cook dinner without all the work

And now a word from a sponsor (with a great discount offer included)…

I really, really like cooking. It helps me de-stress from the day and lets me zone out and not think about work, and I like eating delicious things at the end of it. But I don’t always love figuring out what to make for dinner or dealing with the logistics of getting the ingredients to me. So Blue Apron is perfect for me – I get to cook without any of the planning or legwork.

You’ve probably heard of Blue Apron, but in case not: It’s a meal kit delivery subscription box that delivers farm-fresh ingredients for delicious, chef-designed recipes directly to your doorstep. You don’t need to make a trip to the store, and you’ll receive everything you need in exactly the right amounts, along with instructions for preparing it. In other words, someone else does what you might not want to do, and leaves you the fun part – the cooking.

Blue Apron offers a two-person plan (where you can choose two or three recipes for two people) or a family plan (where you can choose two to four recipes for four people). There are eight recipes to pick from each week, and now you can choose any combination of recipes you want (which didn’t used to be the case). Prices start as low as $7.49 per serving. You can input all your dietary restrictions and food preferences so that you don’t get meals you don’t like or can’t eat. Everything shows up at your door in a temperature-controlled box so it will stay fresh even if you’re not home when it arrives.

One of my favorite things about Blue Apron is that it gets me out of my recipe rut, by having me cook things I might not have tried otherwise – and then I often end up making that stuff on my own in the future. I’d actually never made my own pizza until my latest Blue Apron box, and now I know how easy it is. (Also, their Barbecue Vegetable Flatbread was ridiculously good, and I’m not even into pizza/flatbread-type things. My husband called it“the most delicious thing I’ve ever had.”)

You should try Blue Apron! If you’re one of the first 50 readers to sign up through this link, you’ll get $50 off your first two weeks, which is a pretty great deal.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Pippin's Mom

    I have to second this post – we use Blue Apron and have had great luck and have enjoyed nearly all of the recipes. I can now call myself a former picky eater because I committed to try each recipe even if it had ingredients that I thought that I didn’t like. I’m much more adventurous now.

    The great bonus is that, although I got it so that I could save time after working 11-12 hrs, my non-cooking husband has begun making the dinners. The instructions are clear enough so that even someone without experience can make really great dinners.

    We sort of fell into using Blue Apron sideways when a friend got sick and was unable to use his box and gave it to us. I would have never tried it otherwise since I love to cook and usually cook everything from scratch but we love the service.

    Reply
  2. High Score!

    As much as I enjoyed blue apron offerings (I was a customer for about a year), I got tired of unpacking and throwing away / recycling all the packaging. Even if you recycle all the things you can, it’s very wasteful. And it’s a lot more work than pulling things out of a grocery bag. I suggested to them that they work with grocery stores so I could pick my meals up at a local store without a ton of excess packaging, but never got a response. Since of my local grocery stores though are starting to stock meal kits with 2 servings each tho.

    Reply
    1. Jackie

      Yeah, that packaging is awful, especially the ice packs. If I kept it, it took up too much space in my freezer. If I threw it out, I felt guilty, and its a PITA to ship it back to them!

      Reply
      1. BlueAAApron

        and now they no longer let you ship them back! They changed the packaging slightly, but it still is maddening how much there is.

        Reply
      2. Guitar Lady

        Yeah, WHAT does everyone do with the ice packs? And alllll those plastic bags. I do recycle the box, but since I live in an apartment 2 or 3 usually stack up before I get around to it.

        Reply
  3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

    Love Blue Apron! We used it for a year or so, then tried some of its competitors but weren’t happy with them, and have been doing our own cooking since then. The food was delicious and I loved all the variety — I cooked and ate things I’d never have tried otherwise.

    Reply
  4. madge

    I didn’t realize they allowed any combination of recipes now! That’s exactly why I cancelled. I’m excited to check them out again because I haaate to chop vegetables but I love making things from scratch.

    Reply
    1. betty (the other betty)

      We tried Blue Apron for a week.

      Still had to chop all the vegetables, which surprised me. I thought pre-chopped would be the main selling point, but I guess not. I’m sure the veggies last longer when not chopped.

      Reply
  5. Edith McGuire

    We tried several of these types of companies, including Blue Apron. B.A. was okay, but had a limited number of meal choices each week. We finally settled on Home Chef and have been very happy for over a year. We have 14 dinners and 2 lunches to choose from each week.

    Reply
  6. epi

    Can anyone comment on the size of these meals?

    I checked out this week’s recipes and while they all look great, nearly all are too high in calories for me to be eating for dinner regularly. But, I love leftovers and if the reason is that these serving sizes are large that would be fine. I’d just split them.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Rainy

      A previous roommate did Blue Apron for a while and I recall her getting at least 3 meals (for one person) out of most of the recipes.

      Reply
    2. Annie Moose

      I can’t comment on Blue Apron specifically, but I do HelloFresh and the two-person meals frequently have enough for three servings if you add a side (and sometimes even without adding a side!).

      Reply
    3. Kwazy Cupcake

      It really varies between recipes, unfortunately. I’ve been able to get 4/5 servings out of a pasta entree, but with tacos or tostadas, they usually send two tortillas per person, and the pre-cut chicken they send is one breast.

      If you’re looking at the calories as prepared, I will say that some of these recipes use A LOT of olive oil for cooking, and you could probably reduce the calories substantially by using less oil.

      Reply
    4. Kate Kane

      For me, their 2-serving meals have been more like 1.5 servings and I’ve needed to buy and make a(nother) side dish for many. I’m currently only getting a box about once a month when I see a recipe that I wouldn’t normally be able to put together from the grocery store.
      However! If the calories look too high for you, the meals might be more than enough for leftovers. It’s hard to tell ahead of time, honestly. (My other warning is that they will tell you to use olive oil for everything, don’t do this.)

      Reply
      1. Anonym

        Seconded. I think I have a medium sized appetite for an adult woman, but the meals for two were more like dinner for one + a snack. That’s why I ended up cancelling.

        Reply
    5. Purple Wombat

      I’ve heard the different brands can vary quite a bit when it comes to portion size. I use HelloFresh occasionally, and sometimes a single portion can be split into 2 or even 3 meals, while other times it’s just right for one meal. I’ve never found the portion size to be too small, personally, and I DO NOT have a dainty appetite!

      I don’t know how Blue Apron stacks up, though.

      Reply
    6. The Ginger Ginger

      I use Blue Apron just for myself, and I get 2-3 meals out of each recipe. Sometimes more than 3 on recipes with rice or pasta.

      Reply
  7. Episkey

    Too much prep and work for us. I remember for one recipe they literally sent us a head of kale. Look, for the price of this, I would expect the kale to be at least chopped. I can go to TJ’s and buy a bag of organic kale ready to go for $2.50. I gave them that feedback when we discontinued. We use SunBasket now and much prefer it, plus 80% of the items are organic.

    Reply
    1. Annie Moose

      Coincidentally, I just last night remade a HelloFresh recipe with ingredients from the store… for a quarter of the price! I don’t think I’ll be getting that particular recipe from HF again.

      How is Sun Basket with regards to pricing? I’m not very familiar with it aside from the organic thing.

      Reply
  8. ANon..

    Was a Blue Apron customer for over a year and thoroughly enjoyed it…until they changed the company they used for shipping. Deliveries were late or missed entirely. On top of that, boxes were often missing an ingredient.

    We stopped deliveries because it became too much of a hassle. Also, after a while, the recipes started repeating with only minimal changes.

    If Blue Apron ever got their packaging/shipping stuff figured out, I’d love to give it another go, though.

    Reply
  9. Amethystmoon

    The problem is those services aren’t great for those of us in apt. Buildings with day jobs. If food that need to be refrigerated and it comes when I am still at work, that doesn’t do me much good. Likewise, I can’t have it delivered at work because I work at a corporate grocery retailer and it’s a competitor. So unless there is a great option for working people, like a pickup location, I can’t really take advantage of it.

    Reply
  10. PNW Jenn

    I tried BA for a few weeks and found that:
    1. The meals were 50/50 hit/miss whether my family liked them.
    2. The amount of packaging creates a mountain over time. I felt much guilt about that many ice packs.
    3. There’s a lot of prep involved. One meal revolved around carrots and it was MASSIVE.

    Now I subscribe to http://www.cookinglightdiet.com for the dinner-only plan. I can do all my meal planning online and select meals based on my work and social schedule. Then I go to Fred Meyer and use their “clicklist” for online shopping. I only pick meals that I know my family will eat, and there are lots of veggies built into the plan. It’s very healthy and the meals are very good.

    I’ve lost 8 pounds without even trying.

    Reply
  11. Knitting Cat Lady

    I looked at a few of those services in Germany. None of them had allergy/intolerance support.

    I wouldn’t be able to eat 2/3 of the stuff they send.

    Reply
  12. Kaina60

    I used Martha and Marley Spoon for 4 months. I loved the convenience of having food and recipes delivered to my door. Good for the person who has money but not time or energy to shop or forethought to meal plan. I tried a lot of new things (mustard greens [ick] fresh mint [ick] broccholini [good] fresh ginger [yes] various cheeses [all good]). The 2-serving meals needed to be supplemented with an extra side for us. On the down side, there’s only 2 recipes that engaged us enough to try again. Not enough spice – the fajita mix was egregiously bad (taco spice mix plus ketchup OMG). Not enough sauce on pasta dishes. After the heat of the summer when I feel like cooking again I may try another service.

    Reply
  13. topcat

    I use a similar service (as Blue Apron isn’t available in my country) and it’s *brilliant*. It has taken the stress away from thinking about what to eat, and it has also acted as a kind of cookery course.

    Plus it’s great fun getting a box every week. Kind of like a Christmas hamper ;)

    Reply

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