So today the big brown truck came and dropped off a box at our front door.
It was our first order from the easy meals prepped service called Blue Apron.We’ve tried a competitor service in the past —Plated. It was fun assembling the meal with the easy photo recipe instructions. But in the end the pricing just did not work out for every day family routines.
I’ve heard a bunch of friends rave about Blue Apron in particular so I was very curious to see just how different it was from Plated. Was it really different? Did it help the game and really provide a superior experience? Or was it just a result of superduper marketing?
The box contained all the food for the week– three separate 2-person meals. It was all packed together, not separated by meal. So the first thing we did was take out the recipes and go down the list to sort the ingredients by the recipes.
One big suggestion I have for the product marketing team is to simply use large zip lock bags or similar to group ingredients by recipe to make the user experience that much easier.
One of the key things in the box was the set of photo recipe cards. Basically each meal was a two page card stock front and back that has the ingredient list on the front and photo based step-by-step directions on the back. Simple and easy to reference during your meal prep.
Here’s a close-up shot of one of the recipe cards.
Blue Apron’s avg 45-50 min prep & cooking times is surely not for the time-starved family.
Our cooking time for my daughter and I working together ended up being 52 minutes, so the time estimate of 45 minutes was relatively close.
There were two root vegetables that we actually haven’t used before and the recipe card doesn’t label every single item. The other thing is I’ve never personally peeled raw garlic before. So I learned something new today. So magical that I actually made a quick video sharing the tip how to quickly peel garlic cloves without touching them:
Overall you get what is advertise. All the ingredients in a box. The value is the “knickknacks” package for each recipe which has the correct proportions of all those little ingredients that you typically don’t have on hand and are specific to give and meals. So you don’t need to go out and purchase a whole new sets of spices, etc. That’s quite convenient.
Because you don’t “sacrifice” any of those odd or lesser used ingredients that might seem unnecessary to purchase just for one meal when used in such a small quantity, your dishes look fantastic when plated.
Our meal came out great. The two person proportion meal actually stretched to serve three people in our family.
I can see how this is actually a great recipe for families to cook a meal together. Or a date night activity. Tons of fun when you’re doing it together because it takes a full 45 minutes to an hour to prep and cook the meal.
At the end of the day though, what it comes down to is the broken down recipes step-by-step with photos. And someone that has done all the shopping for you. If you can take care of the shopping side, then the distinctive really is just the variety of interesting, but “mainstream” recipes that will be embraced by your whole family.
So what if you do get rid of the done for you shopping side of the equation? And you can actually go out and buy everything on the recipe list? Especially if you are a cook of any sort and have spices and some of the other things that the “knickknacks” usually covers.
Well the best part that I discovered is that you don’t need to purchase the recipes. They have them all published on their website if you know where to look!
Each of the recipes are provided in a downloadable and printable PDF format. Complete with ingredient list for your grocery shopping list. The same exact ones that come when deliver the meal in the box.
Here’s where to get all of the recipes in their entire cookbook collection:
For example, here’s one I want to try next:
They have the detailed ingredients list available too.
And if don’t want to read it online, the best part is that they offer a 2-page PDF which is exactly the same recipe and instruction sheet they include with the meal package shipment.
Go forth and cook interesting, delish meals!
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED BLUE APRON OR ALTERNATIVE MEAL PREP SERVICES? SHOULD I CONSIDER TRYING ANOTHER SERVICE? What was your experience like?