After trying out these three (there are a ton more meal services out there, a few more that I would like to try*), Blue Apron was the winner for me. Hello Fresh just didn't always seem cohesive (they have since gotten Jamie Oliver to do some meal planning so I might look at them again) and the price was a little bit more than Blue Apron. Gobble just made me feel like I wasn't cooking at all. They have all the food already prepped and bagged for you, you just mix and heat. This is great if you don't want to do any prepping but want tasty, fresh meals. I actually want to bother with all the cutting and peeling, who knew.
Each service had the same plan: three meals a week for two people (they have plans for four people, not sure if it's still three meals or not) and the option to pick what meals you would be making. Hello Fresh had the most variety in choice, where Blue Apron doesn't always allow all combinations. So if they have six meal options, certain ones cannot be paired with each other. The packaging is a bit of a bummer, but I'm not sure how that could be avoided. At least I'm not wasting any food with these, where If I buy groceries, something is going to end up being tossed. Also, if I think about it, all the produce I would purchase would be in a plastic bag so that isn't anything extra.
What I love about Blue Apron:
- I feel like I'm learning how to be a better cook.
- I feel more confident with cooking multiple items at once.
- I feel more confident cooking with unfamiliar foods and spices.
- Less stress on trying to plan all the week's meals.
- Less stress having to do as much grocery shopping.
- Less food waste.
- Being introduced to new produce and spices.
- Being introduced to new cooking methods.
What I have learned from Blue Apron:
- Neil likes things spicy.
- I like spicy food more than I thought
- Sauteed greens are amazing. Like, I crave sauteed kale now. what. who am I.
- Layering flavor. they have you salt every step of the way and you think it's going to be salty but it's not!
- Lemon zest totally brightens a dish.
- Pickled veggies are so yummy and easy to make!
- Portion size: a seemingly "piddly" amount of ingredients does make two full portions.
My "cheats" for Blue Apron:
- Using a mini food processor to mine shallots and garlic. Just waaay faster.
- Using this zester
- Making more sauce if I can (personal preference, I like a lot of sauce). I usually have sour cream on hand.
- Doubling the garlic. I also usually have garlic on hand.
Kitchen items that make prepping and cooking easier:
- Non stick pan
- Mini food processor
- Small prep bowls
Blue Apron currently has wines to pair with their meals as well, but what I would like is if they sold their spice mixes. That would make it much easier for me to replicate these meals later!
*Other meal serivices I would like to try:
Sun Basket (organic)
Purple Carrot (vegan)