Special Delivery: Dinner Made Easier

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Special DeliveryThe question of “what’s for dinner?” haunts me nightly. Rushing home from work, grabbing the kids, heading to after-school activities – dinner can seem like an endless chore, especially when I haven’t made it to the store that day and have no idea what to serve. I might guiltily resort to a frozen burrito for my oldest, macaroni and nuggets for the younger two, or whatever else I can scrounge up quickly and know that my kids will eat. I think back on all the home cooked meals of my childhood, and wonder with amazement how my mother managed to get all four kids to eat the same thing.

With this in mind, I was intrigued by the variety of meal planning/dinner delivery services available. There are many from which to choose, including HelloFresh, Blue Apron and Plated.  I recently purchased a coupon for HelloFresh in hopes it might help me plan and cook healthy dinners for the family at least a few times a week. I know how to cook; my challenge is time, so I had high hopes for semi-prepared foods that would be a snap to get on the table. It didn’t work out exactly as planned.

The box arrived and it was HUGE. 20160316_132743I am not sure what I was expecting, but three family-sized meals do take up a bit of space, I suppose. Be prepared to have ample room in your fridge. Here are a few of my other takeaways to help you decide if a service like this might be right for you:

  • You have to know how to cook. Recipes are rated by level of difficulty, and two of my recipes were rated “Level 1” and one was rated “Level 2.” While nothing was exceptionally difficult, it was time consuming and involved multiple steps, and I would have been frustrated if I didn’t know certain techniques prior to starting.

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  • This is not a time saver. The potatoes arrived whole for the “Lemony Pan-Seared Chicken” with pesto potato salad and peas, and the chicken was raw and untrimmed. The process of cutting and boiling the potatoes takes time, plus unwrapping, seasoning, searing and cutting the chicken. Other recipes in my box were similarly time consuming, involving removing sausage from its casing, chopping onion and grating garlic for the “Herby Sausage Risotto” and trimming and peeling asparagus for the”Spring Tortellini Gratin.”
  • The food is fresh and the recipes are delicious. Not everything won over my finicky brood, but I did find certain elements of every dinner would satisfy. They did not like the composed lemon chicken dish, but did love the sliced chicken served with some of the pesto. Similar verdict for the sausage risotto and tortellini. It was fun to have a nice meal to eat with my husband, and it did give us more intention when we sat down to eat, rather than scarfing baby carrots from the bag while playing dinner referee.

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  • It is costly. You pay for the convenience of the recipes and food delivered to your door.  My family box, consisting of three meals for four, cost $105 per weekly delivery. We did enjoy trying new things, but you still have to go to the grocery store on top of the meal delivery.

Will I continue my subscription? Well, I called them to cancel and was told it was too late to stop this week’s shipment. But they would be happy to cancel my subscription and give me a $52.50 credit toward a future box. If I start running low on ideas in the kitchen, I would be open to giving it another try, this time with my eyes open as to what the service was (and wasn’t).

Side Note: This is not a sponsored post, just a mom sharing her advice and thoughts to help other moms who may be in the same boat! 

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