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... the one where Kate tries Blue Apron

There was a period of time where every other day I would see pictures of people's Blue Apron dinners on my facebook. For those of you who don't know, Blue Apron is a food delivery system where they deliver pre-portioned ingredients for you to make your meals from scratch, as well as colorful step-by-step recipe cards. Sounds great, doesn't it? Well I was skeptical, and here is why:

If you're going to go through the trouble if chopping, dicing, and cooking everything from scratch, why not double the recipe and have enough for leftovers? Is meal planning and going food shopping really such a hassle that people would rather pay extra for the convenience of having only three meals for two people delivered a week? I mean, it doesn't save you from having to go food shopping, so it doesn't actually save you that much time!blue apron

So instead of being a hater for no reason, I decided to try it so that I could decide whether I liked the idea instead of just judging people for being too lazy to decide what to eat. Don't knock it till you try it! I saw a Groupon for Blue Apron, and Groupon was also having a 20% off sale, so my whole Blue Apron order cost me $31.20, which turned out to be $5.20 per meal. So far so good!

The week I chose for my delivery had lots of delicious sounding options, and I chose the following:

  • Salmon with farro/Brussel sprouts/apple salad
  • Spicy lamb sausages over lentils with carrots, mint, and feta cheese
  • Chicken with rice, roasted tomatoes, and fennel-onion topping

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The good:

  •  All three dishes were DELICIOUS.
  • The ingredients were all really fresh, and the herbs lasted several days in the fridge.
  • The recipes were really creative, and reminded me that fennel and farro are awesome. I am sure Blue Apron is a great way for some people to try new recipes they would have never thought to google.
  • The recipes took about 30 minutes to make, as promised. Also I was able to get Aldo cooking because he had step-by-step directions. He tries to help me in the kitchen, but since most of the time I don't know what I am doing until I am in the middle of it all, I can't give him directions for how to help me.

The not so good:

  • The rice came in a little plastic bag that broke during delivery. No biggie, we had rice at home so we used our own rice. But if the lentil baggie spilled, that would have been really sad, since we didn't have lentils at home! So I guess the lesson here is to still have something in your pantry, and not to rely on Blue Apron 100%.
  • NOT ENOUGH VEGETABLES! For the farro salad, we got a total of 8 Brussel sprouts for 2 servings. I'm sorry, but 4 tiny Brussel sprouts is just NOT enough vegetables for a healthy meal. Same for the roasted cherry tomatoes, and the 2 small carrots for the lentils. Not enough greens, not enough vegetable variety. For the lentils, I actually went off-recipe and added vegetables to my dish - sauteed some collard greens and chopped tomatoes with the carrots and onion medley to be mixed into the lentils.
  • The portions were kind of small. Aldo and I discussed this one for a while, and he thinks in general we eat too much and these portions were just right. I agree, we eat too much, but my argument was that I wanted to bulk up the portion sizes with extra vegetables. I like the rule of filling half my plate with vegetables and the rest with protein and carbs. Four more Brussel sprouts per person won't hurt anyone.
  • I still can't accept the fact that I spent a half hour cooking and didn't end up with any leftovers. I know some people don't like leftovers, but I just don't like spending time cooking every day. I love to cook, but I hate having to cook when I am hungry. If my full time job was to be a food blogger, I would love to cook every day. But since I get home from work after 6 most days, I just want to reheat some food and call it a day. Most of the time, cooking twice as much only takes a few more minutes, so it's worth it to me.
  • The lamb sausage came out of its casing when it was cooking. It just started getting long and thin and sliding out of its casing. No biggie, just got a bit awkward. I chopped it up into smaller pieces instead of serving it as a whole sausage.
  • The lentil recipe called for a full ounce of red wine vinegar to be stirred in at the end of cooking. I put about half in, and thought it was way too much. The farro salad recipe called for a whole shallot to make the vinaigrette. Aldo chopped the whole shallot and was about to mix it in until I stopped him - it was way too much!! It wasn't even a vinaigrette at that point, but more like, chopped shallots with a bit of lemon juice. So you still need to use your judgement and not follow recipes blindly.

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The Verdict:

Blue Apron is not for me. It is great for people who get stressed out about trying to think of what to cook, but I love that part of cooking!

It is great for people who get stressed out about having leftover herbs or ingredients go to waste, but I always think of ways to use things up - whether throwing herbs into a broth bag in the freezer, making a 'kitchen sink' hash, whatever. Things don't go to waste in this house.

It is great for people who need a bit of creativity in their cooking, but I read lots of awesome food blogs for that.

It is great for people who hate food shopping and want things delivered to them. OK, this is me, but I still need to go food shopping for other things - eggs, milk, bread, VEGETABLES, food for the other 18 meals of the week.

Note: This post is not at all sponsored by Blue Apron in any way. I just wanted to write about my experience in case others were deciding whether to try it or not.

 

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Comments or questions about the recipe?

lori

Friday 4th of December 2015

Any way you can share/create the chicken with roasted tomatoes recipe????Mmmmm sounds delish!

(Paleo by chance too???)

lori

Friday 4th of December 2015

Any way you can share/create the chicken with roasted tomatoes recipe????Mmmmm sounds delish!

(Paleo by chance too???)

Kate

Friday 4th of December 2015

Here it is:

https://www.blueapron.com/recipes/chicken-with-tomato-fennel-creamy-tarragon-sauce

I don't know all the paleo rules but it looks like oil can be used instead of butter, the flour dredging can easily be skipped, and if vinegar is not allowed (not sure?) then perhaps a squeeze of lemon would work instead.

Little Cooking Tips

Friday 23rd of October 2015

Interesting post Kate! We don't have such a service here in Greece, and we honestly don't think it would succeed here. The reason is, most people actually go to a farmer's market and buy high quality vegetables and fruits. Plus, most people buy meat at a butcher, not in the super markets. And you're right if you can live off your food blog, then yes, you will cook, twice per day perhaps:) But when you have to work at the office (like we do ourselves as well), you won't cook every single day. It's just...too much:) We also liked the fact that you criticized the small quantity of veggies. 4 Brussels sprouts for 2 people is like not even trying:) Very interesting reading Kate, thank you. xoxoxo