Back in July, after Ivor’s accident and our miscarriage, we had a mealtrain account set up for us for about a month. So for a month I didn’t have to worry about meal planning, cooking or the usual amount of dishes to clean up in the kitchen afterward. It was wonderful. But at some point, the mealtrain ended and we still quite weren’t ready for things to go back to normal. Cue all the wonderful convenient silicon valley services (though I realize not all of them are exclusive to this area). Instacart. Door Dash. Google Express. Molly Maid. Freshly. Blue Apron. All things I could arrange from home, quickly on the computer, and have delivered to my door…I was all over it. As a mom, I love that sort of thing anyway, but we became pretty reliant on it during this rough recovery period, when all I had the energy and brain-capacity to manage was caring for my husband and kids. Food? No. Cleaning? No. Shopping? No. It was survival mode over here. I could write (and likely will) reviews for all of the services I just mentioned, but this post in particular is all about Blue Apron.
What is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that sends you all the ingredients necessary to cook a specific meal, which is already planned and “perfectly” portioned to the serving size. I put “perfectly” in quotations because we thought it was a bit off once or twice (more on that later). You choose either the 2-person or 4-person (family) plan, for either 2 meals/week or 4/week. You can skip deliveries at any time and schedule them for whenever is convenient for you. We chose the 4-person/4 meals per week plan ($8.74 per serving).
Here’s a great overview video you can watch and then I’ll get into my review of the service and an example recipe for you:
*NOTE: it figures that the box I decided to use for this post got a little beat-up in transit. That is not the norm, and all the ingredients were totally fine. Moving on.
My review in a nutshell is this: This service is great for someone who actually likes to cook and spend time in the kitchen, but might just be stuck in a meal-planning rut or doesn’t have time to shop. I heard some negative reviews complaining that the prep time is just too long, so that’s something you should take into consideration before trying it out. It’s not a fast-food delivery service. It’s basically someone planning a meal for you, shopping for all the ingredients for you and then dropping it off at your house with instructions on how to cook it. It helps if you already have some culinary chops. I am blessed to have a husband with said chops. The prep time for him was usually less than they estimated. For the average home-chef, like me, I’d say the prep time was fairly accurate (only longer if I got distracted by my kiddos).
PROS: We enjoyed the variety of meals we received and thought the majority of them were really delicious (just a few duds that were kind of “meh”). Serving size was *mostly* accurate. There were a few times that the side salad was definitely not enough for 4 people, at least not in my opinion. But since we weren’t giving our 2 toddlers the salad anyway, it wasn’t much of an issue. For me, it made me enjoy the cooking process more and improve my skills. I loved having everything already portioned for me, in neat little baggies or containers, etc. with step-by-step instructions and photos. They even have a few “how-to” videos if you need to work on some of your culinary skills. Not having to meal-plan was also a huge bonus for me. I can browse recipes online all day and not see a single thing that looks good or that I want to spend the time to cook. With Blue Apron, I didn’t even have to think about it. And it might just be because someone else came up with it and it was being delivered to my house, but all their recipes sounded dang good to me!
CONS: Our only negative is specific to us and our lifestyle. Some of the ingredients are not things we usually buy (i.e. white rice, white pasta, white flour, white sugar, etc.) We do brown rice, whole wheat pasta/flour, sweet potatoes only (not white) ..and rarely, if ever, do we eat corn (and we got A LOT of corn in our Blue Apron meals for awhile). Granted, this service can’t cater to everyone in that way and some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now (“ugh, one of those health food snobs”). Yes, we try to eat healthy, is that so wrong? 😛 We still ate it and enjoyed it, but for the most part, in our kitchen, we don’t do processed. Not a “deal breaker” between us and Blue Apron, but not something we want to do on a regular basis, that’s all. We’re currently “on a break” with them right now but still use some of their recipes, and make substitutions when we can. For example, we made their Shepherd’s pie recipe with sweet potatoes instead of regular (yes, we broke tradition). But it was delicious and I felt better about the overall nutritional value of the meal.
Ok, so here’s a quick photo-sample of one of the recipes: Stuffed shells! Since the recipe is in that link and pictured below, I’m not going to write it all out. You can just enjoy the photos to see what making a Blue Apron recipe looks like in real life 🙂
If Blue Apron sounds like something that might work for you and your family, please let me know, because I have 5 free meals to give away (meaning 1 free meal for 5 different people)! First come, first served 🙂 *UPDATE*- all free meals have been claimed. I will post again in the future if I receive more!
NOTE: This post contains referral links.