Blue Apron Believer: A Review

I'm a Blue Apron Believer!
Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this review and after the initial free week, have paid full-price for each subsequent week of meals.

When a colleague offered me one of his free week links from Blue Apron in July, I was ready to hop on the offer immediately. My husband, Josh, on the other hand, is super skeptical of subscription services and wasn’t thrilled about the idea of getting stuck in a subscription that would be difficult to cancel. We received our first box the week of the 4th of July and we have never looked back.  We LOVE it. We’ve only had one or two meals we didn’t care for, but most nights, I get serious compliments from Josh on dinner. It’s not stuff I would have normally chosen to make, whether it be because of ingredients I’m not used to working with (or have never heard of) or because it’s a cuisine that I’m not a fan of, but I love that it takes me out of my comfort zone and makes me try new ingredients and cuisines that I may not have otherwise attempted. According to our year-end report, I cooked meals from 13 different cuisines in 2016. That’s probably 9 more than I would have otherwise.

Blue Apron Year in Review
I love that I only have to have salt, pepper, and olive oil on-hand to make 3 fantastic meals and you get to choose (with some limitation on the combinations) from 6 different options each week. If you don’t like one of the proteins from one of the “default” three meals, you can switch to another meal instead, as long as you change it enough in advance of the shipment. I love that I’ve got our meals planned out for the next 5 weeks right now and I know exactly what we’ll be having from Blue Apron each week.

Also, no more food waste! We use exactly what they send us and we don’t throw out any rotten fruit or veggies or meat we didn’t get to. I used to throw out hundreds of dollars worth of food that went bad in the fridge or that I stuffed in the freezer, thinking I’d use it in a reasonable amount of time, but found it hiding in the back with several years of accumulated freezer burn.

Because it costs more than I would have spent previously (each serving is $9.99), I make cooking those three nights each week a priority and schedule which nights I’m going to cook. If I know that I have meetings each night one week, I’ll skip that week ahead of time so we don’t waste the food. This also means we don’t make excuses to order delivery or go out to eat when I’ve got Blue Apron on the calendar.

As far as how long it takes to cook each meal, plan for a little longer than the recipe cards say, unless you’ve got experience in a professional kitchen. Maybe I’m just too much of a perfectionist, but it takes a decent amount of time to cut and prep the fresh veggies before you even start heating anything up.

Subscribers are occasionally given the opportunity to share free weeks with friends and family and, so far, I’ve had 7 friends cash in their free weeks from my referrals.  I know that a couple of them just tried the free week and decided to pause their subscription until they finish grad school, but others are still subscribers and love it, as well.

Josh and I travel a lot and we were on vacation for 2 and a half weeks in October, then two days after we returned, I left for a work trip to London for a week. We skipped Blue Apron deliveries for the whole month of October and picked right back up when I returned from London in early November. Skipping weeks is incredibly easy, you just have to remember to stay on top of it if you know you need to skip a week.

Blue Apron has changed the way we eat and has given me the opportunity to get out of a cooking rut that included casseroles most nights and very little fresh fruit and vegetables.  I’m cooking with ingredients I’ve never cooked with before and am learning to love things I’ve never tried before.

A few photos of the meals I’ve made over the past 6 months:

If you’re on the fence about trying Blue Apron, I encourage you to seek out a friend who might have a free week to offer and give it a shot.  You’ve got nothing to lose and so much great food and experience to gain!  Bon Appetit!

S’Mores Cups

Don’t these look just divine?  When I first saw these in the new Simply Sweet Cookbook from The Pampered Chef, I was immediately drawn to them and began to reminisce about my days as a Girl Scout.  We consumed many, many S’Mores in our day and usually, someone’s marshmallow would become a flaming ball of molten sugar as some point.  Some people liked them extra crispy, but I preferred to have mine just barely golden brown and melty.  That makes a perfect S’More in my opinion.

These included all of the classic S’More ingredients.  Graham crackers, Hershey’s chocolate bars and marshmallows, but they didn’t require a fire and were slightly less (alright, way less) messy to eat.  They were pretty awesome!

Click HERE for the recipe.

Cookies ‘N Cream Cheesecake Bites

Just the thought of these made my mouth water.  How could you go wrong combining Oreos and cheesecake?  These were awesome little bites of goodness, I just wish they were a little less time consuming to make.  You have to break apart all of the tiny Oreos and place them in the mini muffin tin without letting them fall over.  After all that work, I just wanted some cheesecake and they definitely satisfied that craving.

I made these for my Open House as well and they were a hit!

Click HERE for the recipe. 

Bacon Artichoke Bites

Here’s another appetizer that I served at my Pampered Chef Spring Launch Open House at the beginning of the month. 

These were pretty awesome.  How can you go wrong with bacon and tortilla chips.  After being ready for a while, they got a little soggy, but that’s completely to be expected.  I definitely recommend making a few of these at a time and then prepping the rest as you need them throughout a party.  They’re better when they’re served right out of the oven.  Yum!

Click HERE for the recipe!

Strawberry Cream Cupcake Desserts

These were like the ultimate strawberry shortcakes. I love that the bottom of the cupcakes have a pretzel crust and that there is sour cream in the batter for the cupcakes. The pretzel cruse adds just a slight bit of saltiness to the sweetness of the cupcake and filling. I also love that the recipe utilizes strawberry ice cream topping.

These were pretty awesome and I had lots of good reviews. I will definitely be making them again.

You can find the recipe HERE.

Berries ‘N Cream Wonton Cups

This is the other recipe I made for the Weight Watchers Open House on February 27th.  These were amazing!  They’re not as pretty as they were originally because I fell and dropped them in the parking lot on the way home, but they still look alright. 

The cream is made from strawberry low fat yogurt and Cool Whip.  Awesome!

For the recipe, go HERE.

Sweet & Saucy Meatballs

I know these aren’t stellar quality photos, but I fell (you’ll notice the sauce on the left side of my Deep Covered Baker in the photo above) and tore/severely sprained my MCL last weekend, so this was the best we could come up with in a painful situation.   

I worked one of the local Weight Watchers Open Houses on Saturday, February 27th and wanted to take a couple of Pampered Chef Recipes that would fit into the Weight Watchers program.  Both recipes that I took were 1 point each (per meatball and per wonton) according to Weight Watchers.  These are the Sweet & Saucy Meatballs from the It’s Good For You cookbook by Pampered Chef.  They were definitely unique and people really seemed to enjoy them.  In the next couple of days, I’ll be posting about my other recipe, Berries ‘N Cream Wonton Cups.

To get the recipe for the Sweet & Saucy Meatballs go HERE.

Panko Chicken Strips

I love Panko!  Do you?

Do you know why Panko breadcrumbs are so different from other breadcrumbs that you buy at the grocery store?  It’s because Panko is made with the soft insides of the loaf of bread only.  Panko is dried without squishing the bread and that’s what gives it the crunchy texture. 

I made some Panko chicken strips a while back and wanted to share them with you.  First, I cut up the chicken breasts and dried them off.  Then, I dipped them in seasoned flour, then in a bath of beaten eggs, then into the panko.  I fried them in a skilled in a little bit of olive oil, turning them with tongs every few minutes so that I could get all of the sides a nice golden brown.  These were awesome served with a little bit of honey mustard dipping sauce.  Yum!