I've got something a little different on the blog today - I want to share this great new thing that I found! It may not be new to some of you out there - we tend to be "late adopters" - but for those who don't already know about HelloFresh, here's the skinny!!
First of all, HelloFresh is a subscription service (and you know how quilters love those!) that allows you to choose 3, 4, or 5 meals per week for two or four people (you choose how many). There are several options of meals to chose from, and you decide which day of the week your package is delivered. We chose Tuesday, which gives me already-planned-and-shopped-for meals for Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights!
For the Classic Plan (as opposed to the Family Plan), the meals are $9.99 per person, which is lots less than we pay for eating a meal out (which we do W-A-A-A-Y too much!) and shipping is free. The meals are designed to be cooked in about thirty minutes, and all you need to have on hand is olive oil, salt and pepper, sugar, and butter. And there's a great app for your phone that will allow you to check out upcoming menus, recipes, and invite friends!
But I bet at this point you're like me - skeptical as to what you actually get and how good it can really be. So let's unpack my first box and see!
When I arrived home on Tuesday, I saw this on my doorstep...
Wow! Even the box is fun and informative! (and heavy!!)
Just in case I forgot what meals I had inside the box, this nutritional label was posted on the outside. But let's look inside!
Open the box, and this is what you see first - large recipe cards, printed on heavy stock with beautiful clear pictures, for this week's meals!
The back side of each card has a clear, step-by-step guide to preparing your meal. I particularly like the first step - Prep - which spells out everything I need to do to be ready to cook my meal!
When I opened the inner box (heavily insulated, as you can see) I found these three boxes which contain the ingredients for each meal. All the ingredients for each meal are contained in a separate box, clearly labeled. These fit neatly in my fridge, waiting to be opened and enjoyed!
What did I tell you about packaging? These guys have got it going both outside and in! This also gives you a friendly reminder to check under the cold packs for additional ingredients.
And here's what was underneath the cold packs - a package of shrimp, two packages of ground beef, and a package of chicken. By the way, this week I chose Shrimp Saganaki, Pistachio-Crusted Chicken, and Sesame Beef Tacos.
The app suggested that we cook the Shrimp Saganaki first, so that's what we did. In the picture above you can see the contents of the box for the Shrimp Saganaki - just enough for this one meal. Two cloves of garlic (already peeled!), one onion, the perfect amount of parsley, and perfectly-sized portions of already pitted olives, crushed italian tomatoes, feta cheese, and Israeli couscous. I didn't take a pic of the shrimp, but it was a very generous portion - I'd guess about 3/4 to half a pound for the two of us - and when I opened it, it smelled lovely and fresh, like the best parts of being at the beach!
I didn't take pics while I was cooking - bad me! I'll try to do better next time - but trust me when I say that the directions were very clear, and everything flowed smoothly! The prep work meant that everything was ready and on hand as I needed it, too.
And here's the final result - two beautiful, tasty plates for dinner, and no
science experiments leftovers to be thrown away in a few weeks!! The shrimp was tender, the tomato/olive/onion sauce well-flavored and slightly spicy. The feta cheese on the top was a nice contrast in texture, and the couscous was an interesting texture on the tongue, too - a new one for me, but definitely something I'll try again. And it's pretty! My husband was definitely impressed...
All in all, this was a great experience for us. With it just being the two of us at home now, we have to cook smaller meals or have tons of leftovers in the fridge - leftovers that we don't generally eat, but can't help but keep. Plus it's hard to learn how to cook for just two! Here's a list of the pluses for us:
1. Portion control.
No over-eating just because it's there! But the portions are generous and we weren't hungry at the end of the meal.
2. No need to plan meals!
I don't know about you, but I get tired of having to figure out what to eat every night, and if I ask my husband for suggestions, he just says we should go out! (Tough life, I know!) So we end up eating the same things all the time, or eating out too much. I think HelloFresh is going to cure that problem for us!
3. No need to shop for fresh ingredients.
Do you buy produce, only to find when you get ready to use it, it's no longer quite as fresh as you'd like? Or you forget you have it at all? Or you have to buy so much to get an ingredient you need that it fills up your produce drawers unnecessarily? This is a great solution for that. You get what you need, no more, no less! And no more buying an unusual (and expensive) spice that you only use once!
Seriously, this is way less than we pay to eat out every night, and no tip required! The food easily as good as you would get in a nice restaurant, too. I'm seriously thinking about starting a "tip jar" to put in what we would have tipped a waitress, to be used to fund a night out at a restaurant over the weekend.
You aren't limited to only three choices per week - there are seven options that you can choose from, including one "premium" option, which costs an additional $5 per meal. There is also a vegetarian box option, for those who don't eat meat. You have until five days before your delivery date (clearly marked on the app) to change your choices.
You can skip a week at any time, cancel at any time, choose from seven different menu preferences - as long as you do it more than five days before your delivery date. And with the app, you can do all that from your phone!!
7. Ways to Save!
You can invite your friends to try HelloFresh, and give them a code that will give them a $40 discount off their first box. (There's one down below for you!) Best thing? When they order a box, you get $20 off a box for yourself. And there's no limit to how many times you can give (and get) the discount! I call that a win-win! And occasionally, you'll be given the option to give three friends (who've never tried HelloFresh) a free box - guess who'll be popular then???
And my daughter informs me that next weekend, Sam's Club is offering $50 HelloFresh gift cards for $39.95. What a deal!
And here's one other cool thing - and yes, that's a Freudian slip! The cold packs that they use in the boxes are large, flat, and REUSABLE! I'm going to put mine in the freezer to use in my cooler on the boat this weekend and on road trips!
So - - - are you ready to try HelloFresh yet? Just click on this link to be taken to the website, where you can find answers to any questions you may still have and sign up for your own fabulous dining experience with a $40 discount on your first box!
And no, HelloFresh didn't pay me or sponsor this post - I just think it's really neat and wanted to share it with you. I have a feeling that many of you are like me - you thought that they were really expensive, or that they wouldn't taste good. I'm here to tell you that they are affordable and delicious!!!
Hugs and happy eating!!