So if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you've seen the last few meal pics I've posted have been followed by #HelloFresh. HelloFresh is a cook at home meal delivery service that allows you to chose 3 complete meals (vegetarian options available) all of the ingredients delivered to your door step, eliminating grocery store visits [where despite my attempts to avoid placing potato chips or the Ben and Jerry's that's on sale, I always end up with them in my cart] meal planning and thoughts of portion control because it's all done for you.
I came across HelloFresh as a Groupon. The deal is still live click here to view. I purchased the 2 week option for 2. Redeeming my Groupon was relatively easily and signing up for the service was quite simple. My first delivery came on a Monday afternoon in a large box filled with smaller individual boxes containing produce ingredients separated by meal and the proteins wrapped in ice packs I chose Butternut Squash, Kale and Sausage Flatbread, Crispy Pan Seared Salmon and the California Style Griddled Cheeseburgers.
I love how easy it was to put away everything away but I will say that HelloFresh should come up with a recycle option. I felt very wasteful throwing away the 6 large ice packs that came in the box. I re purposed the shipping box so that wasn't an issue at all.
Now let's get to the cooking! I decided to have the flat bread first. I love that the variety of meal options they have because sometimes I just want something light quick and light to eat and other times you want a more substantial meal. But anyway so I pulled out the squash box and sausage to my surprise, the squash was already peeled and cubed. The company advises you to wash and dry all of the produce prior to cooking just an FYI which I think is kinda lame. I mean I can buy ready to eat lettuce from the grocery store and it seems to me like if you're portioning the food you could clean it as well. All the receipes come with these beautifully printed direction cards. The pictures are pretty and the instructions are well...I'll get to that. Excuse the dirty counter in the pic below, I had already prepped the pizza dough before taking the pic (not enough counter space in my kitchen)
I'm a pretty skilled cook so I'm used to not reading directions but for the sake of giving something a chance I decided to follow the instructions to a T, the only change I made was making 2 small flat breads instead of a large one so that it could fit in my toaster oven. The instruction card was easy enough to follow but I recommend reading it entirely before starting, as timing is very important when following these recipes. Speaking of timing, the meals I've seen take less than 45 minutes from start to finish to prepare. I finished cooking this meal in approximately 30 minutes. My end result didn't look like the pictures but here it is. The taste was pretty bland to me, I think it could have used more spices, I actually think I ended up adding garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning some red pepper flakes salt and pepper to give it more flavor.
The next meal I made was the Crispy Salmon with Bok Choy and a Cilantro Lime Sauce over Brown Rice. What stood out to me with this meal was the quality of the salmon. They were two beautifully cut filling portion sized fillets. I also thought the containers for the soy sauce and the tiny mayo jars were adorable. This meal was quick and easy but unfortunately I don't have a picture because I ate it too fast to document. I did not add any additional seasoning to this meal and I loved it. Mayo and all.
The final meal for the week, which I ended up cooking on the arrival of my second weeks delivery was the griddled cheeseburgers. These were very easy and tasty. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't like condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish etc. I think these cheeseburgers were supposed to be like Big Macs because they kept referring to a special sauce which was mayo and paprika, then they had me make these dijon mustard sauteed onions. Because I could control the amount of sauce on my burger, I followed the instructions and made the meal the way it was supposed to be made and I didn't hate the sauces!! Will I ever order a Big Mac...probably not but I gave it a try and didn't die!
I'm currently at the end of my second week, this week I selected and prepared the Steak Marinated Bibimbap, Creamy Avocado Shrimp Linguine and Pork medallions with Brussel Sprouts. The Steak Marinated Bibimbap has been my favorite meal yet, the steak was delicious and the dish came together quickly. I did make an additional sauce for this meal using some pantry ingredients and added an egg which was suggested but not included.
Last night I made the Creamy Avocado Shrimp Linguine. I was impressed that the shrimp had already been deveined and despite me waiting a week after the food was delivered and ignoring the small icon on the recipe card instructing me to make this meal first, the avocado and tomato were still fresh. This meal however, was tragically bland, despite the coriander powder which to me made the sauce chalky. I haven't made the pork medallions yet but will be sure to post a pic when I do.
All in all, I like the idea, I don't have to plan meals, or go to the grocery store or worry about eating the same thing for a whole week because I can't buy a quarter pound of pork tenderloin lol. The meals were easy enough to cook, but if you like well seasoned foods I would suggest adding spices from your own pantry to bring it up to your taste. I've recommended it to several friends and family and they seem to enjoy the service as well. As a gift to my readers, I have a free box I can send to one more friend. if you are interested comment with your email address below. The first person to comment gets the box. :-D