to go to at least 3 stores and then you’ve got to bring the groceries up and put them away. Since I love cooking unique cuisine, I have been know to go to up to 5 stores looking for a rare ingredient. And quite frankly… no one has time for all that!
I’ve talked in past posts about my love for Zulily. In a recent order that was shipped I was given a coupon to try Hello Fresh, a recipe box subscription, where you receive a box of fresh ingredients and recipes every week. I had hear of similar services like Blue Apron, Plated, and Sun Basket. Curious, I took the plunge. Last week, my wife and I tried our first three boxes and here is what we thought.
Our Version of the Dishes:
So my first observation, I have to work on my food photography! But baby steps, Morgan… baby steps.
Our most favorite dish was the Fiery Pork Fajitas! So tasty and easy to make. While we both desperately wanted seconds, one of the benefits of using a service like this is portion control. We can’t overeat and the second benefit is that I don’t waste ingredients. Hello Fresh sends just enough for the dish, so I felt good not throwing money down the drain after using half of the herbs in the package and not the whole thing.
Our least favorite dish was the Lasagna Penne Bake. Out of all the meals it was the least flavorful. Tina and I both like spice, and this dish definitely brought the heat, but then it fell flat. I always add surprising ingredients to my tomato sauces (like cinnamon or nutmeg) so we observed that what is nice about this service is I can always add and experiment for our tastes. It was just lacking something, but it was completely edible and fulfilling. I will say that Hello Fresh sends an email each week for you to review the meals. They let you say why a meal was lacking so they can improve upon their dishes.
The third dish we tried in our first week was the Salmon en Papillote. It was really very good! And who knew I like couscous so much? That was my favorite part of this dish. I’ve only made couscous a couple of times before, but this was easy to make and much more flavorful than my previous attempts. The tarragon-chive herb sauce was yummy and asparagus is my favorite veggie. The only reason I gave it 4 out of 5 stars is because I like a meatier salmon fillet. Other than that, this dish was on point.
Bottom Line: We liked it! Hello Fresh allowed us to save time; provided meals that were easy and quick to make on a busy week night; was affordable (With the coupon, each of these dishes ended up costing $7.33 a plate. Without the coupon it is $11.50 a plate); and provided a great selection of healthy, tasty, and diverse meals.
I Want To Hear From You: When I first started the blog, I wanted to test things out so my readers wouldn’t have to. If you’re a Pinterest fanatic like I am, you’ve come across those misleading pins that turn out nothing like promised. To that end, who reading would like me to test out the other service listed above? I have to admit, I’m curious how Blue Apron, Plated, and Sun Basket compare. Let me know what you think in the comments below.