Keeping it real since 2014

Meal Kit Review: Hello Fresh

Meal delivery kits are the perfect solution for a couple who loves to cook, but can’t afford to eat out every night. The company mails a chilled box your requested recipes in your specific number of portions, along with a step by step recipe. This week, we tried out Hello Fresh.

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Full price, the meals end up being $9.99 per serving, and you can get up to four meals a week ($79.92). Hello Fresh has a 50% coupon for new users, so my first box was only $39.96. They track the discount by address and not by email, so it’s difficult to try to re-use the new user offer. Most meals take less than 45 minutes to prepare. You have a selection of recipes, and can specify any dietary restrictions you might have.

Considering we still buy groceries for other meals and snacks, these kits may be too expensive long term. However, I waste far less food with these kits. Quite often I am too tired to cook a full recipe. Or, I make a recipe for Jaymes and I that has 10 servings. I only want to do leftovers once or twice, so the leftovers are wasted. Additionally, the meal kit comes with a nutritional fact card, so it’s very easy to estimate how many calories each serving is, or track your macros. Lastly, most meals are approximately 600 calories, and usually enough for me to have two servings.

Last night was one of my, I’m too tired from sitting at my desk job to cook a meal night. Jaymes was on duty so I was on my own, so I had even less motivation to cook. Driving home I debated the various qualities of my favorite Chinese delivery food restaurant’s tempura shrimp (some of these places have no bidness calling their shrimp tempura, but that’s a whole different thing).

Anyway, I came home to find a Hello Fresh box on my doorstep. I received an email earlier that day about them sending too much pasta (like there is such a thing), but Shrimp fantasies had eclipsed any memory I had of this box arriving. Considering my usual Chinese food order is about $35 with tip, and I planned on writing a blog expounding the benefits of meal delivery kits, I forced myself to crack the box open and get to work.

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Since it’s cold out I wasn’t too concerned about the temperature of the box. The website has tracking so you can schedule the box to come at a time when you can put it away immediately if you’re concerned about the temperature. The food is packed away in a space blanket with a lot of cold packs, so it stays pretty chilly in there.

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The nutritional cards and recipes are on top. Let’s see… which one has the most calories? I’ll take that.

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Another benefit of this service is that you have perfectly portioned recipes you can keep on file, and work into your normal cooking routines, even if you cancel later on.

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What’s nice about Hello Fresh is they group the ingredients in nice neat brown bags, so even pulling everything out of the fridge is easy. You don’t have to scrounge around, trying to figure out what goes with what.

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The meats are the only things packed separately, so they can stay closest to the cold pack.

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The only things these kits usually expect you to have on hand is salt, pepper, and oil or butter. Everything else is included and measured.

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Some meal kits wash your produce for you, but Hello Fresh recommended washing all the produce. Now if I wanted to make this with grocery store ingredients, I would have wasted 3/4 a head of cauliflower. Or, much more likely, skipped it all together.

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You little albino trees are about to get roasted AF.

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The more you cook, the more efficient you’ll be. Since I had the cutting board out, I decided to go ahead and cut my green onions at the same time too.  I love green onions because they are the least tear inducing of the onion family.

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Opening my camera in front facing trying to take pictures of the cute milk. Never a good angle, but luckily I didn’t capture my chins.

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Browning the pancetta (fancy bacon) and green onions together. Smells pretty heavenly, fried shrimp is a distant memory.

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Johnny Cash is always on hand for some very sad puppy eyes, always when meat smells are in the air.

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I too enjoy fancy bacon. -Cash (probably)

I got 50% extra pasta,  so there’s a plus.

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Samsonite! I was way off.  Appropriate pasta amount amassed.

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You curly guys are going to take a hot, salty bath.

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After removing the pancetta, I melted some butter and added the provided flour to create a lovely roux.

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Lol I love a good Montell Jordan reference….

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You know, it’s terribly difficult to take photos in one hand and pour milk in another, but someone has to make mac and cheese.

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One thing I will recommend you have on hand that the card doesn’t list is a pair of scissors. Many of these boxes come with ingredients in teeny packs, and it’s just much easier to snip the top off rather than tear it.

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Adding all the cheese. Another example of a hard to open bag (use scissors!)

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Ok, maybe the roasted cauliflower is not such a bad idea after all!

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Adding the pancetta, onions to the mix.

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After I gave this a mix, it was still a bit watery. So I just let it chill off the heat for a moment. I strongly encourage you to clean up the kitchen as much as possible before you serve your food. Less for you to do after, and let’s face it- a belly full of carbs never makes you super motivated to do anything but take a nap.

These portions are HUGE. Enough to top a regular size ramen bowl.  My kitchen has kitchen-y lighting, but still, it looks like the picture and smells amazing! The sauce was rich, salty (from the pancetta), and the green onions were the perfect pop of freshness. Again, I felt really great that I didn’t have 9 green onions hanging around. making me feel guilty. after making this recipe.

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Finally, the kitchen is clean, and it’s time to eat. This meal was totally worth the 25 minutes it took me to make it, and well worth $9.99 a serving. It was so rich that I couldn’t finish all of it, so I had leftovers for lunch.  I could also make the extra pasta to go with the leftovers, so that’s a plus!

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I enjoy these meal boxes, and it takes a lot of the mental energy out of cooking. You don’t have to clean or figure out how much to buy, or what to make. All the planning and shopping is the most tiring for me, so I find it well worth it.

Hello Fresh’s ingredients were fresh (aptly named), the recipes were easy to read, and the recipe selection is probably the most generally popular/not weird amongst the meal kits I’ve been looking at (Blue Apron has like chocolate roasted duck… eww).  The recipes also have tips and cooking education on there, so this is a great way to expand your cooking skills.

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If you’ve never tried a meal delivery kit, Hello Fresh is a great way to start.

This post is not sponsored!

Happy cooking,

Julianne

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