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Hello Fresh Meal Delivery: A Comparison to Blue Apron And Plated.

July 18th, 2016 No comments

Hello Fresh Test

Well… Hellooooooo Fresh.  It’s finally your turn — Nice to try you.  It’s hard to give-up Blue Apron, but I’m ready.   Temporarily that is.  We previously tried and reported about Plated, another meal (recipe + fresh ingredients) delivery company.  It’s my plan to try most, if not all of the popular meal delivery companies and here we try and compare Hello Fresh to Blue Apron and Plated.

Box from Hello Fresh

The Hello Fresh ingredients and recipe cards arrive in a large box that lists the enclosed meal’s nutrition facts on its side — A nice feature not included on the Blue Apron and Plated boxes.

Hello Fresh Menu

All ingredients were well packed and arrived fresh.

Leon and Hello Fresh

In fact, each meal is packaged individually in nice windowed white boxes.  It’s different than Blue Apron and Plated — The recipe ingredients are contained and sealed together in the large box.

Hello Fresh Packaging

The smaller boxes are impressive, but unnecessary — Hello Fresh can save on this packaging.

Hello Fresh Ingredients

The proteins arrive under blocks of ice, as like the others, and all was perfectly fresh.

Hello Fresh Meat

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are smaller than all others I’ve used, including the recipe cards from Chef’d, soon to be reviewed here on Nibbles of Tidbits — Check back for that comparison.

Hello Fresh Recipe

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are harder to read than the others — The card and photo are smaller, thus appear less detailed.  The Blue Apron recipe cards are more user-friendly than those printed for Hello Fresh and Plated.  Blue Apron includes a photo of the chopped ingredients and the others do not.  I had no trouble following the Hello Fresh recipe cards, but Blue Apron’s are better.

Hello Fresh Meal

Taste and the recipes — I made Jamie’s Roasted Chicken with Lemony Bombay Potatoes (above) and Spring Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto with Meyer Lemon (below).

Hello Fresh Shrimp Dish

I’m not sure why my Shrimp Risotto (below) looked albino compared to its photo (above).

Hello Fresh Risotto

Dukkah-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Snap Peas and Citrus Sour Cream (below). I liked it best from our first box.  Not pictured, we also tried three Hello Fresh vegetarian meals. Since I forgot to deselect upcoming meals, I received a second Hello Fresh box in the mail. Related to that, the Hello Fresh web interface could use improvement.  It’s not as easy to view and/or cancel future meals as it is on the Blue Apron and Plated websites.  I had switched from the Hello Fresh ‘Classic Box’ to the ‘Veggie Box’ subscription on their website, because it’s a better value.

Hello Fresh Chicken Dish

Hello Fresh costs approximately $10 more for a Classic Box (three meals w/meat) = $70.  Three meals w/meat from Blue Apron costs the same as three vegetarian meals from Hello Fresh = $60. Aside from cost, we agree that Blue Apron meals are more flavorful and sophisticated overall. And since they do cost less, they’re a better deal all around.  I keep the Hello Fresh and Plated subscriptions open in case there’s a meal I can’t refuse, but need to manage them better so not to receive meals from all companies in the same week.  Each offers potential for a great meal.

Which Company Delivers The BEST Meal Kit? Our Review Is Underway.

September 3rd, 2018 No comments

I’ve made hundreds of Blue Apron meals, which we LOVE to eat.  It’s hard to pass up their unique, diverse, ever-changing tasty menus and the price is right too.  Blue Apron’s cost is lower than most Meal Kit Delivery companies.  Though due to curiosity and first-box discount incentives, we previously tried Hello Fresh, Plated and Home Chef and their respective reviews and comparisons to Blue Apron are linked in this sentence.  Now, we are underway trying several others — Sun Basket, Gobble, Purple Carrot, Green Chef, Marley Spoon, Freshly, Dinnerly, Factor 75, Balance/Bistro MD, Munchery, Global Belly, Takeout Kits, Shaker & Spoon (a cocktail club) and Burgabox (if they get back into the game).  Did you know there were so many?  This is far from a list of all of them, but some we plan to try.  After all has been delivered, prepared and consumed, a report of pros, cons, costs and more will be posted here on Nibbles of Tidbits.  We just finished (3) Sun Basket meals and (3) Gobble meals are scheduled to be delivered this week, and (3) Marley Spoon meals the week after that, etc.  Yes, our review is underway and I have a lot to say.  I already miss Blue Apron, but will definitely be fair.  Stay tuned.

Pictured:  Chicken Salad with Kale, Kiwi and Apples (Sun Basket)

Home Chef: A Weekly Meal Delivery Kit Comparison.

December 20th, 2017 No comments

Home Chef is another company that offers the delivery of weekly meal kits.  I’ve previously reported about a few others — Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated.  And now, here is Home Chef.

Our Home Chef meal selection included Coconut Jasmine Rice Bowls with Fried Plantains and Corn Pico De Gallo, Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread with Walnuts and Caramelized Onions & Brown Sugar Salmon with Ranch Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans.

The recipe cards came with a nice white binder and they were 3-hole punched on good card-stock.

Each meal is grouped in its own sealed, handled bag with a straggler or two in the box, and the meat is under ice, which is convenient and good.  All received with this shipment was fresh.

However, the Naan received for the Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread was folded into its meal kit bag and thus cracked in a few places.  I had to carefully place them back together before topping and baking them.  They ended up tasting great, but it was mostly due to the Caramelized Onions, Fig Preserves, Goat Cheese and Arugula — An amazing combination.

We liked the Brown Sugar Salmon too, though mine didn’t end up as gorgeous as the one on the recipe card.  Not uncommon, but the sweet, tangy flavor it was anticipated to have was there.

Home Chef’s price is comparable to Blue Apron’s — The Home Chef cost is $59.70 a week for (3) meal kits for (2) people and Blue Apron’s current cost for the same is $59.94.

We like Home Chef, and we like Plated and Hello Fresh too, but Blue Apron is still our favorite weekly meal delivery kit company.  Aside from these meals and the others I’ve tried and reported about, Blue Apron meals have been prepared in our kitchen on a weekly basis for about two years now.  I like Blue Apron’s unique meal options and that all is made from scratch.  It’s extra time and labor in some cases, but worth it in flavor.  I like Naan, but would have preferred fresh Pizza Dough with the winning combination of Caramelized Onions, Fig Preserves, Goat Cheese and Arugula.  Pizza Dough would most likely come with a similar Blue Apron meal.  I have no complaints about any of these companies and I am still willing to try others, if the menu is right.

Plated (Recipe + Ingredients) Delivered: A Comparison to Blue Apron.

April 22nd, 2016 No comments

Plated Fish

It’s official — I’ve prepared 100+ Blue Apron recipes.  My husband counted them.  After two-hundred plus total dishes, I decided it was time to try a few other meal delivery companies.  At least three to start… Plated, Hello Fresh and Chef’d.  It’s not because we don’t like Blue Apron.  We love them.  I’m now curious how others’ dishes compare.  Are they as flavorful and international?

Plated Box

The Plated Report — Plated’s box was huge and all was packed within a thick insulation that looked like it should be recycled in the garden.  Different than Blue Apron, but it kept all cold and fresh.

Plated Dessert

One of the BEST things about Plated is they offer Dessert.  Blue Apron currently does not.

Plated Recipe Cards

Dessert (recipe and ingredients) costs about $8 more, over Plated’s meal plan — Most comparable to our Blue Apron Meal Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), Plated offers (2 Meals for 2 People = $48 + $6 for shipping = $54).  Shipping is free with $50+ purchases.  I thus added one of Plated’s weekly Desserts to try and to qualify for free shipping.  $56 was our total for 2 Meals and 1 Dessert for 2 People from Plated.  Leon thought all looked good upon arrival (below).  I did too.

Leon and Plated

Plated’s recipes were well written and somewhat unique, like those offered by Blue Apron.  The pictured Plated meals were good, but none knocked our socks off, like many Blue Apron meals have. We also missed the third meal offered by Blue Apron.  Apples to Apples, the same Blue Apron Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), costs $72 at Plated.  I wouldn’t mind future meals from Plated, but I prefer to save money.  Plated is good, but they charge more for the same comparison of food.

Plated Soup

I prepared Plated’s Pan-Roasted Redfish with Baby Kale Risotto (top), Cheese Tortellini with Basil and Spinach in Tomato Soup (above) and Caramelized Pear Shortcakes with Whipped Cream (below).  We liked the Pan-Roasted Redfish the best and the other two recipes were just average.  Plated’s recipe cards are nice and large, but not as glossy as Blue Apron’s.

Plated Shortcakes

The Caramelized Pear Shortcakes aka Biscuits were already baked, which made preparation easier, but the Dessert not as homemade.  I may order from Plated again to try a different Dessert if its weekly menu sounds better than Blue Apron’s weekly menu.  I’m currently subscribed to all listed herein, though opt for Blue Apron most of the time.  If interested in trying any meal delivery company, be sure to obtain a coupon or coupon code, as each offers a $20 – $60 discount on your first box.  Don’t miss out on that.  Check back soon to read our Hello Fresh and Chef’d Reports.

Blue Apron Review: The Menu Of The Week Never Looked So Good.

April 30th, 2015 No comments

Cod

Blue Apron Box Report No. 2 — We love them even more now.

Blue Apron

It’s Blue Apron’s unique and enticing recipes that I appreciate most — The meals are exciting to eat.

Chicken

We received 3 new recipe cards and the ingredients to prepare them all — Our final dishes are pictured on the right of its respective recipe card and our first Blue Apron report is linked here.

Cod

Each meal was completely different than the one before it and all had exceptional flavor.

Pork

We’re already looking forward to the next box from Blue Apron.  Originally I was just going to try them, but their weekly menus and quality of ingredients are keeping me interested.  I had also planned to try and compare similar companies, but after a little research it looks like Blue Apron may be offering the best deal.  If that continues to be true, I may not want to try nor like another. Each looks similarly impressive, but I must have a good price too.

Similar companies are listed below and prices may change — Check them out yourself.

Plated.com – Eating Well Made Easy ($12/Serving – $72/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Hello Fresh – Restaurant Quality Meals At Home ($11.50/Serving – $69/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Green Chef – Deliciously Simple ($14.99/Serving – $89.94/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Forage – Recipes from Notable Restaurants ($7.50 – $15/Serving – $60/Week – 4 meals total, which may serve 2. It’s unclear)

Chef’d – The Easiest Way to Cook Like a Pro ($19 – $38/Serving for 2 – Each meal has its own cost)

Testing Out Blue Apron: A Weekly (You Cook) Food Delivery Service.

April 15th, 2015 2 comments

Spicy Turkey Meatball Pitas

Have you heard of Blue Apron?  It’s a weekly food delivery service.  Blue Apron delivers recipes and ingredients to your doorstep for YOU to prepare.  Blue Apron takes meal planning and grocery shopping off your To-Do List.  They do that for you then deliver all to you.  We tested them out.

Blue Apron Delivery

Our delivery included 3 Recipe Cards and all the ingredients to make them.

Leon and Blue Apron

All was wrapped in bubble foil insulation with sealed frozen ice blocks.

Blu Apron Box Inside

After review of its contents, let’s just say that I hope every box is as fresh as this one.

Fresh Ingredients

All produce was fresh — Kale, Spinach, Bibb Lettuce, Fava Leaves, Sugar Snap Peas, and the meat appeared fresh too.  The box of ingredients even smelled fresh.  The quality of all made me happy.

Blue Apron Ingredients

Each recipe comes with a “Knick Knacks” bag, which holds small and measured ingredients.

Shrimp Ingredients

Knick Knacks bags may include Butter, Cream, Spice mixtures, etc.  I love organization.

Beef Ingredients

I had fun exploring my first Blue Apron food box and couldn’t wait to make and taste everything.

Blue Apron Ingredients

Shrimp, Flank Steak and Ground Turkey were included in this delivery for Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp with Fresh Linguine Di Cavolo & Fava Leaves, Pan-Seared Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce & Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Spiced Turkey Meatball Pitas with Sugar Snap Pea & Bibb Lettuce Salad — A good variety of recipes I wouldn’t make or try, but for Blue Apron.

Blue Apron Meat

I like trying new things and I like surprises, so this type of service is entertaining.

Recipe Cards

You can look ahead at upcoming recipes online or surprise yourself when the box arrives.

Meal Prep

The step-by-step instructions on each recipe card are done well.  I’ll often change something in a recipe to make the dish better, but I didn’t need to and wasn’t going to, as I wanted to make all as instructed for this post.  Recipes are created by Blue Apron’s culinary team and renowned guest chefs.  Recipes will never be repeated in the same year and meals are 500-700 calories.

Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp

Meals take about 35 minutes to prepare and ingredients are pre-measured, so there’s no waste.

Pan-Seared Steaks

Matt liked all the meals too — Maybe I’ll get him to cook one of the recipes.

Hey Matt likes it!

I didn’t expect to like Blue Apron as much as I now do, but I find it convenient and enjoyable — You still need to chop, mix and cook all, but it’s nice to not have to plan what to make and shop for the ingredients.  If I shopped for the quality ingredients I received here, it would probably cost more money, and more time and stress to look for and obtain all, let alone conceive the recipes.

Blue Apron Meal

Choose when you want your box of food delivered and how often — Once a week, every other week, once a month, etc.  I set up Blue Apron to deliver recipes and ingredients every other week for now and look forward to trying more recipes.  If everything remains fresh, I may be a customer for a long time, though I simply intended to try it.  I’ve seen advertisements for similar food delivery companies and may need to compare them to Blue Apron who sets the bar high.  Blue Apron’s prices are reasonable too, approximately $60/week for three meals for two.  Shipping is included in the price too, which helps sell me.  Check back to see how our second box of food turns out.  Posted will be a clear side by side comparison of each recipe card and meal.

Food Coloring Series: Pretty In Pink Food Perfect In February.

February 13th, 2012 1 comment

Our Food Coloring Series kicked off with orange to spotlight Orange County Food Blogs, then explored shades of purple, yellow, green, blue, red, whiteblack, brown, and now PINK

Pink is sweet, tart and familiar to me — “All of her lovers all talk of her notes.”  Indeed they do, but we talk food here.  I’d guess that to be true in the lead photo too.  Pretty in pink.

Pictured is a collection of pink favorites and parallels — Continuing top down it goes.

A Pink Grapefruit Salad, Beet Juice as a dye, and a path I’d love to walk.

Beef (Rib Eye Steak), well qualified for the brown, red (when less cooked) and pink posts.

Have you tried Dragon Fruit?  I haven’t yet, but plan to.  How about you?

Not exactly my dream kitchen, but I like, especially the mixer I’ve yet to buy.

Lick?

I still eat Cotton Candy at the OC Fair.

Pink Lemonade for a Garden Party to reminisce with old friends.

Always time to donate $ to find a cure for a nuisance that ruins too many lives.

Watermelon Ice Cream Cake.

Part of the dining community under the wondrous sea.

Cupcakes made by our very own Kids in the Kitchen.

Cured salmon, another shade of pink.

Adorable miniature bites in pink — I always fall for tiny things.  They’re so cute!

A refreshingly beautiful Gelatin mold to see, couldn’t find the recipe.

Cheers to sharing Cupcakes and Milkshakes together.

It’s Post Time And They’re Off: Project Food Blog Challenge #1 Begins.

September 18th, 2010 13 comments

Ready, Set, Blog!  It’s time for the first of (10) Challenges developed by Foodbuzz for Project Food Blog, a friendly contest amongst hundreds of talented Featured Publishers to determine the Next Project Food Blog Star.  What an honor that would be!  Oh, $10,000 is the PRIZE too.  Hello.  In Challenge #1 contestants will be put in a colander to see if they make it through to become (1) of (400) selected from (1,850+).  Each challenge eliminates more, until I’m left.  Here the judges want to know WHY I have what it takes to be “the one” and WHAT makes Nibbles of Tidbits unique and sets it apart from other food blog brands.  Good questions.  I hope to answer them clearly here in words and photos.

More about me and WHY I have what it takes to be the Next Food Blog Star*.

Although pictured in my Contestant Profile with my Rocky Mountain Orange Cream Pie at the Fair, I’d opt for Foie Gras in a minute.  And after reserving a slice of the Pie for later, I’d want to smash it in a friend’s face for a laugh, fully deserving retaliation.  If you dish it out, you’ve got to eat it.  Overall, I’m sweet, savory and spicy, and rarely make the same dish twice.  I’ve cooked my way through various classics — Lobster Thermidor, Beef Wellington, Coq au Vin and countless others.  And I’ve explored foods from a number of cultures — Thai, Indian, Greek, etc.  I love to experiment and keen on purchasing ingredients I’ve never tasted and/or used before.  It’s almost as fun as Christmas to determine what to make with them.  Experimentation is how I discovered Parsnips (White Carrots) so long ago and I still can’t believe most I ask haven’t tried them.  I want to taste almost everything.  Too many Americans are missing out by not sampling different things.

More reasons WHY… I’ve been lucky enough to win several ribbons in the Orange County Fair’s Culinary Arts Competitions.  I also won a contest sponsored by Milk, whereas my recipe (Fennel-Cannellini Soup) and photo appeared in Gourmet and Bon Appétit Magazines sporting a Milk Moustache.  I won the Grand Prize in the Soup category.  And another recipe creation (Angel Cake Soufflé) was endorsed by Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen.  Family and friends call me with their food related questions and I love answering them.

Equal to my passion for cooking, I’d opt to eat out day and night until tiring of it.  I haven’t yet tired, but my wallet does.  The restaurant options are limitless.  Dining out is instant gratification, as it provides diverse food quickly, without having to do the dishes.  One of the finest meals out caused me to melt down my chair in excitement with every bite — I was under the table by the end of the meal.  Maybe it was the Wine.

Utilizing all I’ve learned with a fine palate, I like to uncover (by taste) what’s in a memorable restaurant dish to possibly re-create it at home.  I’ve been successful with a few favorites — One example is linked and others can be found in the ‘Copycat Recipes‘ category.  And finally with respect to WHY I have what it takes, I write as the Orange County Food Examiner on Examiner.com and for others as needed by way of I Need Text Co.  I tell people that starting my blog is one of the best things I’ve done, since I walk and talk FOOD all day long anyway.  It’s truly meant to be that I’m here right now.  Cheers.

* I’m not sure about the “Star” part of the title — I’m most interested in the “Project Food Blog” part, because I love FOOD (the true Star), eating, photography, blogging**, cooking, writing and a good old-fashioned competition.

** Are there better words than blog, blogger and blogging?  The terms are just so… not cool sounding.  I guess it’s too late now.

WHAT makes my blog (Nibbles of Tidbits) unique?  And what sets it apart from other food blog brands?

Nibbles of Tidbits is about the GOOD, the BAD & the FUNNY regarding FOOD — From Yikes to Ooo La La, as the heading states.  Having cooked like a maniac for twenty plus years, I’ve learned that some dishes turn out great and others turn out like crap.  And some published recipes and flavor combinations work and others are just plain wrong.  I report about it all.  Since I’ve fine-tuned my cooking skills over time, most meals turn out GOOD, and I’ve come to realize that the BAD can also be FUNNY.  Photos posted for this first challenge represent the good, bad and funny (GBF) regarding food and drinks.

Nibbles of Tidbits is FOOD without limitations — Thank God since I want to experience all aspects of it, especially that from the earth, food events, restaurants, product testing and comparison, easy recipe creation, unique ingredients, copycat recipe development, cooking shortcuts, special finds and all things interesting.  I sometimes find pleasure in fast food and frozen meals, but feel most excellent at a gourmet (non-stuffy) dining establishment with a glass of Wine in hand.  All is reported about with helpful and entertaining insight.

I’m a snob for freshness, quality and value and want to get what I pay for.  Don’t gouge me with inferiority and all should be good — I prefer not to write bad things, but truth is king.  With a few exceptions, I’ve posted daily for almost 2 1/2 years and challenges include… Taking photos before digging in, measuring ingredients before adding them to creations, and presentation (mine looks too elementary school sometimes).  Nibbles of Tidbits is unique for the reasons mentioned herein and we’re (I’m) excited to encounter more, eat well and laugh along the way.

See my Project Food Blog Contestant Profile linked below — MAKE ME YOUR BABY.  I’ll make you proud! 🙂