Week 2 & 3: Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service Review

2017, Cooking, Family, Food

This weeks Blue Apron box had Chicken & Bean Enchiladas, hamburgers and shrimp pasta.

The enchiladas were good, but unfortunately two of the tortillas that were sent in the package had holes right in the center of them, so they weren’t usable to fill and roll. Luckily I had some in the pantry, but if I wouldn’t have, we could have only made two tortillas.

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These were pretty good, but could have used some guacamole or sour cream. They were a tad bit dry.

Dan cooked the hamburgers, which had great taste and were a good size. The cabbage slaw that was with this meal was good, but just too much, from a portion perspective. The sweet potato fries for this meal were minimal, not like the first weeks portions, which were just enough. His review was “Pretty simple to make. The burgers were really good. Way too much slaw with this one. (which I agree)”

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The final meal was the shrimp pasta. This one was also pretty easy to make, not as much prep work as a few of the other meals we’ve had. I will say there was a ton of pasta. We probably could have had another meal with the left overs, but we didn’t have extra shrimp.

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Overall, this weeks meals were OK. I think the first week meals were better. This next weeks box arrived yesterday and I have to say I’m pretty excited for the one meal, cauliflower pizza. It looks delicious and it’s not a pre-made pizza, there’s actual dough! 🙂

Week 3’s box arrived and had Cumin-Crusted Pork, Sicilian Cauliflower Pizza, and Seared Chicken and Pan Sauce.

I probably should have looked at the menu and switched a few things up. I’m not crazy about pork or pork chops. They were dry, even with the pan sauce. One positive thing has been the use of blood oranges in a few recipes. This is an ingredient I wouldn’t think of using, but it has been very good and brightened up the dishes. We’ve also learned we’re not fans of fennel or farro (It reminds me of that cereal ‘puffed wheat’ that I ate as a kid – yuck.). It was dry and pasty. Especially paired with the pork.

The Seared Chicken was good. Any chicken that we’ve eaten from Blue Apron has been really good. Another thing that has been a new cooking experience has been Kale – and we’ve really like it. I think that’s one thing we’ll be adding to our grocery list for dinners. Luke has also eaten the chicken and vegetables – I think that’s just a given with toddlers though.

Our final meal was the Sicilian Cauliflower Pizza – this was by far the best meal we’ve had from 3 weeks of meal trial. Luke really liked it. It was super easy to make. I loved that they  used actual dough, not a pre-made pizza crust, and you could really taste the difference. We enjoyed cooking this one, as a family, which was a big difference from the other meals because of ingredients, cutting, and the prep work. I kept the recipe card for this meal so I can get the ingredients and make it again. I was a hit in our household!

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All in all we’ve enjoyed the last three weeks trying different ingredients and meals with Blue Apron. We have one box left on our 4-week trial. We’re still not certain that we would continue our plan, just because of the price and all that’s involved for preparing, plus we’re cooking something different for Luke every night. But I think those pros/cons are different for every family.

 

One thing that Blue Apron has started to do is wine pairings with your meals for the month. And, keeping with their great concept of portion control, the bottles are sized for two.

It’s 6 wines per month, $10 per bottle. Three red and three white. I don’t think it’s the cheapest, but if you’re interested in trying some new wine and the right pairing for your meals, this is a nice perk. Also, not having tried it yet, I’m not sure if you have the option to update or switch what you’re being sent, like you can with the meals. If anyone has tried the wine from Blue Apron, let me know your thoughts and if it’s worth the money to try it with your meals. I’m interested in feedback on this.

I have a few codes that Blue Apron sent me for free meals. If anyone is interested in trying Blue Apron, comment below or send me an email: ourhappyplaceandco@gmail.com.

Week 1: Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service Review

Cooking, Family, Food, Home, Lifestyle

This is our first time trying Blue Apron and a chance to see how well it works for our family versus the normal weekly grocery shopping and (very last minute) dinner choice. For those of you that share in our curiosity of “is it worth it?” here’s your chance to read about our experience and see if you’d like to give it a go.

Blue Apron Week One Meal Box

We had the 3 meals per week for two people, which is priced at $59.99. I was able to preview my menu, switch out meals, and pick the day for our delivery. I received an email the day before our delivery telling me our box was on the way and it arrived on time. I also downloaded the app to my phone (I highly recommend).

Week 1 Blue Apron Box Produce

First up: Beef Tacos & Radish Salsa

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The meal card for each meal that came in the box was helpful for pulling all the ingredients out, but after opening the app and reading some of the tips/reviews – I found that the steps and directions within the app were much easier to follow and didn’t have you doing “unneeded” prep. The Prep Time was 15 mins and the Cook Time said 25-35. I set my stopwatch on my phone to see how evenly this matched. (we’ll come back to that later)

I like that the portion sizes were perfect for two (Luke ate something else for dinner); we didn’t have leftovers or a lot of waste after preparing the meal. The beef was already sliced and ready to be seasoned, which was extremely helpful.

There was a lot of prep involved in making these and each step took a good bit of time. The sweet potato wedges were really good and we’ll definitely be making those again – also, portion size with just using one potato – perfect.

Overall, I’d give it a 6 out of 10 for ease of cooking – the time frame was definitely off. It took me an hour and 10 minutes from start to plating the meal. I’d much prefer something that was a little closer to 30 minutes to prepare and was glad that we had something else for Luke because he’d never last that long waiting for dinner on a weeknight. The other negative was the amount of dishes I had after making this – it was a bit over the top.

Next up, West African Peanut Chicken with Sautéed Kale and Rice. For this recipe I went right for the app directions and had read the tips earlier in the day, prior to dinner prep. We’ve never made sautéed kale before. It cooked fairly easily, but it wasn’t our favorite. I also combined some steps, which I think helped minimize the cook time. I’ve found that a staple of Blue Apron meals is to use the fond left in the pan in the following steps, which does help with the taste and spice. This was in every recipe this week. Also, the sauce for this – there’s a lot leftover, so we used it for our rice but ended up throwing a good bit of it away.

Blue Apron West African Peanut Chicken

Prep and cook time were about 50 minutes for this one – Blue Apron estimated 60mins+. The chicken cuts were a very good size and portion was actually a little more than I wanted for the rice and kale.

Lastly, we had Orange & Mirni-Glazed Cod with Warm Barley and Broccoli Salad. This dish was our favorite of the week. The cod was frozen when it arrived, but stayed fresh all week and were both decent size portions. Again, I used the app immediately and this meal was probably the most quickly prepared in comparison to the other two from the week.

Blue Apron Meal 3 Orange and Mirin-Glazed Cod

The use of the Cara Cara Orange in this recipe was great and to our surprise the barley and broccoli salad was super easy to make and had great flavor. I did think the portion size on this one was a little large because the barley was very filling, so we did have some leftovers.

This meal was also very colorful when it was done, with everything that was mixed in. There were not as many dishes to clean up as the other two and cooking time was around 40 minutes – Blue Apron estimated 50mins on the card, so fairly close.

All in all, we enjoyed our first week of meals. The convenience of not having to go to the grocery store or worry if we had every ingredient in the house to make the meal was a time-saver. The recipes this first week seem pretty accessible for beginner cooks or those looking to shake up their weeknight meals for themselves for their family. I also feel like Blue Apron is good for the winter because local produce isn’t as abundant and the produce in these meals were very fresh. One thing that I did find surprising was that the carb intake on each of these meals was super high. As a diabetic and someone that counts carbs at each meal for insulin dosage through my insulin pump, I was a little disappointed that there were so many carbs per serving. Each meal was over 50g of carbs per serving.

From the kids perspective, I think if you had children that were older – maybe 5 and up – they would enjoy helping cook. There’s a lot of prep work with each meal, mixing, washing, cutting, etc. For Luke, who’s only 2, it just wasn’t feasible. Also, I went onto the app mid-way through the week and switched up our pre-packed box for this next week, looking for some recipes that maybe Luke would like to try and also some with side dishes that were a little more what we like to eat. Very convenient to be able to do that each week.

Those that know me know that I’m not a chef. The new recipes we do try are often suggestions from friends or family (and a lot of time prepared by my husband). But I did find this to be therapeutic for me throughout the week. It gave me a chance to unwind a bit, reflect on my week, brainstorm on blog topics, listen to some music and make a good meal.

There were quite a few tips on the app that were helpful and I ended up following versus what was written on the recipe card, so if you’re cooking with Blue Apron – definitely download this app (Hint: preparing the corn tortillas in meal one).

Also, something I learned through the app – there’s no commitment. If you are booked for the weeknights or out of town, you can simply go into the app (or sign in online) and skip your Blue Apron delivery to another week. No problem, no penalties.

We have 3 more weeks of deliveries and have to say, for someone that isn’t an enthusiastic cooker, I’m looking forward to trying next week’s meals and seeing how they are and if the cook time minimizes.

This could be a great housewarming gift or birthday gift for someone who likes to cook, or even a great at-home-date idea. And like I said before, trying this in the winter time is great because of the fresh produce they send in the boxes and is not likely to find around here without paying an arm and a leg.

That being said, I’ve been given “2 free meals” to give away to a friend. If you’re interested in trying Blue Apron, comment below and I’ll be picking two individuals early next week to receive these meals. Please place your email in the comments as well so I can send the invite over to you.

If you’ve tried Blue Apron (or any other packaged meal service), I’d love to hear what you think and why you are or aren’t a fan! And, if you’re a parent and have found meals through Blue Apron that your kids like to eat and/or help cook – please let me know those too. Would love to try a few of those for Luke while we’re giving this service a shot.

Be on the look-out for my review of Week 2. Happy Cooking!

*This post is not sponsored in any way.