Review of Hello Fresh Meal Kits

Have you reached the point that you are sick of cooking dinner Every. Single. Night? It’s worse when you have a family and they expect you to cook for them, but complain about something in every meal, or don’t eat much and then snack you out of house and home for the rest of the evening. Then there is the monotony of the same 16 or so meals All. The. Time. This Coronocation I discovered Hello Fresh! Actually a friend started using it and gave me a discount code (here is yours!). This has been amazing. There have been some evenings that I have actually enjoyed cooking dinner. And, the new things we have tried! Many of the meals that I have done with Hello Fresh are new to us,but the kids are now willing to try new meals that aren’t Hello Fresh as well. Like grilled pork chops. My husband likes Kale, who knew??

A dish made of ground beef, ribbon carrots, and a variety of sauteed vegetables served over rice.
I am not a chef but this looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

It should be noted, that while I sometimes am paid for reviews I write, this is not one of those times. I’m writing this review because I really like Hello Fresh and have found it immensely helpful in my life, although I acknowledge that it isn’t perfect. However, should you follow the link I provided and create an account, you receive an awesome $40 discount and I too receive a $10 credit. This is a feature offered to all Hello Fresh customers.

OK, it’s not all amazing in Hello Fresh land, let’s cover the not-awesome so I can get back to gushing the fantastic-ness. There are some meals that I haven’t bothered to try because I know we won’t like them. Figuring out allergins can be a little tricky, but aside from the dried herbs or spices, almost everything is individually packaged, so you can avoid the package of nuts that are supposed to be sprinkled on. That individual packaging is good and bad. Certainly it’s easy and cuts back on wasted food – bonuses, BUT it’s a lot of trash – uncool. One time in 8 weeks, I was missing enough of one ingredient. Really not a lot of negatives.

There are so many positives: delivery, easy recipes, just right amounts, variety,…

Ok, let’s look at these one at a time. There is a super easy to use app. You log in with your meal preferences  (diet type and number of servings) and then you make your choices for the next week. I have to make my choices and pay (I use PayPal) by Wednesday for my Monday delivery. The days probably vary by delivery area. Sometime on Monday UPS shows up with my happy box. 

A fiesta plate with roasted brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, and steak.
This is a steak meal my friend made, the same friend who introduced me to Hello Fresh!

Each meal is delivered to your door! For someone like me, this is HUGE! In the box each meal comes in its own brown bag that is labeled with the meal. However the meats are packaged separately just to avoid any possible contamination. It will be delivered in a very sturdy box with one or two ice packs and insulation. There might be a free gift as well (sometimes yes, sometimes no) and the recipe cards. There may be an envelope with a couple offers, too. The packaging is great. I stick the full bags and meat directly in my fridge and grab them when I’m ready to cook. The ice packs keep everything perfectly cold. One day there was a shipping delay and I received my package a day later than scheduled. The box was still cold and the ice packs were still ½ to ¾ frozen. The actual shipping materials and ice packs are pretty environmentally friendly. The boxes can be recycled, but I’ve been saving mine and reusing them – perfect for moving my eldest into his dorm.

The recipes actually turn out like the photos on the recipe cards and on the app! No, really! I recommend reading through the recipe card first so you understand the plan, but the card is broken out into easy to use steps and is done in the order you need to prep (ie it has you start the roasted veggies, then cook the meat 15 minutes in, then let the meat rest while you make the sauce). The steps are super easy to understand and accomplish (although I do usually skip the zesting step because no one in my family cares). There is almost no measuring because everything is already portioned out. You do use a few things from your pantry: oil, salt, pepper, water, and occasionally sugar or butter.These are usually by taste or “a dash”. Also, the recipe card has alternate amounts, right in the step by step directions (whether you are doing a two portion or 4 portion serving), making it almost error proof. I can multitask pets, family, laundry and dinner and follow these directions, so they must be pretty simple! The cards are actually a full size sheet making it easy to read. Also, the cards are durable so you can spill and wipe it off, while keeping it legible, or save them for future days that you want to repeat the recipe buying all the ingredients yourself.

Speaking of individual portions…One of the huge selling points I think Hello Fresh forgets to make is that you can try out a new recipe with the exact amounts you need (ever have a jar of some unusual ingredient live in your fridge for months?). Then if you like the recipe you can always go out and buy a full bottle or jar and make it again on your own. This means you can try the new recipe without wasting a bunch of stuff you won’t use again. It also means it’s easy-peasy cooking on a day you just don’t have it in you. Last night I made both a Hello Fresh recipe (chicken curry) for most of us, and Shepherd’s pie for my daughter recovering from a tonsillectomy (solid food pieces are still uncomfortable for her to swallow). There is no way I would normally want to cook two full meals plus extra beet greens, but it was super easy with everything pre-measured. Mostly just an open, pour, saute, kind of meal.

Blue plate with oven "fried" chicken, risotto, and roasted carrots.
This oven “fried” chicken came out really well, I might have gotten distracted roasting my carrots, though…

The variety has been really great. In the eight weeks we have been ordering I haven’t repeated a single meal, which means at three meals a week, we’ve tried 24 new meals. There are a few that I won’t repeat, there was a lemon check one the kids didn’t like, and a pork taco one that I didn’t like, but some of the meals we are anxiously waiting to reappear in our choices. A few of the meals we have made from scratch again on our own. I LOVE the new variety in our diet. 

Lastly, the meat selections are really good. We have done a couple steak meals, and considering the current meat prices at the store, these meals were economically the same but the steak has always been VERY tender. I did make a mistake last night and opened and dropped in chicken breasts into my pan instead of chicken cutlets. Not a problem for last night, I do own knives, but it will make my next chicken meal, designed for breasts, a little interesting. So my one piece of advice regarding the meat is to actually read the package. It is clearly labeled, you just have to read…something I tell my youngest all the time – time to heed my own advice.
Overall, in case you can’t tell, I really enjoy Hello Fresh! Again, here’s a code for you to try it out. You get a discount and so do I just for trying. There are no membership fees or contract, just try it.

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