Yesterday my first HelloFresh box arrived, right on schedule!
The box was well-packed, and well-chilled. Each meal (3 meals for two people) had all of its ingredients in its own box, which was appreciated.
I went through each meal box and, overall, was very happy with the quality of the ingredients. The bell pepper was a little wrinkled and soft, the fresh tomato was not too impressive looking (but not overly-ripe or bruised) and the fresh basil had a few black spots on it. The remaining ingredients all looked excellent.
With the exception of salt, pepper and oil, all the ingredients required to make each recipe was included right in the box.
At the bottom of the box I found 4 large ice packs, all of which were still 95% frozen. I decided that they might come in handy later, so I put them in my garage freezer:
The ingredients were accompanied by a colorful recipe booklet. Each recipe has a brief overview, a list of the ingredients (with photographs), a large photo of the finished product, step-by-step recipe instructions (with photographs) and an information box that includes stuff like how long the recipe takes to prepare, the difficulty level of the recipe and other miscellaneous helpful details (vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, etc). There’s also a box with Nutrition Facts, information on any potential allergens and the recommended kitchen utensils.
I decided that for our first meal I’d prepare the Edamame and Sweet Potato Rice Bowl with Spinach and Tomato Salad.
I found the recipe extremely easy to follow, and the instructions to be very clear. I do 99% of the cooking in our house, and I’m very comfortable in the kitchen, but I would think pretty much anyone who’s not a candidate for Worst Cooks in America would have no trouble with any of the Level 1 recipes (I can’t comment on Level 2+ because all the recipes in my first box are Level 1). Only rudimentary kitchen skills (dice, slice, chop, peel, etc) are required.
Mise En Place only took a few minutes. About the only thing I had to do was to slice some delicious (and very fresh) grape tomatoes, peel/chop an onion, peel/chop a sweet potato, and peel/grate fresh ginger.
Cook time was roughly 25 minutes, so the recipe was pretty bang-on with its time estimate of 35 minutes.
I was starving to death and dying to dig in, but I took a couple of seconds to snap a photo of the completed dish:
As you can see, the dish plated very nicely, and was extremely appetizing. As for taste, Lisa and I both LOVED this dish! We ate every last bite, and really enjoyed it a great deal. It’s going in the “keeper” file.
The portions were more than ample. I was concerned that the portions would be small, but that was definitely not the case. Lisa and I were both pleasantly full when we finished.
About the only thing I’d change is to add more edamame (not too much was included, unfortunately). I might also try eliminating the sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds provided a little texture, but they were overpowered by the stronger flavors and we couldn’t really taste them.
Later this week I’ll be making the Chipotle Seitan Chili and Jamie Oliver’s Tomato Tagliatelle. I’ll post some more thoughts soon.
If you want to give HelloFresh a try on the cheap, check out this blog for more information and a coupon code that will get you $40.00 off your first box (that’s 6 complete meals delivered right to your door for only $20.00).
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