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"Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank Lloyd Wright

A Week With Blue Apron

Recently I came across some advertising for a fresh meal delivery service that had some delicious-looking meals and the descriptions of those meals caught my attention. My husband and I always try to cook nutritious and fresh meals but sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a rut.

I’ll have to admit that my husband does most of the cooking around here. That’s not because I don’t know how or don’t want to – it’s just that he worked in the restaurant business for quite some time and he still enjoys cooking. He’s really good at it too!

When I initially read the flyer for Blue Apron, I thought that this might be my chance to prepare my own restaurant quality meal in the kitchen. I wasn’t trying to compete with my husband – well, maybe just a little. I really just wanted to give him a break from cooking every day but still enjoy the same quality of meals that we enjoy (without having to go out to dinner). After talking with some friends who had also tried the service and really liked it, I decided to sign up for the 2-Person Plan.

The Blue Apron boxWhat's Inside?

One of the immediate benefits is that you can view the menus ahead of time and choose which week(s) you would like and you can skip the weeks that don’t appeal to you. I chose my week and waited for my shipment. The package arrived on time and was well-packed with plenty of ice packs to keep everything chilled. Meats and items to be kept colder were on the bottom and vegetables, grains and fruits were on the top. The order comes with professional recipe cards (worth saving) with detailed instructions, wine pairing ideas and plenty of photos to get you through the process.

What's Cooking?

The first meal I prepared was the Smoky Pork Burgers with Roasted Vegetables and Piquillo Pepper Sauce. Sounds good doesn’t it? It not something I would come up with myself nor is it something that I would necessarily choose from a cookbook but sometimes it’s good to get out of one’s comfort zone and try something new. After all, this was my chance to shine in the kitchen!

As I began to round up the items needed to prepare the meal, it was very clear that the ingredients shipped by Blue Apron were extremely fresh and of high quality. Also, the packaging is very “green”; everything is recyclable. Just the right amounts of ingredients are shipped for each meal so there is no waste of excess food or ingredients. Each meal comes with a bag of Knick Knacks – just the right amounts of things like rice vinegar, sesame oil, sour cream, etc. so you don’t have to buy a whole bottle of sherry vinegar.

They thought of everythingIngredients for Salmon dinner

I really appreciate the fact that someone has packed exactly what I need and has included a recipe card to show me exactly what to do. Of course, I still did all the prep work and the cooking but someone else took the guesswork out of the “What should we have for dinner?” question and essentially did the shopping for me. I also love the fact that the microwave is NOT used for food preparation. This is really great food and is prepared using classic cooking techniques.

The first dinner went really well! I’ll confess to having made one change to the preparation of the pork burgers. I did not - as was suggested in the recipe - toast the buns in the “pan of reserved fond” (which consisted of some of the pan drippings from the pork). Instead I lightly buttered them and toasted them on a separate griddle. While I’m sure it would have tasted great the other way, I chose to keep the fat grams down. The meal was a hit and I was especially impressed with the farm-fresh quality of the arugula! I’ve not tasted arugula that good since I worked in the fruit/vegetable wholesale business almost 30 years ago.

Tangelo and Honey-Glazed SalmonChicken Yakiniku

The other two meals that were included in this shipment were 1) Tangelo and Honey-Glazed Salmon with Farro, Apple and Crispy Rosemary and 2) Chicken Yakiniku with Sesame-Marinated Carrots and Garlic Rice. Probably dishes you might not think of making for dinner. Not only were they fairly easy and looked good on the plate, they were very tasty too! The wild Alakan salmon was of exceptional quality and I also loved the baby bok choy in the chicken recipe.

I’m not sure how many children would appreciate meals like this (although Blue Apron does have a family plan available that has family-style meals for four) but for two adults, I think an option for food like this is perfect - especially when they are delivered to your door! Going out to dinner can occasionally be disappointing and can also be very expensive. I loved being able to cook high quality, delicious meals at home without too much effort or expense.

Each week consists of 3 meals for 2 people and costs $59.94 with free shipping. That comes to $9.99/serving – not bad considering that you get farm fresh, high-quality food with no hormones, access to how-to videos, recipe cards and all the ingredients you need. The only ingredient we needed to use from our own kitchen was olive oil!

Give it a Try!

If you find that any of these meals appeal to you or you just want to get out of your cooking rut for awhile, I would urge you to give Blue Apron a try! Check out the current menus on their website. Use code NEWMEALS20 and get $20 off your first order! If you try it out, be sure to post your comments and photos on my Facebook page.

FYI

It's easy to go in and skip weeks that you don't need or want.  Should you want to cancel the subscription altogether, there isn't a link on the website, but you'll need to call or go to https://www.blueapron.com/cancel_subscription

Get the Gear!

The products listed here are ones that I use in my own kitchen and highly recommend.

Mini Prep Bowls (4-pack 3.5 inches diameter)

Use prep bowls to sort out and pre-measure your ingredients.

Veggie Wash Citrus Magic Natural Fruit and Vegetable Refill, 32 Fluid Ounce

Safely wash and clean your fresh fruits and vegetables with more than just water.

Magnetic Menu Dry Erase Weekly Meal Planner Refrigerator Board With Grocery List And Notes

Plan ahead and take the guesswork out of meals.

J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife

No kitchen is complete with a sharp, multipurpose chef's knife.

KITCHEN TIP:

 Put your recipe card inside a Sheet Protector to keep it clean while in the kitchen.  It also makes it easy to file into a 3-ring binder for future use.

Blue Apron recipe card