There are many of those "direct to your door dinner" companies these days. Stephanie and Nicky have tried several of them. They settled on "Hello Fresh."
I've been toying with the idea of starting "Hello Fresh" for over a year now. But, ultimately, with just the two of us, I don't usually cook 3 times a week. That's the minimum number of meals you can subscribe to. You can skip weeks or put your membership "on hold." There is no commitment---cancel at any time. Every time I thought about giving it a try, I'd look at the calendar and pay attention to trips and social commitments for the week. Ultimately, there never really seemed like a good time to start it.
Last week, Butch decided that we'd go for it. He's been having to do some basic cooking for us. And to be honest, when I am doing the cooking, we're in a rut. I make--maybe--the same 5 things a month. Stephanie offered us a special code that gave us a discount--I think it was $40.00 for the week. It costs $69.00 for the 3 meals. You get to select your meals each week. They list the time it takes to prepare the meal and all of the nutritional information. It also lists the level of difficulty in that preparation. Everything comes pre-measured. You only have to add some very basic things from home. So far, it's been olive oil for us.
Our first box arrived on Tuesday. I was pretty excited. It reminds me of when I used to pick up the farmer's basket each week. You never knew what you were going to get.
Heck, who am I kidding. It's like getting anything in the mail. By the time I receive something I've ordered, I've forgotten what it is---kind of like Christmas! Anyway, the box is cool. I'm keeping them--they are padded and will be a good size for moving.
Inside, there are smaller boxes clearly marked as to which meal they are.
The meats are surrounded by ice packs to keep them fresh.
Then there is the recipe book full of colorful pictures.
This is the first dish that Butch decided to prepare.
This is the food box for that dish. All of the vegetables are of the highest quality--no bad spots or bruises. So here's how it went.
The dish was supposed to take 10 minutes to prepare and was a level 1 in difficulty. Stephanie and Nicky had already warned Butch that you needed to double that time. Well, for someone who doesn't do a lot of cooking, it took triple the time. On the website, the picture shows two people cooking, so maybe the 10 minutes is meant to be for two. It wasn't long before there was some complaining coming from the kitchen: "where is the grater?, This isn't right---this doesn't look like the "zest" on the cooking shows!" (I didn't know Butch ever watched a cooking show). I "rolled" myself in to the kitchen to see what he was up to. Yes, he was doing the zesting correctly. I got out of the way. A minute later, he said he cut himself. Now I'm thinking this doesn't bode well for "Hello Fresh." There was complaining that the vegetables were cooked, but the meat still wasn't done.
After a total of 1 hour and 5 minutes, here is the results of meal number 1.
It really did look like the picture. It was DELICIOUS!! Even Butch agreed. Each meal is to serve 2 people. The portions are generous. We had one full serving left over. It was nutritious, light and fresh. It felt like a healthy meal and was--nutritious and low calorie. And something I would never have made on my own.
After dinner, Butch said, "well I guess I'll get started on the clean-up. The whole kitchen is a mess."
Yep, that pretty much covers all four corners of the kitchen. Still, we would consider the first night a success. Butch went online and put this meal in our "favorites."
Night 2---Italian meatloaf with green beans and mashed potatoes. We did not like the meatloaf--AT ALL. It had too much seasoning, onions and sundried tomatoes. There was more "stuff" than there was meat. Plus the ground meat was way too coarse and chewy. I make a really good meatloaf, so I'm always measuring other meatloafs against my own. I haven't found any yet that are better, so I guess I am pretty biased. The potatoes were really good---they had a dab of sour cream instead of butter. The green beans were also very good---just cooked with a little olive oil---although some were a bit more crispy than others. We don't like our vegetables too crunchy, but that's something you can control yourself. As I told Butch, there is a learning curve to cooking.
We'll have the 3rd meal tonight---salmon with an orzo salad. I've never made orzo, so that's something different too. I just wish I could take over the cooking. I'm itching to get back in the kitchen!
So, if you are keeping score, we're 50/50 so far. Tonight's dinner will determine if it was a success or not.
I'm excited to continue with "Hello Fresh" for at least a few weeks to decide if it's worth it for us. I think, in terms of the convenience, health and variety, it's a winning combination. I'm thinking that what we'll ultimately settle on is 3 meals every other week. I think that would be perfect for us. That will allow me to make my regular 5 meals during the other two weeks of the month--chili, meatloaf, polish sausage and sauerkraut, spaghetti and grilled cheese with tomato soup!
I might have mentioned being in a rut, but that doesn't mean I want to give up those "comfort" foods!