My companion and I both like to eat. We also like to cook. He has the Italian thing in his background and I’ve worked in several restaurants so knowledge isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s the lack of creativity in the kitchen that was creating issues.
It’s so easy to get into a rut in this convenient world – Fast food Mondays, pizza Tuesdays, subs on Wednesday, etc. We break it up here and there. I have some dishes I learned how to make in Michigan and we’ll do pasta but after a while it gets old.
“What do you want to do for dinner?”
“Again? I guess.”
Food should not be something that causes more than 5 minutes debate, if you ask me.
I had seen commercials for Plated and there were FaceBook ads for Plated as well as Blue Apron. For those not in the know these are meal delivery services. Not prepared meals, they send you all but the most basic ingredients (olive oil, pepper, salt) with step by step directions for the preparation.
Plated is a subscription service with the associated fees. Even if a week is skipped, the monthly fee is paid. I checked out their options and I wasn’t all that impressed with the meal choices. Plus we have allergies to shellfish and a diabetic in the house so we needed to have slightly more control than they offered us.
I switched to the Blue Apron site. They offer meals for 2 or 4. The menu for the 2 people meals didn’t look that tempting but when I went to the Family size I was more excited. We signed up and gleefully paid our $70 for 2 meals. I know it sounds like a lot but the ingredients are fresh and high quality and that’s twice a week I’m not going to the grocery store.
The ingredients arrive in cooler boxes, the customer transfers everything to the fridge and voila! two dinners that take about half an hour to prepare.
Two laminated sheets come, one for each meal, with very detailed step by step directions.
Last night we decided to make our first meal and we went with the Chicken Schnitzel with German-Style Potato Salad & Quick Sauerkraut. I’m a slightly picky eater and wasn’t sure how I felt about Schnitzel. I already knew I didn’t especially like Sauerkraut but I was more than willing to give it a shot.
The first thing I learned, and something I know from working in the restaurants, is to prep all the ingredients before I started. For example, they sent a fresh bunch of parsley and I had to pluck leaves. One wouldn’t think that was time consuming but it was the longest part of the prep work.
For the vinegar and Dijon mustard they sent pre-measured servings so every time I needed to add something it only required an open and pour.
The directions are timed out for maximum efficiency and I have to applaud the people that put them together. The meals aren’t supposed to take more than 40 minutes to prepare on average and if I had actually prep’ed everything that’s how long it would have taken. Because I took my time it was closer to an hour.
The Quick Sauerkraut was amazing. Apparently I’ve never had it made this way and I liked it. Sweet and sour with broad flavors, I actually want more. My issue is texture, I’m not a mushy food fan but mixed with the Schnitzel it worked rather well.
They sent half a head of Savoy cabbage and I have to say, yum!
The Schnitzel was interesting. I’m not the greatest at breading and frying things so I was slightly leery and that was one of the reasons I took longer to make it. However.
We’re still raving about the Schnitzel today. The breading was Dijon mustard and Panko breadcrumbs. The directions informed me how to tell when the pan was hot enough for the frying and that’s the kind of instruction that should come with more items.
I didn’t use it but from what I understand the website has videos and further directions for each meal in case they’re needed.
The Potato Salad was phenomenal and my Companion finished it off last night. Apparently the yummy flavors were haunting him.
Now, as I said, we selected the 4 person meals, because they looked better but also because of portion size fears. My Companion has a heartier appetite than I and we wanted to make sure he was full. With that in mind, we had a few leftovers. That’s a good thing as my Companion works from home and having an easy, healthy, and delicious lunch can only be a good thing.
My mother will be coming to town next month and we have no fears about being able to feed the three of us on these portion sizes.
Our next meal, which I should be making tonight or tomorrow, will be Whole Wheat Spaghetti & Meatballs with Arugala, Tangelo and Parmesan Salad. The sauce is made from scratch (there’s a section in the directions for preparing “the aromatics” which makes my mouth water) which is a good thing. When I saw the email telling me what meals were coming I expected a jar of sauce. I like being pleasantly surprised.
The beef for the meatballs is lean and high quality and the produce is very fresh. The pasta itself is the only thing that came in a box. I’m quite looking forward to it.
So, if spending $35 on a meal you prepare yourself won’t break your bank then I highly recommend Blue Apron. It’s a creative way to try new dishes you may not normally know how to prepare. Another nice benefit is if you like a meal all of the ingredients, including amounts, are on the front of the laminate so we’ll be keeping a folder with our favorite recipes. Schnitzel is going to the front.