I have a week of amazing meals to share with you thanks to Blue Apron. Blue Apron is a service that delivers all the ingredients you need to make fresh and flavorful meals right to your doorstep. I have read about Blue Apron on some other blogs I follow and have several friends here in Charlotte that use the service and love it so I was really eager to give it a try.
The way the service works is that you receive everything you need to make three meals. You can choose between two- or four-person serving sizes and you receive just the right amount of ingredients to make the recipes.
Each week, Blue Apron features six “what we’re cooking” recipes for two-person plans and four recipes for four-person plans. Blue Apron sends you a selection of these meals based on your indicated dietary preferences.
Everything arrives in a box packed with coolers and ice packs on your set delivery date. Everything was cold and fresh when I removed it from the packaging and I was pleased to find the chicken, fish and steak vacuum-sealed, which helps extend shelf-life.
For each meal you receive a recipe card with step-by-step instructions along with all the ingredients measured out in perfect amounts. The recipe card walks you through how to prep, cook and present your meal. Meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less.
Along with the ingredients you get a little paper bag of “knick knacks” that has any miscellaneous stuff you might need in small amounts to make the meal such as sauces, butter, spices, etc. I really love that they send this to you in such small amounts. I feel like it reduces so much waste. Who really uses a whole carton of heavy cream when you buy it and how many jars of spices do you have in your pantry that you’ve barely touched?
The step-by-step directions make it really simple to successfully cook the meals. I rarely follow recipes when I cook so I enjoyed not really having to think and just getting lost in chopping, sauteeing and following along with the pictures.
One thing I loved about Blue Apron is that it encouraged me to be a more organized cook.
I actually did all the prep work as instructed and it made the cooking of the dishes go seamlessly. I feel like this would be an extra helpful step for people who are newer to cooking. It’s a great habit to get into.
Here the three meals that I made during my week of Blue Apron.
Bouillabaisse-Style Fish Stew with Fennel, Potatoes and Castelvetrano Olives
I was the least excited about this dish when I discovered it was one of my menu selections for the week. I went ahead and knocked it out first because I kind of wanted to get it over with and wanted to use the fresh fish first. Imagine my surprise when this turned out to be one of my favorite meals of the three. It was really flavorful, vibrantly colored and not overwhelmingly fishy at all. I especially enjoyed dipping the baguette in the broth.
Pan Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Maple-Glazed Carrots
I thought this dish might be a little boring. It doesn’t get more simple than chicken, mashed potatoes and cooked carrots, right? I was wrong. This was insanely good. The chicken breast was melt in your mouth tender and the gravy was perfect and so easy to make since Blue Apron sent the demi-glace. The maple glazed carrots were awesome and I’ll definitely be adding them to my regular dinner sides rotation. Most Blue Apron meals come in around 500-700 calories per serving and at 675 calories per serving this was my highest calorie meal of the week but worth every single one of them. The portion was very generous (and note I added the sauteed mushrooms).
Steak and Miso Roasted Vegetable Salad
This meal featured sliced steak with a ponzu dipping sauce along with a kale salad tossed with miso-roasted japanese sweet potatoes and purple topped turnips. I had the most trouble with this meal…the miso roasted vegetables didn’t really do well in the oven and stuck to the pan but I made it work and really liked the kale salad. It was my favorite part of the whole dish. If I made it again I would slightly steam the kale before making the salad but that’s just personal preference.
I have a lot of thoughts about Blue Apron so I want to quickly hit on what I loved and considerations.
What I loved…
- Not having to menu plan or think about what’s for dinner. I have been known to spend hours menu planning and sometimes WAY overthink what I’m in the mood to eat at night.
- The convenience of having everything delivered to my doorstep and not having to go food shopping. I love food shopping (seriously…grocery store = happy place) but when you’re super busy it’s nice not to have to worry about getting to the store.
- Following recipes. As I stated above, I rarely follow recipes anymore when I cook and it was nice to try new things. You can also keep the recipe cards and make the dishes again on your own.
- Trying new ingredients. Thanks to Blue Apron, I cooked with fennel, miso paste and turnips for the first time…and loved all of it! I have already purchased turnips again and roasted them on my own.
- The lack of food waste. I used every single thing that Blue Apron sent me and didn’t throw away one single item of food. The cost for the service is $59.94 per week so that come’s out to about $9.99 per serving but I think it’s totally worth it for the convenience, quality and lack of food waste. The delivery of the food is free.
- No commitment required. You can schedule deliveries anytime you want them. I love that you’re not locked into a contract and can order the meals based on your schedule and need.
- While the step-by-step instructions were very helpful, having basic kitchen knowledge definitely helps with adjusting flavors to meet your individual tastes and modifying recipes/cooking techniques. I tried very hard to not make a lot of changes to the recipes for the purpose of the review but did do things like increase the cooking time for the fish stew to allow the flavors to further develop, added mushrooms to the chicken dish, added plain greek yogurt to my mashed potatoes, modified the garlic baguettes to be parmesan/olive oil baguettes because I don’t love overly garlicky things, etc.
- Because Blue Apron focuses on seasonal ingredients, you see some overlap of ingredients. I had kale in two of my meals and some sort of potato in all three.
- You want to be sure that your schedule will allow you to cook the meals in the days following your delivery. Your fridge is stocked with a lot of fresh food!
- I found it helpful to read some of the “tips from home chefs” on the recipe page on the Blue Apron website when I was making the dishes to find out what worked and didn’t work for others. It was also interesting to see varying levels of success with the dishes.
- While Blue Apron does accommodate dietary preferences when it comes to vegetarian, pescatarian, no red meat, etc., they do not offer gluten-free, Paleo or allergy-free meal options at this time.
- You cannot hand select your menu selections from the featured recipes. Blue Apron selects your meals based on your dietary preferences. This was not an issue for me because I will literally eat pretty much anything but if you are a picky eater it might not be for you.
Overall, I give it two thumbs up. The meals exceeded my expectations, encouraged me to get more creative in the kitchen and introduced me to new ingredients. Although I was provided this week of meals for free, I will 100% be using this service on my own in the future.
Want to try Blue Apron for yourself? The first 50 readers to order a week of meals will get TWO FREE MEALS! Click this link to sign up.
This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.