My sister-in-law Sue started it, and then handed it off to my in-laws. I was encouraged and handed it to my parents, and they handed it to me. That was the “try it for free Blue Apron dinner at your doorstep” experience.
Steve and I are all in. We’ve been doing Blue Apron for 8 weeks and it’s been a blast. It’s been an awesome way to kickstart our cooking, and makes Monday morning returns after weekends away so much easier. In the past, I have always planned our meals ahead of time, shopped and prepped, and hoped I could last until Thursday (that’s breakfast for dinner night, or BFD as we refer to it). We share the cooking, but as empty nesters it turns into “What’s in the garden? What kind of protein do we have? Pick it, grill it, put an egg on it and call it a salad.” Not bad, but nothing inventive either. I hoped Blue Apron would be easy, I just didn’t expect it to be creative.
Here’s a short list of what we’ve made:
- Seared salmon with sauce gribiche with mashed potatoes, summer beans and cherry tomatoes
- Ricotta and beet grilled cheese sandwiches with persimmon and marinated fennel salad
- Crispy catfish with kale-farro salad and warm grape relish
- South Indian squash curry with jasmine rice
- Pork meatballs over farro, with beet and cranberry agrodolce
- Spicy hoisin chicken and broccoli over garlic rice
- Cod sandwiches with caper aioli and endive salad
- Fairytale eggplant and spinach flatbread with warm green bean and tomato salad
- Summer pepper and potato shakshuka with pea shoots and spiced pita chips
- Korean pork tacos with spicy red cabbage slaw
There are ingredients in here I would have never imagined putting together and dishes I can’t pronounce. But every night we are members of the clean plate club…and we marvel at how cranberries and beets can transform pork. Or how we could have ever existed without fairytale eggplant, or warm grapes. Go figure.
This is how it works:
$59.00 a week for three meals for two people. That’s about $10.00 a meal. Sign up and pick three meal combos from six. Pick your delivery date, which is changeable, and it’s easy to skip a week. The box shows up by 10:00 or so, and the cold packaging lasts an entire day. We separate the ingredients immediately into 2-gallon baggies and refrigerate them until we’re ready, but we usually use them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Vegetarian combos are available, but I don’t believe there are specific gluten free options. Calorie count is called out. My cousin Bob works here in Sacramento during the week and keeps his second meal for lunch the next day. Sue does three meals a week for four people (she now has a family of three) and often has lunch leftovers. Blue Apron seems to support small farms and sustainable practices (well, besides the packaging).
The recipes do seem to follow a pattern, and they’re really set up for two people to cook together, which is my favorite part, especially when wine is involved. I do most of the prep work (which almost always includes zesting a lemon or lime, mincing garlic and peeling and mincing fresh ginger) and Steve takes over the cooking. And that almost always includes using one large saucepan with two tablespoons of olive oil, and a riceish/kaleish/meatish/sauceish combo.
It’s my new favorite thing.
- The packaging. We’re saving the boxes, but each ingredient is individually packaged, including one egg, one scallion, one stalk of lemon grass. On the flip side, there is absolutely no food waste.
- Each meal identifies time for prep and cooking, usually between 10-25 minutes of prep. Every fifth meal feels like a little too much work, and then we save it for the next night.
- Lack of flexibility. Once the ingredients are in the refrigerator, you are committed (especially if no food waste is part of the packaging waste justification). This has only been an issue a few times for us, but for others with a busier social life, it might be a deal breaker.
- No lunch leftovers. We’re working on that by cooking up chicken or roasting vegies on Sunday night, so we have lunches to take to the studio.
- The food isn’t super cheap or super low fat. It is on the healthy side, but it’s not a lose-weight diet.
- It’s easy. I love having weekend adventures and not having to add “go to the grocery store” onto my Sunday evening list.
- It’s been fun to cook with Steve, in new ways. It feels fancy and I’m learning how to be a better cook, and experimenting with new ingredients and flavor combinations.
- Delicious. We like spicy food, so we always use the maximum spice, and usually double the garlic.
- Dinner is always a surprise. I don’t remember what I signed up for (or even what arrived and I put away), so it’s always a treat.
- Cleanup is manageable. Lots of small prep bowls, one large sauce pan, knives and cutting boards and we’re good to go.
There are several boxed dinner services, and I think each one has it’s benefits. Blue Apron tends to be more ethnic, which I love, and so far it’s worked well for us. I have four free deliveries (which I believe are three meals each) that I’d love to share with you. All I need is your name and email….so leave a comment and I’ll hook you up.
PS. This is NOT a sponsored post….