Sunday, January 17, 2016

More Meal Delivery Service Reviewed

A few weeks ago I reviewed 2 home delivery meal services: Home Chef and Hello Fresh.  After posting my blog about them, a friend gave me a code to try Blue Apron for free.  My family has been very impressed with the other services and for the most part they have been gluten free or gluten friendly for KidX.  Home Chef had a meal this week called Healthy Takeout Bourbon Chicken and I was surprised to find they sent me gluten free soy sauce!  I have many of these staple ingredients on hand in case I have to substitute items to make my meals gluten free but I was really happy they included it because Kid X and Kid R had 2 bowls of dinner that night! So hoping Blue Apron would be as wonderful as the other 2 services, I gave it a try!
First Blue Apron doesn't have as many choices as Home Chef.  They have about 5 meals to choose from.  I did like that they asked me my preferences before (I can't have seafood)  so that automatically excluded any fish or seafood meal that week. I did not like that you can't really choose your meals.  I got three choices of meals picked for me and no mater what combination I tried, it would not let me pick any alternate meals.  I though maybe it was because this was my"free" order, but I couldn't edit any substitute weeks either.  So I waited for my delivery.
While the other 2 services have each meal packed with ingredients together, Blue Apron doesn't.  All the vegetables are just in the box, kind of like you went shopping.  Meats are separate and the ingredients and condiments you need to put the meal together are labeled "knick knacks"  I think as far as packaging, this box was the least likely to make it through hot Texas weather.  My veggies didn't seem to be too cool, they were rather warm for a 60 degree day.  The meats were fine, still cold and frozen. The recipe cards were just over sized pages that weren't in a binder or a nice booklet like the other services. 
The noticeable difference in this service is it's more gourmet.  My meals were Cacciatore-Style Baked Eggs with Lacinato Kale and Parmesan-Garlic Toast, Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Endive and Blue Cheese Salad and Korean Tteok and Spice Pork "Ragu."  I also received a card labeled From the Farm with fun facts about Belgian Endive.  I guess for cooks that aren't familiar with more obscure ingredients this is a nice feature.  

Korean Tteok and Spicy Pork "Ragu"

I made The Korean Tteok first.  It appeared to be the one my family would most likely all be able to eat.  I had to keep some of the ground pork aside and make a gluten free version for Kid X, but this meal went over very well.  It was nice to cook with some ingredients I wasn't familiar with like Korean Rice Cakes and Gochujang sauce.  Korean Rice Cakes are pasta like round circular versions of rice noodles and Gochujang sauce is savory and spicy made from fermented soybeans, glutenous rice and red chili.  This was the only dish my family ate together.  The Buffalo Chicken Burgers were good and the salad was tasty with champagne vinaigrette.  But it was breaded and only my husband and I tried it.  Kid R didn't want anything spicy.  The Cacciatore style baked eggs was the weirdest combo.  Basically a big ragu of veggies and sauce with eggs poached in the sauce then baked in the oven.  While it wasn't horrible, it's not something I would eat again and my husband wouldn't even try it.  
For our family, this was the least impressive service.  For being one of the original services I wasn't impressed.  This might be great for two single people or on days when the rest of the family isn't around.  It's not that it's super fancy or time consuming to make, it's just that for a family, I feel it's not the best choice.  I had to separate the ingredients for each meal, and some of the ingredients provided like garlic, onions and mushrooms were way to much for a 2 person serving.  I wasted a lot of ingredients.  My husband hates leftovers and the other two services have been just right for 2 people plus 1-2 kids depending on if both kids can eat the meals.  I did really enjoy the Korean Tteok and I'll be making that again when I take a trip to the Asian Market to get the Rice Cakes!  
So if you are interested in any of these services at a discount, click on my referral links here: Click HERE for Hello Fresh. Click HERE for Home Chef  I currently don't have a link for Blue Apron, it says after a few orders they will give me a link to send people free meals.  But if Blue Apron is your cup of tea, click on any google add and you will find discounts or free meals from them.