I didn’t think to write about our meal kit experience until after we received and finished cooking. But we were so impressed with the whole process I thought I’d spend a few minutes putting my thoughts down on LED. So here’s our story…
The decision to try a meal kit delivery came easy. I love to cook and consider myself somewhat knowledgeable in the kitchen. But I wanted to try some new recipes and new techniques. Plus it looks super easy and everyone seems to be doing it. And since Hello Fresh has the most attractive signup bonus right now (they are offering $40 off your first delivery) … Shut up and take my money.
I was able to create an account with my Facebook login (love that). I chose the Classic Plan which consists of three meals a week that feeds two people for $59.94 ($9.99 per person per meal) and within seconds I was off dinner shopping.
They offered up 13 choices. Impressive. But a couple of them were marked as ‘Premium’ and carried additional charges of $5 per person. Up-selling. Pass. However all the meals looked clean, simple, and reasonably healthy. We decided on The Pat Lafrieda Hamburger with Balsamic Onions and Crispy Cauliflower Oven Fries, Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Thighs with Pesto Pasta Salad, and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lemony Potatoes and Zucchini.
Our meal kits arrived in an insulated box. The meats were nestled between two ice packs, and the other ingredients were packed by recipe in individual brown paper bags. As advertised, we received pretty much all that was needed for each meal (think hotel room service sized bottles of mayonnaise and salt / pepper packets). I have always had a problem making and buying too much food. This may help my eyes, stomach and pocketbook align better.
We decided to try the burger meal kit first. Start to finish it took about 45 minutes. They claim this is a 30 minute meal so either I’m not hustling or they may be fudging on the estimate a bit. Either way, it was not cumbersome or chaotic. The instructions came on a 8.5″x 11″ glossy heavy paper with step by step instructions that anyone could follow. It even outlined which kitchen tools you would need (pans, bowls, sheets, etc). I was impressed. The calories for this meal totaled a whopping 840 though (78% of what I typically eat in an entire day) so I know to keep an eye on that moving forward.
I dove in … made the burger, made the cauliflower fries, sauteed the red onions, made aioli (their version is to mix garlic with mayo but it was good enough), plated everything, and it looked great. And even better, it tasted great! I’d never topped a burger with balsamic red onions and the cauliflower tossed with panko and olive oil tasted like scallops, I kid you not. As simple as it sounds, this was a fantastic meal.
Troy made the Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Thighs with Pesto Pasta Salad a couple of days later. It seemed to take him about the same amount of time and again, fairly simple concept, great execution of flavor. This meal also had more calories than I would typically consider (830) so I ate a smaller portion and Troy had it lunch the next day. Win-Win. This was a very summery meal. And it was so nice to have pesto without all the work typically involved.
Our third and final Hello Fresh meal was Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lemony Potatoes and Zucchini. This one also took about 45 minutes and made a bit of a mess using a cast iron skillet, two baking sheets, plus misc knives and utensils and separate cutting boards, but it was worth it. Perfect portion sizes (although I did add a small yellow squash to the mix that I happened to have on hand) and the calories were more reasonable at 570. I’ve never put cilantro on roasted squash, and I learned that I seriously need to learn how to make demi-glace sauce. It was yummo. Troy said it was his favorite. I’m sticking with the burger as my fave. But I thought all three were terrific.
And as I scanned the recipe cards for this post I noticed that they include wine pairings for each meal too. I wish I would have seen that! The hubs and I loves us some wine. But probably good that I didn’t add any more calories to dinner anyway.
So all said and done I was really happy with Hello Fresh. Especially since I got all three meals for about $20 after the refer a friend promo (if you sign up with my link you’ll also get $40 off, and I’ll get $20 off a future order, FYI).
I will most likely buy from them again, but first I want to try Blue Apron, Plated, and Hello Chef to see how they compare. Hopefully Casey will jump in and help. I think it would be a great way to learn to cook. Will keep you posted!
Confirmed my account is cancelled on 9/20/17 but will likely go back.