Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hello Fresh: Week One


A couple months ago, my parents told me they were trying out one of those meal delivery services, Hello Fresh.  A couple they are really good friends with had started doing it and to them it seemed like a pretty good deal.  While I was home over Christmas break one of their boxes showed up and so my Mom made one of the meals for dinner one night.  It was chicken dish of some sort and boy was it tasty.

Mom told me that I should consider the service because the meals were good and they always make enough for them to have leftovers and she thought it would save me some money.

I thought about it, looked at how much I spend on groceries each week and what the cost difference might be and decided to give it a whirl.  And I have to say, I'm a fan.

I opted for the Classic Plan.  This plan comes with 3 meals (you have 6 to choose from) and makes enough food for 2-4 people.  Which has worked well for me because with each meal I've had enough leftovers for at least 2 other meals.

I had my first box sent to me on Saturday, January 14th.  It arrived via FedEx and I received an email once it had been delivered to my apartment complexes front office.  I was on my way to a baby shower so unfortunately I couldn't do a box unveiling or anything but I did sit down before I got the box and planned out which days I was planning to cook each meal.  I wish I had taken a better look at my schedule though because the week I had planned out turned out to be a very busy week with late nights that left me with no desire to actually cook anything.  Thankfully all the produce lasted for longer than a week so I was still able to cook all the meals.

Here's why Hello Fresh works for me:

1.  You don't have to go to the grocery store.  I hate going to the grocery store and having to look for recipes.  So for me getting to chose three ready made ones is great.  I love that this gives you everything in the exact amount you need so there is never a surplus of veggies or spices or anything.

2.  It saves money. (For a single person anyway)  Usually when I went to to the grocery store, I'd go every week and spend at least 80-100 dollars.  Mostly because I was buying stuff that was quick and easy and didn't require a whole lot of effort.  Since I've start Hello Fresh I've only had to go to the grocery store for the necessities like milk, bread, butter, oil, etc.  I'm spending $60 on 3 meals that last me the whole week or longer.  I'm also still going out to eat every once and while but my food bills have still gone done.  My parents are getting 3 meals every week and that's still saving them money.

3.  It's super flexible.  You get to choose which weeks send you boxes.  I go with every other week but if there was a week I wanted to "unpause" all I have to do is go to the website or the app.  If you have a week "paused" you will not be charged for that week.  And there is no fee to sign up or cancel.

4.  You are given JUST the right amount of everything so there's no waste.  I LOVE that everything comes in just the right amount of all the produce, sauces, spices, and meats.  It makes clean up sure easy and it makes the cooking aspect a lot easier because you're not having to measure anything at all!


Here were the meals I chose and my thoughts on each:

Hearty Steak and Potatoes



This was the first meal I made and my least favorite.  Mostly because it was my first time cooking steak and it did not come out very good.  I don't think I overcooked it, but I know I cut the meat wrong (which, who knew there was a wrong way to cut steak!? I certainly didn't!).  Because I didn't cut it "against the grain" it ended up very tough and dry tasting.  

My potatoes came out horribly.  I'm not sure why though.  I cut and cooked them exactly as the instructions detailed but I think it had something to do with my oven.  Next time I plan to just cut them into cubes rather than wedges.  I ended up throwing most of them away.




The best part of this meal was the cabbage.  It had a great flavor and I cooked it just right!

Overall I'm not sure I'm a fan of cooking steak.  I think I'm better off sticking with chicken, ground meat and fish.  I may try it one more time and see if I do a better job of it, but then again I might just stick with getting steak at a restaurant.


Lemony Shrimp Risotto




I was the most excited for this meal I think and the most nervous for two reasons.  Excited because I love lemon flavored foods and nervous because I had never made risotto before.  I also had to invest in a zester because I had to zest the lemon and had no idea what it meant to zest something.  Thanks to Hello Fresh though, now I do!



This meal was actually super easy to make, the most difficult thing was the risotto and the only reason for that is because you literally have to stand there for the full 25 minutes per the instructions and stir it.  You can't just pour it in some water. cover it and leave it.  If you do, it'll clump up and stick the bottom of the pan.  I was a little worried it was too creamy but a quick FaceTime conference with my mom and she assured me that was what hers looked like too.


Once the risotto was done all you had to do was toss in the shrimp and the lemon and boom the tasty creamy goodness was ready to go.  The accompanying side was zucchini and sadly I overcooked that just a tad.  Again I think it's my oven, I don't think I needed to cook it at 400 as the directions told me too.  So next time it tells me roast veggies in the oven I'm gonna lower the temperature I think.


I was able to eat this for lunch and another night for dinner.  And it was just as good heated up the next day as it was fresh.  I saved the instructions so I can make it again sometime.

Tai Pork Stir-Fry



The last meal was just as tasty as the risotto.  I'm a big fan of stir-fry and Asian inspired foods in general.  (In my next box I have this tasty looking Thai noodle recipe that I'm super excited to eat)  And this one was by far the easiest of the three and one that could definitely be re-created one day on my own.  The best part is I'm sure you can use any vegetables or meat you want.  As I was eating I was thinking that mushrooms would have been super good in the dish too! 


It literally took about 25 minutes of prep and cook time.  I was a little worried because this is the meal that sat in my fridge for the longest but all the veggies were just fine when I finally opened up the box.  It was such a flavorful dish and so conveniently proportioned!



I was able to eat this for both lunch and another dinner.  So it, along with the risotto, were by far the meals where I got the most bang for my buck.  And as I've already said the tastiest!

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Overall I would say Hello Fresh is a good option for anyone who wants to cook more, eat a little healthier and save a little.  I've really enjoyed getting into cooking and basically learning how to do it. It's definitely a learning process and hopefully I master it pretty quickly!

I've already cooked the first meal of my second box, but that is a story for another post!

This is not a sponsored post in anyway.  Just my thoughts on the service!

5 comments:

Carly Blogs Here said...

We used Blue Apron for a while, and one of the best things was definitely not having to do a major grocery shop the weeks we had a box coming!

Caitlin Elizabeth said...

I keep debating about trying Hello Fresh! I love the portioned ingredient aspect because so often I have a whole package of celery, etc. that ends up getting thrown out because my recipe only called for two stalks. The cost is really what holds me back since I typically spend around $60 a week for all my groceries so we'll see.

Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders said...

I think that we tried Blue Apron, and the part that I loved the most was the fact that I didn't have any leftovers! It was so nice to have the exact amount I needed for each recipe. And it helped to cut out on junk too, because I always buy that at the grocery store!

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

i absolutely adore risotto, but i hate cooking it haha. i also never cook steak.. too much muck around, so i just get it if i go out.
glad you shared your thoughts! i think this is great for some people, i wanted it to work for us but the price + what you get just wasn't worth it for us. plus the meals were gross (2 went straight in the bin after the first bite).

Emily at 'a little bit of Emily' said...

I often wonder about trying these types of things - my grocery bill is seriously crazy so this may be a great option to kind of get that in check!