Remember, I am not a cook. Or, well…maybe I am now? I have stripped fresh rosemary leaves off the stem, butterflied chicken breasts, whipped up pan sauces, cooked green beans in a frying pan and steak in the oven, made my own condiments (aioli, teriyaki sauce), and performed many other culinary feats. I can see a little bit more now why people like to do this cooking thing (smells great, tastes delicious, creative, meditative).
It’s been over six months since I subscribed to the Hello Fresh meal kit service, but I’ve taken time off here and there. I love being able to pause the plan when I want to. I have to pay attention to the delivery schedule, of course, to make sure I’m not charged for or sent a box I didn’t want, but they’re reducing the cut-off time from seven days in advance to five to make it easier.
Click here to read my previous post: Cooking for Dummies: A glowing “Hello Fresh” review and a $40 referral code for you!
Here are 12 things I’ve learned from cooking with Hello Fresh:
- Onions are not just for picking out of dishes. They are an actual food, with nutritional value, that taste good in many instances. And there are a wide variety of onions, some of which I like better than others. I decided when I started
that there was no point in ordering their food and following their recipes if I was going to skip steps or leave things out, so I have learned to like some foods I wouldn’t normally choose. Like roasted parsnip wedges. Mmm! Who knew I liked parsnips?
- Mushrooms, on the other hand….if there are mushrooms in a sauce I will maybe use half and chop them v-e-r-y finely. But if they offer a mushroom-centric dish I just make another meal choice to begin with. (They will send you 3 meals of their choice per week automatically, but you do have the chance to substitute.)
- I am no longer afraid of a recipe with 10 ingredients.
- Good knives are essential to the joy of cooking. Mine aren’t the best, but my new ones are light-years beyond the crappy old ones I started with.
- It’s way more fun to mince garlic if you have an actual garlic press. I still need one of those things you catch seeds with when you squeeze a lemon. These recipes involve a lot of lemons and garlic.
- I now know how to cook risotto the long, hard way. The shrimp and lemon risotto was delicious! And I don’t feel the need to do it ever again. I’ve read that there are easier, shorter ways to cook risotto but I don’t care enough.
- Medium heat on my stove is 4. And I have to add 50 degrees for my particular oven. I already knew this about my oven, from previous failed baking attempts, but it’s very important to keep in mind.
- My toaster oven works for baking all types of food. I even got a little set of tiny pans for it, which remind me of an Easy Bake Oven. Of course, if the entire meal is being baked, or you’re cooking for a whole family, you need a full sized baking sheet and oven.
- An empty honey bear works just fine for drizzling olive oil.
- I have not lost weight, but then, I never intended to. These are not diet meals. (Well, not the ones I’ve made…read on…) They are just healthy and tasty, and a good substitute for eating junk or eating out.
- Who knew about basting a pan-fried steak with rosemary garlic butter? And it never occurred to me to season meat before cooking, and not just wait until after.
- When I took a few weeks off, I did not find that I’ve magically turned into a meal planner, grocery shopper, or gourmet cook on my own.
Recently Hello Fresh has started offering some new plans. The previous choices of Boxes were Classic or Veggie, with 2-person or 4-person portions. The new Boxes are Classic, Veggie and Family, with a wider selection of number of meals and number of servings. The new recipe selections are: Beef Free, Chef’s Choice, Fit, Pork Free, Quick, Seafood Free, Variety.
Guess which one I chose? (2 points if you guessed Quick.)
I must say, and this is a deal breaker for some, I’m still not crazy about the cleanup part. I haven’t really gotten the knack of cleaning as I go, although I understand the concept, and would strongly advise doing so. If this is what other people do every day (cook), then no wonder their kitchens are sometimes such a mess!
What are some of your own favorite cooking tips and tricks?
Have you tried Hello Fresh, or a similar service?
(My previous post includes a link to an article that compares the various meal kit services.)
Copyright 2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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