Learning to enjoy cooking took me longer than I care to admit and there was a time in my life that if it required more than 5 ingredients to make I wasn’t going to attempt it. I ate like a college student for years after graduating college and it’s a miracle that I survived that long eating mostly prepackaged processed foods.
When I decided to learn how to cook it was a lot of trial and error with a plentra of bland dishes that I suffered through plus it was a major hit on my wallet because I was buying all the spices I needed, even if it’s only for one recipe - there is still a bottle of Herbes de Provence that I literally used one half of a teaspoon of in my cabinet. I also do not cook meat because; a) I get a bit squeamish touching raw meat, b) I am confident in my cooking abilities, but not enough that I feel comfortable cooking something that has to be cooked perfectly to avoid illness, and c) I’m cheap and meat is expensive.
These meal prep boxes seemed like a good idea in theory and ultra-trendy on the ‘gram for someone who might not be the best cook and doesn’t want to spend their time grocery shopping or looking to minimize on their food waste by having all the ingredients perfectly portioned out.
“But do you really get your money’s worth? How easy is it really?”
Well, I spent my own sweet coin on one of those meal prep boxes solely to review it and to attempt to answer any questions you may have. I also did this because I wanted to see if Hello Fresh could teach me how to cook meat.
Which subscription service did you pick and why?
Off the top of my head I can think of five right away, however I decided to go with Hello Fresh since their intro offer was one of the better intro offers (50% off your first order) and the recipes they had to offer that week intrigued me. (Full disclosure, I also picked Hello Fresh because they were at an event I was recently at and the guy working for Hello Fresh was extremely cute BUT THAT IS BESIDE THE POINT.)
I ended up getting 3 meals (2 servings each) for $39.99 (less than $7 per serving) and because I’m a nerd the cost per meal was cheaper than me buying groceries so I figured it was a good chance to try it out.
Screen capture from the site of the recipes I picked out.
What kind of plans are offered?
Hello Fresh offers three types of plans, customized by how recipes per week you would like to receive and how many people you are trying to feed. I liked how they do have a vegetarian option making it easier for vegetarians and vegans to order without worrying about whether or not their meal has protein in it and that skipping a week is easy enough to do on their site.
I opted for the pronto plan to receive a few meat dishes as well as for the ease of all the recipes taking 30 minutes or less to complete. One of the things I wish was an option was the ability to take out certain ingredients, even if there is no substitute for them. I personally do not care for red onions and if given the option I would have opted out of receiving them.
Left to right: separate bags for each recipe, items that had to be on ice, all of the items for one recipe.
What comes in it?
It comes with everything you need for your meals minus a few items that it assumed you have in your kitchen (i.e: salt, pepper, olive oil, etc.) plus instruction cards for each recipe. Each of the recipes were in separate paper bags minus anything that needed to be on the ice packs on the bottom portion of the box. Anything that could be precut without compromising its longevity was, such as the red onions.
I spoke to a Hello Fresh associate and he assured me that everything that doesn’t need to be packaged in plastic isn’t (i.e: garlic cloves) as to be as sustainable as possible however you will create some plastic waste. Even the insulated box your delivery comes in is 100% recyclable.
How easy was it to follow?
Extremely easy. I will admit that I was on the phone with a friend the first time I attempted this and fucked up on the first recipe but not bad enough that it was ruined. With photos and easy to follow instructions it was fairly foolproof. The recipe cards are handy to for you to be able to replicate any meals you may want to attempt on your own moving forward.
I followed the instructions for cooking the chicken and pork exactly as instructed and it came out perfectly tender with so much flavour. I have a tendency to overcook meat whenever I do attempt it as to not POISON myself so it was nice to actually have well cooked meat.
All the steps for one recipe.
How did it taste?
I won’t lie… it tasted way better than anything I’ve ever made on my own. It also introduced me to some foods I have never tried before such as farro and chimichurri. It did not look as nearly as impressive as it did in the professional photos provided to me, but it does taste like something that I would try and pass off as my own brilliant cooking.
Mine did not look nearly as nice as the photos on the recipe cards but they tasted great!
How were the portion sizes?
Accurate-ish. They said it was two servings and it was definitely enough food for two people. For both of the meat dishes it would have been one chicken breast or pork chop per serving. Since I don’t eat meat often I tend to feel very full after very little with both of the meat dishes lasting me up to four portions. The veggie noodle dish was my favourite and I actually ate that all in one evening. Oops.
Would you do it again?
Alright, I’m about to talk nerdy to you, math and stuff. If it weren’t for the one time, first time use promo these three meals (2 servings) would be $79.99 equally out to be about $13 per serving which is costly. If you’re a person who dines out often it will save you money, but personally cooking at home and having less than half my meals for $80 is more expensive than my weekly grocery bill.
It did make me feel like a chef because I used ingredients I am not accustomed to cooking and I was pleasantly surprised that everything turned out to be not only edible but really delicious.
However, shameless plug time (and no, I’m not going to write this in the fine print, instead enjoy this obnoxious extra bold print) you can use any of the links above which are referral links to my account. Hand to God, I make no money if you use any of my links however it will save you $40 off your first box plus I will earn a $25 credit.
Or don’t use my link and find a different one - the point is that it is worth trying out at least once to see for yourself if you find it useful or time saving at all but find a promo to try it because there are plenty out there. Meanwhile I am going to sign up for all the other food subscription boxes for their first purchase promotion and then promptly cancel after my first delivery because I can’t afford this bougie lifestyle as much as I would like to.
Oh yeah, btw I write about food now too. I am a Renaissance woman get use to it.
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