Hello and happy Monday! Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween weekend. We were still getting record highs around 85 degrees on Friday and Saturday, but apparently as soon as November arrived on Sunday, so did fall…and the rain! Normally I’m not a fan, but with California’s drought and a serious lack of fall weather lately, I was more than happy to break out my boots.
Anyway, on to the topic of the day…Food box delivery. Meal Kit services. Whatever you want to call it, it seems we are living in an age of Birch Box/StitchFix/Ipsy and the like, and the latest entry into the market is FOOD.
Here’s some info on HelloFresh:
Order HelloFresh and we’ll deliver fresh ingredients and healthy recipes straight to your doorstep each week. Each week our chefs create amazing recipes for you that are easy to prepare. Our meals are interesting yet simple. And we ensure that your diet is balanced and varied. With the HelloFresh recipe box subscription, you will receive a box of fresh ingredients and delicious recipes every week.
When you purchase a box from HelloFresh, you get to choose 3 meals out of 5 options available. I decided on these three meals:
- Bratwurst in Pretzel Buns with Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw
- Turkey Meatballs with Parsnip Mash & Roasted Carrots
- Saffron-poached Basa with Basmati Rice, Caramelized Onion & Sweet Bell Pepper
Here’s how each went, followed by my general thoughts!
Bratwurst in Pretzel Buns with Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw
This was the first meal I made and it was one I knew Russell would like, so I planned to make it as dinner for both of us (as opposed to lunches for me). It was by far the easiest, since the only food prep I really had to do was chopping the apples, garlic, and herbs.
After making the slaw, all I had to do was saute the bratwurst and toast the pretzel buns and it was done!
My favorite is comparing the recipe book picture with my actual finished product, HA:
Actually not too far off!
- Amount of food: This wasn’t enough food for the 2 of us 🙁 It might have been enough for 2 ladies? But Russell worked out not too long before we ate dinner and one serving was definitely not enough for him. The bratwursts were an average size, but unless you reeeeally love cabbage slaw and can fill up on that, it might need a side salad or something to really round it out.
- Flavor: super tasty! I was a little hesitant to use all of the herbs they provided for the slaw…And my concern was warranted. I used most of the parsley and only half the dill, and it ended up being a little heavy on the parsley 🙁 Russell also felt the slaw was a little too tangy. It was definitely pretty heavy handed on the vinegar…
- Cooking/assembly: This was extremely easy to make! The recipe book said it would take 30 minutes and that was about how long it took.
- Et cetera: The pretzel buns were too big for the bratwurst. Before taking the pictures above, I cut off the last quarter of the bun because I hate having an uneven bread-to-meat ratio.
Turkey Meatballs with Parsnip Mash & Roasted Carrots
While I made the first meal for dinner, I prepped the meatballs and veggies to eat over the course of a couple of lunches.
Another difference: the first meal was really low maintenance…this one was not.
There was so much food it almost didn’t fit into my biggest tupperware!
The finished product:
- Amount of food: This recipe yielded SO MUCH food. I had 5 meatballs (with carrots & parsnip mash) one day and 4 another, leaving 3 still in my work fridge. Unlike the first recipe, this definitely would’ve fed both Russell and I and maybe even would have had leftovers.
- Flavor: Again really tasty! The flavors were a little random…There was nutmeg in the meatballs and cayenne pepper in the parsnip mash, which seemed like a clash to me, but it kinda worked!
- Cooking/assembly: The recipe book said this should have taken 45 minutes…I’m guessing between roasting the carrots, boiling the parsnips, pre-cooking the meatball mix-ins and then forming/cooking the meatballs, it took me at least an hour and 15 minutes.
- Et cetera: I liked how healthy this meal was! I guess all of them were decently healthy, but this one especially. I love me some veggies!
Saffron-poached Basa with Basmati Rice, Caramelized Onion & Sweet Bell Pepper
Next up for dinner was fish with a rice side dish! (poet and didn’t know it) I thought this one would be the trickiest since I’ve never actually poached fish before.
It was actually easier than I thought! The finished product:
Aaaaand compared to the picture:
- Amount of food: If meal #1 was too little and #2 was too much, then meal #3 was juuuust right! HelloFresh provided generous portions of fish, and neither of us were starving, so we had leftover rice. I feel like if we had been hungrier, the extra rice/veggies with saffron broth would have been sufficient to fill us up.
- Flavor: The fish cooked in saffron broth was reeeeally good. The rice could have been more flavorful, however…it was basically rice, peas and bell pepper. The picture makes it look like the rice had saffron too, but the recipe never called for it to be added.
- Cooking/assembly: There was a decent amount of chopping involved, but not as much as recipe #1, and a lot of the actual cooking was just waiting for things to simmer. Poaching the fish was much easier than I anticipated and I couldn’t believe how tender the fish was! I think the recipe card said this one took 30 minutes to make, and it took me more like 45.
Overall thoughts on HelloFresh:
Overall, I thought all of the meals were tasty, healthy, and fairly simple to make as far as skill level in the kitchen goes. The recipe directions also ensure that you’re using your time efficiently, i.e. “while water is boiling, start cutting veggies”. I also liked that it gave me an opportunity to cook with some more unique ingredients I never would have bought on my own – like basa, or saffron – which would’ve been way too expensive to buy normally since you usually have to buy more than you need for 1 meal.
I think they could be better about their consistency of the amount of food included in each meal. That being said, I think they also have a very healthy idea of a meal/serving size for one person, which features a lean meat with veggies and a little bit of carbs. I’m just not sure it’s always quite enough food for a growing boy (errr…a guy in his early 30’s who runs 15-20 miles per week) 😉
One of my bigger issues with HelloFresh is the price. The box that comes with 3 meals for 2 people costs $69, which comes out to about $11.50 per person per meal. A big reason I cook at home often is to avoid having to pay $10+ per meal. If I’m paying $11+ per meal, I also want to know that a lot of the work has been done and it’s going to be super quick and easy…but 2 out of 3 of these recipes took me close to or more than an hour =\ I also get that the price has a lot of other factors built in, like overnight shipping, packaging (LOTS of packaging), etc.
Because I only shop for myself most of the time, I can get away with spending <$50 on groceries each week, so I’m not sure I would be able to justify doing HelloFresh every week. But I did think it was delicious, I liked being able to cook with new-to-me ingredients, and I could see myself doing it again at some point. I also think it would be a great holiday gift idea for foodies!
If you would like to try HelloFresh and get $40 off your first box, use my referral code: DW4KQQ. Let me know what you think!
Have you tried a meal kit delivery service? If so, which one and how did you like it?