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In Search of Easy, Economical, and Quick to Prepare Healthy Meals
My husband and I had wanted to try the popular meal delivery service HelloFresh ever since we became empty nesters when our son left for college. With one less mouth to feed, my hope was to find an easy, economical, and less time-consuming way to prepare good healthy meals just for two. After much discussion and research online, we finally broke down and gave it a try. So, with our first box behind us, what follows is my honest review of HelloFresh. I’ll be covering how to order a box, what to expect when it arrives, our impressions of the three meals we cooked, and our overall thoughts on the product.
How to Order a HelloFresh Box and What to Expect When It Arrives
I visited the HelloFresh website, chose three meals, selected when I wanted them to arrive, and checked out. The whole process was thoroughly quick and easy. You can create an account that will allow you to login again later and you can schedule meal deliveries as well.
The three meals my husband and I agreed on were these:
Pork Al Mojo with Cuban Rice and Black Beans
Peppercorn Crusted Rib-Eye Steak with Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Heirloom Tomato Salad
Rosemary Crusted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Tomatoes
Our box arrived via FedEx on the day HelloFresh told us it would and all the food items inside were fresh and in good condition. Everything was cold, including the meats, which were packaged closest to a very large ice pack. There were three recipe cards that matched one of three bags and each bag had its own set of ingredients inside. There was also a cardboard divider that separated the bags from the meat.
The ingredient bags are advertised as having everything you need to make each meal. However, we did discover that some of the tomatoes for the chicken meal we selected were missing. If we decide to use HelloFresh again, we will check the recipe cards more carefully and alert HelloFresh if we find any ingredients that were left out. The only thing I had to use that wasn’t included in the kit was salt, pepper, and cooking oil. All herbs and seasonings were included, so there was no need to purchase a pricey bottle of something that we would only use once and probably end up throwing out.
Meal #1: Pork Al Mojo with Cuban Rice and Black Beans
We chose the Pork Al Mojo as our first meal because of the large amount of produce that came in the bag. We wanted to make sure as much of it was used at its freshest. Our second meal was the steak because the side dish included a salad with tomatoes. The third meal was the chicken dinner because it only included potatoes, and they would last longer.
If you’re like me, you prefer simple, throw them in the pan and cook meals. However, this was not the case with the Pork Al Mojo. There was quite a bit of food to prepare which took a considerable amount of time (30 minutes or more). In spite of this, the recipe went together easily, and both my husband and I enjoyed it. I’m kind of a picky eater so this was very different from what I’m used to eating. I did skip the peppers in the sauce, but everything else was tasty. My husband tried it all and he loved it.
Meal #2: Peppercorn Crusted Rib-Eye Steak with Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Heirloom Tomato Salad
The second meal we tried was the Peppercorn Crusted Rib-eye Steak. The prep took less time than the first meal, but the whole process from start to finish took nearly an hour and a half! This is longer than I plan for most nights, but it was a new recipe also. The steak was wonderful! The meat was juicy and tender and the sauce was a great complement.
The Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese had a different taste than what we’re used to. Instead of sharp yellow cheddar that we typically use when we make our own, it contained sharp white cheddar. The truffle zest topping had a strong taste along with a strong odor – these did not go together well in our opinion. Overall, the mac ‘n’ cheese was good, but we prefer the recipe I normally make. The salad was a simple spring mix with a dressing of shallots and lemon juice.
Meal #3: Rosemary Crusted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Tomatoes
Our last meal was the Rosemary Chicken. I didn’t realize until the night before that our meal box did not have the grape tomatoes it was supposed to. I could have ran out and bought some, but I didn’t have the time. This meal was a little less prep-intensive and time-consuming than the previous two. Though the chicken thighs seemed very small, there were several pieces, and more than enough for the both of us. The mashed potatoes were good, but not fantastic.
While we enjoyed our first box from HelloFresh, the recipes were a bit more prep-intensive and time-consuming than I prefer. All of the recipes except for the Rosemary Chicken required me to stay by the stove the whole time they were cooking (there was some downtime while the chicken baked and the potatoes boiled). I’m more of a hands-off type of cook, and I like to be able to take care of other things around the house at the same time; my philosophy is get it in the oven and let it cook!
For the amount of time that went into making each meal and the amount of food we received, we feel like the box was an okay deal. We were fortunate enough to have had a coupon code that offset some of the cost, but without the code we believe the meal box would have been too expensive. If you have a large family, coupon codes will do little to make this service cost effective. While it was fun to receive the box, and spend time in the kitchen cooking together, HelloFresh will have to be a once-in-a-while kind of treat for us.
So, there you have it – my honest review of HelloFresh. Click the ad below to order your HelloFresh kit and try it for yourself.