Unlike my sister, I do not enjoy cooking. It’s not the actual cooking part that’s so terrible, but the menu planning, grocery shopping, putting away the groceries, and prepping the meats and veggies that really take a toll. By the time I’ve done all that plus the cooking bit, the meal is usually an overhyped disappointment that then has to be cleaned up. Ugh.
So when I heard about services that deliver recipies and the necessary groceries straight to your door, I started trying them all. The ones I have used the most (thus far) are Blue Apron, Gobble, and Hello Fresh.
How it works: Subscribe for either the “for two” plan at $59.99 per week, or the “family” plan at $69.92. The “for two” plan provides 3 meals per week (6 servings total), and the “family” plan provides either 2 or 4 meals per week (8 servings total). You can choose the meals you want to receive from the 4-6 meals offered that week. It is a subscription service, so once you sign up you automatically receive meals each week unless you remember to login and skip a week. And you can cancel the subscription at any time. FYI- Even though it’s just me and the hubs, I usually opt for the “family” plan so that there are left overs for another meal or two 😉
How it compares: In my experience, the Blue Apron meals are the most complex and take the most time to make. Most of the ingredients arrive un-washed, un-prepped, and thrown together in singe box (other services separate the ingredients by meal). The instructions are pretty detailed, and there are generally more instructional steps to follow than with other services I’ve tried. For me, more steps unfortunately means more room for error, and I have not had a 100% success rate with the Blue Apron meals. That said, many of the meals use interesting ingredients that I would not otherwise have tried to cook with, so that’s fun. And I don’t think I ever made one that required a microwave(I don’t like microwaves), so kudos on that!
Takeaway: Good for trying something new, particularly if you like to cook or want to make a date night event of it. These days I only order Blue Apron as a date night activity or as a fun way to get houseguests involved with making dinner. The recipes are just too complicated for me to enjoy tackling on my own. Remember though, cooking really isn’t my thing.
How it works: Subscription options are 3 dinners for 2 people (6 meals, or $71.70), or 3 dinners for 4 people (12 meals, or $143.40). You can login online to remove or change meals for any week and pricing is based on the number of meals ordered: $11.95 per meal if you order at least 6 meals; $13.95 if you end up only ordering 4 meals. So for 6 meals it would be $71.70, and for 4 meals it would be $55.80. As with the other services, you can choose your meals, skip weeks, and cancel at any time.
How it compares: Sooo easy and quick to get from fridge to hot on the table. The service boasts “from kit to table in 10 minutes”, which might be possible if you practiced and felt like racing through the process. I prefer to kick things off by pouring a glass of wine and I clean up as I go so there is minimal to do after I eat. But even with my slower approach to cooking I manage to get Gobble meals to the table within 20 minutes or so. And the food is consistently good. The ingredients arrive separated by meal, and many of the ingredients are already washed and some pre-prepped. I don’t like that microwaving is regularly listed in the instructional steps, but if you don’t care about racing the food to the table you can simply heat those bits on the stove.
Takeaway: Super simple, fast, and good. The weeks that I have Gobble, I feel I eat better and I am happy to “cook”. If you’re one of those that really enjoys cooking though, this may not be the service for you. Some meals may feel more like glorified food assembly than an actual culinary activity, but for me that’s just fine.
How it works: Subscribe to receive a “classic” box for 2 at $69.00, a “veggie” box for two at $59.99, or a “family” box for 4 at $105.00. Each box contains 3 meals and the 3 meals are pre-selected for you, but you can swap them by logging into your online account (assuming you remember to do so in time). And same as the others you can skip a week or cancel at any time.
How it compares: To me, Hello Fresh is a simpler version of Blue Apron. The ingredients all arrived separated by meal, but for the most part un-prepped. Each meal seems to have a relatively small number of ingredients, and the instructional steps were also fewer. And I am proud to say I have had a 100% success rate with the Hello Fresh meals! I even kept some of the recipe cards for future use.
Takeaway: Relatively quick and easy, and consistently good. More prep required than a Gobble meal, but less complicated than a Blue Apron meal. This service is good for those who want to make a good, simple dinner from scratch without the hassle of meal planning and grocery shopping.