Hello Fresh Meals: Delicious and Worth the Cost
When I first heard about Hello Fresh, I was skeptical. Having owned restaurants and a successful catering business in the past, plus having taught cooking classes at our local kitchen/bath store, I thought it was for beginner cooks or those with zero kitchen skills. I didn’t consider if Hello Fresh meals tasted good or if they were worth the cost.
How wrong I was! My daughter, Peyton (a busy restaurant manager), subscribed to Hello Fresh’s weekly service and had nothing but great things to say about it. I found it odd that after working extremely long shifts, at a restaurant with good food, she would want to come home to cook. Peyton assured me she loved it and it was worth her time. After trying one of the chef-curated meals, I can see why Hello Fresh is America’s #1 meal kit.
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How I Got Lured In
Peyton ended up with a backlog of meals in her refrigerator after working busy holiday shifts. Since the meals are fresh and must be prepared in a timely manner, she dropped two of them off at my house. I can already cook, have most of the ingredients on hand, and have recipes of my own that I like to make. And my list of reasons to not like Hello Fresh, or give it a chance, went on and on. But I hate wasting food, so I caved and prepared a meal.
I liked that the instructions are printed on a color sheet with six simple steps. The card lists the prep and cook time, difficulty level, and nutritional values. It shows a gorgeous picture of the finished meal, too. I quickly jumped in and started washing the produce and cutting vegetables. I was mostly dicing, slicing, or mincing–knife skills I was already familiar with. Then I cooked my Hello Fresh meal, step-by-step, watching the bag of ingredients come to life. My kitchen smelled amazing!
Then came the real test—tasting it. The two meal portions were divvied up between my husband and me, and we dug in. Wow, it was delicious! I could tell that a lot of work has gone into creating these recipes that would appeal to almost any palate. I noted the quality ingredients and that the serving size was perfect. We cleaned the plates and loved that we didn’t have to think about what was for dinner, wash many dishes, and that we weren’t overly stuffed but plenty full.
Hello Fresh was served the next night as well, and we liked that meal even more than the first. And thus it began. Within another week, I had secured my own subscription and was enjoying every meal.
A Flexible Meal Service Subscription
Hello Fresh offers many ways to subscribe, with great flexibility in each option. You can change your delivery day, number of recipes per week, and desired meals. You can opt for meals in meat & veggies, vegetarian, low-calorie, or family-friendly categories. In these, you will find sub-categories such as hall of fame recipes, taste tours, quick-cooking, or easy. Hall of fame recipes are those that are extremely popular and pop up as one of your 18-21 choices every couple of weeks.
With Hello Fresh, you can choose whether you want two or three meals per week or more if you need it. It also allows a selection of two or four people.
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Hello Fresh meals run behind, so you decide on the things you want this week, to be delivered within a week to two weeks. You can change your mind up until the cutoff, which is 11:59 pm PST 5-days before your next delivery. You can also schedule your meals up to six weeks in advance, and skip as many weeks as you like. This works well for me due to my traveling obligations.
Prices and Choices
All in all, we pay roughly $10 per person, per meal to Hello Fresh. So, for three meals per week for the two of us, our bill is $61.93, which we pay via PayPal, making it super convenient. The accurate breakdown is $8.99 per person, per meal, and $7.99 shipping and handling.
While I subscribe as a “no beef” Hello Fresh member, I still get to pick between 20 or so meals per week. Hello Fresh selects three meals per week from my member status to send me, but I am free to change those as I see fit each week. Using the app on my phone (which is easy to navigate), it only takes about one minute to make my choices. I almost always end up changing at least two of them to things that better suit our wants. The choices given are from every category, so you could ideally choose a low-calorie option, an easy pick, and a taste tour meal, or any combination.
How to Store Hello Fresh Meals
We get our Hello Fresh meals delivered on Monday evenings. The box arrives exceptionally well packed for keeping the foods cold and protected. Each dinner is in a brown bag, labeled with what meal the ingredients coincide with. Underneath the bags is a layer of non-toxic ice packs which are easy to recycle. The Hello Fresh meats and seafood are stored between layers of these ice packs, and stay cool enough to hold your items for 24 hours or more. Simply unpack both the bags and proteins and refrigerate until you are ready for use.
Note: Hello Fresh recipe cards are found inside the top of your box. I made the mistake of throwing them away with my first delivery, which did not matter because the app has every recipe stored for your use. What a lifesaver!
We eat dinner between 7-7:30 each night. I take the brown sack of ingredients and coordinating protein out of the refrigerator around 6:30, allowing them 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature. Then, I start prepping and cooking my dinner according to the instructions on the card. Typically, it requires olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, salt, and pepper to be on hand. Kitchen utensils used most are a cutting board, skillet, baking sheet, colander, a good knife, and small mixing bowls.
Recipes are easy to follow, and if you don’t have basic knife skills, it will still be okay. If your vegetables aren’t diced small enough, then the dinner may take a few additional minutes to cook. If the vegetables are small, they will cook quicker. Once you learn easy tricks like that, you will become a pro in no time.
After making 20+ Hello Fresh meals, I have found that I do not care for couscous. This has nothing to do with Hello Fresh, but I don’t see that it has much flavor, and it comes as a side item for quite a few meals. I also think the chicken stock packet that comes with some meals doesn’t thicken up the dish as well as I would like. When I have recipes that call for the stock, I make sure to cook them a few extra minutes and then allow them to cool before dishing them up as the sauce will thicken more that way. This applies to the figgy pork and apricot chicken dishes. Otherwise, I applaud Hello Fresh for making cooking easy, fun, and without a waste of any ingredients–one of my top reasons for subscribing.
Meals I’d Order Again and Again
The other reason I subscribe to Hello Fresh is that the recipe creations are delicious–really palate-pleasing. I’m a big fan of the bowls, from Pork Fiesta to Beef Bulgogi, and especially the Chicken Shawarma. I also love anything with chicken sausage. The first time using chicken sausage, I couldn’t help but think it looked and smelled foul. It is sticky and not easy to get out of the package. But, once you taste it, the arsenal of flavors that are just the right combination, you’ll see why I endorse it.
We aren’t a typical meat + veggie family, so we tend to venture out with more of the easy or quick meals. Peyton, on the other hand, likes the sliced chicken or pork dishes that come with a green vegetable and starch. Sometimes, the meals come with two carbohydrates, like roasted carrots and rosemary potatoes. Keep in mind; the portions are perfect, so you don’t have to worry about overindulging.
My favorite Hello Fresh meals are:
- Korean Beef Bibimbap with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Carrots (Hall of Fame)
- Pork and Poblano Tacos (Hall of Fame)
- Chicken Sausage and Spinach Ravioli (Quick)
- Southwest Chicken and Rice Skillet (Easy)
- Chicken Pineapple Quesadillas (Calorie smart)
- Teriyaki Pork Luau Bowls with Kiwi Salsa and Lime Cream (Family friendly)
- Honey-thyme Pork Tenderloin (Easy Recipes)
Note: Some of the meals we order with rice are often big enough for three portions. We eat what we want, but sometimes we have extra for lunch the next day.
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Cooking Tips I’ve Learned Since Using Hello Fresh
Ever wonder how restaurants make those fancy flavored sour creams that are drizzled so beautifully over your dish? Hello Fresh has you making them in minutes. The sour cream (which comes in a cute little squeeze packet) is enhanced with citrus juice, often herbs, and then thinned with tiny amounts of water until it is at a drizzling consistency. Because I love sour cream, I typically double this recipe using sour cream I have in my refrigerator.
Potato mashers aren’t necessary if your potatoes and root vegetables are cooked well done, as you can smash them with the back of a fork to the desired consistency. Neither is a zester necessary for citrus. Use the small sides of a box or hand grater instead. Depending on how small the slivers, you may want to dice them afterward. Remember to not dig into the white fleshy part of the lemon, lime, or orange.
Fancy a glass of wine to accompany your meal? Hello Fresh recipe cards list what type of wine pairs best with your meal, such as dry, white, or fruity.
Hello Fresh: A Tasty, Easy Decision
I hope you will love eating Hello Fresh meals as much as you appreciate having the dinner kits conveniently delivered to your door, pre-portioned, and easy to cook. This took the headache out of deciding what was for dinner for us and made preparing dinner a thrill each night. If you sign up for Hello Fresh using our link, I will receive a referral bonus, which could equate to a few dollars in our account. I appreciate this much.
Enjoy your meals, and please share your favorite.
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