First, let’s get something straight: I am not a seasoned chef proposing to impart wisdom to you on that topic. Quite the opposite! But I’m also not being self-deprecating by calling myself a “dummy”. I am merely tipping my hat to the “For Dummies” franchise of how-to books and videos. Because Hello Fresh really does seem like a “Cooking for Dummies” class to me!
I’ve never written about grocery lists, meal planning, or shopping tips, much less cooking. The closest I’ve come are these kitchen-related blog posts and such:
Get Organized! Kitchen Pantry Tips for You (new free download from Professional Organizers of New Mexico, featuring photos of our own pantries!)
That’s because I don’t cook.
Now, because I have encountered individuals who know even less about cooking than I do, when I say, “I don’t cook,” what I mean is this: I don’t cook meals with more than 3 ingredients that take more than a few minutes to prepare. When I do cook it’s usually a one-bowl meal consisting of rice, pasta, or beans, with protein like beef, chicken or shrimp (usually microwaved from frozen, or cooked by adding to the pasta water at the last minute), and vegetables (usually frozen broccoli, and again either microwaved or cooked by adding to the pasta water at the last minute). Add butter, shredded Parmesan, salt and pepper. (OK, if I counted those, I guess I’d be up to 7 ingredients.) Good, healthy, and quick, but not mouth-wateringly delicious or adventurous.
Enter Hello Fresh!
Hello Fresh is a subscription service. They send you a box per week, with 3 smaller boxes inside, each containing ingredients for a meal large enough to feed 2 or 4 people. So, a single person can have leftovers, or have a friend over. From their website:
We’re on a mission to make it easy for you to eat tasty, nutritious meals from scratch at home. Whether you’re a seasoned cook short on time or a beginner looking to learn, we’ll send you new recipes every week, with the exact ingredients you need to cook them.
And when we say exact we mean exact. Whether it’s meat, veggies, dairy, nuts or a measured-out teaspoon of spices, the only thing you need is some olive oil, salt and pepper.
Reasons to Try
I signed up several weeks ago. Here is my original list of reasons for trying it, and how each one has worked out thus far:
- More regular, healthier meals. – Check!
- Portion-controlled meals. If they say it’s supposed to feed two, then I will make a point of only eating half at one meal. – Check! (The portions are plentiful, and sometimes there’s enough for seconds, which means it could really feed 3 or 4 depending on everyone’s appetite and whether or not you add a salad or bread.)
- Cooking instructions, which I realize are called recipes, but made easy so maybe I’ll really do it. – Check! If a meal includes three items, the recipes are all combined into one set of clear instructions, start to finish.
- Meals planned by someone else. – Check! All I have to do is choose three out of the five meals that are presented to me each week, or just let them send me their three choices.
- Not having to grocery shop as often, thereby exposing myself to junk food temptation less often. – Check! That’s worth something right there!
- New food and recipe ideas to stimulate my own creativity. – Check! I have found myself thinking, “Who knew I liked parsnips?” and, “I think I could make this again on my own.” I am even eating things I normally wouldn’t, such as onions and mushrooms. I might use half what they send, and chop them very finely, but I am eating them.
- Maybe eventually getting into the habit of cooking more on my own. – The jury is still out… but it could happen!
- The food is delicious! I mean sit-down-at-the-table and have-a-glass-of-wine delicious. I haven’t tried a single recipe in weeks that I did not enjoy.
- I hadn’t anticipated how organized this operation, and the meal boxes themselves, would be. All the cute, tiny portions of spices and foods packaged just for that one meal are very appealing to a professional organizer!
- I realized pretty early on that I had crappy knives. So I bought some new ones. OMG! Cooking is so much more fun with sharp knives! These knives weren’t expensive, either, just better than what I had. I also asked for, and received for Christmas, my very first garlic press! Who knew I’d ever want a garlic press?
- I won’t lie. Real cooking involves lots of chopping, frying, stirring, pot and pan dirtying, and general mess-making. There is way more clean-up required than you get with no cooking. I’m just sayin’!
- Packaging. Lots of it. At least cardboard is recyclable, and the cold packs are filled with water-soluble, bio-degradable gel.
- It’s possible (such as during holidays) to get backed up and not cook everything before the next box comes. Never fear! You can “pause” your subscription for a week (or longer) and the boxes usually last longer than a week in your fridge. And the meat can be frozen. (There are veggie subscriptions as well.) Just something to be aware of.
As for whether or not it’s worth the cost, I suppose it depends on how often you’ve been eating out, and how healthy your meals have been. Here’s a great little article on that topic: Are Subscription Meal Kits Worth It? (from time.com/money)
I am thinking this is a great idea for anyone who is willing and able to do their own cooking, but who is temporarily (or permanently) too busy or uninterested in planning meals and going shopping. Such as busy business people. Or those just learning to cook. Or seniors who can cook but can no longer drive themselves to the grocery store. They also offer gift certificates. A gift for new parents comes to mind.
Wanna Try It? (Referral Code)
If you would like to try Hello Fresh, and if you use my referral code — BY7K7D — you will get $40 off your first box and I will get $20 off my next box. Just click Hello Fresh to check it out!
What do you think? Have you tried Hello Fresh, or a similar service? Would you? Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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