Battle of the Meal Boxes: Blue Apron

So a little back story before I get into the review:

My boyfriend and I have a ton of family and friends that use meal delivery subscription services. We were torn for a while on whether these boxes were worth the price tag. Since a lot of the boxes offer some kind of discount for the first one, we decided that it couldn’t do any harm to test out a few to see how we like it. These subscription services make it fairly easy to skip multiple weeks and there’s usually no cancellation fee. A lot of them also offer an option to give free meals to new members which is what we did with some of our family/friends who have been long time users.

Blue Apron

For the first box we tested out we decided with Blue Apron because this seemed to be the most popular choice along with Hello Fresh. We easily found coupon codes for the first box and have seen/heard various radio and TV commercials promoting the brand.

Getting Started:

Registration was fairly easy, you just enter in all necessary shipping and billing information. After getting through Blue Apron will automatically select three meals for you:

 

 

These can easily be changed to any of the six meals offered for a particular week. There’s always three vegetarian options offered as well. If none of the meals appeal to you it’s super easy just to skip a particular week. The biggest downside about the meal selection is sometimes certain meals can’t be paired together. For instance in the meals offered below if you selected the Mushroom and Cabbage Dumplings you would not be able to also select the Cumin Crusted Pork.

The Cost:

Blue Apron offers several different plans including a family plan and the one we selected which is three meals a week that each serve two people. This plans comes out to $59.94 which includes shipping costs as well. So each meal would come out to $9.99 which isn’t really that bad when you break it down.

When creating your account we received a coupon code which made our first box $15 which is definitely a steal.

Inside the Box:

 

Each box is set to be delivered on Monday before 9 PM but we received ours before 6 PM. The food comes in a pretty in a large box with the Blue Apron logo on the outside. Inside you’ll find three recipe cards and all the ingredients you need for each dish.

Each recipe also includes a smaller brown bag with ‘Knick Knacks’ inside including smaller recipe items like red pepper flakes or a cube of garlic butter.

The only real negative about how the box is delivered is the items aren’t separated by what meal they belong to in any way, excluding the Knick Knack bags. It wasn’t too hard though to figure out what belonged with what.

They also included large ice packs which were placed over top the meat items. Everything was very securely inside the box and nothing was damaged or bruised when opened.

Cooking the Meals:

Alright just a warning, neither myself or my boyfriend are great cooks by any means so feel blessed you’re getting a peak into the kitchen with us in the pictures below.

 

 

The recipe card above shows how easy it is to prepare each meal. I highly recommend reading the directions all the way through because there were times where we didn’t think to preset the oven or start bowling water at the beginning of the recipe. Or if cooking with two people there are steps that can be combined and cooked at the same time to cute down on cooking time.

Each recipe specifies the preparation time and cooking time. All the meals we picked out did take longer than the time noted but that could also be because of our lack of kitchen skills.

 

It was definitely a lot of fun cooking these meals as they weren’t recipes we would normally cook. We also had the opportunity to cook with ingredients that I wouldn’t normally pick up such as fennel or tomatillos. The recipes were easy to follow and you could also go online to view more tips about certain cooking techniques.

Each meal also comes with all the nutritional value facts which is a nice touch.

Overview:

All together I think these boxes are a super clever idea. I think this is a great idea for people who think they don’t have much cooking talent (like us). These are meals we would have never normally picked out so it was really great experience. They also included some ingredients that we wouldn’t normally choose to cook such as fennel. The first box was 100% worth it just because of how cheap it was but then going up to around $60 a box is not something we could commit too.

I liked how they included the recipe card so we could easily go out, buy the groceries and recreate the recipes. This is also makes this box great because we both hate grocery shopping so having all the items you needed delivered to your door is beyond convenient.

All the meals included super fresh ingredients and you could even go online to look at where the ingredients were from. The only things we found that were not included in the box were items such a salt and pepper and olive oil.

At first we were scared the portions may be a little too small but they were perfect. Each meal said it had two servings but we found that we always had a little but of leftovers.

Another extra perk is that Blue Apron offers a win paring service that you can add. For extra money each week Blue Apron will add wine that pairs with the selected meal. This is something you can pick and choose if you want add each week which is a nice touch.

Since we are trying out some of the other meal boxes, we aren’t going to jump into repurchasing this one. At the moment we are just skipping weeks but I think we will reuse this service every once in awhile when the recipes seem like they are worth it.

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