I'm Suddenly Pretty into Meal Kits

Sunday, May 23, 2021

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of trying 30 new recipes this year (see recipes 1-5 and 5-10). I've sort of put that goal on hold for now, though, because Mike & I started using a meal subscription kit – two of them, in fact. So, yes, I'm making new things, but it feels a liiiiittle bit like cheating because I don't have to, like, plan at all? Or really do anything? 

Anyway. We've been using both HelloFresh & Green Chef, as I got a free week of each from friends' referral codes, & now we're just kind of alternating between them. I've been sharing some of them on Instagram & thought I'd round them up here just for the sake of general interest and/or so I can remember what I've made in the past.

Week One: HelloFresh

HelloFresh offers a ton of meals to choose from each week – like, a dozen? More? I don't know, lots. I get excited to choose them, honestly. You just go through the app & make your choices or skip the week; you can also choose add-ons like meats, pastries, lunch items, etc., since ordering from a meal kit inherently means you're doing less grocery shopping. 

For our first week, we chose:

  • Harissa Chicken Bowls: I wasn't sure I was going to like these, but I loved them. Harissa is underrated, y'all. These were made with tabbouleh, feta, & Greek vinaigrette, which tempered the spice & made them very cool & refreshing & light & delicious & holy shit, I would make this all the time.
  • Tuscan Pork-Stuffed Peppers: Okayyyy, I once took care of someone who barfed stuffed peppers on the wall of my workplace (this is a long story), so I was pretty sure I didn't like stuffed peppers. I was wrong! I like stuffed peppers! 
  • Salsa Verde Enchiladas: These were Mike's least favorite of the bunch, but I really liked them. Who knew enchiladas were so easy to make?! (OK, probably a lot of people, but not me.) They were stuffed with black beans, poblano peppers, & tomatoes with a Southwestern spice blend.

Week Two: Green Chef

Our Green Chef delivery turned up looking a lot like the Hello Chef delivery, which makes sense because it turns out these two companies are owned by the same company. 

These meals felt slightly fancier, which makes sense because they're a little bit more expensive. They also offer far fewer meals to choose from each week, & I'm allergic to mushrooms, which really cuts down on the number of their meals available for me to choose from.

Luckily, we easily found three meals that appealed to us for our first week with Green Chef:

  • Beef Enchiladas: Even though I liked last week's salsa verde enchiladas, these beef enchiladas were better. I left them in a little longer, too, to get 'em crispy. And those are toasted pepitas on top! 
  • Peanut Chicken with Udon Noodles: This was my least favorite meal, if only because I'm so used to it; Mike makes really good peanut noodles with some regularity. But they were still really good, which makes sense because... Mike makes peanut noodles because we like them.
  • Jerk Chicken with Spicy Mango Sauce: This was my favorite of the recipes so far. I expected to be bored by it – like, woooo, chicken & rice, ugh – but wow, it was incredible. The jasmine rice was creamy & coconutty, & the mango added the perfect amount of zing. 10/10.

Week Three: HelloFresh

Back to HelloFresh! It's a little cheaper than Green Chef, so we're making it our primary meal kit subscription service, but we'll probably go back & forth between them. It's really easy to skip weeks on both of them, which makes it pretty simple to manage. Week three included:

  • Pork Sausage Orecchiette Bolognese: Daaaamn, this was tasty. I wasn't super interested in a pasta dish because, like, can't I make a pasta dish any old time? I wouldn't have thought of these flavor combos, though, & I am now very interested in zucchini as a pasta addition.
  • Crunchy Curried Chickpea Bowls: I thought golden raisins would make for a super-weird addition to a veggie bowl, but I was wrong. They were the little addition of sweetness amid all the crunchy veggies & the curry. In all, we liked this dish way more than we expected.
  • Beef & Veggie Bibimbap: Second favorite of all the meals. So freaking good. I sent a photo to a friend & she asked if I drove all the way out to Bibibop to pick up dinner, & I had to point out, like, no, I made this one. But it did taste like Bibibop! So proud.

We skipped week four entirely because I dog-sat for my mom for a few days, & Mike visited Nashville with his family. I'd heard of Giant Eagle's Great to Go meals, which are basically the same kinds of meals you'd get from HelloFresh & Green Chef, but you just buy them as one-offs.

Our Giant Eagle doesn't have them, but my mom's does! I picked one up on my way home to Cleveland, & I made it on Saturday night while Mike was out of town. I ate half & gave the rest to my mom after U picked her up from the airport.
  • Spinach & Artichoke Gnocchi Bake: Hard yes on this meal. The gnocchi was miniature, which was just, like... tiny & adorable & delicious. It was also loaded with spinach & artichoke, plus shallots & garlic, so despite the cheese & bread crumbs on top, it included some good stuff & just felt super decadent. 

I have codes for $90 off for HelloFresh & free boxes from Green Chef, so if you've been thinking about trying either of them & wanna make the leap, hit those referral links. Happy to share!

In all, I'm really excited that we've gotten aboard the meal kit trail, & I'm looking forward to keeping up with it. It's saving us money, & we're eating well, & I am excited every single time I make something delicious, even though I barely have to do anything in order to make it happen.  

Keep an eye on my Instagram for future cooking posts. I've been using the hashtag #TheKitchenKaput, but I only share the stuff that turns out not to suck. Which... isn't all of it. Seeya there! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this review! I'm super-interested in meal kits as a way to broaden my horizons (not that I am not adventurous with eating, I am! but I am so locked into routine and easy choices with what I choose to make at home...). But... I'm only one person. So the cost, and the amount of food, are probably not going to work for me. :( That said, Hello Fresh sounds like a great option to me. I hope you continue to enjoy it!


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