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Gourmet Recipes TO GO!!

FunDirector Nov-26-2015 RVrecipescampingHello FreshBlue Apron Recipes

My Review of Hello Fresh and Blue Apron

IMG_0537 Hello Fresh Delivery

Since we rent teardrop travel trailers, I am always looking for ways to simplify and improve the teardrop travel experience. One challenge all RVers are faced with is packing delicious/nutritious meals for multiple days with minimal storage and refrigeration. Menu planning can be a challenge, and hauling lots of ingredients to prep can be impractical to take on the road. The Concept: Mitch and I have been looking for a local chef, idealizing that our guests could pre-order 2-3 meals/day for 2-3 days, and we would stock the trailer with food for their trip at pickup. Sounds awesome, right?? (We are still open to recommendations BTW!!) Recently one of our rental guests tipped me off to try Hello Fresh and Blue Apron.

IMG_0538 Hello Fresh Packaging

What’s that? Both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron delivery fresh and healthy recipes to your door every week, with all the pre-measured seasonal ingredients. Both services provide weekly options for 3 meals for two people, or a ‘Family Plan’ of 2 meals for four people. Both services have a variety of meat options for omnivores or vegetarian plans. Taking this ‘meals on wheels’ in a different direction, I thought our guests could consider buying a one-week box from one of these services on their travels with the trailers. Truly, meal planning on the road could not get much easier!! I decided to give it a whirl and let y’all know about our experiences. The Trial:

IMG_0542 3 Meals from Hello Fresh

We tried Hello Fresh first. A cardboard box arrived via UPS on the exact day that they promised. Opening it up, the box was lined with a reflective thermal wrap, and ice packs surrounded the boxed food. The meals were arranged beautifully. It was like three little gifts in lovely packaging, one box per meal. Everything was meticulously labeled. I could not wait to start cooking! We made –

When we tried Blue Apron, we had already been dazzled by Hello Fresh. The Blue Apron packaging was similar in that it was a thermal lined cardboard box with ice packs. Branding was slightly less refined and less orderly, so we had to sort out all of the well-labeled ingredients to each meal. But the quality of the ingredients was absolutely first rate. The recipes seemed slightly more adventurous with Blue Apron (a burger with lemon zest in the meat is amazing!). We tried -

This is gourmet eating! It sure beats the Beanie Weanies out of traditional camping cuisine! In both cases the ingredients were truly fresh. The meats are high grade (salmon with skin on, 85/15 ground beef, chicken breasts). Veggies and herbs are the same you would get at a Farmers Market (a tomato, a sprig of rosemary, a jalapeno, a bulb of garlic, an onion). You do not get pre-processed foods here. You are expected to do some actual cooking to make your meals! In every case with all 6 meals, we made a family event out of cooking every meal. We cooked together and had great fun with it. We even cooked a few meals concurrently – one for the adults, one for the kids – and shared plates. I would definitely do it again! Mitch would not. Here’s why:

IMG_0548 THE MEAL: Pan-Seared Garlic Chicken with Crispy Broccoli and Potatoes Huancaina

The Cons:

  1. With most of the recipes, the first step said “Preheat oven to…”. In a teardrop trailer, we don’t have an oven. If you want to take these meals on the road and have a need to follow a recipe literally, this is not for you. If you know your way around a kitchen, you can usually find another way to cook something. Use a grill for an oven, or pan fry instead of baking. For me, this was not a deal-breaker, but it’s something to be cognizant of.
  2. It’s not inexpensive. On average, each meal is $10/person/meal. While this is less than you would pay in a restaurant, it’s not quite a bargain. A weekly box of 3 meals for 2 people is $69 at Hello Fresh for omnivores, $59 for vegetarian meals. Blue Apron slightly less expensive at $59.94 for of 3 meals for 2 people. In both cases, shipping is free. You can skip weeks or cancel any time.
  3. There is a fair amount of prep involved. You have to chop all of your veggies and use a variety of pans. This can become tricky when the kitchen in a teardrop trailer is only ‘so big’. If you were at a campsite with a picnic table, and friends to help you prep and clean, it would be do-able.
  4. As a consequence of a lot of prep, there is a lot of cleanup. You will need to clean multiple pans, knives, bowls, etc. While fun, it would be far more difficult in an RV or outside.

Discounts: Both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron offer discounts for first-timers on the Home page of their website. With Hello Fresh, you can get $40 off your first box if you use this code - UG6648. In Summary: As delicious as all of the recipes were, I suggest you try a one week box at home several weeks before you consider taking it on the road. If you do decide to try these meal boxes on your travels, plan ahead as you order your meals about two weeks before they arrive at your doorstep. Also, be strategic about which meals you select for that week with the smaller RV kitchens in mind. Happy Trails! Trish