Making Dinner: my thoughts on Blue Apron

This post is not sponsored. I thought you might want to know what I thought about feeding my children, cooking and grocery shopping.

Dinner. It has to happen every night (or so I’m told).

via GIPHY

As much as I would love to have dinner delivered or to go out every night, we just can’t afford that. Plus, we have a kitchen so we might as well make good use of it. (I’m warming the husband up to the idea of updating our kitchen…it’s an easier sell if it’s an active part of our house.)

But the actual cooking isn’t what hangs me up. I don’t mind making dinner as long as I have ingredients and a vague idea of what I should make. It’s the grocery shopping that gets me. I hate it. With the fire of 1,000 suns.

With that said, when I heard a friend of mine had a free week’s worth of meals from Blue Apron to give away, I jumped at the chance. I could have a homemade meal without the shopping? A dream come true!

Placing the order

I hopped online to order my meals the minute my gift certificate hit my inbox. It covered the family plan which included 2 meals that feed 4 people each (normally $69.95, roughly $8.74/person/meal). Placing the order was easy. I set up an account, perused the menu for the upcoming weeks, selected my two recipes and confirmed my order. The recipes I selected were Thai Green Curry Chicken with Butternut Squash and Jasmine Rice and Lemon-Brown Butter Catfish with Crispy Smashed Potatoes & Creamed Spinach.

Even though I had a gift certificate, I had to enter my credit card information for future deliveries. This is a subscription service so if you don’t want meals sent to your door on a regular basis, you need to cancel. The website is clear about when your card is charged. As long as you cancel your subscription/skip your next order before the date shown, you’re in the clear. I normally don’t like to give out my credit card number when I’m doing a trial run but it was clear there wasn’t going to be a major run-around to cancel.

The delivery

As promised, the ingredients arrived packaged in an insulated box with ice packs. I work from home and was able to bring my delivery in immediately. But I’m confident everything would have stayed fresh had the box been left on the porch for the day. (It’s worth mentioning that I ordered and cooked these meals in early October when it was warm enough for a good packaging test.)Blue Apron Dinner Packaging

The cooking

Here’s where things got a little tricky for us. While I don’t mind cooking, I don’t want it to be a process. And the recipes we got from Blue Apron were a process. It took over one hour to prep and cook each of these meals. Momma just don’t have time for that.

That said, the food was beyond amazing. Both meals were outstanding. If you are looking to provide a fancy dish for your family every week, then I would say Blue Apron is right up your alley. I personally, just want everyone to be fed well enough so they stop complaining. I have no interest in cooking pretty dinners for the 4 of us. But if pretty meals is your thing, more power. Blue Apron is worth a shot.

If you’re thinking of trying this, rest assured that the instructions could not have been clearer. They give you step-by-step directions with pictures. And it comes on really nice (and really pretty), glossy card stock. So you’re less likely to lose it and it won’t be destroyed if some water or food gets on it. Turtle and Buddy both got in on the cooking action and my recipe sheets are still in tact.

 

Cooking Catfish

Turtle and Buddy helped put the catfish together (but turned their nose up at the creamed spinach).

Making Dinner - Blue Apron Catfish

Lemon-Brown Butter Catfish with Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach

Making Dinner - Blue Apron Chicken Curry

Thai Green Curry Chicken with Butternut Squash and Jasmine Rice

All in all

I would recommend Blue Apron to anyone that liked cooking gourmet meals but didn’t want to shop for or think through what to make. Their website is easy to use, packaging well done, instructions easy to follow and the food turned out great, even with a 4 and 2 year old “helping”. It’s just not for me. I’m not interested in spending $8.74/person and having to do an hour’s worth of work to get food on the table. I would rather spend a little more and go to a restaurant. Keep in mind my favorite restaurants are Chipotle, Mission BBQ and a few other fast-casual-type places. We’re a pretty informal bunch.

For me, I will stick with finding my own cookbooks and recipes using trusty ‘ole Google. My goal for this year is to be better about meal planning. I tried going week-to-week last year and it just didn’t work. My disdain for the grocery store and Micah’s ability to “whip something up” held me back. This year, I’m putting the drawer full of cookbooks to work and planning my main dishes a month in advance. In case this is more your style, here’s my go-to cookbooks when I’m planning my meals.

My favorite cookbooks (contains affiliate links)

Kitchen Meets Girl: 30 Easy Meals for Reluctant Cooks, by Ashley Whitmore (You should most definitely also follow Ashley’s blog, Kitchen Meets Girl. She posts amazing recipes and they’re all super easy and super delicious. Also, I met Ashley and think she’s amazing. Just sayin’)

Great Food Fast, by Bob Warden (a pressure cooker cookbook)

100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love, by Lisa Leake (includes sample meal plans to help you get started)

I also get a lot of recipes from my Tastefully Simple guru, Cari Blake. She keeps things simple. I need more simple in my life.

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Have you tried Blue Apron? What do you think?