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I have a serious and real problem where, when I go to the grocery store with a specific list of healthy items, I always end up buying ice cream and overpriced artisanal sodas I don’t need, and forgetting at least one ingredient I do need. Plus, when I’m following a recipe, it’s rarely possible to buy the exact amount of an ingredient; things are packaged in a way that I always seem to have leftovers, wondering what to do with 2/3 of a carton of buttermilk and 6 cloves of garlic.

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{Our spin on Italian Wedding Soup – Tony doesn’t like soup, so we made it more risotto-esque and did the meatballs on the side.}

So, I was super excited when my bestie/bridesmaid Barbara gifted me with a week of Blue Apron, a food delivery service that brings a package to your doorstep containing recipes and the exact amount of ingredients you’ll need to cook them. No wasted food! They’re healthy, fresh and also come with calorie information. The company frequently partners with recognizable names in the food world, too – our first week included a recipe from Top Chef. You can sign up for anywhere from 2-4 meals per week; we signed up for the 2-person/3-meal per week plan, which is $59.94 for the week ($9.99 per each person’s meal). They have the recipes online with cooking tips, too, if you prefer to cook in front of your iPad. Tony and I loved it so much, I bought another week for us.

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{Za’atar Spiced Steaks}

What we loved: The meals were delicious and generally pretty healthy, and you have the option to select any food allergies/dislikes to be removed from your delivery. They also gave me the opportunity to cook meals I might not otherwise attempt, simply because the recipe seemed too intimidating; but, they break it down step by step with pictures so the recipes are easy to follow and leave you feeling like a gourmet chef. Tony and I are not big fish eaters, but our favorite recipes were the Miso Yuzu-Glazed Cod and the Tilapia Meunière. It’s so great that everything comes pre-measured for the number of people in your house, so you don’t have to worry about food going to waste. I love that they source most of their ingredients from family-run farms that support sustainable practices. And it’s a cost effective way to eat healthy, home-cooked meals, at less than $10/meal. One of the recipes revolved around chicken meatballs Tony and I loved so much, we’ve cooked them twice on our own since with different side dishes. You can view all of their recipes (along with the associated cooking tips) online.

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{Three-Cheese Cannelloni}

What we didn’t love: The recipes take much longer to cook than they say, which ranged from 15-45 minutes depending on the meal, for the two weeks we used the service. Barbara had warned me of this, and generally she was right – add at least 15 minutes (30 minutes to be on the safe side) to whatever the recipe states, to allow for prep time. Katierose came over one night to cook, and the prep time alone of one of the recipes was 45 minutes. Sometimes the recipes are simple to throw together; other times, you have to grate a block of cheese and chop lots of vegetables. It varies. And even though I loved that we received the exact amount we’d need, it was kind of a bummer to not have leftovers for the next day. The delivery also arrives in so much packaging; so while I didn’t feel like any food was going to waste, it definitely felt like I wasn’t doing the environment any favors.

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Verdict: We would use it again, which is easy because you can skip weeks or cancel and then re-instate (just remember to cancel or skip in your account, because the service charges automatically every week once you sign up.) It would be nice if you could select from an option of recipes, too, instead of simply getting whatever they’re sending that week. And because life is busy and I’m scatterbrained, I would like to be able to purchase a set number of weeks, so I don’t have to worry about remembering to cancel or skip. But all of the meals were delicious, even the ones I didn’t initially think I’d like. I love that it takes the hassle and intimidation out of the equation for cooking gourmet meals; you don’t have to worry about combing through cookbooks, drawing up an ingredient list and dealing with the hassle of the grocery store. For people with busy lifestyles (or, like Barbara, young kids at home), it offers you an opportunity to make a home-cooked meal that might otherwise seem like too much trouble.

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*Not a sponsored post! Although, if you’re reading this Blue Apron, it COULD be! I love food, and my love is for sale. Tacos and frosting are my preferences.


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