Blue Apron! We met a month ago. Oh, I had heard how wonderful it was from friends but when we were finally introduced in August, I was smitten after one date together. Want a little help in the kitchen? And some ideas and direction? And the ingredients to be healthy and delicious? And handed to you? Then Blue Apron could be your new crush too. Blue Apron is a dinner/recipe delivery service that sends the ingredients and instructions for dinner right to your door. In August, I decided to sign up and give it a try. Not just for one time and then blog about it, but for a month and then tell you my real, honest thoughts. And my real honest thoughts are that I love it. No, I mean I really love Blue Apron. But not everybody will so let me tell you about it. So, you go online and sign up/subscribe and schedule your family size and delivery dates. I signed up for the family of four plan that delivers dinner ingredients twice a week but there is a Two Person Plan also. If you are larger than four people you can buy two accounts and combine them….but they are working on some packages that allow for more flexibility there. I would call them to discuss it to understand the intricacies there and watch for updates on their new packages. It comes in this box with an insulated lining and cold things are packed well next to frozen cold packs in a bottom area. Even in Houston August heat, everything showed up cold and fresh. All of the ingredients are there, measured for each recipe….along with Recipe Cards and very clear instructions. It was a little overwhelming the first time I opened my box…so everything just came out onto the counter. Now, I know what to expect so I pull it out and separate it a little better than this photo but you can see all of the bits. The small brown bag on the right with the sticker on it has small packs of spices or butter or vinegar. The egg carton is there with one egg in it. Large tomatoes come that way too. The stickers also tell you the recipe that each thing goes with. Here are the recipe cards…the front is an overview. I get my two recipes and all of the ingredients for both at 5pm on Tuesday. The four person plan costs $8.74 per person or $69.92 a week. The two person plan is $9.99 per person or $59.94 per week for three dinners. My family loved this one….who knew they would eat purple potatoes? The cooking instructions are on the back and very clear. I’m a visual person so I love the photos too. I designated one lower drawer in my fridge for all the ingredients and the cards so that my family doesn’t go grab something for a recipe later in the week. I’ve been cooking these on Tuesday and Thursday. All of the ingredients are premium and most (if not all) are organic. Suppliers use sustainable growing practices and high standards in healthy animal welfare. Their website lists their suppliers so you can check that out there. Ok, so the downside is there is a fair amount of chopping because you are still the chef here. For me that’s actually relaxing if I plan for it at the right time of day. I try to get an apron on and the bowls, knives, and cutting board out in time for the evening news so I can watch and chop. The OTHER downside is I really think it takes longer than their prep time says; now that could be because the doorbell rings or I need to stop and send a text or go talk to the guitar teacher or one of my kids but….they should have added that in already, right? I’m not a professional chef or anything. So, I’m going to tack on 15 minutes more to their prep times. I’m looking at one of my cards for Crispy Chicken Tenders and Roasted Potatoes and the Prep time is 15 minutes Cook Time: 30-40 minutes. I would set Prep at 30 minutes and Cook at 35-45 minutes. These dinners take me an hour to make usually. With all of the ingredients measured for each thing….like soy sauce or red wine vinegar or butter….it makes assembling after chopping pretty fast but you are still following a recipe and looking back to see what to do next or sautéing or moving things from stove to colander etc. My first dinner was Lamb and beef patty Gyros with Faro and vegetables. I cooked the patties as they told me to…. I sautéed the zucchini in the same pan per their instructions….they try to keep you from using a thousand pots and pans which is really nice for cleaning up. But this is also mostly active cooking. It turned out great ….here’s the Faro, which I never cook and was so happy to learn how to make. Delicious!! My kids ATE IT UP! And the Gyros? YUM! That is a Feta and creme fraiche sauce with lemon and cilantro and the tomatoes that were in olive oil, seasonings and white wine vinegar. The calorie count and some breakdowns are on the card too. I know some of you are thinking, “my kids won’t eat that”, You can switch your recipes around. They populate the choices but I can go in and choose other things if its a recipe we won’t like. They can also accommodate Gluten free and other specific diet needs. I have been really pleased with the produce and all of the food that we’ve made. I’ve learned some new techniques and we’ve tried some new things. So to sum up:
- My grocery bill has gone down signficantly because I’m not over buying random ingredients that then just sit in my pantry.
- I’m going to the grocery store less.
- I can have a full day, come home and grab my box to make dinner…all there, nothing forgotten and everything measured out.
- Our sit down family meals have gotten a lot better and more consistent. We are out of the rut and throwing things together randomly less.
- I’m continuing on and really love it.