Weekly Meal Boxes...should you try it

My weekly meals with all fresh ingredients usually take about 30 minutes to prepare. My cooking style is simple fresh ingredients and preferably meals that don't dirty too many pots and pans on a week night. I am not routine in using my slow cooker either.  With a busy work travel schedule it was tough to shop and cook so I decided to give boxed meal delivery kits a try. For me value in receiving something direct to my house is in reducing me time and work overall unless it is something I cannot do myself and then time and work involved are not my primary measure. 


Blue Apron

My first meal club. All ingredients come individually packed and labeled so it is easy to see what you have and what goes with which recipe card. On average meals take 45 min to one hour to prepare. Prep a bit involved and amount of dishes required to make one meal was high. Normally a pot, a pan or maybe 2 . Great variety of food I would normally not cook myself. Weekly choices are automatically pre-determined for you but it is easy to log in and change your menu items to others but you have to make sure you do it before their shipping cutoff or it is too late. Best way I found is to pre plan several weeks in advance then it was on auto pilot to ship what I wanted to try. I ended up canceling it in part because my travel slowed down and in part because of my overall perceptions below. Even though I canceled it when I was getting these weekly I did enjoy them and would recommend you try it especially if a friend gives you a week or you find a promotion they may be running. Check online and social media especially, often they run promos.

Meal 1: Seared Salmon with Ferro Salad and Spinach. Delicious combination in taste and texture. I often make salmon but this was different pairing with Ferro that I would not try myself. Lovely variety and tasty.

Meal 2: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Hearty meal with various flavors that work well with buffalo preparation on chicken. Spice level can be controlled. I overloaded mine with extra lettuce.

Meal 3: Korean Tteok with Baby Boy Choy. Whenever recipes come that are not in my wheel house I am excited. This one as well a very nice change and something new for me. Spice was noticeable but not overwhelming. Delicious.

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Meal 4: Turkey Chili. This recipe was easy to cook and did not require a lot of cookware to complete. Pretty familiar recipe it was a nice traditional staple.

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Blue Apron - based on following criteria important to me.

  • Packaging: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Well packed and portioned in individual recipe bags making it easy to know what to use for which recipe.

  • Ingredient Freshness: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

    • Arrived relatively fresh but I found the produce to wilt fast. Even cooking all 3 meals 3 days in a row I felt produce would be getting wilted by the time my 3rd meal came around.

  • Meal Variety: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

    • Great variety in food from various cuisine types. Different pairings and tastes that offered options to taste different stuff.

  • Ease of Prep: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Somewhat easy but having to prep and cook in different stages was time consuming and took away from the ease. Having more simple preparation of ingredients or fewer ingredients would have made this a better experience.

  • Time to cook: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • On average recipes took an hour to complete from beginning to end because of prep and cook in stages. For a weeknight dinner that was a bit long for me.

  • Cookware required: ⭐️⭐️

    • Mostly required the oven, stove and multiple pots and pans to make a meal. Cleanup after the meal I found to be too much for weeknight cooking.

  • Taste: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Very impressed with taste of dishes. There were very few that we did not care for at all but majority was lovely and different because of variety provided.

  • Overall rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ .5

    • For my lifestyle the amount of prep, cook and cleanup needs to be less involved. I would be ok spending the time cooking and prepping but then amount of dishes to clean after should be less. Rating recipes on level of cleanup may be a great way for someone like me. Taste and variety were great and for that reason I kept my subscription for a few months.


Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh box arrived with my 3 meals. Very similar in packaging and format.  Recently I received a free week of Hello Fresh from my friend and decided to give meal boxes another try. Format of packaging is almost identical to Blue Apron and so is ingredient packaging and labeling. Recipes on average take 45 minutes as well and variety of dishes is good. Weekly choices are automatically pre-determined for you but it is easy to log in and change your menu items to others but you have to make sure you do it before their shipping cutoff or it is too late. 

Meal 1:

Chicken Orzo. Ingredients very fresh and this box prides itself on organic ingredients. One zucchini came in the box and it would not have been enough food for 2 people. I always use a lot of produce when I cook and cut back on starches and carbs like rice and pasta so for my taste not enough veggies included.

Meal 2:

Pineapple Poblano Beef Tacos. Ingredients in this one also not enough. I ended up service tacos with side of black beans to give my husband enough substance. Tacos themselves had wonderful flavor and filled me up.

Meal Three:

Figgy Balsamic Pork. With potatoes in this dish there was enough substance for a very filling meal. Balsamic and figs great pairing with pork. We enjoyed this one and I would make this again at home myself.

Hello Fresh - based on following criteria important to me. This one I liked a little better and also a great way to try it is through a friend referral with a free week or promos.

  • Packaging: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Package was put together neatly and all ingredients in their individual bags making it easy to know what to cook for which recipe. Very similar to other clubs.

  • Ingredient Freshness: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Produce was fresh and held up better than competition. I could not cook all 3 meals back to back and when it was time to cook my last meal my ingredients were not witty.

  • Meal Variety: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Good. I liked the box I got and would no doubt sample more variety with different cuisine types but for doing it one week I was pleased.

  • Ease of Prep: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Pretty easy and could be done all at once then cook.

  • Time to cook: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

    • A bit on the long side again because it required the oven and stove making it a longer process when having to pre-heat the oven, etc.

  • Cookware required: ⭐️⭐️

    • Similar to my other experience a multi step process requiring over, baking sheets, stove top and multiple pots and pans. Two of my three meals were high on amount of cookware used.

  • Taste: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Delicious. All three recipes were tasty and good combinations put together. Easy ingredients that I could repeat myself.

  • Overall rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Because I felt their produce was more fresh it lasted longer and that is important to me. Variety was good and meals were tasty. I liked it for weeks I know I have no plans and can dedicate the time.

My next try will be Freshly. Pre-packaged and ready to cook an enjoy. I want to compare this format to ingredients I cook just to see if there is more value in this for me. Excited to try something new in my daily cooking routine.

Be Awesome and Sparkle!