Like most people, I have been intrigued by the recent explosion of food delivery services (like Blue Apron) that tout the convenience of delicious home cooked meals while saving time and money. I’ve always thought that it was a great concept, but that it wouldn’t necessarily work with my family situation because my husband and I both work and when we come home, it would be difficult to take another 45 minutes to prepare dinner. We typically prepare simple, healthy meals that take less than 30 minutes. For simple and quick meal ideas, see here and here.
I finally got the push to try Blue Apron when a friend offered me three free meals. Basically, Blue Apron lets you choose three different meals per week. They have a variety of meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian options. Each meal starts at $8.74 per serving. We selected no food restrictions for two people and it basically runs us about $60 per week. With that, you get free delivery of everything you need in a well insulated box. Here’s my take on it:
Pros of using Blue Apron:
- Fresh produce and meats (no hormones added) and seafood (sustainably sourced)
- Convenience: delivered to your door, no pre-planning required (except picking out what you want to eat), no shopping for items you need for a specific menu
- Great way to try new recipes and expand your palate. After cooking a Blue Apron meal with leeks, I recently bought leeks and farro at the grocery store for the first time.
- Helps to expand your cooking techniques (there are many great videos and tutorials on their website with cooking techniques)
- Can potentially save you money because you don’t have to buy a large quantity of something that you need very little of (like a big bunch of cilantro or bottle of sherry vinegar).
- Everything is pre-measured and proportioned, which saves cooking time
- Makes me feel eager and excited to cook because I look forward to eating something new
- My husband and I were quite impressed with the taste of most meals. The recipes we’ve tried have been delicious and I have since incorporated some of the dishes into my regular cooking repertoire. I’ve always loved cooking kale, but I had never tried cooking it with onion, apple, and mustard. It was savory and sweet, a perfect combination.
Cons of using Blue Apron:
- Not very economical. It ends up costing just under $20 per meal for two servings – which doesn’t sound too bad until you consider that this is for a meal you have to cook yourself (and clean up, too).
- Takes about 45 minutes to prepare, a little faster if you can multitask. If you have very young kids like I do, unless you have another adult to watch the kids while you’re cooking, it can be very difficult to cook without constant interruptions and a high probability of burning something.
- Small sized portions, especially with the seafood entrees
- No organic produce option
- Lots of cleanup afterwards – I end up using many more dishes and pots and pans than I would otherwise. To see how I keep my pots and pans looking new, click here.
- Makes your house smell like food for the next couple of days, unless you have a super duty vent. We turn our vent to the highest setting and open the windows but the house still smells a little the next day.
- Set to automatically deliver meals unless you opt to skip weeks
- Limited meal options. I typically pick one seafood, one meat (pork or beef) and one chicken dish.
Tips for using Blue Apron:
- All you need is olive oil, salt, and pepper. They provide the rest of the ingredients.
- Buy a splatter screen. Most chicken, fish, and meat items require pan frying so oil can get splattered all over the place. The Amco 13″ splatter screen we have is no longer available, but this one looks promising. It is also dishwasher safe.
- Blue Apron recommends using a non-stick pan. I don’t own any non-stick cookware and cook with this All Clad 12″ pan. I have never had any issues with the food sticking, so there no need to run out to get new cookware. The secret to searing and pan frying fish, poultry, and other red meats without sticking is a three step approach.
- Dry the fish or meat well with paper towels and lightly salt.
- Make sure the oil in the pan is hot before you put in the fish or meat. It should sizzle when you put it in the pan. After you put the meat in the pan, don’t touch it at all for a minimum of 3-4 minutes before you try to flip it over with a pair of tongs or spatula (if it doesn’t move easily, you may need to give it another minute).
- Check the internal temperature of the meat with an instant read digital thermometer. This is my new favorite cooking tool because it helps me to not over or undercook fish or meat. I dedicated an entire post to this cool little gadget. Click here to check it out.
- You can skip weeks and cancel anytime so only select meals that you want to try and be sure to skip weeks when you go on vacation.
- I will continue to subscribe to Blue Apron on an as-needed basis, simply because I like the convenience and enjoy trying new recipes.
- I don’t order meals every week, but rather 1-2 times per month and select only the meals that I’m interested in trying.
- I still hold the opinion that this type of meal subscription service is better suited for DINKS (dual income, no kids), families with slightly older children who do not need constant supervision during the cooking process, or Baby Boomer couples.
- I was quite impressed with the overall quality, simplicity, and taste of the meals and will continue to subscribe to Blue Apron.
Have you tried Blue Apron or another food delivery subscription service? What was your experience? Are there any pros/cons I should add to the list above?
Happy chic mom, a blog for moms
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Photo credit: Blue Apron
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