Blue Apron Subscription Service – starting at $60 per week for 3 meals for two
We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance and details, even if it’s a simple dish. It’s no different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is all about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.
So what is Blue Apron? It’s a subscription service that delivers three meals per week for anywhere from 2 to 6 people. These are not pre-made meals though. You get all the ingredients to make the meals, measured out exactly, in a refrigerated box. You do the prepping and cooking. A few other quick facts:
- Each meal is complete with 500-700 calories
- 35 minute average prep time (although I was clocking in closer to 45)
- Easy to follow recipe cards included
- Fresh ingredients
- Choice of omnivore or herbivore plans
- Flexible plans with no commitment, and you can opt out of any week
- Meals start at $9.99 per person per meal
Outside the box, inside the box. Food stays cool in transit + a few hours after.
We’re going to inject a bit of estrogen into the site for a moment. Time to talk food at the beauty parlor with a couple girlfriends. Quit cringing. So I was at the salon, getting my hair cut and colored with my friend Tara, when she asked me if I had heard of Blue Apron. Nope. She then explained the service and told me she could have three free meals sent to me if I wanted to try it out. Free food? Hook me up, girlfriend! (No, I can’t have Blue Apron send you free meals, but if you go check out their website, or like them on Facebook, Facebook will magically start feeding you offers for a few free meals in your news feed.)
Signing up was quick and easy, and within a week the first shipment from Blue Apron arrived at my front door.
The First Three Meals
Shrimp Summer Rolls - I love shrimp summer rolls. Filling in an oddly light way, cooling to my system (which is good for summer heat), and delicious. I don’t love making summer rolls though. Rice wrappers can be a bitch to work with, and if you don’t get your rolls rolled tight the filling tends to spill out after a couple bites. So I had that to contend with. But having all the ingredients pre-measured out made the process much more tolerable. Prep was fairly easy, which involved cooking rice noodles, pan cooking the shrimp, chopping up the roll filling, and then assembling (the hardest part). The entire process took me about 50 minutes, longer than I was hoping, but there was some delay in the assembly process just because I’m not good at it.
The one thing about this recipe that neither me or my husband liked was the peanut dipping sauce. It was way too heavy on the peanut butter, so it was really thick and the flavor was overpowering. Not to say it didn’t taste good, it just made too heavy a counterpart for the light summer rolls.
Lamb, Mint, & Pea Orecchiette – This recipe was the favorite for my husband, and I have no doubt he’ll make it again. It was simple and easy to prepare, but the inclusion of lamb made it a tad more complex in flavor. We tag teamed cooking this meal, and it took us about 35 minutes or so. Even if you were prepping it by yourself it would take 45 minutes max.
For me, it was missing something. The meal was very “meat and potatoes”, or in this case, meat and pasta. I like more vegetables incorporated in my dinners, but that’s just me and my dirty hippy ways. If you’re a lamb fan, you’d like this one.
Some of the Lamb, Mint, & Pea Orecchiette ingredients
Oven Baked Fried Chicken – This was my favorite. My mom used to coat pork chops in Shake N’ Bake (I can’t remember if I helped), and I loved that crunchy texture. The panko breading on the outside of this chicken was very similar. Also, incorporating garlic, lemon juice, and basil into the side veggies (corn & green beans) was incredibly delicious.
The itty bitty bottle of Tabasco that came with this meal was a bit laughable. It was enough to cover one and a half of the 6 pieces of chicken we baked up. Granted, we down a lot of hot sauce in our house, but that bottle might have been enough for one person that only likes a little heat. The bottle was novel though.
Was It Worth It?
There are some pro’s and con’s to this service. The food is good, and fairly fresh. A few of the herbs had seen better days by the time we used them, but herbs are hard to keep and store and we didn’t use them right away. The convenience of having just the right amount of food for the ingredients needed for each dish was really nice. There was barely any food waste. The full color recipe cards that accompany the meals are easy to follow, and great for learning cooking basics.
The meals are so simple though, they can lack a little dimension at times. But for the beginner, or a busy couple or family that just needs direction in healthy meal planning, this is a great service. $60 a week is pricey, but if you’re a couple that is used to dining out a lot, it’s very easy to blow $60 in one night on dinner and drinks. These meals average out to $20 per dinner, or $10 per person. And you can use the service as often or as little as you like.
Oven Baked Fried Chicken ingredients
Final Note: For it’s simplicity, I give the Blue Apron Subscription Service a thumbs up. It’s not worth the cost every week for my household, but 1 to 2 times a month is a welcome treat, and great exposure to new recipes and different ways of cooking.
(Most of the packaging (if not all, depending on where you live) is recyclable. That was a concern of mine. The only pain is emptying the gel packs that come frozen, they can be messy. But you can always re-freeze and reuse them, or donate them to a charitable meal service that can use them.)
Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to theprettyguineapig.com. She doesn’t wear an apron in the kitchen, blue or otherwise, and therefor regularly mutters obscenities under her breath when splatters stain her clothes. For more MIFYD posts, click here.