[review] how Hello Fresh made my kitchen a way happier place

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Disclaimer: I paid, with my own money, for this week-long subscription of Hello Fresh. I only review products that I think my readers would really enjoy and want to learn more about. This post may include affiliate links or codes. 

I got a coupon in my last Graze box (which is a snack box service Pat and I are still subscribed to, for some reason) for 50 percent off an order from Hello Fresh, and I decided we should go ahead and check it out, since I have been trying to find new recipes and struggling to find things that were affordable, easy and tasty to both picky eaters in this house. It took me a few weeks to actually have three days in a week where I could cook dinner – I didn't want to let anything go to waste! – but we scheduled our box for delivery on Monday, October 9.

We tried Blue Apron in the past, and my parents have experience with Plated, which they loved. We hated Blue Apron. Sorry to them, but the food was too fancy for us and too difficult for my beginner-level skills.

The meal selections

Pat does not like pork or red meat, except for the occasional burger and maybe pulled pork or sausage, every once in a while. He also doesn't care for seafood. And I don't like a lot of vegetables – I'm working on it, I swear – or burgers. So, for a meal service to work for us, there needs to be at least three chicken recipes to choose from, because that's all we'll choose. 

Hello Fresh, for the most part, delivers on that! Most of their recipes are chicken-based, although not all – there is steak, ground beef or pork available on most menus, if you are less picky than us, but this is one of the main reasons we didn't subscribe to Blue Apron after one trial run. 

For our first box, we got jerk chicken thighs with a mango bell pepper salad and sweet potato wedges,  chicken sausage pizzas with broiled zucchini and fresh oregano and chicken parm salad with baby spinach and a creamy lemon dressing. 

The packaging

Hello Fresh had MUCH less packaging than Blue Apron, and most of the packaging (not all, but most!) was brown paper and could be recycled. Woo! I am not as observant of the waste that we create as I should be but I do hate to see an absurd amount of plastic and shrink wrap for one single meal. Other than the spices, cheeses and other dairy products and meat, everything was free willy in the box. 

The box arrived around 3 p.m. on Monday and everything that needed to be was nice and cold. I do not think I would've felt comfortable leaving it in the box for much longer, because some things at the top were feeling room temperature, but the ice packs still had a lot left in them.

The price

Hello Fresh ain't cheap. We had a coupon and still spent $30 on the three meals, and without a coupon it's $59.94 for a two-person box of three meals on the Classic Plan. I go to the grocery store and spend $50 to $75 on food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week for us – which is still a lot, and honestly, we could do a better job budgeting at the grocery store, so it just doesn't make practical sense to subscribe to Hello Fresh as anything more than a treat every so often. 

The ingredient quality

My produce had some bumps and bruises, and the zucchini I received for my chicken sausage pizza looked a little worse for wear. But everything else was in great shape and good quality, too. They even use Daisy sour cream – which is, needless to say, my preferred brand. Everything held up great in the fridge and even the pizza worked out, even though we had to wait until the Monday after receiving the box to cook it. Shhhh.

The process

Hello Fresh was so easy. The hardest thing I experienced the entire time was cutting the mango – I bitched about not having any instructions for cutting a mango, but I actually overlooked the very handy and present instructions that were right on the recipe card. Whoops – and it was very easy to stay on pace and get everything done on time. My main issue with Blue Apron was because it expected me to work at the pace of a person who has intermediate cooking skills, my side dishes were always done before my entree, or vice versa.

Also – I burnt every single meal I made with Blue Apron. Yep. I don't even know how, but I did. It was horrible. Both times we ended up at Chick-fil-a.

The end result

Our meals were delicious! The flavors were excellent and nothing was too salty – another issue I had with my Blue Apron meals. Everything was WAY too salty by the end.

Pat really loved the chicken parm salad and I loved the mango and bell pepper salad with the jerk chicken thighs. We were both full and there was plenty to go around. Nothing kept very good for leftovers – the greens wilted and got kind of icky on the second day, so I ended up tossing everything we had left the next day. 

The conclusion

I really enjoyed Hello Fresh and it was totally worth it at $30 for one box. The ingredients were great and the meals were absolutely delicious, and I really appreciated the versatile meal selection. Unfortunately, the $60 price tag for three meals is not going to work for our budget, except maybe for a treat every now and then. 


Have you ever tried Hello Fresh or another meal service? What did you think?


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