HelloFresh Meal Kits: What I Cooked Up in My First Week

hello fresh review september 2017

Back when I was working at a corporate job, and even now, I struggle with one, finding time to go grocery shopping and two, planning balanced meals that are tasty and healthy, and then actually executing them.  So when my boyfriend suggested trying out HelloFresh, I was more than willing (and even a teensy bit excited…) to give it a go.

New to HelloFresh?  Here’s a quick rundown on how it works:

  • Start by picking a plan based your on dietary preferences (omnivore or vegetarian), number of people to feed, and number of meals per week
  • Choose from 8 different recipes each week (they constantly rotate and introduce new ones)
  • Each meal costs around $9.99 per serving
  • Deliveries can be scheduled to your doorstep on any day of the week (including weekends) free of charge, and you don’t need to be home to accept it
  • Pause, modify or cancel the subscription anytime
  • Bonus: All the packaging is recyclable and/or compostable!

Our very first meal plan was set to arrive on Monday, and although it was marked as delivered, it never came.  Fortunately, the next afternoon, our box arrived and even more surprisingly, everything was still fresh.  The giant ice packets inside stayed frozen and the insulation lining the entire box kept everything chilled.

Packaged at the top of the HelloFresh box were four brown bags, which housed the ingredients for each of our four meals separately.  The meats were grouped together underneath, and placed closest to the ice packets.  We removed a few items like the canned pasta sauce, but for the most part, kept everything organized inside the bags and then stored them in the fridge (they took up a little over half a shelf).

hello fresh review september 2017

hello fresh meal review september 2017

We began cooking that night, all the way through Friday.  After day two, I was already digging the routine of stepping away from the tv, phone, and laptop and spending a good 30 minutes in the kitchen creating something from scratch, and then sitting down to enjoy the finished product.  And yes, everything was yummy.  The fresh ingredients combined with delicious sauces put HelloFresh’s dishes a step above my bland and often uninspiring meals.  The majority of the dishes focused on proteins and veggies/fruits, with healthy carbs like potatoes and couscous.  The portions were perfect and left me feeling full but not over-stuffed, while calorie-wise they averaged at around 600, with the highest out of all 8 meal options being 830 calories.

Here are all four meals, along with our thoughts and ratings for each!


Tuesday

Hello Fresh Review - Pan-Seared Duck Breasts

Hello Fresh review - Pan-Seared Duck Breasts

Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Duck-Fried Potatoes, Asparagus, and Grape Tomatoes

  • Ingredients: fingerling potatoes, chives, grape tomatoes, asparagus, duck breasts, chicken demi-glace (not included: butter)
  • Prep time: 5 minutes, Total time: 35 minutes
  • Calories: 620
  • What we liked:  We learned how to properly cook duck breast for the first time, and make a delicious sauce using the rendered fat.
  • What we didn’t like:  The sauce was a bit too buttery, and we would have liked to learn how to make the demi-glace from scratch.
  • Rating: 4/5

(See full recipe here)


Wednesday

Hello Fresh review - Steak and Nectarine Salad

Hello Fresh review - Steak and Nectarine Salad

Steak and Nectarine Salad with Arugula, Pecans, and Feta Cheese

  • Ingredients: nectarines, sirloin steak, spring mix lettuce, pecans, shallot, red wine vinegar, feta cheese (not included: olive oil)
  • Prep time: 5 minutes, Total time: 20 minutes
  • Calories: 470
  • What we liked:  The feta, pecans, and charred nectarine combination was super tasty and something we never would have thought to add to a salad.
  • What we didn’t like:  We thought the steak could have used more seasoning beyond just salt and pepper.
  • Rating: 4/5

(See full recipe here)


Thursday

Hello Fresh review - Mushroom Gravy Chicken over Couscous

Hello Fresh review - Mushroom Gravy Chicken over Couscous

Mushroom Gravy Chicken over Couscous with Lemony Arugula

  • Ingredients: button mushrooms, thyme, Israeli couscous, sour cream, lemon, garlic, chicken breasts, chicken stock concentrate, Dijon mustard, arugula (+ olive oil)
  • Prep time: 10 minutes, Total time: 30 minutes
  • Calories: 560
  • What we liked: Mushroom gravy sauce was delicious and the couscous was a new ingredient that we never thought to use before.
  • What we didn’t like: This was the most complex dish to make out of the four (but also the tastiest, so it was worth it!)
  • Rating: 5/5

(See full recipe here)


Friday

Hello Fresh - Penne with a Kick in a Pancetta Tomato Arrabbiata Sauce

Hello Fresh - Penne with a Kick in a Pancetta Tomato Arrabbiata Sauce

Penne with a Kick in a Pancetta Tomato Arrabbiata Sauce

  • Ingredients: red onion, Roma tomato, pancetta, diced tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, garlic, thai chili, penne pasta, baby spinach (+ olive oil and sugar)
  • Prep time: 10 minutes, Total time: 30 minutes
  • Calories: 600
  • What we liked:  This was by far the simplest recipe out of the four.  Loved the addition of fresh spinach leaves and tomatoes.
  • What we didn’t like:  Would have loved if they gave us fresh pasta instead of boxed pasta.
  • Rating: 3/5

(See full recipe here)


In addition to discovering a fun new evening activity and also improving my diet by eating healthier meals, I actually learned some new cooking techniques over the course of the week – like rendering fat from meat and using it to cook veggies and make sauces.

Another plus for me is that there’s zero food waste.  HelloFresh pre-packages ingredients into portions that, 90% of the time, perfectly match what the recipes call for.  You don’t have to play a guessing game at the grocery store, or stock up on full-size containers, only to have the extras sit in your cabinets and fridge until they expire.

Expanding on this minimalist approach, HelloFresh’s recipes are also designed to use the least amount of pans, pots, bowls, and dishes, so clean up is pretty quick.  The recipe steps are also super simple and easy-to-follow, even for culinary newbies like myself.

hello fresh meal subscription review september 2017

With all that in mind, while I do think it’s a bit pricey for what you get food-wise, the convenience and experience of cooking up a healthy, balanced meal is what ultimately makes it worth it for me.  I’d highly recommend HelloFresh to anyone who struggles with finding the time and/or having the culinary know-how to plan a week’s worth of tasty and healthy home-cooked meals, while keeping clean-up and food waste to a minimum.


Have you tried HelloFresh, or another meal subscription service?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share:
  • umm…these recipes look amazing! We’re tempted to make Friday’s meal tonight for dinner! thanks for sharing your review.

  • I had Hello Fresh for awhile at college, and my roommate and I LOVED it! It was so easy, and we loved eating different foods each week that we wouldn’t have otherwise chosen ourselves.

    https://hollyhabeck.com/2017/09/22/50-fall-blog-post-ideas/

  • Me and my other half have been debating trying Hello Fresh for quite a while now. I love how easy it sounds and that everything is pretty much measured and ready to go too.

    Kristy | http://www.thevioletblonde.com

  • Sharon Glascoe

    I looooove Hello Fresh! We do it about once a month to switch up our normal dinner routine. We actually just had it this past week! I always look forward to burger days 🙂