One of my goals for 2017 is to find a way to make meal planning/cooking dinner less distasteful. I view both meal planning and cooking as necessary evils, and I almost always dread doing both of them. With my goal to at least partially overcome this in mind, I decided to give Blue Apron a try.
What is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is an ingredient and recipe delivery service. Users select meals for their weekly delivery, and all necessary ingredients – plus illustrated, step-by-step directions – are shipped to them. (Shipping is free.) Although they still have to cook their meals, users don’t have to search for recipes or shop for the ingredients.
Blue Apron users choose either the 2-Person Plan or the Family Plan. The 2-Person Plan includes three, two-serving recipes per week, at a cost of $9.99 per serving. Family Plan users can choose to receive either two or four, four-serving recipes per week, at a cost of $8.74 per serving.
Even though my daughter rarely eats what my husband and I eat for dinner, I opted for the two-recipe Family Plan. Because I dislike cooking so much, leftovers nights are very important to me. Opting for four-serving recipes seemed like a good way to ensure that we had leftovers of each recipe.
Our Blue Apron Meals
I tried Blue Apron for three weeks, and these are the meals I chose to receive during that time period:
- Cod and Tomato Stew with Garlic Croutons
- Sicilian-Style Bucatini With Cesar-Style Salad
- Shrimp Etouffee with Tomatoes and Arborio Rice (A very close second favorite meal)
- Creamy Beef Ragu & Elicoidali Pasta (My least favorite meal)
- Pork Chops & Miso Butter with Bok Choy & Marinated Apples (Both my and my husband’s favorite meal)
- Salmon Piccata with Orzo & Broccoli (The salmon didn’t happen, but the orzo and broccoli were delicious)
What I Love About Blue Apron
- Minimizes my meal planning. Rather than having to rack my brain to come up with our weekly dinners, I simply log into my Blue Apron account, and choose from the recipe options available for each week.
- Fancy-ish meals. I like to keep my recipes nice and simple, to minimize the amount of time I have to spend cooking them. The Blue Apron meals are more “restaurant-style” than what I would usually make.
- The meals are delicious. I would describe all of the meals I received as good to very good. In fact, there was only one that I probably wouldn’t order or make again.
- Grocery shopping is done for me. All of the ingredients needed for each recipe are shipped directly to my doorstep each week.
- The recipes cards. The recipe cards are illustrated, and include clearly written, step-by-step instructions. I especially like that the ingredients are bolded within the instructions, making them easy to locate in context.
- Clear labeling. The ingredientpackaging is clearly labeled, and I never had to wonder what something was.
- Great customer service. I had a problem with the quality of the primary ingredient (salmon) in one of my meals. I sent an email about it to Blue Apron customer service and received a full credit for that meal the following day.
What I Don’t Love About Blue Apron
- Lack of recycling information in box. Each shipment contains a lot of packaging: every ingredient comes in a plastic bag or container, there are several plastic ice packs, and a foil liner contains everything. There’s no recycling information in the box, but it’s available online – with a little scrolling. Everything is recyclable, but not necessarily accepted by customers’ recycling providers. (For example, mine does not accept plastic bags.) Fortunately, users can request a USPS shipping label from Blue Apron to return all of the packaging to them for recycling.
- The fish arrives partially frozen. In all of my shipments, the fish was partially frozen when I removed it from the package. On my work days, I start cooking dinner soon after I get home, and I had to build in some time to thaw the fish before cooking it. Of course, I prefer that the fish arrive partially frozen, than warm.
- Cost. Is this the cheapest way to cook dinner? No. Users pay for the convenience of not having to plan and shop for their meals. I’m sure that some of the meals I make myself cost less than $8.74 per serving, but that’s probably not the case when they feature fish and/or better cuts of meat. So while I could make dinner more cheaply, Blue Apron is not particularly expensive.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with Blue Apron. Yes, I would prefer that each box contained a little genie to do the cooking for me, but short of that, it’s a great solution. Want to give it a try? Click below to save $30 on your first offer.