For a while now, I’ve been wanting to review Blue Apron meal delivery service. First, I love to try out new recipes; and second, the idea of not being so wasteful with our food is very appealing to me. I plan to try out some of the other meal delivery services as well, but Groupon had a deal on Blue Apron, and you know how I love a good deal.
The process was pretty easy. Once I had my Groupon voucher, I simply went to a special page on the Blue Apron website (the link was provided within the Groupon), typed in my code and got started. Be aware that you are essentially signing up for a weekly membership, so you will either need to skip future meals you don’t want or cancel the account after you receive your first delivery. Otherwise, they will send you more meals at full price and you’ll be charged for them.
I decided to wait until I’d tried the program before I cancelled my account, but with the holidays and vacations, etc., I did decide to skip meals for the next 6 to 8 weeks. I’ll make a decision after that if I want to have another delivery here and there. Honestly, at full price, the meals are a bit pricier than what I would cook for us. Then, again, it is still cheaper than eating out, tipping the waitress, etc. I would also say it is probably healthier based on the ingredients.
Cooking for Two
My husband and I are officially empty nesters. My oldest has her first job after college and her first place of her own. My youngest is in college and staying just off campus in some student apartments. I have had to really adjust how I cook meals, we’ve had to learn to eat leftovers, etc. You would think I would remember from our early days of marriage, but for the past 23 years, there have been kiddos in the picture.
Groupon was sold out of the 2-person meal kits. I went ahead and ordered the 4-person meal kit because I figured my husband would have leftovers for lunch or we could eat the same meal two nights. Not a big deal or a deal breaker. More on the size of the 4-person kit in a minute below in the review chart at the end of this post.
Review Blue Apron Kit I Received
The week I signed up, the kit included a recipe for Seared Chicken Thighs and White Cheddar Cheeseburgers. You can actually view the recipes if you want to see the quality of the ingredients. You can also make some other choices, such as if you want fish, have allergies, etc.
I spent some time looking through the different kits for upcoming weeks and found them impressive. You can choose your delivery day and you can choose to add a wine pairing should you desire (for an additional fee).
Blue Apron Delivery
I was pretty impressed with the delivery. The box arrived well in time for dinner on a Friday. I wasn’t planning to use the meals until later, but had I wanted to use them that night, I would have had them in time. The box was a good size to pick up and carry in the house. It was a bit heavy as everything perishable is packed in ice, but not so heavy I couldn’t carry it.
When I opened the box, there were recipe cards on top. I liked this because they weren’t had to find or under all the food where they might get stained should something leak (nothing was leaking, of course, but my mind always thinks it might).
In the image here, you see the front of the recipe card. It lists the ingredients (these are all already divided into neat packages inside the box. On the back of the card, however, is a list of steps you need to take to prepare this meal. They were pretty straightforward and would work great for a beginning cook. However, as someone who has cooked since I was 12, I did find that it made sense to skip around on some things and do them in the order that made the most sense to me.
The directions were very easy to follow and when the meal was done, as you can see from the photo at the top of this page, the food looked almost exactly like it did on the recipe card they sent to me. I love it when food is pretty and tastes good, so to me this was a big bonus.
Inside the Box
Once I unwrapped the covering, I found that the produce and things that don’t necessarily have to be kept cold were right on top. I pulled these out and set them aside. One thing I really liked was that the seasonings and dressings and such were in a little brown bag that was clearly labeled as to which meal it was for. This made it so easy for me to just grab the ingredients I needed for this meal.
There was also a thick piece of cardboard separating the produce/bread/seasonings from the meat and refrigerated items and the ice keeping them cold.
This was smart because if the bread froze it wouldn’t have tasted as fresh.
Under the cardboard were the cold items.
- Ground beef
You get the idea. Basically, anything you would put in your fridge, went into this portion. These items were completely surround by ice blocks. There are two in the picture to the right, but there were more than this in the box and they did an amazing job of keeping the items cold and fresh.
I have to say that I am extremely impressed overall with Blue Apron’s delivery method and packaging. I love that they sent just enough to make these dishes without any wasted food.
Ease of Cooking and Taste Review
The dish was a little more involved than what I would normally make. There was a bit of prep work. It took me a total of about 30-45 minutes to make this meal. That is fine a couple of times a week and I truly did enjoy the creativeness of trying something new and wondering how it would turn out.
Adjustments to Cooking
As I mentioned before, I did make some adjustments to the order of things. For example, the directions said to prepare the cheese sauce and then start the hamburgers cooking, but I knew from experience those hamburgers would take longer to cook on my grill pan than they were saying, so I started them first and then cooked the cheese sauce while they browned slowly.
It was not hard to put this meal together and the directions were clear enough that even a beginner would have been successful.
Taste of Blue Apron Foods
I thought this meal tasted really good. The Dijon mustard mixed with white cheddar cheese created a unique taste that made this a restaurant quality meal.
I was a little concerned when they said to only salt and pepper the ground beef and then form patties and cook it. Was that really all they wanted me to do? I usually add some egg, some seasoning, etc. But, I have to say that the quality of the beef must have been really good because the burgers turned out tender and full of taste. Impressive.
Again, I always adapt everything. They recommended adding a bit of olive oil before cooking the burgers. Yuck. I don’t particularly like the taste of olive oil. I used grass fed butter I had on hand instead. I just subbed same amounts. I think this added to the flavor. In fact, Blue Apron should change the recipe to allow for this. So much tastier in my opinion.
Final Blue Apron Review
|Analysis||Out of 5 Stars||Notes|
|The packaging for Blue Apron was impressive.|
|On time and as promised.|
|Quality of Food||
|I thought the food quality was pretty good. I would have used a better cheese and I didn’t like that the seasoning packet has unknown ingredients.|
|The directions were easy to follow but I had to adapt to make the order of things make more sense to me.|
|Quality of Recipe||
|This was excellent. Even though I subbed the olive oil, some people like the taste of olive oil and it is healthy. The recipe had all the steps and was easy to follow.|
|There is a pretty good selection of meal choices. You can choose between four options. I wasn’t extremely into the choices on the week I signed up for. I’d like to see more of a choices for picky eaters or those with allergies, but that possibly isn’t cost effective for the company.|
|Taste of Food||
|The meal I prepared was delicious. It had a unique taste that reminded me of a restaurant quality, gourmet burger. I was not crazy over the sweet potatoes, but that was me. I don’t like them much. As far as sweet potatoes go, they were fine.|
|The cost was reasonable, even without my Groupon. Even though it isn’t cheap (about $69.92), you will have some leftovers and probably spend less than you would eating out. It might be worth it to you if you work a lot, are busy with kids, etc. You also do not have to use it every week but can skip weeks to reduce the cost of the convenience a bit more.|
|Ease of Canceling||
|You can cancel from your account page with a simple click. No need to phone in. This is a plus! You can also reactivate should you change your mind with the same ease.|
|Amount of Food||
|This is the only area where I had a real beef with Blue Apron (get it? beef? he he). Since Groupon was out of the meals for 2, I got the meal for 4. This seemed like a great idea as I could have enough for two dinners or lunch for both of us the next day. It was four burgers. My husband eats two for dinner. I would estimate that unless you have a family with very small children and light eaters that this meal will only feed three at most. When you take the cost into account, that was a little concerning. To be fair, though, I’ve not yet tried the chicken dish, so that one might have more leftovers. But, chicken thighs are a pretty cheap food to buy on sale, so you have to decide if the service is worth it to you.|
|Other||You will need a few pantry staples, such as salt, pepper, olive oil, etc. You should already have them on hand but check the recipe sheet to be sure before you start cooking.|
My final thoughts? If you want to eat out less, eat healthier and not have to think about what to cook a couple of days a week, then this is a great solution for you. It is fairly cost effective, especially if you can get in on a deal such as I did. You won’t have to make a trip to the store, which is another convenience and because things are prepackaged and portioned out, you won’t have to do much measuring.
As of December 2016, you can still get a Blue Apron Groupon at a discount. You’ll get about $20 off. Go through Ebates to save an additional six percent (or whatever current rate is). I don’t know if it will still work, because they will likely close this loophole, but I then went to Blue Apron with my Groupon, activated my eBates add-on, and saved an additional $7.50 in rebates.