Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blue Apron Fresh Food Meal Delivery

Earlier this month I decided to give Blue Apron a try. There are lots of meal delivery services out there but only a handful deliver to California. Blue Apron (named after the blue aprons apprentice chefs in France used to wear) sends fresh ingredients to make 3 meals that will serve 2-6 people each week. This is how is works. Once you sign up you can choose to receive meat and fish or vegetarian dishes and you choose how many servings (2,4 or 6) you want for each dish. You will receive 3 meals per week with enough ingredients for the servings you request. The prices vary depending on what you order. For 2 people it's $59.94, 4 people is $119.88 and 6 people is $179.82 per week with shipping included. This works out to $9.99 per meal per person. It's less than going to a restaurant but more than going to the grocery store and getting the ingredients yourself. They send out the menus weekly and you can also log on to your account and skip deliveries up to 6 weeks in advance. I can't justify getting this every week so I look at our calendar to see what kind of week is coming up and if the menu looks good and it's a busy week I will keep that delivery. If it's a low key week, the menu isn't my thing or we are going to be out of town I skip the week. You could also just skip all the weeks listed and when they send out the menu you could unskip when they email the menus out. This way the chances of you being billed and receiving it when you really didn't want pretty much goes away.

The good:

Busy: This is great for busy people. The ingredients are fresh, on hand and the meals take on average 35 min to prepare.

Don't cook: The included recipe cards are not only beautiful they have very easy to follow instructions complete with pictures.

Counting Calories: The calorie info is included and each meal is 500-700 per serving.

Ingredients: fresh ingredients from artisanal purveyors with an emphasis on sustainable practices

Need a specific delivery day: You can choose between Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and even Saturday delivery. Also the food is well packed on ice packs in an insulated box.

The not so good:

Price: It's a bit pricey but you're paying for convenience.

Organic, free range, grass fed: I couldn't find anywhere where these types of items were used. I also went to the Heritage Meat/Unger Meats website and although their product is very good I didn't see anywhere listed that it was grass fed or free range. I usually buy grass fed, free range meats because I do think it taste better and I feel better about eating it.

This is the shipping box. It was insulated inside and had layers of ice packs in it. 

The recipe cards. They are regular paper side and glossy so you can wipe them off. The back side has all the instructions with pictures.

Ingredients for Chopped Shrimp Salad. 

Ingredients for Mexican Albondingas Soup.

Ingredients for Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Pickled Daikon & Cellophane Noodles

I totally failed and forgot to take a picture of the completed dishes. I guess I was just trying to get dinner on the table in a hurry I completely forgot. I can say the portions were generous but I did add some items to the Korean lettuce wraps and Chopped Shrimp Salad because those alone would not have been enough for the boyfriend. 

I also wanted to do some research on the approximate cost it would be to buy the ingredients yourself. If you've been reading my blog I'm all about a good deal and knowing I'm getting a good value for my money. I used Safeway prices and some of the items were on sale and some weren't. I figured that would work since that's how real life is. Sometimes you get a deal and sometimes you don't. Now I didn't actually purchase all of these items I just priced it as if I did. Also the prices will be different in different regions and states. This is just a rough estimate. 

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Pickled Daikon & Cellophane Noodles:
I didn't include the 2 Tbs. rice vinegar, 1 tsp. sesame oil, 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 2 Tbs. mirin or 1 Tbs. garlic chutney because that would've have been way too much work to break down. I happen to have all of these items in my pantry (except the garlic chutney) but if you didn't something to consider is you would have to purchase full size bottles of each of these items. Items I did include were the noodles, chicken, cilantro, lettuce, garlic (had to purchase a whole bulb), lime, daikon and onion. I did my best to get as close to the portions that were included in the box. 

Total price at Safeway for 2 servings: $12.16 (again not including the liquids). 

Review of the meal: I thought these were really good and we ended up not using all the lettuce. I saved the leftover lettuce for salads the next day. I knew this wouldn't be enough alone for the boyfriend so I made some shrimp rice noodle rolls to go with it. I would make this again. 

Chopped Shrimp Salad: 
I didn't include the 1/4c. mayonnaise. The recipe calls for 1 celery stalk, 1 garlic clove and 1/2 head of lettuce. I had to purchase a whole celery bunch, a whole clove of garlic, and a whole head of lettuce. Some smaller stores will half items or break them up but my Safeway does not.

The price at Safeway for 2 servings: $16.27 (again not including the mayo and having leftover celery, garlic and lettuce)

Review of the meal: These turned out to be very large salads. Again a salad wouldn't be enough for the boyfriend so we ordered some sushi takeout to go with it. It turned out good we did because this had too many onions in it for him. Next time I will just add the onions to mine. I would make this again.

Mexican Albondingas Soup: 
I didn't include the 2 Tbs. Beef Demi Glace, 1 Tbs. dried oregano or 2 Tbs. breadcrumbs. I also had to purchase a whole garlic clove.

The price at Safeway for 2 servings: $10.52 (again not including the dried oregano, beef demi glace or breadcrumbs and having leftover garlic) 

Review of the meal: This was a super hearty bowl of soup. My meatballs fell apart a little but it still turned out very good. We had just the soup and were both stuffed AND we had enough soup leftover for another serving that the boyfriend had then next day for lunch. I would make this again.

If you bought all the ingredients to duplicate this not including the item mentioned about it would be about $38.95 give or take a dollar or two. The cost of this through Blue Apron is $59.94. The difference is $20.99. I then took it a step further and added up the price of the things I would have to buy full size bottles/containers of: The rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, mayonnaise, oregano and breadcrumbs. I couldn't find the beef demi glace or garlic chutney. I also subtracted the price of 2 garlic bulbs because one would suffice for all 3 recipes. That total came out to be $20.75. Just 24 cents shy of the $20.99 difference and you would have to make your own or find beef demi glace and garlic chutney. I would say this particular box is a fantastic deal for having the convenience of it being delivered to my door. I know some people who use grocery delivery service and this is kind of the same thing only it comes with premeasured ingredients and step by step recipes.

Verdict: The menus vary from week to week but this one was great tasting and a great value! I will stay with Blue Apron.


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1 comment:

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