Thursday, November 6, 2014

Blue Apron Box

Blue Apron is a weekly delivery service of fresh ingredients to make meals. I've tried it a couple of times and done price breakdowns to see if it's worth the money or should I just go to the store and buy the stuff myself. What I figured out is you're not getting an incredible deal but you are getting convenience and it doesn't cost much more than if you went and bought all the stuff yourself.

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 may 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 6-8 weeks in advance. I went into my account and skipped all the weeks because I would rather skip and miss something than forget to skip and get something I don't want. 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 unskip the week. If it's not a busy week, the menu isn't my thing or we are going to be out of town I leave it as skipped.

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 artisan 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 Tradesman Premium Cuts website and it looks like it's specific for Blue Apron but doesn't have a whole lot of info about it. I usually buy grass fed, free range meats because I think it taste better and I feel better about eating it.

This is the shipping box. Inside is insulation and cold packs. 

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken w/Kale Ceasar Salad and Toasted Hazelnuts.

The finished dish.

Rice Flake-Crusted Salmon with Miso-Smashed Japanese Sweet Potatoes & Mustard Greens.

The finished dish.

Cheesy Broccoli Rotini Casserole

I forgot to take a picture of my finished dish so this is a photo from Blue Apron. The finished dish looked almost exactly like this only in a square dish. 

Parmesan-crusted chicken salad - I really liked this. I am definitely going to keep that recipe and make it again. Even the boyfriend ate it and he's not a kale person. 

Rice flake-crusted salmon - This one I was excited to try but I actually didn't care much for it. The salmon itself was delicious but the rice flakes added way too much crunch to the fish. The sweet potatoes were delicious but the mustard greens were very bitter. I ended up salting them more and eating them with a bite of potatoes which made them much better. 

Cheesy Broccoli Rotini Casserole - I actually messed up this recipe which you would think would be impossible. I guess that's what happens when you try and cook after working all night. I only put in one cup of milk and it called for 2 cups so while it wasn't as creamy as it could have been I thought it was pretty good. I had added pasta water to the sauce so while it could have been creamier it wasn't dry. The recipe said to use a 10x7 pan which I don't have so I used an 8x8 pan. It also says it serves 3 but I made a salad to go with it and cut the dish into 4 squares. I thought it worked out great. I would make it again but maybe add some chicken or tuna. 

I'm not going to do a complete price breakdown like I did on my first review. If you want to read it click here. For me, I feel like there is value in these meals and they are working out great for those busy weeks. I logged into my account and skipped all weeks. When Blue Apron sends out the email with the menu information I can simply go back into my account and unskip. This works for me and I'm less likely to get a shipment I didn't want.

Verdict: I'm enjoying the food and flexibility of this subscription.

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