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I first heard about Blue Apron from our friends in Nashville. Sara and I were bonding over our shared dislike for cooking (but love of good food) when she pulled a folder from a kitchen drawer. Inside were dozens of Blue Apron recipes that she and her husband had tried and liked. She told me that not only were the recipes easy to make and delicious but the kicker was that the company delivered all the fresh ingredients right to their doorstep in exactly the right proportions. No grocery shopping with whiny kids. No wasted ingredients. And shipping was free.

Sara and John both work full-time and have a young daughter. Sara is a physician and her job requires her to be on call several weeks out of the year. Those weeks can be stressful and chaotic not knowing if / when Sara will be called in to work. So during those weeks they subscribe to Blue Apron. Sara doesn’t have to worry about her family going hungry should she get called away. When Sara isn’t on call, they suspend or cancel their service until the next time she is. There’s no commitment.

I was completely intrigued.

Fast forward to three weeks ago when Steve underwent an emergency appendectomy. The recovery was hard on everyone. Between looking after the kids and caring for Steve, I had no time or energy to think about grocery shopping or what to make for dinner. We were in survival mode and eating takeout more than I care to admit. That’s when I remembered Blue Apron.

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I ordered three meals for the week. You can choose to feed two, four or six people. We are a family of five. I remembered Sara saying the portions were generous so I chose the four-person option to keep waste to a minimum. The ingredients arrived in a refrigerated box. One tomato was slightly smushed but usable and everything else was in perfect condition. Sara had mentioned to me that all the packaging was a downfall but, honestly, it wasn’t any worse than the takeout we had been getting. I put the ice packs in our freezer to reuse and we recycled the cardboard boxes, paper bags and plastic cups / bottles.

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Everything is divvied up in the exact amounts for foolproof cooking. The only ingredients you need to have on hand are olive oil, salt and pepper. Every recipe includes images of each step which we found extremely helpful.

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Basically, I prepped the ingredients then Layne was able to follow the directions to cook the meals while I supervised. (Btw, the day your kid makes you dinner is one for the record books. Kind of makes all those sleepless nights and dirty diapers worth it. Ha!)

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Here, Layne is making Filipino-style beef picadillo with chayote squash & jasmine rice. This was Steve’s favorite. It was labeled as four servings but we easily got 6-8 servings out of it. Based on our experience, I would venture to say the standard $9.99 per meal price ends up being more like $5-$8 per meal depending on the recipe.

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We also tried the cod & pattypan squash en papillote with garlic butter & fresh herb salad. You guys, I cooked with parchment paper for the first time! And, yes, the parchment paper came as an ingredient with the service. Really. The peeps at Blue Apron think of everything so you don’t have to.

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The pan-seared chicken & sautéed bulgur with tomato salad & creamy lemon-yogurt sauce was my favorite. Each recipe was delicious but what I especially liked about the meals was that there wasn’t any need to prepare side dishes. The meals were, in fact, meals. It was nice to try some new foods, too. Chayote squash, anyone?

Overall, Steve and I were super impressed with Blue Apron. We’ll definitely be using the service again during especially hectic weeks. Although, I hope it doesn’t involve another appendectomy. All I could think during our week of service was “Where was this when our kids were newborns?!”

Would you try Blue Apron? It would make a great gift for new parents, an ailing friend or a homesick college student in need of a healthy homemade meal. The service is available nationwide. Check here for a full map of delivery zones. The first 50 House*Tweaking readers to sign up here will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order!

*This post is sponsored in part by Blue Apron. All images, content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

26 Comments

22.July.2014

Glad y’all enjoyed the meal. The only issue I have with Blue Apron is that a lot of the meals have more calories per serving than what I typically would eat. For instance, when I signed up, one of the meals they “assigned” to me was some kind of fried chicken patty. There were 700+ calories per serving. Just wanted to let people know so they could make informed decisions. :)

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22.July.2014

This is a pretty cool concept! And easy enough to use that kids can cook is even better.

http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

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22.July.2014

What I find appealing is that this seems like a good starter kit for someone who’s trying to get comfortable in the kitchen. They take care of the parts that might intimidate someone the most — selecting the right amounts of the right items — and then put the prep back in their hands.

Some may argue that the prep and cooking is just as if not more intimidating, but I really disagree — new ingredients can be a big hurdle. If you don’t know what a chayote is, chances are good that you would feel nervous and embarrassed if you were having trouble finding them in the grocery store, or visiting new and unfamiliar grocery stores in search of them.

As someone who plays in the kitchen a lot, I don’t think this is for me, but I do like the model for those who are busy and still building confidence in their cooking abilities. The results certainly look great. And let’s be real, your kitchen is too beautiful for you to not like cooking :)

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replied on July 22nd, 2014

I hope my dislike for cooking doesn’t come across as me not enjoying / using my kitchen. I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen. I’m so grateful for our kitchen! And while I don’t necessarily like cooking, I do cook most of our meals and I don’t think I’m a horrible cook. I keep waiting to “lose myself” while cooking but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m usually stressing out and feeling as if I’m juggling plates. What I wouldn’t give to want to “play” in the kitchen! My mom was always the person who could look in the pantry and immediately whip up a delicious meal without a recipe. I did NOT get that gene ;)

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22.July.2014

I love that the kids can help in the kitchen!

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I’ve used Blue Apron a few times and love it! There’s always enough to feed myself and my two roommates on a 2 person plan, and it makes me look like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen :)

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I agree it’s a super great service for folks who aren’t 100% comfortable in the kitchen, and also super convenient for busy times/weeks like you mentioned. We tried it and we found it amusing and fun, but not exactly for us, since we love to cook and it seemed so strange to us to get a little bag with a single scallion in it, or 3 chives, and teensy little containers of red wine vinegar, soy sauce, etc. We really had fun with it though, and I’d definitely recommend it for busy families or folks who want to cook more but don’t have the time or know-how.

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22.July.2014

ps: go Layne! He looks like he’s loving this! That’s awesome.

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22.July.2014

Thanks so much for this! We’re going to give it a spin, if for no other reason than to get my husband more comfortable in the kitchen. I mean, he makes a mean frozen pizza and microwave baked potato, but we’re having another baby in just a few months. While my mom is coming out for a week, and his parents for some time after my mom leaves, still, it’ll be nice to eat something that I didn’t make and freeze a few weeks prior!

I love my time in the kitchen, but sometimes it’s nice to not really have to think too much about what I’m doing!

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22.July.2014

I’ve found them too, and I love the recipes! Some have made it to Permanent Rotation status in my house. I don’t subscribe, but I would if it were right for us!

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Wow this is awesome! Something like this would be great during a time when one parent may be out of town for a while as well. Could help alleviate some pressure off the lone parent during that time. The meals look delicious as well. Layne may end up being a chef afterall! Then youd never have to cook again! Thanks so much for sharing Dana.

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23.July.2014

This looks awesome. I can’t wait to get my first delivery. I enjoy cooking but I always end up cooking the same things over and over until we’re sick of them. It looks like this will kick things up a notch. And in all honesty who doesn’t get burned out from grocery shopping every now and again- how awesome that everything you need comes right to you! Thanks for sharing another great service.

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23.July.2014

Was Layne cooking for the family before or after his bout with chicken pox?

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23.July.2014

I think this would be a really nice gift for new parents. Maybe sign them up for a week or two. When we had our first, we got so tired of takeout and eating well-meaning friends’ casseroles that weren’t always very good.
After many years of practice, I can now open the pantry and throw together a delicious meal last minute and I truly enjoy cooking and selecting my own ingredients at the market, etc so this wouldn’t be for me. However, I agree it’s a great option for folks hoping to branch out and get more comfortable with cooking!

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23.July.2014

i think this would work for a family that absolutely hates or can’t cook. i love cooking so putting together a meal is no biggie and for $10 i can easily feed a family of four. and when i don’t want to cook, i do take out!

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24.July.2014

It seems like a great idea for “emergency” weeks like yours or the first week with a newborn, but it wouldn’t be for me. As someone working towards zero waste, I couldn’t get past all those plastic baggies in that box!

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24.July.2014

I use their recipes but would never use their service. $60 for one meal?! We’re more than comfortably off but I’d never spend that on a home cooked meal, ever. However, as a concept for couples and small families, it’s a great idea.

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replied on July 25th, 2014

It’s not $60 for 1 meal, it’s $60 for 3 meals. I’ve personally used it and I can honestly say that you can’t go to the store for those ingredients for less than $20 / meal.

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replied on July 25th, 2014

Apologies, I should have put in my post that I have 4 kids, aged from 11-18. The website says that it’s from $9.99 per person per meal, so I have never registered more than getting their (great!) recipes. Trust me, if it’s cheaper than that, I’d use it. I’m a working mom with 4 busy kids and 2 dogs…I could do with all the help I can get at dinner time! :D

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replied on July 25th, 2014

We found that most of the recipes allowed for generous portions so a 4-person meal actually served more like 6-8. It differed from recipe to recipe but Steve and I guessed that the cost was probably more like $5-$8 per person. The service isn’t something I would want to do every week but for those cray-cray weeks when I have no brain cells functioning come 5PM, it’s a lifesaver.

I CANNOT IMAGINE FEEDING 4 KIDS 11-18!! $$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!! I say do whatever works for you. You are a wonderful mom!

25.July.2014

I’ve been looking the past few weeks for something like this. We’re extremely bad planners and getting busier so it’s the first thing to go out the window, so our fallback is to eat out. This would actually save us money immediately. Can’t wait to try!

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25.July.2014

Is this organic food?

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replied on July 25th, 2014

It’s sourced locally but I don’t believe it’s organic.

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26.July.2014

I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of vegetarian option they offered! And some of them sounded quite yummy. Not yummy enough to pay $20 for potato patties…but yummy.

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31.July.2014

I love this concept. I would be willing to try it on a week where the menu was a bit more basic. I am an adventurous eater, but I don’t think that their menu is for just anyone (including husband). I do love the concept though. I am going to check their menu each week, and if I see something that will work for us and we are crazy busy give it a try.

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03.November.2014

[…] business trip so I signed up for another Blue Apron delivery. I tried Blue Apron for the first time earlier this year after Steve’s appendectomy and it was a lifesaver during that busy, stressful time. I knew it […]




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