Hello Fresh

Once again, a little bit of a detour – since it is not a restaurant review.  Nevertheless, it was new for me and it was perfect for this accidental foodie.  

LUCKY FOR YOU – I have a free week to give a way!!! Tell me why you deserve it in the comments by May 14, 2014.  I guess I will finally find out if anyone is actually reading this 🙂

Hello Fresh is chef created healthy recipes delivered to your door.  It’s perfect for me, because I have a difficulty cooking and portioning for one.  I often have left over ingredients (that can sometimes go bad) or so many servings it begins to take over my life… I am not interested in eating the same thing over and over at every meal.IMG_1866  I was skeptical.  I have done some meal prep type places before with mixed success.  This one is different because the food is fresh – not frozen and delivered!  No waiting in lines at the grocery store.   I had a coupon code for $20 off, although 3 meals with 2 generous servings for $69 is not outrageous (if you’re thinking about it, this code should work for you, simply enter RXQ4P6 at checkout).

They deliver to my area every Wednesday, and I have some flexibility in the meal choice – they have a vegetarian box and a classic box for omnivores.  IMG_1867I chose the classic box, but you can change it from week to week. Within each box, there is some additional choice, as I am getting a 3 meal box and there are 5 to choose from.  The food comes expertly sealed and chilled in mostly recyclable materials.  Each meal is individually wrapped with everything you need, I mean, as long as you have salt, pepper, butter and oil in your cupboards.

I must say, I was quite impressed with the freshness of the meals.  I wasn’t sure how they were going to be able to do it – especially with no artificial colors or preservatives.  IMG_1868I made the first of the three dinners on Thursday night, but waited an entire week for the last meal and everything (including the meat, spinach and herbs) was still fresh. The recipes were quite flavorful and mostly straightforward.  My first meal was Parmesan Crusted Chicken with balsamic potato salad.  All of the ingredients come with a label and the recipe card tells you everything you need, including which kitchen pots and pans, and even if you’ll need a paper towel.

IMG_1872There are even step-by-step directions with pictures.  Come on folks – pictures!!  It’s like paint by numbers, but for cooking – how can you screw that up?  (In all honesty, though – these pictures seemed to have the scallions confused..) Each of the four steps had many parts, but if you followed them in order, each part of the meal comes together at the right time, which never happens for me.

There are some definite PROS:

  • I get to cook things I actually want to eat in my new(ish) kitchen…
  • ease of preparation and quality of ingredients – FULL meals instead of a few main dishes and scrambling for an appropriate side dish.IMG_1869 IMG_1870 IMG_1871
  • generous portions – I got at least 3 servings out of both the pork and the steak dish – enough to share dinner with a friend and still have a large lunch the next day.IMG_0067
  • improved kitchen/cooking confidence – I am definitely learning new skills and recipes, which I think I will use again – regardless if they come in the box.  I did that and it looks almost like the pic!
  • it is easy to pause or cancel the subscription
  • and let’s be real – the food is wonderful.  That potato salad will be making several appearances in my house – regardless if I continue with Hello Fresh.

As for the CONS:

  • reasonably priced, but not cheap… unless you’re my winner!!
  • limited choice – you are only choosing between 5 meals in the classic box – one of which is a vegetarian option.
  • you can’t see the menu for the boxes before you decide if you want a classic box or vegetarian box – so you can’t easily switch.
  • sustainability – I am not sure I can keep up with  three meals each week and I am interested to see how often they recycle the menus/recipes.

At any rate, I am going to try it every other week for a few more weeks.  I think I like the meal planning done for me and the freshness of the ingredients, and well… next weeks menu looks pretty good.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

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