In short, yaaaasss! In long form, here’s why:
1. I used to spend a disgusting amount of time each week planning meals, making grocery lists, shopping for said groceries, and then scrambling to make everything before all the ingredients went bad. Because I abhor grocery shopping, I used to try to go every other week instead of every week. That meant that I inevitably lost some soldiers in battle (i.e., some of my precious produce rotted before I could get to it), or I’d have to do a mini-grocery in between the real groceries to re-up on produce. This juggling act was a major pain in the butt, but since I don’t like eating junk that often, and prefer to cook fresh meals, it was a necessary evil.
2. Despite my constant devouring of recipes from wherever I could get them – online, cookbooks, magazines, friends/family – I still often felt that I was cooking the same things over and over again – or at least variations of the same things. It got boring fast.
3. Even when I was able to find a new, creative recipe, the chances of finding all of the ingredients in my regular grocery store were often slim. Escarole? Forget it. Paneer cheese – yeah right! Gochujang? Keep dreaming! It was super frustrating to say the least, often sending me on a wild goose chase to 3-4 grocery stores before simply giving up on the recipe or using a much less exciting substitute for the exotic ingredient.
Has Blue Apron solved all of these problems? Why, yes, pretty much. Although the only options are to get three meals per week for two people, or two or four meals per week for four people, it’s surprisingly still done the trick in terms of saving me hours of recipe-hunting. Although three meals per week doesn’t sound like a lot, there’s often at least one serving left of each meal, stretching it to three or four servings per meal (particularly the pastas – those usually make at least four servings).
And of course, I inevitably want to eat out at least once a week anyway, so that takes care of another night or two. And even though I don’t like eating them often, I usually have at least one frozen pizza and/or family-sized bagged meal in the freezer to stand in when necessary. So all in all, I do far less grocery shopping these days and next to no meal planning.
So how are the meals? I’m glad you asked – they are AMAZING! Every one is super creative, tasty, and filling. The best things about these meals include:
1. Variety. In just a couple of months, I have eaten Italian, Japanese, Indian, Spanish, American, Chinese and more. Some of my favorite recipes have included: Smoky Pork Burgers with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli, Baby Broccoli & Fontina Paninis, Smoky Seared Cod with Roasted Potatoes & Dates, and Chicken Yakiniku with Sesame-Marinated Carrots & Garlic Rice.
2. The amount of fresh produce used. I always love incorporating fresh produce into my meals, and Blue Apron takes this to another level. Every meal has several varieties of fresh greens, vegetables, and sometimes fruits. I love the unique ways they are all incorporated! For instance, I have had both a plantain panini and a pickled beet grilled cheese – phenomenal meals I would have never dreamed up on my own!
3. Very precise instructions. Depending on where you pull your recipes from, some are more coherent and turn out better than others. But I’ve never had a recipe fail with Blue Apron. I think it’s because the instructions are so clear it’s hard to mess up!
4. Less waste. As you may have gathered, it pains me to waste food. This rarely happens with Blue Apron because they typically send just the right amount of ingredients you need, and you don’t have a ton of food left over.
5. Taste! And of course, most importantly, all of the meals taste delicious. I haven’t encountered a single one I didn’t like.
So what about making the meals? Is it hard? Nope! Keep in mind that these are not ready-made or quick meals, necessarily. They usually take around 45-60 minutes to make. This might be a turn-off for some, but for me it’s about what I used to spend cooking anyway (often, even less) so I am fine with it. The one thing I wish is that the Blue Apron produce came already washed and dried, but I’m guessing that would diminish the freshness. Washing and drying lettuce, etc., is an annoyance but I deal with it.
What about managing the account? How does that work? My advice is to download the Blue Apron app to your phone. Then you can easily go in there at night while you watch TV to manage your account. For each week, you get to choose from a handful of different recipes (selecting three for the two-person plan). If you don’t like any of the recipes, you can simply skip that week through the app and you won’t be charged. (Also helpful if you are traveling.)
What about health? Are the meals healthy? Yes and no. They are by no means low calorie (averaging around 650 – 800 calories), but I often eat only about half or 2/3 of my allotted portion, so that helps a lot. On the plus side, the produce is marketed as “farm fresh” and the meat has no added hormones, so that makes me feel good!
For $60/week, Blue Apron isn’t cheap per se but I’d say it’s worth it. I haven’t exactly done the math (because I hate math!), but I’m pretty sure I was spending close to that if not more previously trying to buy tons of ingredients to make my own meals, so I consider this a better option.
And how fun is it to get a big, heavy box filled with food at my door every week? Unpacking it with fervor to see what cool ingredients are in there? Very fun. And don’t worry if you’re not home during the day. The boxes come with fancy ice packs so they stay fresh at your doorstep until you get home.
Intrigued but still not sure Blue Apron would work for you? Just give it a try! You can cancel at any time.
(Note that Blue Apron had nothing to do with this post. I just happen to love it so!)Tags: Blue Apron, Cooking, Dinner, Meal Kit