*Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring today’s post!
As we settle into our fall schedule of activities, I’m finding less and less time to do my meal prep. Time to call on Blue Apron! I’ve used this service before with great success. This time I was looking to do one of their meat-free options to change it up because my husband has been on a semi-vegan kick lately. The Summer Vegetable Paella was a perfect way to end our “summer” and head into fall with a festive dish!
If you’re not familiar with it, Blue Apron is a service that delivers fresh ingredients for meals that you make at home. They include just enough of what you need to make the recipes they give you. The food is delivered in a refrigerated box so that the ingredients stay fresh, even if you’re not at home when your package arrives. I’ve always gotten quality ingredients and you can check out the Blue Apron mission page regarding their efforts at sustainability.
Blue Apron is a great company. Not only are they conscious about their impact on the environment, but they care about their subscribers. With the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in our area, they refunded my meals that were scheduled to arrive when there was no mail service running and sent a nice note explaining that I’d be getting my money back and when to expected but also wishing us well.
It was clearly a mass email, but as I had been worried about if my food was just sitting in a truck somewhere and what would happen, I simply sent a reply to that email saying “Thank You.” Later that day I received a response from Jeffrey B. on the Blue Apron Customer Experience Team saying that he was very welcome and glad that he could assist me. He wished me and my family well during the storm and made sure I knew that Blue Apron was available if there was anything else I needed help with. Fortunately my family had remained safe and dry throughout Harvey and the Houston flooding, but it really meant a lot to hear from the company and feel like they truly cared. Isn’t that awesome?!
I love to lay out all the ingredients first thing, and I feel so French with my mise en place. I’m always impressed with how fresh every ingredient is and the perfect portions they send in the refrigerated box.
The ice bags keep everything fresh and cool, even if you aren’t home when the box arrives. Side note: I started keeping a couple of these ice packs in my freezer to use in coolers for long days at the baseball field or on a road trip. They’re reusable!
I got to chopping and cooking the veggies while I boiled water for the green beans. The recipe instructions combine the steps and tell you what to do while something else is going on. This is so efficient when you’re short on time or have a little one running around you and also ensures all the parts of your meal are ready at the same time!
My favorite part of Blue Apron is that I get to spend less time grocery shopping. #notmyfavorite And look at the colorful peppers and vegetables! I don’t know that I would ever think to buy the little Piquante Peppers, which are actually sweet, or the Carnaroli Rice, which is thicker and grainier than the regular rice I typically cook with.
To help make the cleanup as easy as the cooking, I used a “discard bowl” to keep all of my peels, stems and seeds in one place and then straight to the trash.
Most recipes I’ve made with Blue Apron require olive oil, which they didn’t provide but is hopefully something everyone keeps on hand!
Jordan is a great little “helper” and mid-cooking taste tester. She’s starting to say, “cook, cook” now when she sees me cooking in the kitchen. I’ll often give her a big plastic bowl and a wooden spoon and let her ‘stir’ to her heart’s content. It keeps her busy for at least a few minutes!
Something else that I love are the distinctive sauces that I usually skip when cooking on my own. I chopped up those sweet Piquante Peppers and combined them with a little bit of mayonnaise, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and some garlic to make a nice aioli for the side.
I’m not always a sauce person, but it really did add that extra umph to the Paella. I also garnished with some roasted almonds on my portion (left that off of Jordan’s).
They give you an option of cooking for two or four people. We are a family of four, but with a picky eater and a little one, I’ve found that the portions work perfectly for us when we get the two-person plan. If it’s a week that we may benefit from having leftovers for lunch, I could easily change to a family plan as needed.
Ever had someone catch a picture of you while you’re eating?! Embarrassing 🙂 It looked and smelled so good, I couldn’t resist.
The meals take no longer than 40 minutes to cook and are between 500-800 calories per person, but I find you can take some shortcuts to cut calories further if you want, especially in the oils and sauces that you use at home.
When you go to schedule your Blue Apron order, you can choose 3 out of 6 options for that week. I appreciate that so you can still pick the meals that are most appealing to you, like a meat free option that I included with this order.
Love this little babe so much! Too bad James was in school when we made this dish or he would’ve been in the pics too. I made sure to save a portion for my husband to eat that night. He loved it! He’s actually the one that initially encouraged me to try Blue Apron!
As far as pricing, I feel like it’s decent at $60 a week for 3 meals or about $10 per serving. I feel like I’m getting a restaurant-quality meal for cooking-at-home prices! We’d spend that much or more on takeout and at the grocery store, but are saving time/energy on the meal planning, grocery shopping and preparation. I like that you can skip or cancel the service anytime too.
Have you already tried Blue Apron? What did you think?