Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Blue Apron Meals

Last Thanksgiving I received a coupon in the mail for $20 off my first Blue Apron box. Michael and I had been trying to cook more, and eat healthier, so we decided to give it a try. We love it!

They offer two different plans: a two-person plan and a family plan. The 2-person plan includes three meals per week at a price of $59.94. It works out to about $10 a meal per person. The family plan (serves 4) offers two different options, either two meals per week for $69.92 or four meals per week for $139.84. That works out to about $9 a meal per person.

When you first sign up you fill out a questionnaire about the types of meals you want to receive. You select whether you're a vegetarian (with the 2-person plan they have six recipes per week to choose from, though not all combinations are available, and three of those are always vegetarian options), and then you can uncheck the meats you don't eat. I'm trying to be more open to trying new things so I haven't unchecked anything on mine. However, as I said, you do have the ability to change your menu and receive a combination of vegetarian and regular meals so I've done that on occasion.

When you sign up, you get to select your delivery day. We chose Tuesday. The contents of the box are in an insulated liner with ice packs, so if you're not home when the box is delivered it's okay. We had a box delivered in the morning that I didn't bring inside until late afternoon, and everything was still ice cold when I unboxed it. It's nice because you have about nine days from your delivery day to actually make all the meals, so there isn't necessarily a concern about picking just the right day....if Michael is out of town I usually wait until the weekend to cook our meals.

Included in every box are recipe cards that give you step by step instructions. If you're still a little unsure of what you're doing, they have videos on their website!

If you are considering getting the meals, you have to be willing to do all of the prep work. The vegetables aren't precut (they wouldn't last as long if they were), so there is a lot of  peeling, chopping, and dicing involved. I've gotten really good use out of the glass mixing bowls I got for my wedding (I linked similar ones below with a few other must haves). Prep time for each meal is usually 20 minutes or less, so it's not like you're spending hours in the kitchen, but these aren't meals that you can just throw in the oven as soon as you get home from work.

We have a pretty stocked pantry, but to cook Blue Apron meals the only things you need to have on hand are olive oil, salt and pepper. Everything else comes preportioned, either in a sealed bag or in small containers. Each delivery comes with separate bags of "knick knacks." This can include butter, ginger, spices & seasonings, sauces, etc.

Here are the knick knacks for the Alsatian Chicken that came with this week's box.

When we first started receiving boxes we got a box every week. For the first two months we did this and only ever threw away one meal, and it wasn't because we didn't like it, we just ended up eating out and didn't get a chance to cook it. After that Michael started traveling more frequently and it just didn't make sense to get a box every week. It's nice because while it is a subscription service, you can skip meals for weeks at a time and you only ever pay for the boxes you receive, so you aren't wasting money.

I love it because it's gotten me to be more adventurous with the foods I eat. I never thought I liked lamb, but one week we got lamb burgers and they were really good! I've tried celeriac, Brussels Sprouts, kale, rainbow chard, collard greens, beets, freekah, farro, and the list goes on. I've liked everything (some things more than others). 

Here are a few of the meals we've tried and enjoyed:

Roast Chicken & Potato Latkes

Three Cheese Calzones with Kale & Tomato Sauce

If you'd like to try it let me know. Every once in awhile they give me free meals to share with friends, and I'll be happy to share with you! 



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