We tried out Blue Apron Ingredient Delivery Service a couple weeks ago and I am seriously obsessed with it. This is a sponsored post but I promise they aren't paying me to say that! I feel like it is an answer to my cooking conundrum. My dilemma is that I really love to cook. I usually have my kids help and it's a really great part of the day for our family. When I have time and am on top of things I also really enjoy meal planning and going to the Farmer's Market to get groceries. In an ideal world I would do it every week and everything would run smoothly. The problem is if I miss the one day of meal planning or the grocery trip then the entire week is thrown off course and we end up getting take out (which is expensive and is usually not super healthy.) What Blue Apron does is makes a meal plan for you (you get to decide if you want fish, meat or vegetarian etc.) and then they ship the ingredients to you for the week . What I love about it is I still get to cook and have that time with my family but I never have that terrifying moment where I don't know what to do for dinner and there is no food in the house. I also like that it's flexible. If we have plans to go out with friends then we can make the meals the next day according to our schedule.
My two main concerns before I tried it were the quality of the ingredients and the fact that I didn't get to plan the menu. We are really lucky to live near some great farmer's markets and grocery co-ops that have really amazing produce so my standards are high. When the package arrived I was really impressed with the quality, they were all seasonal (they had heirloom tomatoes!) and locally sourced ingredients. It's obviously not the same as handpicking out interesting ingredients myself at the Farmer's Market but I give the quality of the produce two big thumbs up. My other concern about not having control over the menu planning was probably the biggest surprise. I'm not super adventurous with planning my own meals so when we made meals that we wouldn't have normally considered I actually think that's a major plus of the service. It gets us to try new things and out of our cooking rut.
The other thing I really loved is that they give you the exact amount of ingredients you need. For example, usually I buy a big tub of miso paste and end up only using a small portion of it for the recipe I'm making. It then sits in my fridge until it goes past it's expiration date a month later. It feels like such a waste! This way I'm able to cook with a diverse amount of ingredients but not have to cook with miso paste all month.
The portions are big. We tried out the 2-person meal plans even though there are four of us and there was plenty of food for two adults and two small kids but there wasn't a ton for leftovers. When I take the time to cook I usually make a large amount so it lasts for lunches the next day. After the trial I actually signed up for the service myself (proof I'm obsessed) but I signed up for the 4-person meal plans so we would have leftovers. For our family the service will cover dinners three nights a week plus additional lunches with leftovers and then we can still fill in the other few evenings with an occasional night for take out and I can still plan and cook a few nights meals myself.
The meals are $9.99/person. Cost-wise there is no question that Blue Apron is cheaper than what we spend on groceries (especially if you are counting all the specialty ingredients) and is much cheaper than take-out. Initially the waste of all the packaging was a concern for me but when our meal was over I realized I was able to recycle all of the packaging and that the waste was significantly less than if you order take-out 3x a week. (Which we do!)
I'm a huge fan and feel like this idea is a godsend for busy families that care about eating good homecooked meals. Right now, Blue Apron is having a deal for Oh Happy Day readers. The first 100 readers to sign up will get two free meals on their first order! Click here to sign up.Blue Apron. Photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day