Monday, August 27, 2018

Tied on a Blue Apron

Blue Apron is one of the more widely recognized meal kit delivery companies around. They recently inked a deal with Costco, which means their meal kit boxes are stocked in store. I picked one up on a whim. I'd been intrigued by the concept, but ut off by the idea of joing a subscription service for something I hadn't tried before.   

I had such a good time making the meal with my son, I wanted to keep doing it. I sold him on the idea of our search for the best meal kit service as cooking classes. I had an ulterior motive as well - he could take over dinner at least once a week if everything was provided for him in a kit. 

I liked the packaging on the Costco kits - everything contained in a recyclable container that could double as a trash bowl while cooking for easy clean-up. Home delivery came in bags, which is fine, but not as cute. Hey, cute matters.

What we tried:


The cheesy potato rounds were a hit with the kids. They would've eaten twice as many. The tacos were a bit clunky to eat. The kids weren't fans of slaw on tacos. - liked


My husband picked this up at Costco. I love a good stir-fry... but this wasn't. Could be the flavor combination - broccoli & pineapple. It might have been better if the broccoli weren't roasted first. The combination didn't work. We all tried it, but no one finished it. - meh

Ordering the meals instead of grabbing what Costco had on offer was fun. There were lots of options, so it was easy to select two meals I thought I could get past the kids. The foil-wrapped insulation kept things cool in the box, but I had hoped for the same efficient packaging as Costco. No dice. Things were individually packed, so I had to sort and toss the meals in their own bag in the fridge.


Not going to front, I ordered this for the elote. I've always wanted to try corn that way, but our summer corn here in Oregon is divine, so I worried about messing it up. For this we made elote with what they sent, and corn from the farmer's market plain so we could dress it with butter or the mayo spread & cheese. 3/5 liked it, but we all had butter on our second ear.

The tacos were good, could have done without cooking the cherry tomatoes. - liked


The kids swore they'd never had udon before, so I had to get this one. We wanted there to be twice as many noodles! This is the first dish I might try to recreate, or order again. Where does one buy udon noodles, I wonder? I've never seen them, maybe if I hit up Uwijamaya? My favorite thing about this kit? The beef came in those super thin slices, so no cutting & worrying of pieces were thin enough! Usually noodles are a way to stretch the amount of meat in a meal. Not here - loved

The tiny portions of spices and condiments are adorable. Some will argue the packaging is wasteful, but in our house we too often toss mostly full bottles and jars of items we only used once or twice. The produce was okay, the chicken inconsistent in thickness, and flavors were good overall. Trust your kitchen instincts with this one - I knew better than to add roasted broccoli to a stir-fry!

The Costco meal kits for four were $25, almost half of what it would be online ($44). Costco also sells $100 Blue Apron gift cards for $80. If you're curious about meal kits, grab one at Costco to try out. If you like it, go back for the gift cards.

The website is easy to navigate, and weekly menus go up a month in advance. They have 2-serving and 4-serving options. Unfortunately, I don't often find two meals we'd like. Weeks are easy to skip using the manage delivery option. Next month we're trying Orange Beef with wonton noodles & Seared Chicken with pesto orzo. I'll report back...

See what we thought of other meal kits...

We Tried: Meal Delivery Kits

Dinner Delivered! Well, kind of. All the ingredients are in a box and easy to follow recipes are included - but you're doing the cooking. Fine in theory, but I wasn't sure how it worked out in real life. Sure, there were a bajillion blog articles about them, but the ones I found were sponsored posts. You know, where the company gifts the blogger a box in exchange for an 'honest' review. Here's the thing, if you don't like something and tell the world why, you're honest but not likely to get more opportunities for 'honest' reviews. It's a business, y'all.

Since I couldn't get the straight goss online, I asked the Facebook hive-mind.I guess I don't hang with a dinner boxer crowd because I only got a few 'we tried it' and a couple 'the kids didn't like it'. The overwhelming response was 'no, but we've been thinking about trying it'. Hmmm. Now I was curious.

A new meal kit company ad shows up on my Facebook feed on the regular. I decided to take advantage of all the '$$ off your first box' offers and try a few. To be fair, I tried more than one box from each company. It made the experiment more expensive, but any business can have an off week. I know I do. 

I love to cook, but I hated making dinner. 

I didn't think meal delivery kits would stand a chance with my picky bunch, so I never bothered to try until a Blue Apron box showed up on the shelves at Costco. No commitment, no pressure for everyone to like it. The novelty of it had my fifteen-year-old interested enough to offer to do it with me. That right there reeled me in. It's hard to find things to do with teenagers. Plus, when they were younger they were much more l likely to try new foods if they'd helped in the kitchen. 

For me the step-by-step directions seemed tedious, but they were perfect for my son. By the time we plated our dinner that night I knew he'd be able to prepare any dinner kit. Meal delivery kits had never been so attractive...

The first dinner was rather meh, but I had such fun preparing it with my son  that when Hello Fresh popped up on Facebook, I signed up. Plated? Sure. Home Chef? Let's give it a try. Marley Spoon? Well, if Martha thinks so...

I thought it would be fun to try them out, and my family was along for the ride. I'll share our real-life experiences, and since I paid for this little experiment, all opinions will be ours alone. Not that we're big on sugar coating anything but doughnuts. Mmm, doughnuts.