I mentioned in my last post that I’d be doing a review of the HelloFresh meal delivery service that I got a groupon for. I should take a moment to note that I paid for this – this was not given to me to review – I bought it because the deal on groupon was awesome ($35 for what is normally $70), and I’ve been eyeing up services like this and Blue Apron for a while.
The price was great – we got three meals for two people for $35. I would spend more than this just stopping at the food store to buy a protein and some vegetables for one or two meals for us, so it made sense to give it a go. The normal price of a delivery this size was $69, which I think was a bit steep, realizing that the meals would not have any leftovers.
Upon signing up, I got to pick my meals for the week. I swapped out one chicken dish for another, because Boyf isn’t super adventurous with spices. The meals I picked were:
The box came on Monday, and when I got home from work it was waiting for me, packed nicely so everything was still cold. There was a lot of extra packaging, but it was nice that non-protein ingredients for each dish were grouped together in smaller boxes. Zero guess work if you didn’t know what you were looking at. It took the thought out of it, which was great.
We began with the Risotto, which was, coincidentally, the “Level 3” meal, meaning it was the hardest to make. Pro: everything was pretty much already properly sized. Just a little chopping, and putting things into pans. The ingredients were perfectly fresh.
This dish was not “hard” to make at all, but risotto requires constant stirring. So it was labor-intensive, but not hard per se. I drink some wine, stirred some risotto, and within an hour, I had a great looking meal.
This was both mine and boyfriend’s favorite meal of the group. It was fresh, tasty, and filling.
Next, we tried the Chimichurri Steak. I was a bonehead, and didn’t take any pictures of this one (DOH!). The steak portioning was perfect, and the couscous with roasted vegetables was easy enough to make. However, neither of us liked the chimichurri much. I’ve read other recipes for chimichurri since, and they all have WAY MORE herbs in them! HelloFresh only provided a small amount of parsley for the dish – I wanted a much better parsley to garlic/shallots ratio. Instead, it came off a little bitter and tangy with the overriding raw garlic/shallot taste. I don’t think I have anything against chimichurri itself, but the proportions in the recipe seemed a bit wrong. Outside of the sauce, this one was not bad, but we both liked the risotto better.
The last meal was the Roasted Chicken with Bombay potatoes.
I edited this one a little, because I had carrots in my fridge screaming to be used. It came with potatoes and red peppers to go with the potatoes already. The carrots went well and beefed up the veg portion! This dish was basically cutting some potatos and veg, pre-boiling the potatoes a little, and then throwing some chicken breasts on top and baking in the oven. It was easy to put together. I really enjoyed the taste – it had turmeric and cumin in it, two spices I don’t use much. Boyf was not a huge fan of the cumin taste, so this was his least favorite meal. I, on the other hand, thought this was fun (but the risotto was still the fave).
Overall, I found this food service easy to use and it got me to try some new sauces/spices that I otherwise would not have. However, personally, at full-price, this didn’t not seem worth it. I wanted at least one portion of leftovers of each dish! Being a two-person family, we often have WAY TOO MUCH leftover from meals, but I do like the idea of a dish or two left over. This was perfectly sized for two (and good sized meals at that), but to me that was to its detriment. I wanted juuuuuust a little more out of it.
In addition, this made me realize that I am a better/more adventurous cook than I probably admit freely. I like to look for recipes on my own, and am totally comfortable in the kitchen, trying up new ideas. While some of them fail, it probably isn’t worth it for me to buy a service just to be adventurous. For example, one of the meals I could choose from was a mushroom and spinach flatbread. That seemed silly for me to choose- I make pizzas at home by myself all the time!
I could see this being a great way to learn more about cooking and technique for someone who has some kitchen fear – a confidence builder for sure, with the ease of use of the recipes and how they give you the ingredients. However, I feel like I would spend more on this at full price than would be necessary for me personally. I did love trying out new ideas and recipes, and honestly, I would totally get another groupon/discounted trial to some of the other services out there like Blue Apron or Plated, just to give them a go too! This would also be awesome for someone who is very strapped for time in terms of meal planning/shopping – I am lucky to have enough time to do those things, but this really takes the “time suck” part out of the equation – the food and recipes come to you, all you have to do is put in the time to cook. Definitely an advantage there!
Sadly, after a week of good meals last week, I’ll be ending this week on a liquid diet (scope time! #IBDlife)… so I’m glad I lived the good life last week!
Have you ever tried a delivery service like HelloFresh? Thoughts?