My hubs is a darling! He got a free first box offer code and decided to surprise me around the Holidays, so I wouldn’t have to spend time planning meals when we could be spending it together. After all, Hello Fresh offers the perfect solution for people who love the idea of having quick, healthy, and wholesome dinners without the time commitment that goes into them. My last Hello Fresh review was published way back in 2013, so I thought I would refresh your memory – and mine – about the service.
HOW IT WORKS:
Hello Fresh is a new way to cook. Every week, you can choose the delicious recipes you want to try and get all of the pre-measured ingredients you need to prepare them. Hello Fresh will take care of your meal planning and even do the shopping for you. The recipes are created by world-class chefs who ensure that your meals are delicious and easy to prepare within 30 minutes. You don’t need fancy kitchen equipment and the beautiful step-by-step photo instructions will change the way you think about cooking! Subscription plans start from $69.00/week, shipping included. WANT $40 OFF YOUR FIRST BOX? Click here to subscribe!
Hello Fresh offers three meal options: Classic Box for omnivores, Veggie Box for vegetarians, and Family Box with kid-friendly recipes that will make the whole family happy.
In my original review I noted that I couldn’t select the dishes, so I wasn’t entirely happy with my experience. There are actually six to choose from for Classic Box each week, and the window closes 5 days before the delivery date. In 2013 I found the website a bit confusing, but I they must have had an overhaul, so it was much easier to find the recipe selection page. Go to your account and click “My Deliveries” tab, then expand the menu to choose three meals to be included in the box for that week. You can see the entire menu four weeks in advance!
I selected three dishes that looked like something both Mike and I would enjoy:
- Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce
- Shawarma-Spiced Pork with Couscous and Peas
- Ultra-Creamy Risotto with Mushrooms and Artichokes
This is where our issues began. Mike chose Wednesday as his delivery day [he wanted the box to be delivered to his work place], that was before Hello Fresh sent an announcement about their holiday shipment changes. Wednesday was the only day that worked for him, as he was hoping to be there half-day on Thursday and he was off on Friday. Our food was not even shipped until Wednesday afternoon, and the account showed that our ETA updated to Thursday, so his fingers were crossed for AM delivery. The box didn’t come on Thursday at all, instead it was delivered on Friday right around the time when the office was about to be locked for the long weekend. Thankfully, Mike is a manager and has master keys for the building, so he was able to drive there on Saturday to finally pick up the box, but we had concerns about the food freshness after it spent four days in a cardboard box [our box had meat in it].
The box design changed quite a bit and I like the new look! There are solid bricks of frozen gel on the bottom and boxes with ingredients on the top, so the container was essentially a cooler. Our meats were placed in individual vacuum sealed bags and sandwiched between the blocks of frozen gel, which was still very much intact after 4 days. Everything looked pretty fresh to me, so I had no concerns about my proteins spoiling. That was until I noticed that my chicken was dripping, and those drippings clearly did not look like water. Upon further inspection, it turns out that the bag with chicken tenders was punctured, so they no longer were vacuum sealed. Mike and I decided to toss it, even though the chicken actually smelled fresh. We don’t know how this hole was created or when, and there’s just no point risking your health over 12oz of chicken tenders.
Other than that, I think the box looked fantastic and very organized! Save for the meats, ingredients for each of the three recipes came in their own little cardboard box. Everything was wrapped in little packages and ziploc baggies, and already pre-measured. Very convenient indeed!
The first recipe we tried was Shawarma-Spiced Pork with Couscous and Peas. When I hear the word shawarma, I think about the Middle Eastern gyros. Shawarma is the word they use in Russia to describe grilled meat on a rotating spit, thinly shaved and stuffed inside pita bread, or lavash, with dressing and vegetables. I must say, I thought this would be the recipe that we would like the least, and it totally blew it out the ballpark! The sauce was absolutely delicious, and it really added that zesty freshness to the dish. I also loved the addition of peas, they made couscous taste a little sweeter.
I wouldn’t call hubs a picky eater, but he definitely has his likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to meat dishes. He is not really a pork person [save for bacon], but when I asked him if I should save this recipe and make it again some day, his answer was a definite yes.
Second recipe we tried was Ultra-Creamy Risotto with Mushrooms and Artichokes. I am very much a risotto person, and this vegetarian version looked like something I would love to try. Plus, it’s different, as I usually make either seafood or chicken-based risottos. Well, it’s definitely way more hands-on than most recipes, such is the nature of the dish. At one point I got worried that the amount of stock provided was insufficient, because my rice was absorbing it faster than I could pour and stir, so I lowered the cooking temperature even further. The result: creamy, fragrant goodness that looked like it came from a restaurant!
The recipe definitely needs some modifications though. I felt like the amount of artichokes needs to be doubled, and parsley – tripled, but that’s just my opinion.
Since we had to toss the chicken, I did not make the last recipe yet, but if the first two are any indication, it should be pretty good. I told Mike to get some tenders after work tonight, so maybe we’ll have the skewers fore dinner if he remembers.
I still think Hello Fresh is worth trying at least once, just so you can see how convenient it is. My sister actually ordered a box from a similar service back in Russia and she thought it was amazing. She hates cooking, but the meals were easy to prepare and everything turned out delicious. If you want to give it a shot, here’s the code for $40 off your first box. It will automatically apply when you register with this link. Enjoy!
Have you tried Hello Fresh or a similar meal delivery service or know anyone that has? What did you/they think about it? Let me know in the comments!
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