Manic: Dinner! Coming up with tasty and healthy dinner ideas night after night that my family will eat and that I can get prepared in time for their busy schedules.
Managed: My friend told me about Blue Apron, which is a unique delivery meal service. The one pictured below is the Blue Apron Ricotta & Lacinato Kale Calzone. My family loved this super delicious entree and it proved to be a great way to get kale into my their meal. Every Thursday I receive a box of fresh ingredients and three recipes to make three home cooked meals. For the most part I am loving this service and I really enjoy cooking the recipes because I’m using whole foods and many different vegetables and ingredients that I haven’t tried before. Since I have now been using Blue Apron for the last six months, here is my review with the pros and cons of this helpful delivery service. Mostly pros, I’m happy to report, but read on to see what I love about it and what could be improved.
Here is how it works.
1. Sign up at the Blue Apron website. The 2 person plan, which gives you three meals per week costs $59.94 a week. The family plan, which gives you 4 meals a week costs $139.94 a week. I think the cost is fair, especially with the ease and convenience of this service, because I spend close to that much on ingredients for multiple meals when I shop for the food myself at the grocery store, which is tedious and time consuming plus I don’t always get adventurous and try different ingredients like I do with Blue Apron’s recipes.
2. Ingredients are fresh and are delivered right to my door. I set up the weekly fee to be automatically charged to my credit card and I don’t have to be home to receive the box. I love this! So convenient.
Every Thursday I am greeted by my box of fresh foods and I get excited to cook the recipes at hand. That joy has not faded and I truly love making these recipes. The box contents always include the best seasonal ingredients that come directly from farms, importers and family-run purveyors. I love that except that the food isn’t organic, which is my biggest con here. However most of the time the foods are as fresh (and sometimes fresher) than my local grocery store fare, so that makes me happy.
3. Simply take out the ingredients and the recipe card and follow the easy steps to make your family meal from scratch. Here are a few pictures so you can see what a typical delivery looks like although every week’s box contains different, delicious and unique recipes…
If you are not a meat eater, Blue Apron offers a Vegetarian plan. Lighter fare is also included like this tasty White Pizza with Meyer Lemon and Arugula Brussels Sprout Salad and the recipe had me roll out the yummy dough…
Here are my list of pros and cons based on the steps that I listed in the process above…
Step 1 Ordering –
Pros: I have tried lots of different ingredients with Blue Apron that I would have never tried before like turnips, Gai Lan lettuce, braising greens, collard greens and all kinds of healthy foods that my family would typically decline, but Blue Apron has terrific recipes that enable me to sneak these foods into recipes that are pretty tasty.
Cons: With the 2-person plan (I currently double that and am considering switching to the family plan) you only get 3 out of 6 total choices of recipes to choose from and they have to be matched a certain way, so you may love 2 of the recipes, but dislike the third choice so you are stuck with an unwanted recipe. This has happened to us more than once. You can skip that week or you can do what I did and still enjoy the two we liked, but I gave the other recipe to my friend, who happened to like that particular entree.
Step 2 Delivery –
Pros: Conveniently delivered to my door and I LOVE THAT…less grocery store runs needed on my part. Packed in a refrigerated box so food stays very fresh even if the box sits out all day until you get home. Earth friendly packaging that can be recycled which I fully support since I try to be as green as I can. The ice packs are filled with a non-toxic, water-soluble gel. To recycle them completely, I cut them open and wash the contents down the drain, then recycle the exterior packaging with my plastics.
Cons: More than once I have received contents that weren’t packed as carefully as the company says they will be since I had a bell pepper that was smashed to pieces, a dented tomato sauce can and a missing onion. However I must report that Blue Apron emailed me back right away with an apology and a full refund so that impressed me and kept me on board!
Step 3 Prep & Cooking Dinner –
Pros: Fresh foods are selected, packed and shipped to me which makes my job much easier!
Cons: Once in a while there is a recipe that my family doesn’t like, but we like the other two for the week so we still order and opt not to skip a week. More choices for a week like this would be nice and I hope that Blue Apron will add more variety per week in the future.
Pros/Cons: This is a combo for me because I truly dig chopping, slicing, grating and more since I feel good about preparing whole foods for my family’s dinner. However the con is that the recipe cards usually say that the meals take 35 minutes on average from start to finish, but it has been my experience that it usually takes longer. For me, it takes about a good hour due to the extensive prep time to cut, skin at times, zest at times, grate, pick leaves off of herbs, etc.
So I do really like the ingredients and the fact that I’m pretty much making dinners from scratch but Blue Apron needs to be honest about the prep time. I once gave a meal that my family didn’t like to friends to make and they liked it but commented to me that it took more time than the recipe card says and that is “was a lot of work” and I agreed with them. However in today’s fast food, easy prep, processed food world, Blue Apron is a breath of fresh air that I feel good about feeding my family so I don’t mind the time it takes. I also love that I spend less time at the grocery store.
Bottom Line – So I am a big Blue Apron fan and am pretty much addicted to the home delivery, fresh foods, homemade feeling prep, delicious dinners and less time spent at the grocery store. As I said, I would like to see more weekly options and Blue Apron needs to extend the time they tell you it will take from start to finish.
Lastly and this is an important point — when I’ve had concerns the very friendly and professional Blue Apron team has always emailed me right back and made things right. I truly can’t wait until this Thursday when my next shipment arrives. On the menu this week for us is Corned Beef Spiced Flank Steaks with Braised Cabbage and Buttered Red Potatoes, Turkey Chili with Avocado and Cheddar Cheese, and Baked Fontina Pasta with Brussel Sprouts and Sage Breadcrumbs. Yum!
Fun tidbit – the company is called Blue Apron because chefs in training oftentimes wear blue aprons. I definitely feel like a chef in training when I prepare these healthy and delicious dinners for my family.
Photo from Blue Apron website
No compensation was received from Blue Apron to write this review.