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Have you ever considered a food box delivery service like HelloFresh? You know the ones where you have a weekly box delivered with of all of the ingredients and recipes for your evening meals? I’d often toyed with the idea but had never actually taken the plunge.
I’ve always been a cook from scratch type of girl but the trouble is I cook the same recipes again and again, week after week, for more years than I’m willing to admit to! I’d become totally bored in the kitchen and my meals had become totally boring for the rest of the family!
Would HelloFresh Help? I Had So Many Questions!
- Is it cost effective?
- Are the ingredients fresh and good quality?
- Would the meals be suitable for the whole family including the children? The joy of sticking with the familiar is that there’s no waste. I’ve honed my very limited recipe repertoire to perfection and know that everything gets eaten!
- Are the recipes easy to follow? I am no Mary Berry in the kitchen!
- Would it take too much time? I spend enough time slaving over a hot stove and scrubbing dishes as it is!
- Would the meals be large enough for my teen son who is forever hungry? F.O.R.E.V.E.R really! He is a bottomless pit and as skinny as a rake! (Yes, I’m a little envious too! My slim days said a rapid farewell when I hit 40 and my bottom is now intent on expanding at alarming speed! )
- Could it actually be any better than just brushing the cobwebs off my recipe books, choosing some meals and shopping for the ingredients myself?
Giving HelloFresh A Go!
Like I said…so many questions and they made a recipe box delivery an expense I ultimately talked myself out of every time it popped into my head.
That was until recently when the HelloFresh team got in touch to see if I would like to try out their Family Box for a couple of weeks and share my findings with you guys. I couldn’t possibly say “No”, I’ve been totally intrigued by the idea for ages and was keen to try it out!
So here I am ready to share my experiences with you. As you’ve already seen I was approaching the new culinary situation with a whole lot of questions and reservations. I wasn’t at all sure whether it was going to be a good fit with my family or not.
You already know the questions I had about it so I’ll zip straight along to telling you how I got on with it and you’ll be able to see whether my fears and doubts were founded or not!
Delivery and Packaging
The first week I actually had to go out on the delivery day and the parcel was left in a secure place in my garden. I was worried that the food wouldn’t be fresh, especially the meat, sitting outside for most of the day. I needn’t have worried though, each family box arrived in tip top condition. The food is packed with icepacks and an insulating wool fleece liner that can be recycled at HelloFresh or used in the compost heap. I actually intend to have a go at crafting with mine in some way! Watch this space!
Fresh Ingredients and Shelf Life?
I’ve tried online supermarket shopping a few times over the years in an attempt to save time and effort. I get super excited about the idea but it’s never quite met my expectations. I’ve ended up with ridiculous substitutions, 33 plastic bags with just one item in each, short shelf lives and the wrong shade of yellow on my bananas! I know banana colouring sounds ridiculous but when your kids won’t touch a banana the day after it first turns yellow because they’re too “squishy” then you need your bananas on the greener side of yellow! It’s the little things like that have always left me feeling a bit flat with food delivery.
However, HelloFresh in contrast was a total joy! Everything was beautifully fresh and I couldn’t have picked better meat, fish or veg out myself. The shelf life on everything was at least a week so nothing was going to go off before it was eaten and the packaging was ergonomic and recyclable.
An added bonus I hadn’t expected was the joy the children took in unpacking and exploring the ingredients and recipe cards. They’ve never been that intrigued by my super market shopping bags I can tell you! The Hello Fresh family box got us all excited and interested in food. Cooking was started to feel fun already and we hadn’t even got out the saucepans!
We actually did a Facebook Live unpacking of our second box which you can see here. It’ll give you a really good feel of what to expect from a Hello Fresh delivery.
Family Friendly and Easy To Follow Recipes?
We had eight meals from HelloFresh‘s Family Box over two weeks and they were all delicious and interesting and cooked in around 30 minutes. The Family Box is designed to feed two adults and two children and isn’t too spicy while still being packed with flavours, making it a hit with both adults and kids.
These are the meals we tried:
- Beef Teriyaki
- Saucy Mascarpone and Bacon Gnocchi with Zingy Salad (See the main photo.)
- Pan Fried Sea Bream and Sweet Cherry Tomato Sauce (My favourite.)
- Sticky Chicken Drumsticks with Herby Potatoes
- Beef Ragout and Black Olive Salsa
- Herby Dukkah Crusted Pork with Crushed Potatoes and Green Salad
- Record Breaking Chicken Paella
- Baked Cheesy Chicken Taquito with Zesty Salad (My 13 year old son made these himself.)
Everyone happily ate everything except for my 10 year old son who wasn’t keen on our very first meal which was the Beef Teriyaki. He found the ginger a bit too strong and spicy but the rest of us loved it. I’ll be making it again in the future but will reduce the ginger down a bit to suit my son.
Everything we cooked was super flavoursome and filling. Interestingly because all the meals were so deliciously satisfying I found my normal yearning for desserts was dwindling without any will power on my part. Could Hello Fresh contribute to a smaller bottom? It promises nothing LOL, but I’m rather optimistic!
All of the recipes are beautifully presented on individual recipe cards that can be filed. The instructions are clear with lots of photos to guide you too. My 13 year old was able to follow a recipe from start to finish on his own with no problems at all. Because we were dealing with new recipes I had no more knowledge than my kids and that really seemed to fire up their confidence in the kitchen.
I absolutely loved the children’s enthusiasm and interest in the family’s meal preparations. It was really lovely to work through recipes together, watch them attempt recipes on their own and talk about flavours and food combinations in a whole new way! We were becoming quite the foodie family and it was fun!
Better Than A Cook Book and Good Value?
You could argue that it’s just as easy to pick some recipes from a book and shop for the ingredients yourself. I certainly thought so before I tried HelloFresh, but I guess the real proof goes in the fact that although I’ve been talking about getting out of my cooking rut for a couple of years now, my recipe books are still gathering dust on the shelves! I just haven’t had the motivation needed to brush them off and do all the meal planning, shopping and prepping myself! Who has time for that kind of thing?
HelloFresh has made it so EASY and STRESS FREE. I have absolutely adored not having to think about what we were going to eat that evening. Knowing that everything I needed to make something totally delicious and healthy was waiting for me in my kitchen has been bliss!
Is it good value for money? I think so yes, the quality of the produce was faultless and because you’re sent just the right amount of everything there is absolutely no waste. Gone are the days of buying a jar of expensive spices that you use once and then leave untouched until their expiry date.
Getting Out Of A Cooking Rut?
Has it got me out of my boring rut? Well it’s certainly given me a big kick! I feel enthusiasm in the kitchen that I haven’t felt in a long time and I have an interest in flavours and combinations that I’ve not explored before.
Am I going to miss it now my two weeks trial is over? YES, YES, YES! I am mourning the loss of HelloFresh’s Family Box so much already that I’ve decided to trial their Classic Box and Veggie Box too to see which will be the best fit for my family long term.
Two Family Boxes were kindly provided by HelloFresh, the recipe box delivery company. All thoughts and opinions are my own.