Gourmet Meals in a Box: Hello Fresh Week 1

Hello Fresh is the third and final gourmet, cook it yourself, meals delivered to your home service I am trying. This one was the most difficult to register and choose my menu, but sometimes things are just difficult for me. I got caught in a loop where it asked me to choose my menu, and when I clicked to choose my menu, it asked me to choose my menu. I went round and round like that for about 10 clicks before I quit. I logged in the next day and all went well.

I did the same with Hello Fresh as I did with the others and chose a box with three meals to be delivered once per week. The package was delivered on time and everything looked good and fresh. The only snafu was that something leaked and some things were wet and sticky, so I had to wipe down the containers and bags and then sanitize my refrigerator once everything had been used.

Of the three, Hello Fresh delivered the largest box and it was lined with a styrofoam cooler. There was less packaging of the individual ingredients, but overall, the styrofoam was a lot of non-recyclable stuff. I looked it up, and I cannot recycle the styrofoam at my receptacle.

Styrofoam packaging
The styrofoam box within the box

The first three recipes were:

Old Bay-Spiced Salmon & Sweet Potato Cakes with Tomato-Arugala Salad

I was a little skeptical about these because I often find salmon more fishy-tasting than I prefer. What a pleasant surprise these were! The mashed sweet potato folded into the salmon took the edge off and gave it great texture and flavor. They came out great and I even froze a few for later (bonus!). The recipe card said it should take about 50 minutes to prepare, and of course I went over, but not by much.

Old Bay-Spiced Salmon & Sweet Potato Cakes from Hello Fresh
Old Bay-Spiced Salmon & Sweet Potato Cakes with Tomato-Arugala Salad

Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo with Red Beans and Rice

This dish was delicious! The first bite I took, I thought it was okay, but by the third bite I couldn’t  shovel it into my mouth fast enough. A friend joined me for dinner that evening and she, too, said it was a tasty dish. The green olives and golden raisins were the perfect mix of sweet and salty. The beef and tomatoes over the Basmati rice and beans made for a comfort food dream. This was some good eats. The time stamp said 35 minutes, but I think it took me more like 45 or 50. Well worth it.

Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo from Hello Fresh
Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo with Red Beans and Rice

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apple Compote, Spinach Salad & Crispy Shallots

Of the three recipes, this was my least favorite, but it was still good. The problem was, I got an email from Hello Fresh the day before delivery telling me the pork was not up to their quality standards. There was no evidence that the pork was harmful to eat, but they suggested that I not cook it. I appreciate that they caught the problem and notified me. And really, this happens at grocery stores too, so no points deducted for having an issue with one of the products. They were on top of it and said they would reimburse me the cost of the pork plus give me a $10 account credit for the inconvenience.

However, I don’t know that I purchased the right cut of pork at the local Harris Teeter to replace it. And, I have a history of preparing tough pork. I’m having total deja vu here because I am certain I made that same statement about beef recently. Hmm, apparently I can’t prepare meat properly!

Anywho, the dish had good flavor, but the pork was tough. I had another friend over for dinner that evening, but given her vegetarian status, she was not affected by my poor pork-cooking skills anyway. She said the apple compote and spinach salad were great. Hello Fresh said 35 minutes; I delivered in 45.

Pan-Seared Pork Chops from Hello Fresh
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apple Compote, Spinach Salad & Crispy Shallots

On a scale of 1 to 5, here’s how the first week of Hello Fresh went:

Delivery and Packaging – 3.5

I cannot move beyond the fact that the entire box was lined with a styrofoam cooler. Additionally, this was the largest box of the three. And there was the issue of the leaky something and having to wipe things off and sanitize my refrigerator.

Quality of Ingredients – 4

With the exception of the pork, and remember I said I would not deduct points for that because it can happen to anyone, everything was fresh and of good quality. Again, nutrition labeling on the ingredients which are not fresh fruits or vegetables would be helpful. I guess I’ll just say that ’til I’m blue in the face.

Ease of Preparation – 4.5

Either I’m getting better at this cooking thing, or these were some easy-peasy recipes. The time involved was not much more than suggested, and each recipe called for slicing and dicing only 5 ingredients. Only 5!

Taste – 5

These recipes were delicious, and again, at least one of them was a dish I would not have thought I could prepare (the salmon cakes). I’m pretty pleased with myself!

Value/Price – 5

The cost is $69 per box, which includes three recipes, each providing dinner for two. That comes to $11.50 per plate. I got more than two servings from each recipe, so it was more like $7.50 per plate. For me, this is a super deal, because I typically spend between $9 and $12 per day on lunch when I don’t prepare something ahead of time (which is typically my predicament).

So there you have the first week of Hello Fresh. I have one week to go beginning tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions–I am always happy to chit-chat with you all!