We received a meal kit delivery to facilitate our HelloFresh review.
What if I told you that it was possible to hop online and order a big box of less stress to help get you though a busy week? Well, that’s exactly what happened when HelloFresh sent me 3 days’ worth of fresh meal kits to review. Was I skeptical? Yes. I thought they might be time-consuming, maybe not so fresh…and what about the kids? These may be fairly easy family meals, but would I have to cook something else for the kids? We gave it our all, enjoying HelloFresh for a week, and now I’m here to tell you what we really thought.
Are fresh meal kits from HelloFresh right for you? Read on, friends…
First, a disclaimer: You may notice that this post isn’t full of perfectly styled photos, great lighting or my best props. That’s because these are real-life, everyday images I took quickly during actual weeknights. Photos taken while actually getting dinner on the table after work, after a long commute, with 2 kids underfoot – 3 nights in a row. If I can pull these meals off during our evening whirlwind, anyone can.
HelloFresh Review: What’s inside?
Let’s start with what’s in the box. Basically, everything.
HelloFresh sends everything you’ll need to complete your recipes. Fresh veggies, herbs, spices, pasta…all of it. The meat is included, too, but that’s packed separately with ice packs underneath the white boxes (shown above.) Everything in our order arrived packed and wrapped better than almost anything else I’ve ever had shipped, and it was all still nice and cold when I opened my package.
In our family box, we were excited to find three recipes that sounded right off the bat like they would please everyone. The only one I worried about even slightly was the Penne Arrabbiata because of the heat associated with chili peppers (I love it, the kids do not.) No worries, though. I just dialed back the chili a little and it went over like gangbusters.
Look at all the fresh flavor in there!
This one took us about 30 minutes to prepare.
Chicken and Chorizo Paella
For our second night cooking with HelloFresh, I invited my son to join me in the kitchen to prepare a Chicken and Chorizo Paella. I miscalculated a little bit here, because I had a long, tough day at work, my commute was terrible, and this was the recipe that required the most prep work of the three. The veggies had to be chopped, the herbs washed, stripped and chopped, the chorizo and chicken chopped. The actual recipe itself was pretty easy, but the prep did me in. I was glad my kiddo was helping out (not that it saved time – it just made it more fun) and I cut a small corner by leaving the chicken thighs in large pieces. We had dinner in a little over an hour, and everyone liked it. Once again, the kids were in. Had I known that it would be so exciting to get a lemon wedge with dinner, I would have started that a long time ago.
Crispy Chicken Milanese
Finally, the Crispy Chicken Milanese. When I first read the recipe, I thought it sounded a bit bland – like your average restaurant salad. But no, not at all. The recipe calls for coating the chicken with sour cream, then panko and Italian seasoning, and that made such a difference. The colorful heirloom tomatoes, red onion and roasted summer squash made this hearty and satisfying, yet light enough to fit right in on a warm spring day. This recipe is going into the permanent stash.
Did we love HelloFresh?
In short, yes. In addition to the recipes above, here are a few reasons why I’d order HelloFresh again in a heartbeat:
With preplanned, preportioned ingredients delivered to my home, I was able to get a meal on the table that I felt good about, without having to think much about it. The ingredients were real, fresh and healthful, and the recipes were easy to follow and understand. There are nights that we end up grabbing takeout because I’m just too tied up with work to figure out a meal plan, and having HelloFresh do it for me took away the temptation to just say, “Forget it” and pick up the phone for pizza…or whatever. No guilt = happy mama.
Our HelloFresh review also allowed for a fun experiment with my kids. My 6-year-old son took notes for me, learned a few kitchen techniques, and really got excited about cooking. Getting my kids in the kitchen is a major priority for me, and I loved seeing how shaking up our normal routine really appealed to him. He keeps asking what will be in the next box!
Another reason I loved welcoming these new recipes into my kitchen is that sometimes, I just get burned out. My job revolves around food, as does much of my home life, and sometimes I just need some new ideas! With these three recipes, I learned some new things that I will adapt and use again and again (like the paella cooking method, the roasted veggies on the salad, and the sour cream coating on the chicken) so a week with HelloFresh really did help me become a better overall home cook.
Finally, I can’t rave enough about the portion sizes. My kids are small, but they eat a good bit and we have leftovers like crazy with each meal. More than enough for lunches the next day at work!
A Few Opportunities…
Of course, as with most things, there were a couple of opportunities with HelloFresh that I think are important to point out. The first, I noticed right away – a tomato that was past its prime (either that, or it got knocked around in shipping.) It affected a nearby onion, and we had to sacrifice half of each to the compost. Overall, considering the sheer number of fresh items included and the great quality of those, I don’t feel like the tomato is a big deal. Luckily, I had another. But that leads me to my next point…
HelloFresh is not for those who realize in the afternoon that they need a dinner option. You have to plan ahead enough to order your kits, and then you have to set aside the nights to cook them. We got our box on a Monday night, so I cooked on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. By the end of the week, I started to wonder how long all the fresh items would last. They were all still great by the time we got to them, but there are a lot of weeks where unexpected roadblocks pop up and cooking gets postponed. Fresh won’t wait, so you’d better have your schedule set!
In the end, my week went smoothly, my kids ate tons of fresh veggies, and we all gathered around the table as a family each night. All three are things I seldom manage very frequently on my own, so I think I owe HelloFresh a major high-five.
Visit HelloFresh.com to get more details on their fresh meal kit delivery, and choose from the Veggie Box, Classic Box or Family Box. Browse recipes that are available this week, along with upcoming and archived recipes. Subscriptions are flexible, and you’ll save $15 off your first delivery when you subscribe to their email at the top of the page.