This month, I got to try out a box from HelloFresh, a subscription box service that delivers pre-packaged ingredients to your door so you can easily prepare a meal at home in less than an hour. When I go grocery shopping, my purchases are usually limited to basic vegetables, dairy, and breakfast foods, so having these ingredients at hand, ready for use, really helped me whip up some legit looking meals in no time.
Overall, I was very pleased with how the dishes turned out! I think this experience has given me some ideas of what to buy at the grocery store the next time I want to cook up a fancy meal.
I know that there are actually quite a few “ingredients to-go” businesses are out there already – Blue Apron, for example, offers a similar service. I came across HelloFresh when I received a $40 discount coupon in the mail (use the code: KCTVQD); I purchased a Classic Box for omnivores that includes three different meals, each portioned to feed two people.
Shortly after ordering the box, I got an email to choose three recipes out of five. My boxes arrived a few days later than the expected delivery date (I’m guessing that was because of the great snowstorm that attacked the East Coast a few weeks ago), but the food was still fresh and well-refrigerated. Well, let me get right into the dishes!
- Pan-Seared Pork Chops
This meal was the first out of the three that were sent to me. At first, I was a little baffled by all the different parts that went to putting this meal together – I had to roast the sweet potatoes and the broccolini in the oven, turn on the stove to sear the pork chops, AND put the rosemary-grape salsa together! But the instructions that came with the ingredients were very clear and simple, so it wasn’t hard to get everything ready and cooking. I liked how rosemary was incorporated throughout the whole cooking process – I don’t often use herbs when I cook (I don’t think my cooking skills are at the point where I can leisurely consider what kind of herb to use…maybe just a pink of salt and pepper when I need it), but it was very very nice smelling the lovely rosemary flood the kitchen. It might be my favorite herb, or a close second to basil.
I packed some of this for lunch before heading to work one day, and it still tasted pretty fresh even when heated up in the microwave!
- Peppercorn Steak
The second dish I tried was the Peppercorn Steak. I don’t think I have ever had steak at home – if we ever have beef back home, it would be in some other form (usually Asian); also, I had never prepared kale at home before… so this experience was pretty new to me. My boyfriend and I prepared this meal together. This recipe also required the oven and involved several parts of the meal being prepared at the same time as well. The potatoes were cut and thrown in the oven, and while they were cooking, he cooked the steak and I cooked the kale. I didn’t know that cooked kale would taste good – the only times I’ve tasted kale was in a raw salad or in a juice. The peppercorn sauce was also fun to try out – reducing the beef stock, peppercorn, and shallot into a sauce made me feel like I was on Chopped (or some other serious cooking show)! Overall, the meal was a success, and much easier than expected.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Saltimbocca
I had to google what Saltimbocca meant because the idea of wrapping meat in another meat sounded a bit epic-meal-time-ish to me. Apparently it means jumps in the mouth in Italian! A common version of dish involved veal wrapped in prosciutto with sage or basil; my recipe used chicken instead. It was the third time I was multitasking by cooking things in the oven and on the pan at the same time, so it actually felt much easier and faster. I got all the parts ready according to the recipe, but I chose not to cook the tomato with the spinach. The recipe had pictures with cherry tomatoes (or some kind of a smaller version), but my box came with large tomatoes. I thought these big tomatoes might get too slimy when cooked, so I just sliced them up and ate them fresh with the rest of the meal. I guess that’s the cool part about these boxes – you can always add your own twist to it.
All of the meals took less than 40 minutes to prep and plate! Still, I was so proud of myself for pulling it off. I think it motivated me to start cooking at home more, and made me realize that it’s not as hard as it seems. I highly suggest trying it out sometime – Do any of you guys subscribe to boxes like these?