Pretending to be a Chef with Blue Apron

11 Jun

While I love food, I’m not really that great of a cook. Definitely not the point of being called a chef. I mean, I have a few decently delicious meals that I make… I just get so darn BORED with our recipe rotation. Also, my recipes tend to be like 4 steps which include a dance break. I also stop by Let’s Dish a few times a year to keep things interesting.

Oh, and hotdogs are a staple for the summertime.
What?! They are DELICIOUS!

Anyways, one of my awesome readers* suggested I try out Blue Apron so I decided to step up my game.

What is Blue Apron?

  • A service that delivers all the fresh ingredients you need to make chef-designed recipes at home. They ship right to your door (in a refrigerated box) and deliver to over 80% of the country.
  • Each menu is between 500 – 700 calories per person and all meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less.
  • You can get three meals per week for two, four or six people for $9.99 per person with free shipping.

I completed the online survey on what types of food we like (beef, chicken, seafood – there are also vegetarian options) and the Blue Apron website listed the three meals we would be receiving. I set my delivery up for the following week and added a note to my calendar so that I didn’t buy too much at the grocery store.

When our order arrived, it was in a HUGE box to accommodate the freezer packs. I later learned that the freezer packs are recyclable… after I threw them in the trash. Oopsie.

Blue Apron delivery box - Pocketful of Joules

We received three meals in our order:
1. Maple & Ginger Glazed Salmon with Watercress, Orange & Parsnip Salad
2. Seared Pork Medallions with Rhubarb Chutney & Sauteed Freekah
3. Lemon-Parsley Chicken Thighs with Squash & Zucchini Salad and Red Quinoa

I was able to make two of the meals this week, but ran out of time and will be freezing the ingredients for the Lemon-Parsley Chicken Thighs.

Maple & Ginger Glazed Salmon with Watercress, Orange & Parsnip Salad
Okay, I can follow directions pretty well, but I was still a bit intimidated when I read this recipe’s instructions. Also, neither Travis or I are fans of Watercress… at all. So, after much deliberation I decided to skip making the accompanying salad. I have the ingredients for the yummy sounding vinaigrette though, so I may throw it together over a type of leaf that we both like. Instead, I made a side of edamame that went well with the salmon’s flavoring.

Blue Apron Salmon meal - Pocketful of Joules

One thing I like about Blue Apron is that you get these great recipe pages, so if you really like something you can easily replicate it in the future. We LOVED the salmon and will definitely be making it again. However, Travis and I must be ogres because the serving size of the salmon was just not enough!

Seared Pork Medallions with Rhubarb Chutney & Squash and Zucchini Salad
As I mentioned, things got crazy this week (as they always do) so I combined the pork meal with the squash and zucchini from the chicken meal. I figure that the freekha and quinoa would keep easily for another time.

We love pork recipes in this house and I’m quite familiar with baking pork tenderloin, as well as various takes on pork chops. This meal was a bit different than our typical meal though… and MUCH fancier.

At this point “Chef” Joules started to take over and I just started throwing things around in a chef-ish blur. I followed the directions perfectly for the pork medallions and chutney, but I went a little nutty with the veggies. I basically just misted the asparagus, squash and zucchini with olive oil and then used the Blue Apron thyme, sea salt and pepper.

seared pork medallions - Pocketful of Joules

We LOVED the pork from this meal and I was much happier with the amount of meat – we even had enough for Jack, who devoured it. The rhubarb chutney was a bit strong, but maybe we’re just not used to rhubarb’s flavor. The veggies turned out awesome, mostly due to the quality of the vegetables provided. I wish I could get their asparagus supplier on speed-dial!

My Thoughts on Blue Apron:

Pros:

  • The meals were delicious and familiarized me with cooking with ingredients that I’ve never used.
  • It was incredibly convenient to come home from work and have my grocery shopping done for me. Now if only they would throw in some yogurts and teddy grahams…
  • The recipe cards are great and make it easy to make the recipes again in the future.

Cons:

  • Some of the portions were quite small for the price. The salmon meal was really tasty, but Travis could have eaten the entire amount on his own, leaving nothing for me and Jack!
  • We have three people in our family – so two servings are not enough for us. However, if we upgraded to four servings (with some for Jack and more for Travis) it would be $40 per meal, which is WAY over our daily home cooking budget.
  • You don’t really get much choice in the menu, other than the types of meats you eat. We didn’t like some of the side items, which is both a waste of money AND a waste of food.

I’m really glad that we had a chance to try Blue Apron, because it was a fun way to bust us out of our rut. I’m excited to have a few new recipes to add to our rotation. While a regular weekly delivery wouldn’t work for us, I can see it being a really great option for a family on the go. A family that has a more advanced tasting palate than ours…

Would you like to try Blue Apron?
The nice people at Blue Apron gave me a special discount code for Pocketful of Joules readers! My first 50 readers will get 30% off their first Blue Apron box; click here if you’d like to try it out.

What do you think – would you use a service like Blue Apron to mix up your typical meals? Are you a fan of stuff like watercress and freekha? Am I weird for not really knowing what a freekha is?

 

Disclosure: I was provided a Blue Apron order to review; however all thoughts and opinions in this review are my own. I am not rewarded or compensated in any way if you click through to purchase from Blue Apron.

*Thanks Jessy for your suggestion to try out Blue Apron! If anyone else has a company/service that you’re dying for me to review, let me know.

8 Responses to “Pretending to be a Chef with Blue Apron”

  1. Jessy June 11, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Thank you for reviewing Blue Apron! Several people at my work use it so I was interested to see what a “real” person thought. When I looked into it, I decided on the same cons that you did – price, lack of decisions, and portion size. Ben and I both like trying new foods so I think it’s a neat idea to bust you out of your rut/comfort zone for homecooked food, but the price is just so high in my opinion.

    I had to Google ‘freekah.’ So if you’re weird for not knowing what it is, so am I.

    • Joules June 11, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks for suggesting it, it was a fun review! =)

  2. Quirky Chrissy June 11, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    We tried Hello Fresh a few weeks ago. It was a pretty nice thing, but I let the ingredients for one of the meals sit too long (a little less than a week) and had to throw out the peas and replace them with stuff I had in the fridge.

    The food was good and the packaged pre-portioned food stuffs was convenient (and helpful for the DietBet!), but worth $70 for 3 meals good…meh.
    Quirky Chrissy recently posted…Heading to BlogHer 2014 in San Jose and Things I’m Going to Con Brian into DoingMy Profile

    • Joules June 11, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      I’ve never heard of Hello Fresh, but I can totally see how the pre-packaged sizes would be helpful for dieting. I would go broke if we did it all the time though!

  3. Caro June 12, 2014 at 6:24 am #

    As a chef and super foodie, I found these sorts of things non-creative and rather expensive, but my sister-in-law who is not into cooking uses a similar type service and loves it as she has no idea about food matches/flavours and hadn’t done a lot of cooking until she got preggers. She does find she ends up with lots of leftover spices and things (I don’t know about your service, but this one delivers a small jar of minced garlic when a teaspoon is needed), but she is now skipping the service for a week here and there and letting me plan her menus to use up these things (and finding it a lot cheaper – I thought the $9.99 was per person for all three meals, not per serving!) That’s a lot of groceries – if converted to Kiwi money anyway! xxx

    • Joules June 12, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      See, I need to adopt you as MY sister-in-law so you can help me plan and cook!

  4. Kari June 13, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Hot dogs ARE delicious.
    Kari recently posted…Flat Kari’s Adventures: Coffee, Kitties and Cash. Johnny Cash.My Profile

  5. Jessy June 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    Hey! If you want to try another service, Plated. is doing a promotion right now. If you use the code “getplated1″, you can get 4 plates (2 meals that are supposed to feed 2 people) for the cost of shipping ($20). They rope you with a 3-month membership, but you can cancel it before they charge you. I just did it, we will be having fish tacos with pickled vegetables and Japanese steak this week.

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