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Dinner in Real Life, Blue Apron Style

Back in July, we tried Blue Apron out for a week. Well, three nights, originally. We prepped, cooked and snapped pictures of three pretty fabulous meals, and I wrote my sponsored post

Turns out that wasn't quite the end of things between us and Blue Apron, though. 

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We signed up about a month later, after constantly talking about That One Week and how great it was — not having to menu plan or shop for the weeknights, the different take on old standby dishes, the recipes we NEVER would have tried otherwise, the new ingredients the kids gobbled right up like it was no big thang. 

We've been cooking with Blue Apron every week since, and you guys. I am so in love with this service I would write this post for free.

(I am not. But hey. Gotta pay for my Ricotta & Lacinato Kale Calzones and Chicken Hiyashi Chuka fix SOMEHOW, right?)

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(Our full recipe stack of happy meals past. Pretty sure I'd save this in a fire.)

Every Saturday, our beautiful boxes of ingredients arrive — we do a meal plan for four people, which is PLENTY for our family, with lunch leftovers for someone the next day — and it's still a giddy thrill to unpack them. Look at all this produce I did not have to pick out myself, yet is magically farmers-market perfect! Look at this snipping of herbs that is portioned to JUST the amount I will use this week and will NOT end up rotting into mush in my vegetable drawer because seriously, I'm never going to use that huge bunch cilantro before it goes bad, Grocery Store. Look at these mushrooms! LOOK AT THESE MUSHROOMS!

Hen of the woods

(Hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, my personal favorite, which became a mole-spiced meatless taco that fooled my children AND satisfied my raving carnivore of a husband. There were no leftovers for this one, alas.)

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(Ezra's lunch with a leftover nubbin of Chicken Banh Mi and some pickled vegetables. That I pickled. Myself. Did you know how easy that is to do? I honestly did not, and now I am a self-pickling fanatic.)

Every recipe includes something unusual — something I certainly don't keep in my pantry, and something I probably would buy full-sized at the store for ONE recipe and then never use again (side-eyes an ancient container of white miso paste in the fridge) — and usually more than one thing my children would consider "new." Or they did, until it showed up in enough Blue Apron meals because it was seasonal, and suddenly all sorts of proteins and vegetables are now eaten without protest or suspicion. You name it, they eat it, from kale to scallops to mushroom tacos, since 1) there is ZERO temptation for me to short-order cook for them anymore, so eat or don't, Mama's busy stuffing her face with this Congee and Caramelized Pork, and 2) there's also always something familiar on the plate.

Chickpea eggplant

Hazelnuts + couscous = my kids deciding chickpeas and eggplant are also pretty baller.

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Thai Chicken Meatballs with Baby Bok Choy & Rice Noodles, Mom- and Ike-style presentations. 

Jason (whose Facebook and Instagram is probably 99% Blue Apron food p0rn at this point) discovered that contrary to being a luxury service, we're now spending less every month on food overall, since we're no longer making multiple trips to multiple grocery stories, plus the farmers' market, tracking down the best produce/meat or specialty ingredients or just that one thing I discovered we were out of after I started cooking (while suddenly impulse-buying a dozen other things just because we're there). We buy fewer boxed/canned/jarred/packaged products. We're less tempted to order in or go out just because we're beyond bored to DEATH of the regular line-up of recipes. We waste less food, while the portion sizes (500-700 calories) mean we're taking in way fewer calories than we did while cooking on our own, when Jason and I would pack away a meal meant for four or six in a single sitting. So we've been able to keep the weight we lost off, while DEFINITELY not feeling like we're dieting or cutting out our favorite things to eat. 

I mean: 

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Or, like:

Lamb ragu

I'm going to shut up now. I need to get this post ready to publish and then head downstairs to start making dinner. Pan-Seared Salmon with Candied Orange Peel & Cranberry-Walnut Stuffing is on the menu tonight, and I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT. 

This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. And now! A treat! The first 100 readers to sign up using THIS LINK will get two free meals on their first order. Go! Go now!

Comments

Susan

I ordered Blue Apron after reading your first BA sponsored post. After cooking dinners for over 40 years, there is nothing I love more than the Blue Apron deliveries. It's like a whole new world!! Excellent for retired couples who could never quite make the adjustment from cooking for 5 to cooking for 2. Cooking is fun again.

Candace

Darn you woman. I signed up.

Joanna

Thanks for the discount Amy! I've been going back and forth about whether to try Blue Apron for months now and the discount tipped me over the edge (as does reading about your kids actually eating the stuff - I expect that at least for a little while I'll supplement the BA meals with at least one thing my 5-year-olds will eat, like rolls or noodles).

Lorrian

I signed up back in July and WE LOVE BLUE APRON!!!!!!

The ingredients are always fresh, beautiful and interesting. I've cooked meals I'd NEVER have thought of on my own. I've fallen hard for unique seasonings (Piment d'Espelette, Yuzu Kosho).

I love opening the box and sorting the ingredients into the three meal piles.

I love that BA shows us the upcoming week's recipes and that I can skip a week anytime I need to.

I love that the ingredients are portioned for two - no more bunches of cilantro going bad when the recipe needed only 3 sprigs!

Thanks, Amy, for promoting Blue Apron. :-)

MB

Ok, your second post finally sold me. If your foodie family (kids being lumped in even if the preference is new) is on board, I'll give it a shot. Never really believed it until the foodie folks started raving!

Liz

Thanks, I am giving it a try! We are vegetarian, so am interested to see the selections. Look good from what I can tell.

Sarah

I did it!!!! I'm excited! Also terrified! Control in all thingz ... I crave it!

CarrieP

You taunt me. That big white flyover zone area where Blue Apron doesn't yet deliver? We're in it. Rest assured, I am on "the list" should that ever change. In the meantime, consider me jealous.

Kat

I signed up after the first post, and I AM IN LOVE. I am a huge fan, and will tell anyone about the service. As a single lady, it's great because it gives me a dinner and lunch 3 days of the week. And usually the portions are enough to make more than one lunch... which the other people in my office covet. You nailed it too, Amy... I'm trying things I would never have had the motivation to try on my own. And loving them. Thanks Blue Apron!

KarenV

Ugh! I really, really wanted to sign up for this! But I am not in their delivery zone yet :( I am close though so I hope it happens soon.

Sharon

I signed up when I was in time for the two free meals. Thank you for your take on the experience which gave me the push to try this - I need a cooking recharge because without the kids at home it gets boring cooking meals for two.

Becki K.

Why is this not available in Texas??? WHY WHY WHY are we a wasteland of non yummy food delivery? :(

Kristen

I, too, signed up in July. I love them, but I also find (as a single person cooking for herself) that if I read a bad review before cooking a recipe, I don't make it. So, I won't be reading recipe reviews anymore.

I also wish that delivery here in Atlanta was not on Thursdays. I usually go out for dinner Thursday through Saturday (or am away), and by Sunday, I really don't feel like cooking for the week. I know. I'm lazy.

B

Amy, I think you are one of the few bloggers I read who is really good at sponsored posts. You keep them both honest and entertaining. And I don't doubt your sincerity here.

BUT, I just can't wrap my head around how this service is cost-effective. $40 to make dinner for 5 people? And you were spending more than that before? I'm pretty much a failure at frugal shopping, but if I can't beat $8-$10 for one serving, I'd rather just have Chipotle.

Shaynee

I would love to try this, but there does not appear to be a way to customize beyond meat preferences. I am unfortunately gluten-free, and I can't preview recipes on their site to see if there would be enough options to work. Not to mention we really need a three-person option: two adults, two kids under 10. I don't think the two-person plan would be enough, and I can't see $20 for the small people for each meal, especially since one is not the most adventurous eater. Ah well, they cannot be everything to everybody. I'm glad your family is enjoying the service!

Wendy

I love Blue Apron!

Erin Withans

Blue Apron owes you one - I'm a wicked skeptic about things like this, and I hate to cook (but am trying to be better about doing so anyway). I've signed up for just one week, on this 'two meals free' option, and we'll give it a go. I never would have done so otherwise, so thanks! It'll be a fun experiment regardless.

Cimorene

Maybe I am a fluke, but I am not a fan. Blue Apron is definitely expensive compared to buying groceries (and I do buy mostly all organic), it doesn't save any time because the prep tends to be quite involved, and it also creates a ton more dirty dishes than my usual meals. But the worst for me was the the wasteful packaging with everything being individually wrapped - yikes. I'm glad it works for you and for other families, but I just can't get behind Blue Apron or its competitors despite trying.

Lori

I did it. I drank the KoolAid, too! Fingers crossed. Bless them for their easy cancellation policy.

Lynne

OhEmGee, we also have some ancient white miso paste hanging out somewhere in the fridge. Word.

We tried Blue Apron after your sponsored post and have yet to be disappointed in what we receive. My only pet peeve has been the amount of packaging...just seems so wasteful. BUT -- after our last delivery, it looks as if BA may be trying to respond to that criticism as our latest batch of wonderful arrived in a much more compact box, less packaging and yet, just as fresh.

Count me as a fan -- thanks for the heads-up and discount!

Beth

The food looks appealing, and it's awesome if your kids eat it. Have to agree on the cost, though. $40 for a dinner for 5 people seems like a lot to me. Plus in addition to the Blue Apron you must still have to buy drinks, paper towels, snacks, etc. That would be more than $300/week easily in groceries. Unless you were literally eating out every meal previously, I find it hard to believe this represents a cost-savings. Time savings, for sure.

Julie

I do have to laugh at their definition of "most" of the country. : http://media.blueapron.com/assets/learn-more/blue-apron-ship-zones-a69fb0fbae6805fbc57a58a4a38f718f.jpg

I'd give them " a lot" of the country, but not most! ;)

Dana

I was intrigued by your first post but not really tempted, this post somehow won me over and I just signed up. If this is the time of year to try to eat better and we are all so crazy busy, when better to try this service? They will have to be convincing to keep me as a customer but I am excited to try them.

Dani

Damn you!All of that looks great and Blue Apron does not exist in my portion of the country. UGH!

CJ

They claim delivery to "most of the country" but really it's just the coasts. We live in MN, so that's a bummer. Looks like a nice service though.

Kat

Okay you convinced me! We spend a horrific amount on take-out (from places we are sooo tired of) so this will probably save us money and get us out of our food ruts. Thanks!

Amy M.

Blue Apron looks great.

BTW, I have a great recipe for a white miso eggplant dish! :)

Em

I am also out of their delivery area. I have a question for those who do use it, though, in case they ever decide to expand their delivery area. How easy is it to use for those with dietary restrictions? I have severe nut and fish allergies.

Kim

Thanks for the link, Amalah! I have been wanting to try Blue Apron. This has encouraged me to try it. :) Very stoked for my delivery next week!

Julia

Em, you can set your preferences to avoid fish. There have been a few dishes (I want to say maybe 4-5) that included nuts since I started this summer, so I would assume their facilities are not nut-free. As for avoiding nuts in individual dishes, not hard to simply skip that week if there are nuts (since you preview recipes a week before, you can choose to skip the week if you don't want to cook them)

Amy- do you have suggestions on what to do with the stupid ice packs? I have accumulated so many in 4 months of using BA. I tried giving them away on Freecycle, but no takers. There is a lot of packaging, but I feel less guilty about that than I did about throwing away uneaten food (which is what happened before BA when I would often buy too much of one ingredient or make too many servings of a dish).

MJ

My son and his wife (yes, I'm that old) use it for 3 meals a week and love it.

Mona

I am not going to sign up since we have too many combined food allergies in our house (nuts, soy, fish etc.). Still: thank you for introducing me to the company. I was impressed to find that they have their recipes and instructions publicly available online, and now I am happy to try the ones that appeal to me and do the grocery shopping myself.

Olivia

Forty dollars a meal multiple times a week? Definitely not for families on a tight budget. Forty dollars is a once a month restaurant splurge for us. In fact, we splurged on dinner out a couple of nights ago and it was $30.

Olivia

Forty dollars a meal multiple times a week? Definitely not for families on a tight budget. Forty dollars is a once a month restaurant splurge for us. In fact, we splurged on dinner out a couple of nights ago and it was $30.

Kat

I was thinking about the cost here. I'm with Amalah. The amount of money I waste buying ingredients for meals and not using everything (or buying ingredients for things I don't end up making because I'm just not excited about it/get lazy), plus the time wandering 3 different stores looking for ingredients...plus time hunting for recipes...3 times a week might be worth the cash. I signed up (for two people to start, I wonder how much if any our toddler will eat). The biggest thing is just having it show up. Planned. Measured. Omg sounds amazing.

kimm

Hey please quit writing about this awesome food deal cause they do not serve my area:( I tried to sign up last time you posted.

Judy

As a retiree, I certainly can't afford this. I'm sure it's wonderful, but I live with my son, who is my caregiver, and there's no way we could blow $140 a week for just dinners. I guess I'll stick with the tuna-and-mayo on saltines.

yasmara

WAHHHH - apparently "we deliver to most of the country" kind of doesn't mean the entire MIDDLE of the country. SADFACE in Minnesota.

Natalie

Stupid food allergies! I really want to do this but don't want to get ingredients that I can't use. I hope that they will allow you to disallow certain ingredients in the future.

Kristen

I've been ordering many weeks since July (you can opt out in any week). I'm one person, it's $60 a week, and I, too, find myself spending far LESS than I used to on groceries during the weeks I've ordered Blue Apron.

I get delivery on Thursday, and usually cook that night, which gets me dinner Thursday and lunch on Friday. I tend to go out Friday through Sunday for dinner, so I then wait to cook on Monday--again, Monday dinner gets me Tuesday lunch--and on Tuesday (Wednesday lunch). That means all I really need to cover off on is one night of dinner from the grocery store, before I get another delivery.

I used to spend around $100 to $125 a week on groceries before Blue Apron, and then a lot of the stuff ended up going bad, anyway, because I bought too much.

I can see how it might add up for a large family, but I think that if you look at it as your main ingredients and think how you would supplement, you might see the cost even out, too. Even for one person, I was initially skeptical, but week after week, I'm spending less on groceries than I used to.

Crinklish

I'm also a Blue Apron convert and now bore my Facebook feed with pictures of my fancy meals! To those talking about cost, they're right--if you're someone who is already good at meal planning and cooking, this isn't for you. But my husband and I pretty much lived on takeout, and are finding this a much healthier option. Plus, I feel like I'm finally learning to cook!

Dona

We signed up shortly after your first post about it. I love it for the most part but my husband doesn't so much. I have not quit the service, but am only getting meals I know he will like.

I bought a gift for my daughter, thinking she'd love the vegetarian options, but she liked maybe two meals. When I visited her in Washington State we made a feast out of three meals that otherwise would have gone to waste. They were all pretty awful. I must say I like the meat meals though.

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