There’s nothing quite like a home cooked meal with family. Between balancing work, school, and kids’ soccer practice, it may seem like there’s little to no time available to make a home cooked meal, but a new company called Blue Apron aims to change that. With the slogan, “A better way to cook,” Blue Apron provides fresh ingredients and great recipes delivered weekly to your home, allowing you to have all the resources at your doorstep to make three homemade dishes each week.
Their food experts source the best seasonal ingredients directly from farms, importers and family-run purveyors to create excellent, easy-to-follow recipes for chefs of all experience levels. Their name proudly displays that fact, since blue aprons were originally worn by apprentice chefs in France, becoming a symbol of lifelong learning in cooking. Each week, Blue Apron provides all ingredients, pre-measured, in a well-insulated package so you can enjoy cooking delicious, homemade meals from scratch. With complete meals varying between 500-700 calories per serving and only taking around 35 minutes to prepare on average, Blue Apron aims to make it possible for your busy family to unite over the dinner table and enjoy a quality together.
To test if Blue Apron can make home cooking more accessible for those with busy schedules, I was provided a complimentary shipment to test out three of their original recipes myself!
My Blue Apron package arrived around noon on a weekday, which worked perfectly for me since I write from home, but the food was well insulated enough with eight arctic ice blocks, that it would have stayed fresh for those who wouldn’t arrive home until later in the evening as well. I chose a vegetarian package since I don’t eat land meat, but they also provide meat recipes, which you can select upon ordering.
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of fresh ingredients that was provided for my three meals. The recipes change weekly, with my week including a Cauliflower Steak with Green Beans, Vegetable Pad Thai with a Spicy Peanut Sauce and a Black Bean and Red Quinoa Enchiladas with Salsa Verde meal all on the menu.
With everything being pre-portioned for two people, even though there was an extensive amount of ingredients, there wasn’t an issue of finding room for anything in my refrigerator.
Having a variety of fresh ingredients in your fridge is very inspiring for cooking! I began right away, making the Cauliflower Steak and Green beans for dinner the night my Blue Apron package arrived. I found that the preparation took longer than the 35 minute average listed on the Blue Apron website, with just the preparation taking me around 50 minutes, and a total of around an hour and a half from start to finish, but the time went by quickly and made the meal more rewarding.
All the ingredients that were listed on the menu were provided, and on the back of each recipe card is step by step instructions on how to make the meal. Everything was pretty straightforward, but I did have one issue with the Cauliflower provided not slicing into four thick slices, but rather two thick slices with the ends falling off. I ended up making just two thick Cauliflower steaks because of this, but otherwise it turned out to be a tasty and visually/mentally rewarding dish.
Vegetable Pad Thai with Spicy Peanut Sauce
I was extremely excited for making this dish, one because I’ve never made pad thai from scratch before, and two because I love anything with peanut butter in it! Everything came as described, however there was a minor issue with my Tatsoi (a dark Asian green similar to book chi) where it had multiple holes in the leaves, so I didn’t include it in the meal since I’m very specific about what goes into my food. To be fair, according to Food.com, tatsoi is very perishable and has a short storage life, however I was surprised at how quickly it spoiled for me. Beyond the tatsoi set back however, everything was good to go!
The meal preparation went fairly quickly on this dish, as it only took time to cut the onion, ginger, scallions and mince garlic. I had a lot of fun with this dish and I enjoyed that since a spicy sauce was included, they allowed us to taste our way to perfection, in order to make the meal exactly how we would want it. Yes, it was a small d.i.y. offer, but it made the dish seem more personal to me, since I was able to provide my own input on the final taste of the dish. The meal ended up being delicious and I’m already looking forward to trying this pad thai another night in the near future.
Black Bean and Red Quinoa Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
I made this dish almost a week after receiving as I went out of town for a few days but it worked out perfectly as it allowed me to enjoy some Mexican flare on ‘Taco Tuesday!’
All of the ingredients stayed fresh and the recipe was easy to follow. Total prep time on this dish took around 20 minutes since I chop my onions slowly, but again, like previous Blue Apron meals, the time goes by fast. This meal had me multi-tasking a bit, cooking the red quinoa while the vegetables roasted in the oven for the salsa verde sauce, but the experience never felt overwhelming. From start to finish, the meal took around an hour and fifteen minutes, and was a great alternative to a meat or extra cheesy enchiladas plate.
For someone who loves to cook but doesn’t ever seem to have recipe inspiration or the motivation to go to the grocery store, Blue Apron was a great option for me. I genuinely believe that home cooked meals and sitting down to eat with loved ones provide the opportunity for conversations and allow family and friends to bond, plan, connect and learn from one another, all which I was able to accomplish over the Blue Apron meals.
There are a lot of benefits to using Blue Apron. I enjoyed that they introduced me to new ingredients (Totsoi and Red Quinoa) and provided me with everything I needed that I otherwise would have needed to go to a specialty store for, or buy ingredients at a high price for only using a little per meal. Mirin, for example, costs around $10 for a 10 fl ounce container, but my recipe only called for 1 tablespoon. Instead of going to the market and paying for the sweet cooking wine, I was given just enough that the recipe called for without having to consider either leaving it out of the recipe, or paying a premium to purchase a large container of it. Having everything proportioned also allowed me to skip using my measuring utensils and therefore provided less clean up afterwards!
Each of the three dishes were filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and grains, had wonderful portion sizes, and allowed me to create a delicious homemade meal in around 45 minutes to a little over an hour.
Blue Apron makes cooking easier anytime of the year, but can be increasingly useful during the winter and makes for a great holiday gift for friends and family! Whether you want to begin cooking more at home, or want to learn how to cook healthy recipes as a New Years Resolution, Blue Apron is a great way to skip the fuss of deciding what to have, and makes cooking fun again.
For more information on Blue Apron including pricing and menu options, visit their website at http://www.blueapron.com.
This post is written on behalf of Blue Apron by me. All opinions are 100% mine.