We are one month in to using the Blue Apron delivery service, and since I have had a lot of questions about it from friends, I thought I would do a little rundown of my thoughts on the service. From a general perspective, we are really enjoying it and will definitely continue. The recipes are easy to follow, the ingredients are super fresh, and the meals have been incredibly tasty. If I had one complaint it would be that the prep involved (chopping, slicing and dicing, and the actual cooking of the foods) can be a little time consuming (especially when you have a toddler that wants your undivided attention), but that is to be expected when you are eating freshly prepared food. On the flipside I wouldn’t want my family eating packaged, processed foods for dinner every night, so at least I know we are eating quality meals made from fresh, whole ingredients, most of which are usually organic. Now if only a certain picky, almost 3-year-old would actually TRY these foods;) I offer them to him every night, but he quickly claims he doesn’t like it, whether or not he actually takes a bite.
We are subscribed to the 3 meals/week option for two people. The portion sizes are more than enough for Matt and me, plus Asher Wade on the off chance he decides to try something. We often have leftovers. Matt was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough food to feed two adults, but that has not been an issue at all. Like I said, we end up with leftovers at least once a week. Three meals per week is good for us as well. We usually eat out on Monday nights (it’s our family date night), Wednesday nights we have small group, and Saturday nights are usually reserved for mine and Matt’s date night. That leaves four nights and it’s a guarantee that something will inevitably come up on one of those nights, causing us to grab something on the go, or have breakfast for dinner (a quick go-to we enjoy). So, three nights dedicated to Blue Apron has been a perfect addition – we usually cook Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. We get our delivery on Saturday afternoons. Everything is packaged really well in dry ice. There was even one time where we weren’t home to bring the box inside and didn’t get to it until Sunday afternoon. Everything was still super cold and probably would have stayed that way for another day or two. Once we get the box inside we pull everything out and stick it in the fridge or pantry. The box and all the packaging is 100% recyclable, which makes us feel better, especially since there is a lot of packaging.
They will accommodate most dietary restrictions as well. You just let them know what you don’t eat, or what your preferences are, and they will pick recipes accordingly. They will send you an email with your selected menu for the upcoming week, but you can always log-in to your account and change it. I think you just have to make any changes at least one week before shipment. They even have an app where you can quickly access your account and view your upcoming menus and make changes. We are following the vegetarian plan for the most part, although I try and throw in a meat dish for Matt every so often. Everything we’ve made has been delicious…literally not one bad meal yet. It’s all stuff we would never think to make, or attempt due the initial complexity. Most of the meals have been very out-of-the-box for us, and even though we think we won’t like something based on the initial description or picture, we’ve ended up loving it. They use a lot of unusual spices and flavor combinations that I just wouldn’t think to put together, or think I would like. Here is a sampling of some of the meals we’ve made:
Seared Cod and Udon Noodles (this has probably been our favorite so far)
White Pizza with Baked Egg and Arugula (another favorite)
Acorn Squash Risotto
Spicy Shrimp Spaghetti
Fontina and Preserved Lemon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Fresh Beet Linguini
Mexican Spiced Salmon
Goat Cheese and Kale Quiche
Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice
Tuscan Ribollita Soup
Meyer Lemon Glazed Catfish with Collard Greens
One of the main benefits of Blue Apron is that it takes the guesswork out of figuring out dinner. When you get home, you know exactly what you are preparing, and you everything you need is right there, including the recipe card. Blue Apron portions everything out for you, so you have exactly what you need, in the right measurements and quantities. You just look at your recipe card (which includes step by step instructions and pretty pictures), pull the items from the fridge and pantry and get to prepping and cooking. Like I said, the prep can take some time depending on the recipe because you almost always have to chop fresh veggies and herbs. They use a lot of onions, garlic, lemon and fresh herbs in particular. Almost nothing is processed or pre-cooked. The other week we had kale pizza on the menu and they sent us the fresh pizza dough that we had to roll out and bake. At least we didn’t have to mix the dough and let it rise as well! On average I’d say each meal takes us about 35 minutes to prepare and cook; less if we did some of the prep work the night before, which we try to do if possible. Matt and I usually fix the meal together (usually with a bottle of wine open…), which is really nice. Asher Wade will often play in the kitchen, so at least I feel like we are doing something together. A lot of nights though he’s just not interested in being in the kitchen and we let him watch a show while we are preparing the dinner. I hate this, as I’d rather be interacting and playing with him, but I know it’s important that we sit down for a family dinner, so it just is what it is right now.
Another huge benefit (at least for me) is that it’s gotten Matt more interested in cooking. It used to be that we if we were going to have a hot meal on the table, I had to figure it out and do the cooking. Not that this was a big deal, but it could be stressful after a long day. I constantly felt the stress that I had to be the one to fix dinner, or at least figure something out. Not that Matt didn’t want to help…he’s just never really cooked before (like a lot of men). Having everything right there in front of him though, with a detailed recipe card, has made it much easier for him to prepare meals and get more comfortable in the kitchen in general. There have been a few nights where has made the meal entirely by himself, and it came out awesome! I like to go to a yoga class on Sunday evenings and I’ll often come home to a delicious home-cooked meal, ready on the table. Such a nice treat and it makes me feel loved:-)
The 3 meals/week for 2 people is $60/week, which I totally think is worth it. The quality of the food alone is worth it. Throw in the convenience of front door delivery and the removal of the “What’s for dinner?” stress, and it’s absolutely worth the cost. We aren’t buying as many groceries either since I don’t need to meal plan. I basically just buy the standard things we eat for breakfast and lunch. I only go down like 5 aisles at the store! Once you take in to account that you hardly have to buy anything for dinner from the store, you can easily justify the $60/week.
I think that’s all the details. Shoot me an email if you are interested because I have these vouchers I can give people so they can try out a free meal delivery. Oh, and you don’t have to sign any sort of contract and can cancel any time, or skip weeks whenever necessary. I really like that it is non-committal. Just let me know if you have any questions about it! We’ve been really happy and I think it’s a great service for busy families, so I just thought I would share my honest thoughts on it:-)