I have always wondered about meal subscription services and have looked various companies up occasionally but always felt the price was too steep. After being emailed a coupon for Hello Fresh, I decided to try it.
The week of January 20th to the 26th had options for Pork and Noodle Soup Bowls, Sliced Steak Tagliata, Veggie Loaded Orzo and Sausage, Meatloaf A La Mom, Creamy Béarnaise Rib-Eye Steak (for an extra fee), Orange and Cashew Chicken Stir Fry, Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and Chicken Cheddar Fajitas.
Based on your subscription and the number of people in your home, you can receive 2 to 4 recipes per week. I went with the classic plan for 2 people and 3 meals a week. Without a coupon, meals are $9.99/serving on this plan. Although it is much more healthy than grabbing fast food or going out to eat, this price just feels too steep for our family. I know I can put together for much less! I also had the thought that it seemed like a lot of work to pay that much.
We chose (well, I did.. Ryan didn’t know I was ordering!) Chicken Cheddar Fajitas, Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Orange and Cashew Chicken Stir Fry. I didn’t really think it through when choosing Tuesday as the day for our meals to be delivered, Ryan was working his 24 hour shift the following day and I was going away that weekend.
The box came and it looked impressive. It was packed very well and included recipe cards, 3 brown bags with produce for each meal, and meat on the side for each meal.
When the box came on Tuesday, I already had dinner plans with friends and made Ryan the Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cabbage Carrot Slaw when I got home. I gave him the plate and he made a face but tried it. He ended up eating a sandwich but left the slaw basically untouched. I tried the slaw and agreed that it wasn’t very good. I think because I saw the ingredients it tasted worse to me than it actually was. The pulled pork wasn’t bad but the meat sat in the refrigerator for days before I finally threw it away. It wasn’t good enough to eat as leftovers.
Ryan worked Wednesday and I didn’t feel like cooking a big meal for just me. I also wanted him to try it fresh with me.
Thursday I made the Chicken Cheddar Fajitas for us and told Ryan that I thought a meal subscription box would make cooking easier but it turns out I just don’t like to cook! I know I need to get better about changing up the variety for our meals and eating healthier but this felt like it was throwing me into it. There was lots of chopping of produce, cooking meat, and trying to time everything to get done at the same time.
There was enough for each of us to have two fajitas. I ended up making refried beans on the side because it didn’t look like much food to give to Ryan. Personally, I really liked them but Ryan said they were “ok.” Ryan is a very picky eater if I didn’t mention that already!
Before I went away for the weekend, I told Ryan there was stuff in fridge for the stir fry and left out the recipe card. He didn’t eat it. When I got home, I ate the orange and threw away all the perishable items since we had received it on Tuesday and it was Sunday. It felt like a waste of money to only get one meal out of it and I intended to cancel the subscription.
Before getting our first box, I had went through their online calendar and chose meals on the weeks I thought we would like the items. Honestly, there wasn’t too many things that looked good to both of us. Ryan is also allergic to shellfish and avoids all seafood and there were lots of fish options.
I received an e-mail for a receipt for my purchase of the second box. I didn’t cancel the box in time and paid $40 for the next box. I immediately cancelled the subscription so it wouldn’t happen again.
The options for the following week, January 27th to February 2nd were Tropical Fish Tacos, Amazing Apricot Chicken, Pesto Turkey Burgers, Cherry Drizzled Pork Chops, New York Strip Steak in a Mushroom Sauce (for an extra fee), Buttered Up Steak, Game Day Beef Chili, and Sweet As Honey Chicken. A lot of these main entrees sounded really good but the sides? Not so much.
We got the box on a Tuesday again (when Ryan was working) and I was determined to try all of the meals. On Wednesday I made Game Day Chili. Ryan got out hot sauce and said it was good once he added that and I agreed. It was very blah without it. Again, the meal felt like a lot of work and it wasn’t very thick since the directions only said to simmer 20 minutes.. I had let it simmer 45 minutes!
The following day I made Buttered Up Steak and the sides were roasted potatoes and garlicky green beans. Not going to lie, I added a lot of seasonings we had in the cupboard. I found myself changing the directions since the green beans weren’t cooking and kept them on a lot longer than the directions had said. I added extra seasonings on the steak and potatoes. It was a lot of work and hard to time everything to get done at the same time when the directions didn’t feel correct. Both Ryan and I agreed that this meal was good… I’m not so sure how great it would’ve been without all the extras I added.
Ryan worked Friday, and again, I did not feel like making a big meal for just me. Saturday we ordered pizza and Sunday had a large spread for the Super Bowl. The Sweet as Honey Chicken produce was thrown out since we got it on Tuesday and that seemed too long for the chicken to just be in the refrigerator.
We were very lucky we had that coupon otherwise we would’ve paid over $120 for 6 meals and only ate 4 of them (and enjoyed 3).
I think it really depends on your family if you will like this. For us, I a) hate cooking b) Ryan is too picky and c) our schedule changes weekly so it really wasn’t a good fit for us. In terms of convenience, it was nice having our dinners already planned and everything in the kitchen but I would much rather prefer to pay less for groceries and meal plan on my own.
Have you tried any meal subscription services? What did you think?