|The box is giant!|
But then all of a sudden I was only cooking for 2 actual people and 1 child who mostly exists on air AND I was in the middle of a serious cooking slump. I mean I did still cook but I definitely wasn't feeling it - especially when you throw in list making and grocery shopping. So when my sister-in-law mentioned that they'd had a really great experience with Hello Fresh AND Anna at Herding Cats and Burning Soup posted her positive review the next day I figured it was a sign. So I signed up and I gotta say - I've been loving it!
What It Is:
Essentially a subscription box of 3 meals. Everything you need for those 3 meals (with the exception of the very basics - salt, pepper, olive oil) is included along with detailed recipe cards. You can pick what meals are in your box or skip a week all together. I've found the ingredients of good quality and the meat is labeled as to where it came from and is antibiotic and hormone free.
|The Meal Box - Everything but the protein is in here|
Why Sign Up:
For me, I've enjoyed having someone else do the shopping and planning for me. It's nice to have all the ingredients I need for one meal all together. Plus, choosing from their menus has shaken me out of my slump a bit. I've also found that I'm willing to try different techniques because I'm following instructions and everything is right in front of me.
After my success, my mother signed up for the service as well. Her husband is not a very confident cook but his commute is much shorter than hers. Having everything together and the detailed recipes has made it easier for him to have dinner on the table when she gets home and has kept them from eating out as much.
|Inside of the box|
Some of my favorite meals so far:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lemony Potatoes and Zucchini - Probably not the most unique meal but the flavors were amazing!
Bacon Apple Breakfast Pizza - This I got just for me and I'm glad because I did not want to share! Between the apple, the ricotta, the balsamic onions and the bacon I just couldn't get enough.
Chicken Lo Mein with Carrots and Green Beans - The sauce was restaurant quality and the udon noodles were amazing.
Hunan Cumin Beef Stir Fry - I had never really done anything with cumin seeds before so I thought that was interesting. The flavor combination was delicious and unusual and made for a yummy bowl of food.
While none of the meals I've gotten have been really bad there were a few that I probably wouldn't get again.
Winning Pork Medallions - This has Brussels Sprouts which we decided we just weren't fans of and I thought the Tarragon Cream Sauce was a little heavy on the Tarragon.
Sesame Beef Tacos - I liked the pickled veggies but not sure I liked the red cabbage mixed with the ground beef on my tacos.
|The Recipe Card - Lots of pictures and clear instructions. Everything you need for the recipe is listed on the left hand side|
When Something Goes Wrong:
No company is perfect but for me the main thing is how a mistake is handled. On my 2nd box the proteins were left out completely. Luckily, UPS gets to my house pretty late so I wasn't planning on having one of the meals for dinner and I could run by the grocery store the next day so my meals weren't ruined but it's still not okay. I emailed their customer service that evening and within 30 minutes I had an email from a person with an apology and a credit for a free box which left me a pretty satisfied customer!
I've noticed these subscriptions (not just Hello Fresh but all the meal subscriptions) seem to be ridiculously controversial on social media so I thought I'd respond to some of the biggest complaints.
Amount of packaging - There's a decent amount. There's the big box it comes in, the individual box each meal comes in and the different containers plus the ice packs. However, most of the packing material is from recycled materials and they have recycling instructions on their website. Plus if you have kids in sports or do anything that requires a cooler those ice packs are reusable and pretty great.
Cost - This isn't low cost but I don't find it crazy expensive either. For a 2 person Classic plan box it's $59 (so around $20 per meal - $10/serving). I can definitely eat cheaper if I really try but it's definitely cheaper than getting a similar quality meal at a restaurant. Plus I do notice a corresponding decrease in my grocery bill on the weeks when we have a Hello Fresh box.
Processed or Flavorless Food - This seems to come up a LOT and I think most people who complain about this don't understand what the service is. You're actually cooking so you're in control of salt and pepper or any other seasoning. As for processed foods I haven't seen much of it. If a recipe calls for a zucchini I pull an actual whole zucchini out of the box.
I've really enjoyed my Hello Fresh subscription and get excited anytime the box arrives. We don't get it every week but only on weeks where the meal selection has 3 we really want to try. So far that seems to be 2 or 3 times a month. Something about having everything all together makes cooking seem easier and more fun. Not to mention it's encouraged my husband and myself to try new things and we've found a few new favorites!
If you'd like to try a box for $20 you can use my link for the discount. They have a few different options including a vegetarian box. There's no contract or anything so no worries if you decide after 1 box that it isn't for you. If you do try it I'd love to hear what you think and your favorites!
I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads