Have you tried a meal delivery service? When Hello Fresh recently offered to send me a box of 3 meals, I was excited to try it. The premise behind the service is that they send you all the ingredients you need to make 2 or 4 servings of 3 different recipes. All of the ingredients are exactly the amounts you need to make each recipe and each recipe makes a complete meal. The recipes, with photos, walk you through how to make each one.
I wondered how easy these meals would be to make for cooks with varying levels of experience. So I decided to divvy up the 3 meals to different members of my family. I cook most meals at home and have enjoyed cooking for several decades. My husband, Scott, has never cooked a meal from scratch. My teenage daughter, Quincy, is a recent, but enthusiastic, cook. Here are our takes on our Hello Fresh Meals.
Diana: Experienced Cook
Meal: Mozzarella-Crusted Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes and Potato Wedges
Since I spend my days as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist helping others to eat healthfully and plan meals, I admit that I felt a little silly making a meal from pre-measured ingredients. I intended to make my meal on a weekend when I could spend a little more time on it and take pictures, but it turned out that I made it on a hectic weeknight. The whole thing was on the table in under 30 minutes and we really enjoyed the chicken and veggies. The recipes were simple and flavorful. I loved that everything was roasted in the oven on one baking sheet and that all of the ingredients, except olive oil, salt and pepper, were provided in the box. The recipe was easy to follow.
Even though I love to cook and have many recipes to choose from, deciding what to cook for dinner night after night can be difficult especially when time is tight. A Hello Fresh delivery simplifies decision making and shopping even for experienced cooks.
Scott: Not a Cook
Meal: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Crema
Asking me to cook is sort of like asking me if I can overhaul the exhaust system of the International Space Station. I’m a “I can make takeout” kinda guy. So what does a generously-described “challenged” chef such as myself do with Hello Fresh? Well, make some really good veggie tacos, that’s what!
I found the directions very easy to understand and everything was labelled well and nothing was hard to find or understand. I pretty much followed the recipe but had to improvise a few times. For instance, it wasn’t clear the black beans and the sweet potato mix had to go together before the end. I think the biggest drawback is that if one isn’t blessed with a significant other who owns every kitchen tool known to man, it could be a challenge or at least, require some jury rigging. Also, I had no idea how to zest anything. Overall, the meal was tasty (it had sweet potatoes…not a fan) and I felt somewhat empowered by making my own “real” dinner. I want to cook again.
Quincy: Teen Chef
Meal: Citrus Skillet Shrimp over Basmati Rice
My go to recipes always include the following three key words: healthy, quick, and easy. I can spend hours scrolling through Pinterest looking for a recipe that meets all of those qualifications, but HelloFresh simply arrived at my door and there were three healthy, quick, and easy meals.
The meal I decided to make was called Citrus Skillet Shrimp. At first the flavor combination seemed odd; how would olives work with the bright, orange flavor? In the end the recipe was fantastic. It was a perfect mix of flavors with the spicy poblano, sweet orange, and mouthwatering shrimp. Even better, it only took me about 30 minutes to make (and it was so delicious it only took me about 5 minutes to eat!). The instructions were simple, easy to follow, and didn’t require any special kitchen tools.
Overall, it was a fantastic, healthy meal that took hardly and time and effort at all to make – the perfect weeknight dinner!