I may fancy myself an alright baker, but I’m definitely not the world’s best cook. Far from it, actually. I have a few simple, go-to meals I make on repeat, and I opt to scarf down a bowl of cereal for dinner more often than I’d like to admit.
And while Jeremy and I love savoring fresh, home-cooked meals, our busy, conflicting schedules make it hard to run to the grocery, prepare a meal, and actually sit down to eat it together. Then there’s the matter of always having to buy too much of each ingredient for just the two of us, so, unfortunately, we see a lot more go to waste than we’d like.
Over the last year or so, we’ve seriously discussed our desire to eat more nutrient-rich meals, eat them together, and make dinnertime more of a ritual during our week – even if we can only make it happen every few days. Some weeks, it’s easy. Most are a challenge.
I finally decided to give HelloFresh a go after experiencing several failed attempts at new dinner recipes, and after tossing out so much rotted produce. So many recipes simply took too much time or energy to make, and we quickly discovered that meal planning definitely isn’t our forte.
We’ve been so impressed with this service and the quality of the meals so far! We received our fourth box this week and when Jeremy exclaimed last night, between slurping down udon noodles, that the mushroom lo mein (this coming from a guy who doesn’t dig mushrooms, at all) was his favorite meal yet, I thought I probably needed to share a bit about our experience.
HelloFresh is an at-home meal delivery service, offering three plan options (classic, veggie, or family.) Each meal is developed and approved by in-house chefs and dietitians. They send a box full of fresh ingredients, gathered from local farmers and suppliers, to your door each week, along with a set of recipe cards. We’ve opted for the veggie box, which comes with three meals.
The ingredients are divided into separate bags, based on the meal they’re for, and each ingredient is clearly labeled. All you really need to have on hand is salt, pepper, and olive oil! I’d also suggest a quality cutting board, non-stick pan, and sharp kitchen knife, to make preparation a breeze.
You get to rinse, chop, and prepare the ingredients yourself – including sauces and relishes – which makes you feel like a top chef right in your own kitchen! The recipe cards even contain little tips from time to time with suggestions on what to do if something isn’t turning out quite right. That being said, most recipes only require 30-45 minutes of your time.
The recipe cards also contain gorgeous step-by-step photos, nutrition facts, and suggestions for wine pairings!
I think it’s also worth noting that the packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable, and you get exactly the amount of each ingredient needed, so there’s very little waste.
I was a little concerned about the delivery – as the boxes show up mid-day, while we’re at work. Especially given a few delivery days have been upwards of 90ºF! But the box is lined in foil insulation, and comes with a couple of ice blocks. I’ve noticed on hotter weeks, they’ve added some extra padding to help keep things cool. One day, a box sat on our porch for about 8 hours and was still incredibly cold when we got around to opening it!
So far, the ingredients have been truly fresh and we haven’t been missing anything. I would suggest making your meals within four or five days of receiving the box, before the produce begins to age too much (we waited about a week for one meal, and some of the herbs had wilted quite a bit.)
The price may be a little steep for some, but we’ve found that the portion sizes tend to be large enough to have leftovers, and have enjoyed them for lunches later in the week. In addition, we look at it as: we’re enjoying quality meals at home and spending less than what we would eating out 2-3 times a week, and spend less at the grocery. Plus, even though it’s a subscription service, you can opt to skip weeks when your budget doesn’t allow for it, or you don’t think you’ll be home enough to use it all up (we’ll probably skip a lot of holiday weeks for this reason!)
I also love that they share their recipes on their website! Lots and lots of meal inspiration. Click here to check them out.
I’ve definitely started to find my groove in the kitchen again by using this service, and Jeremy and I have sat down to more meals together this month than we have in the past six months combined! I’m also starting to pick up on how to properly use seasonings, what flavors pair well together, and some general tricks of the (cooking) trade, which has me feeling more confident when it comes to everyday cooking or experimenting with fancy new meals on my own.