Are you sick of stopping by fast food restaurants for dinner? Do you eat the same meals over and over again because you don’t have time to look for new recipes? What if you could have someone plan your meals; select the freshest meats and veggies for you; and deliver the food to your door? You’d just have to slice up the ingredients, sizzle them in a pan, and then swallow the bites of deliciousness. Sound good?
Doesn’t this jerk chicken with plantains, rice, and collard greens look yummy? Well, you can have meals like this one dropped off at your door for a price, ranging from $70 to $100 a week. Generally, meal delivery services provide three to four meals a week for either two people or a family of four. They all work about the same way. You sign up for the service; and then every week, you’d select the meals you want from the menu and place you’re order. Going on vacation or you simply don’t want the service for a week? You just postpone it.
I decided to try out three different services using coupons I found on the internet. They are: Home Chef, Hello Fresh, and Blue Apron. I chose to get my deliveries on Saturdays. The above picture is what it looked like when I opened my packages from Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. The meals are separated into three boxes, neatly packed and ready to be placed in the refrigerator or cooked right away.
Home Fresh separates the three meals by placing them in plastic wrap. I found this gave me more room in the fridge instead of having to squeeze three boxes inside it.
All of the delivery services separated the meat by placing it under the large ice blocks. I repurposed the blocks for use as ice packs. I kept some and gave the rest away.
The meat stayed cold under the ice blocks, nestled at the bottom of the insulated box. This is important because I could be gone all day and the food would remain cool due to the ice blocks. I never had to rush home for a delivery.
It’s important to note that all of the meat is organic. This is where I found the real savings. Buying organic shrimp, chicken breast, and steak would have cost a pretty penny.
The herbs and vegetables are high quality, fresh and organic as well.
Home Fresh, Home Chef, and Blue Apron included nice recipe cards that I kept for future use.
They also provided pictures of the meal and nutritional facts. The recipe cards note the level of difficulty of cooking the meals. Pay attention to this before you order online. If you have extra time to cook a more complicated meal, then go for it. If you’re like me and just want something quick and easy, make sure you select the easy recipes.
Here’s an example of a meal gone wrong. This was supposed to be a tomato-onion cheddar burger with baby gem lettuce. The recipe required extra steps to make the tomato-onion jam, and then I needed to roast the garlic for the balsamic salad dressing. Too much work. After I got through messing up the jam, there was no way I was going to roast garlic . Instead, I grabbed some frozen French fries out of the freezer and cooked them in the oven. I modified several of my meals to make them easier because I had ordered some meals that were a little too difficult and time-consuming for me.
Mozzarella and red pepper stuffed pork tenderloin with roasted Brussel sprouts and smoky tomato cream–Home Chef.
*Here’s another fail on my behalf. I overcooked the pork tenderloin and burned the Brussel sprouts.
This Citrus skillet shrimp dinner was my favorite recipe. It was a Hello Fresh meal which combined shrimp, poblano peppers, orange, and potatoes together. The meal was divine and I have the recipe card if I want to make it again. Here are more pictures of the meals I received. They were all scrumptious and easy to prepare.
Crispy Cod & Yuzu-Shoyu Soba with Cabbage & Togarashi–Blue Apron
Creamy Poblano Bolognese–Hello Fresh
Grains of Paradise-crusted steak with mashed plantain, collard greens and ginger peanuts-Blue Apron
Seared Cod with Mediterranean bean and tomato salad–Hello Fresh
Beef & sherry “Steak Diane” with cremini and Dijon cream sauce, whipped potatoes and asparagus-Home Chef
Pan-roasted chicken with Dijon mushroom sauce —Hello Fresh
Seared Steak with spring veggie succotash and mint chive pesto–Hello Fresh
Out of the three services I tried, I felt that Home Chef provided the most food for my money. As you can see above, it looks like I went grocery shopping. This is enough food for four meals for two people. I like the fact that Home Chef gives you a nice sized-portion of the ingredients in a reuseable plastic container. However, I felt that most of the recipes were traditional and safe. If you want more unique recipes, I’d suggest Hello Fresh or Blue Apron.
Overall, I found the meal services to be well worth the money. I would encourage everyone to try the services out. I found them to be convenient. I was introduced to new recipes and dish combinations that I never would have discovered on my own. Below are links to the three meal delivery services. They all provide discounts for first-time customers.