Cooking at Home with Blue Apron

The past few days have been a whirlwind–of events, of emotions, of thoughts going through my head about the future. Life has been stressful enough due to the U.S. election without other daily tasks and worries. The last thing I want to worry about right now is paying bills or making dinner. Thanks to Blue Apron, they’ve helped a lot with the latter.

My good friend Ava and her husband have been subscribers of Blue Apron for a while now. I didn’t know what it was before they told me about it, but it’s a company that will send you fresh ingredients to prepare three meals, for a starting rate of $59.94 per week for a two-person plan. That’s about $10 a serving. If you tend to eat out three times a week, you can see how this company could be a better (and healthier) option for your lifestyle.

When Ava and Allan told us about Blue Apron, Mike and I were instantly curious. Were the meals easy to prepare? Were they good? Did the ingredients arrive fresh, as promised? What if you don’t like the three options for a particular week?

Then we were surprised a couple weeks later with a chance to try it out, for free, thanks to our friends.

When our package arrived, we unboxed all of the ingredients for the three meals, along with the recipe sheets and a complimentary newspaper with handy information, such as the popular produce for the season, tips for cooking with seasonal fruit, and more about the farmers who partner with the company. Everything was clearly labeled, which was convenient for us when we needed to gather supplies before making each dinner. We were very impressed by the quality of Blue Apron before we even put their product to the test!

Now that we’ve had the time to prepare and devour each of the dishes, I’d like to share the experience of Blue Apron with you 🙂

Meal One – Pork Meatballs with Beet & Cranberry Agrodolce

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Overall, this meal was the easiest for us to prepare and cook, making it a great first choice. Beets have yet to make our weekly grocery list, so we were a tad skeptical about cooking with them when we say this ingredient on the recipe sheet. They definitely caused a bit of a mess, but added a surprisingly pleasant flavor to the dish. It was also our first time making farro, but we found this process to be really simple with the help of Blue Apron’s clear and detailed instruction.

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The finished product was splendid. Overall, this was a quick, tasteful meal and I really enjoyed the blend of flavors. The pork meatballs were top quality and I could eat them for days! Mike and I would easily prepare this meal again.

 

Meal Two – Crispy Chicken with Mashed Potato and Spicy Collard Greens

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I’ll be honest, when we saw collard greens on the list, we were not excited. This vegetable has always been associated with negative reactions (and Run D.M.C. Christmas songs), so we had our doubts about this particular dish. That being said, it couldn’t have shocked us more! The prepared collard greens were incredibly flavorful, with the help of pepper flakes. They paired very nicely with the potatoes, which were simple yet delicious.

Our only issue? Cooking the chicken. We’re both paranoid about food poisoning, so Mike and I always prepare chicken in the oven; it just seems more likely to be fully cooked that way than preparing it on the stove top. However, we wanted to stick with the original recipe, so we cooked our chicken in a pan as directed. It looked right, but when we each cut into our pieces, they were a bit under cooked.

If prepared right, I think this dish would be a really nice option after a long day. With the mix of flavors coming together to create a comfort-like dish, it’s no wonder this is a tradition of the south.

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Meal Three – Seared Salmon with Glazed Carrots and Saffron/Yogurt Sauce

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Being our last and most flavor-packed meal, this dish came with the longest prep time. Due to the list of ingredients that needed to be prepped, I found it helpful to underline what we had accomplished as we went along. Once the ingredients were ready, this was the easiest of the three meals to make. My favorite part of Blue Apron is the step-by-step instructions on the backside of the recipe sheet; the pictures come in handy if you need to confirm that what you are doing looks right, and I referred to this several times as we were cooking.

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Neither of us are big on seafood, but we do enjoy salmon occasionally. This dish did not let us down! The carrots and potatoes were jam packed with colorful flavor, due in large part to lemon juice, orange juice, and honey. We each put a decent spoonful of saffron/yogurt sauce on our fish, but found ourselves still reaching for more because it was that good. Of the three meals, this is the one I would recreate again and again–especially for when we have guests.

 

Even though Mike and I decided not to subscribe to more meals with Blue Apron, we enjoyed our experience very much. The company is all about sustainability and letting consumers know where their food is coming from–something that I really appreciate. An added bonus to their website is their online cookbook, where you can find the recipes to these dishes and many more! Next time we’re stumped for what to make for dinner, this will be our go-to over Pinterest.

If you’ve been contemplating subscribing to a food-delivery service, I highly recommend giving Blue Apron a try. While it wasn’t the most cost-effective option for Mike and I, it could very well be a viable option for you.

-Ciara

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