Will all of the meal delivery services running crazy deals at the beginning of the year, I thought it would be fun to try some out and do reviews on them. I am also hoping to shake up my cooking habits and experiment with styles I wouldn’t otherwise tend to cook.
Being a stay at home mom that loves to cook from scratch and married to a husband who brings home huge quantities of beautiful seafood probably doesn’t make me the target audience for one of these services. I have the time and resources to make whatever I want each day (if I have the energy on top of chasing around two toddlers!).
That said, the kids and I were very excited when our first HelloFresh box arrived!
We picked out three recipes for our delivery:
- Cranberry Turkey Burgers with Green Salad
- Crispy Sole with Caper Sauce and Potatoes
- Beefed-Up Bolognese with Poblano Peppers and Thyme
Everything arrived packed up in individual boxes for each recipe, with the proteins at the bottom of the box directly on the ice packs. Also included was a recipe book with a page for each dish.
The produce and meat looked very fresh.
We started with the Cranberry Turkey Burgers.
The box contained:
- one shallot
- 2oz sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup panko
- 2oz mayo
- 2oz cranberry sauce
- 5oz spring mix
- 1oz dried cranberries
- 1.8oz pecans
- .85oz balsamic vinegar
- two buns
The recipe itself was fairly easy: chop shallots & thyme, combine with the meat and panko, and form patties to cook.
While the patties are cooking, you simply mix together the mayo and cranberry sauce to make a spread for the burger buns, and toss the salad mix with the pecans, cranberries, balsamic & a bit of olive oil.
At this point I would love to show you a pic of the finished dish, but we ate it too fast and I forgot to take one!
It was a good dish but not fantastic. The burger was a bit dry- I’m surprised that they didn’t add any egg to it. The salad was good, we really liked the greens themselves.
The recipe was extremely fast and simple to make, which earns a lot of points in my book. The high caloric amount didn’t make me delighted however- over 800cal per person for a turkey burger and a salad. I prefer to do heavier lunches and lighter dinners personally, keeping the calories under 600 so that I can have a glass of wine with dinner. I wonder if they could have saved some calories by doing a sauce on the burgers that didn’t contain mayo but that added some sharper tastes to cut through the burger.
Next we tried the Beefed-Up Bolognese with Poblano Peppers & Thyme.
This box contained:
- 1 carrot
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves, already peeled
- 2oz fresh thyme
- 14.5oz canned diced tomatoes
- 8oz linguine
- shredded parmesan
- 1oz sour cream
- 8oz ground beef
This recipe took a few more minutes and had more steps than the turkey burgers. First, thinly slice the pepper, mince the garlic cloves and do a small dice on the carrots & onions.
Get a big pot of water boiling for the pasta. Sauté the pepper in some olive oil, add garlic, then set aside. Sauté the onions & carrots with the thyme and then add the beef, peppers and diced tomatoes. Let this simmer and then add in a cup of the pasta water, sour cream and salt and pepper.
This dish took me a total of about 40 minutes, and I would say I chop pretty fast. I was also feeding two toddlers dinner at the same time.
I really liked the end result, but I don’t feel that it was very healthy- I wouldn’t normally eat pasta (or beef for that matter). The calories are high- 795 per serving- but I did find the servings themselves pretty healthy.
I found an introductory deal for our week of HelloFresh that was a total of $19.95 for the week. That’s 3 meals, each for 2 people, so it breaks down to $3.25 per serving.
Normal pricing for a week of HelloFresh is $59.94, which then breaks down to $9.99 per serving per person.
Overall, I found the HelloFresh recipes to be relatively quick and easy. The instructions are clear and have great pictures. I would anticipate the pasta taking most people a lot longer than it took me however, and at 40 minutes for a week night meal that’s not super quick in my opinion. I also thought that they could have been healthier- lower in calories and with less empty carbs and more vegetables.
Sustainability-wise, I appreciated that much of the products were packed in materials that can be recycled. I also liked that there was an insert in the package that talked about where the food came from- what farms, with short backgrounds on each. I would have liked to know that all of the proteins were raised naturally and humanely or sustainably fished (there was info on the chicken that said it was raised according to these standards, but nothing else). It made me uneasy to use diced tomatoes out of a can without a label stating that it was BPA-free. We also buy all organic produce, and this obviously was not, which would affect my decision to use the service on a continuous basis.
The online interface for ordering I found extremely easy. You simply click the meals that you want, and any combination is accepted. With Blue Apron if you click on a certain meal then others are greyed out- you can only order certain items with others if that makes sense. It must have to do with the cost of ingredients for some recipes vs others. I preferred HelloFresh in this department because it ticked me off with Blue Apron to select one meal only to find that this then ruled out 2 other selections which I wanted.
These meals are great for someone that wants fast, simple weeknight meals and who is highly active and can handle dinners in the 800 calorie range without gaining weight! The menus are more geared towards simple, comfort-food type dishes with familiar ingredients and taste profiles.
At $60/week or $240/month they aren’t cheap, but if you actually wanted to make each meal and went grocery shopping for the ingredients you would be spending a lot more. By using the menu service you get a variety of meals already portioned out for you, and there’s no waste (there are also no leftovers however for lunch the next day).