Review II: Hello Fresh, Meat Edition

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A little while ago, blog friend Ann Marie reviewed the new, easy, fun meal delivery service Hello Fresh, which brings several meals to your door at an affordable price (roughly $10/meal per person) that you cook yourself. Ann Marie, being a vegetarian, picked the veggie only option but I couldn’t help but wonder what the “with meat” version was like. Here’s what I found.

Delivery

Prompt, easy and on your schedule, the deliveries are billed on a week to week basis so if you’re out of town it’s no big deal. The meals arrive in a big box with a bunch of ice packs – which essentially gives you a bunch of free ice packs to keep (score), but after a few weeks you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by ice packs. If packaging is a concern for you, the majority of the materials used are recyclable, and hopefully in the future Hello Fresh could implement some sort of box/packaging exchange to reuse the ice packs used in the long run and make the end user feel nice and fuzzy about helping out the environment. At any rate, once you separate out the ingredients and recipe cards (which are of a good stock, worthy of keeping), you’re ready to go. Speaking of the recipes, you can pick and choose the ones you want on a weekly basis. That’s freedom, people.

The Food

The primary thing that struck me about these recipes is how basic they are; you chop some stuff up, cook it, mix it, boom. Done. Only a few spices here and there but the lesson learned is the basics really work. Easy to prepare but you’re learning something new with every recipe, so this kind of service is perfect for a neophyte cook or someone looking to try new things alike. One thing I think would be interesting is if the website provided a weekly video seminar on techniques – searing, chopping, very basic lessons for those who are interested. At any rate, let’s take a look at this Pan Roasted Cod with Mango Chutney.

cod ingredients
The ingredients, all bagged up and ready, I was sort of shocked at the quality and readiness of the ingredients – no wilting veggies or nothin’.

With a little pan roasting and some time in the oven the Cod cooked up extremely flaky, which is how you want it – and while I’ve never actually bothered to make chutney on my own (which basically is just chopping up a lot of mango and peppers and simmering them in vinegar and sugar) I found the amount produced by the recipe to be enough to keep for future use (I froze it). Apologies for this terrible phoneoto but the cod was pretty tasty, well complemented by the chutney.

cod w mango chutney

The recipe also comes with the fixin’s for a Watercress Salad, tossed in olive oil with some lemon and pepper. Again, basic, but very effective. Good stuff.

watercress salad

The second recipe we tried – and wound up liking the best, was a spicy linguine with chicken thighs tossed in a tomato-and-sour-cream-and-red-pepper sauce. Again, super basic sauce, some chopped chicken sauteed in butter, and tomatoes with veggies. But it was really, really tasty and even easier to prepare than the Cod. This kind of recipe is perfect for someone who’s busy to the point that they can’t spend a whole lot of time prepping a home cooked meal but still wants to do so.

spicy linguine

And finally we tried a beef stir fry with egg noodles, which required the most leg work in that you had to cook some potatoes AND noodles – AT THE SAME TIME. WHOAH. It was really easy but I unfortunately screwed up the recipe as it called for butter with the noodles – and I forgot the butter. Gasp. Were I to use a single word to describe the meal it would be “hearty,” as any meal containing both beef and potatoes is required by law to be described as such.

Overall

So Hello Fresh is pretty great. Flexible, relatively inexpensive, geared toward the busy individual or the beginner chef. The packaging can be a bit daunting to dispose of but hopefully that aforementioned exchange program is in the works and most of it is recyclable or reusable. The food is startlingly good for what amounts to mail order produce and meat and the recipes are basic but very tasty. I’ve recommended it before, and I’m recommending it again.