A couple weeks ago, I saw a Living Social coupon to try Hello Fresh. It's a dinner subscription box. That means on a weekly basis (or however you set it up I guess), a box of three different meals is delivered to your house. I liked the idea of three pre-measured, throw it all together dinners. How many times do you want to try a recipe, but it requires sauces and spices you don't have so you just go back to an old stand by? I know I'm always wanting to make a Thai dish and changing my mind when I realize all the different things I'd have to buy. So, to get a small quantity of everything I needed for one meal seemed like a great idea!
Well, it was fun for a week. I did enjoy the pre-portioned meals and I love anything that's delivered to my door for me. But there were a few things I didn't like.
1. The recipe card instructions have no measurements. It says things like "add chili powder" and since it's pre-measured, no quantity is required. So for the first recipe I tried, which was a shrimp jambalaya, it said "add tomatoes." My box came with two cans of tomatoes so I dumped them in there. I discovered the next night that that recipe also needed tomatoes and I should have only used one can the first night. Not a huge deal and probably not a problem most of the time, but why not just add the quantity for clarity's sake?
2. When you order your box you choose vegetarian or meat meals. I think it would be nice to have a combination of both! More and more I prefer vegetarian meals, but I got the meat one in the hopes Erik would like the meals better.
3. Speaking of Erik. I think he only enjoyed 2 out of the 6 meals. I enjoyed most of them, but one of his problems was that he hates potatoes (I know, where does that red hair really come from?) and potatoes were the side dish in half the meals. I love potatoes, but I did feel like that was too much.
4. "Six meals?!" you may say. Yes, the box came with 3. When my first box was delivered I hopped back on the website to cancel my subscription and it told me I had to cancel over a week before the next box was set to arrive. So, I wound up getting stuck with one full price box that I didn't want. I found that shady and manipulative. It's fresh food, they're obviously not preparing and shipping it a week ahead of time (I should hope not anyway!). It's an expensive service ($70 for one box for two people!), so I was pretty unhappy about that.
1. Easy to make recipes. I didn't have any issue following them, but I did feel like they overcomplicated some things. There was one recipe where you marinated the chicken in fresh oranges and you were supposed to use a knife to cut all the skin and membranes off of each orange segment. Who would actually do all that!? And most of the recipes took longer to make than they said on the card. That could be just me, but my potatoes were never done by the time they were supposed to be, etc.
2. Good quality ingredients. I did think the ingredients were very fresh. The meat was good quality. They have their chicken supplier listed on their website, and it's antibiotic free, which is a big plus. I couldn't find information for all the food though, which would be nice. One of our recipes had ground beef, but it was the leanest ground beef I'd ever seen and actually really good.
3. Separated, organized, recipes. I liked how each recipe came in its own bag so you didn't mix it up with other things (other than some specific items like heavy canned food and some dairy items). It made it easy to just pull one bag out of the fridge and have everything I needed right there.
Here are the different recipes I was sent over the two weeks: Chicken à l'Orange, Peppercorn Steak, Roasted Salmon, Shrimp Jambalaya, Tomato-Garlic Ragu, and Chicken Paillard.
I think my favorites were the tomato-garlic ragu and the roasted salmon. Erik liked the ragu and the jambalaya. These photos are of the ragu.
Overall, I thought it was a nice service, but not nice enough for me to spend that amount of money on it. I might try a different subscription service in the future if a good deal arises. I know there are a bunch, so maybe there's one that's right for us! Have you tried one? Fallen in love with one? Let me know :)