Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hello Fresh


          Hello Fresh is a subscription delivery service that provides both delicious recipes and most ingredients for three dinners each week. One can choose from two boxes in two sizes; Classic for two people ($69) or four people ($129) or Vegetarian for two ($59) or four ($109) people. I chose the Classic Box: Warm Eggplant Layered Salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing, Yogurt Marinated Shrimp over Arugula Salad and Classic Beef Stew with Chickpeas and Green Beans. Other choices this week included Sauteed Chicken with Ginger Parsnips and Carrots (I don't care for thighs) and Penne all'Arrabbiata (too similar to a dish I already prepare). The Vegetarian box doesn't give one any choices in the meals.

          My food arrived in the early afternoon on Wednesday (the usual delivery day for Hello Fresh); I imagine the timing will vary depending on the delivery schedule of FedEx in your area. The box was well insulated with two solid ice packs so the food arrived fresh. The ingredients were packaged in multiple bags with labels for each recipe. I wish the refrigerated goods were in separate bags from those that didn't need refrigeration; it would have made things easier for storing ingredients quickly. I ended up having to open some bags so that onions and potatoes were not put into the fridge.

These are the ingredients sent for the Eggplant Salad.

          On Thursday, Abigail (my 18yo daughter) prepared the Eggplant Salad with the assistance of myself and John (my 13yo son). Even with us working as a team, it took about 45 minutes to prepare (not less than 30 minutes as advertised). The instructions were easy to understand but were missing some information. Tools was missing the pan needed to saute the potatoes, Ingredients had an error in the amount of olive oil needed (one of the few ingredients not provided) as well as calling for a cup of yogurt but then only being provided with 6 oz of Greek yogurt.

          Despite this being the recipe and ingredients for a two person meal, it was enough for 4 of us to eat for lunch (Madeleine my 22yo daughter came home while we were cooking). We all agreed this recipe is a hit and one we will make again although our three family members not at home would not like this dish. I was not raised with many veggies so was pleasantly surprised to find I like eggplant and that with this combination I also enjoyed the cucumbers.

          On Saturday, I prepared Yogurt Marinated Shrimp over Arugula Salad for lunch for myself, Madeleine and John (yes, the 2 person dish is enough for 3 for lunch). It took about 40 minutes to prepare and that was with only marinating the shrimp for 5 minutes instead of 10. The only ingredient not provided was olive oil. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of yogurt (but I was provided with 3/4 cup) and there was lots of leftover marinade that had to be discarded since it had been contaminated with raw seafood.

      The shrimp was delicious with its yogurt marinade that was flavored with turmeric, cardamom, honey, ginger and garlic. The basmati rice took a bit longer to cook but it's so hard to get the right temp on an electric stove top - I prefer to use my rice cooker but it's too large to only cook one cup. I was very pleasantly surprised by the arugula - it was flavored with olive oil and lime juice and was quite pleasant. Below is my plate although I ended up eating more salad. My kids had more shrimp and rice than I did as I am in the process of losing weight.

     On Sunday, Madeleine with John's assistance made the Classic Beef Stew taking nearly an hour from start to finish. The beef came in large pieces that she felt needed to be cut smaller for eating in a stew. There were no instructions as to what part of the cilantro to use or not use; this info would be particularly helpful for folks not accustomed to cooking with fresh herbs.

     The stew was tasty but just not as exciting as the other meals we received from Hello Fresh. John added red pepper flakes to give it a bit more pizzazz. Again there was enough for three servings for lunch which makes me wonder if the four person box would be sufficient for 5-6 individuals for dinner.

     If one used Hello Fresh meals instead of eating out, money would be saved but if one is using this service instead of their local grocery store I think it is more expensive. It wouldn't save me time as I would still need to grocery shop for breakfast, lunch, other dinners and nonfood products. I do think this would be nice to have as a once in a while to try new recipes without having to buy large quantities of new spices as long as one was diligent about pausing during the weeks that delivery was not wanted.

Positives: Tasty recipes, delicious food, colorful recipe cards, packaged for freshness, limited waste

Negatives: Cost, incomplete/confusing instructions at time, designed for 2-4 person families

          If you would like to try Hello Fresh, be sure to use this Code: LD39S2 when ordering and save $20 off your first week's delivery. Remember that as a subscription service, you must either put your subscription on hold or cancel otherwise you will receive meals each week and be charged accordingly. This provides you with the option of weekly delivery, occasional delivery or only for special weeks on your calendar.

Approximately 100 bloggers tried and reviewed Hello Fresh; to read more reviews go to Mosaic Reviews.

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