Long time no see, so long in fact that I had to re-familiarize myself with this website… Not good… That being said, for 2019, I plan on posting once a week. Stay tuned!
Anywho, if you follow me on Instagram (and if you’re not, you should @annegvall ) you would know that last week, I reviewed a Hello Fresh box!
Now, I got the box for free from my friend Laura, apparently, if you get the boxes every week, every so often they give you a free box to give to someone. Neat right? So, while I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the box, it’s nearly a week of groceries for free so yeah, I tried it!
To make this simple, I’ve decided to divide this review into categories of sort, let’s start with:
Shipping and Packaging
I was lowkey worried about getting meat shipped by mail to be honest, turns out, I didn’t have to worry, the packaging is very well thought out.
They delivered around 5:30pm on Monday night (the app said that delivery was guaranteed before 8pm) so that was perfect for me as I tend to have dinner a bit later anyway. If you have kids, you might want to plan something non-box provided for Monday night dinner though.
The meals are divided into paper bags that come in a huge box. The box is ”insulated”, it’s cardboard, but silvery-thermos looking inside. I was still a bit worried about the meat, thinking it was in the paper bags. Low and behold, it’s not. It’s actually under the paper bags, separated by cardboard, and living with 3 huge Ice Packs. Super cozy… in a freezing sorta way!
All in all, everything was cold and nice. Now, I’m not quite sure how those Ice Packs would fare on my porch during the summer but for now, it was fine. \ EDIT: Upon reading this review, Laura (who gave me the free box) wrote to me letting me know that, in the summer, the meat and ice packs are packed in an insulated bag at the bottom of the box to stay cold for longer. \
Before you ask (because you care about my blog THAT much and you would ask, I just know it) yes, it is a lot of plastic. Most of it they try to keep cardboard or paper, and if you’re the type who uses produce bags at the grocery store it’s not more plastic than that.
Most of the plastic (baring the stuff wrapping the meat) is recyclable, as long as your province isn’t absolutely useless in terms of recycling (*cough* New Brunswick *cough*) and the ice packs you can return to them for re-use or recycle the wrapping, so, they are trying. Is it perfect? No, but then again, I’m pretty certain that no meal box is.
Freshness of Ingredients
All of the ingredients I had in my box were super fresh. The fresh herbs weren’t wilted, the meat was good quality and still cold when I opened the box. I have absolutely zero complaints about the freshness of ”Hello Fresh”, everything was in stellar condition and the quality of all the ingredients was great.
Recipes and Instructions
The recipes were very easy to follow, in fact, if you download the app, you can follow the recipes step-by-step. It even has individual timers per step. For example, say step 2 is to let the onion simmer for 2 min, you’ll get a 2 minutes timer. It’s really well thought out.
The recipes were all beginner’s level I would say, especially with the step-by-step instructions. You also get a paper recipe card to keep in your files, since you can’t go back to the app’s recipe once the week is over. Well, you can, they’re just a little harder to find. You can also tag your favorite recipes to find them more easily.
Also, as I stated before, the meals are separated into paper bags, so there is no risk to use the ingredients for the wrong recipe. It comes in handy since most recipes required garlic, and using it all in the first recipe would have driven away vampires for decades…
Simple Lamb Ragù
This was super easy to make, however, I did take some liberties with the recipe… First of all, as some of you know, my husband is allergic to mushrooms. I love mushrooms. Like, really really love mushrooms. So when my husband is away, I put mushrooms in EVERYTHING I make. Yeah… I added mushrooms.
Taste-wise, it was delicious. A liiiiittle bit sweet for my taste, but I think children would love it. If I was to make this recipe again, I would omit the sugar and add some hot sauce. That being said, it was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the meals I had, it was my favorite (It’s kind of a tie for favorite between this one and the chicken empanadas).
Final rating: 4.5/ 5
Chicken Yakitori Bowl
This one may have been my husband favorite, I think it’s a tie between this one and the chicken empanadas.
Again, I took liberties with the recipe, I steamed my rice instead of making it on the stove. I’m fairly certain that it didn’t change the taste of the recipe.
It was pretty good, basically tasted like the stuff you would get at the mall food court, in a good way. Now I make a LOT of Asian food so this wasn’t groundbreaking to me, however, it was good. I liked the idea of adding seasoned seaweed on top, made for a nice crunch and I’ll probably use that on several recipes of mine. The sauce was also tasty, a tiny bit salty maybe, but that might be why my husband liked it so much!
Final rating: 3.8/ 5
Cheesy Chicken Empanadas
So. Very. Delicious! The chicken filling was spicy and cheesy, just perfect!
The charred corn was a revelation, basically no seasoning and yet, it was so flavourful! The combo with the bell pepper was great, I will definitely make that again.
The only thing I would change would be to use a different dough. While the puff pastry was absolutely delicious, it was also a tiny bit greasy. If (when) I make that recipe again, I might use pizza dough or something similar. Would that make it a hot pocket instead of an empanada? Maybe. Would it make it easier to eat 4 in a row? Absolutely!
Final rating: 4.5/ 5
Pan Seared Steak
I’ll start by mentioning that I’m not big on steak, or potatoes for that matter. I’m generally not a slice of meat and starch kinda gal. So the fact that I didn’t enjoy this meal all that much doesn’t mean a lot.
The meat quality was good, but if I’m honest, I found the whole meal pretty bland. It wasn’t seasoned much and for me, who is not a big fan of meat, it was kind of a letdown.
The real star of this meal was the garlic-herbs butter. That was delicious. I eventually gave up on the meat altogether (my husband was happy to finish it on his own) and used the rest of the butter on the potatoes and beans. I will definitely make this butter again, or use the same spice mix for some kind of dip. With greek yogurt maybe?
Final rating: 3/ 5
There you have it. My full review of a ”Hello Fresh” box.
Final conclusion. Would I buy this box again? Maybe. If the meals looked really interesting one week, maybe. For me, who doesn’t have kids, the price outweighs the convenience of the ”Hello Fresh” box. It’s a lot more expensive for me to buy the box than to buy individual groceries. As I love cooking and I’m not super rushed to get dinner on the table every night, I will keep going grocery shopping.
However, if time or indecision is more of the essence for you, or if you don’t enjoy spending time in the kitchen, ”Hello Fresh” might be an excellent option. The box in itself was great. Good quality of ingredients, easy recipes that makes tasty food and shipped straight to your door.
”Hello Fresh” is an all-around excellent product, whether or not it’s for you is more about your lifestyle than about the box itself.
Finally, I would like to remind you, dear reader, that even though I got this box for free from a friend, this is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are my very own!
Until next time!