Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Blue Apron: Why It Works for Busy Runner Types (Like You & Me)

Blue Apron (meal delivery service) has rescued me once again. Between work, training, trying to be somewhat of a parent and laying around watching The People vs. OJ, I've not only run out of meal ideas, but also time to buy ingredients.

Last week I cooked up a couple of the meals sent by Blue Apron. I chose these two winners (wait for your mouth to water): Seared Sirloin Steaks with Roasted Potatoes and Creamed Kale and Star Anise and Soy-Glazed Cod. My daughter doesn't eat any meat (with the exception of fish) so I wanted at least one of the meals to cater to her. That's just how good of a mother I am.

As I was cooking up the meals, I was thinking about why this service just WORKS. I'm always impressed by the quality of ingredients that arrive on my doorstep and the fact that everything is portioned out for me. But, this time (my fourth time reviewing Blue Apron), I realized a couple of new things.

First of all, the way that the recipe directions are laid out in steps means that everything comes together at the same time. This is something I've struggle with over the years in my cooking. If I make a main dish a couple of sides, it takes a work of God to make sure that the dishes all are finished at the same time. It seems like something usually ends up sitting around and getting cold or soggy. With Blue Apron, they have it carefully orchestrated so it all finishes up together. To me, this means the recipes have not only been constructed based on the right combination of ingredients, but have also been tried and re-tried to make sure that cooking times somewhat correlated.

Check out one recipe card and how it takes you through the steps.


The other thing I noticed was that with Blue Apron I'm using ingredients I would never use normally. While I'm a pretty experimental gal, I find I don't often choose recipes with things I've never heard of before. For example, the cod recipe from Blue Apron had me using star anise (wtf is that) and gai lan (huh?). In case you are curious and want to name drop these ingredients at your next party to make yourself sound cultured, star anise is a spice form Northeast Vietnam and Southwest China.  It has a strong, licorice taste. Gai lan is a Chinese broccoli.

Moving on. Let me show you some pictures, so you can see how the process works.

When cooking up the sirloin steak dish, I first chopped up all of my kale and potatoes.


I drizzled the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and popped them in the oven. Ken pretended to help while I bossed him around because we both know I wear the pants (running skirts) around here:


I cooked up the kale and added some butter and parmesan to it. Kale can be quite bitter if not cooked right. If you take off the stems, steam it well and add in enough butter, it is fantastic. Ask Ken. He typically hates kale, but really liked this version.

Next, time to eat!





This was delicious. The quality of the meat and the freshness of the produce is evident.

The other dish was the Star Anise and Soy Glazed Cod. This was FABULOUS. Lots of flavor and felt very healthy. Yeah, this picture could be in a cooking magazine.



Couple other things to note about Blue Apron.

  1. They now offer a recycling program! More info HERE.
  2. Each menu is between 500 and 800 calories a serving. That info is found on your recipe card. Meals take under 40 minutes to prepare.
  3. There are two types of plans: the 2 person plan and the family plan (serves 4)

Want to give it a shot?? The first 20 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order. Click HERE to redeem.


Have you tried Blue Apron? Why or why not?

What's the last and best meal you made? I've got to say the COD pictured above.

SUAR

23 comments:

  1. It sounds like a nice concept... I just don't like the idea of auto-bill and auto-ship... Too much of a commitment!

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    1. I'm a distance runner and a single dad. Blue Apron is awesome. Their smart phone app and website are very easy to use, and with a click you can skip a delivery and even change your menu. They show you the menu for weeks in advance. If you are going on vacation, or having company you can just click to skip that week. No charge, no delivery. Their customer service is awesome and geared to customer satisfaction. Like everyone else is saying, the food is good. The ingredients are often new to me, and my girls are getting more into cooking because of it.

      Delete
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  2. I've used Blue Apron a couple of times and really like it. The best meal I've made has been the steak/kale/potatoes (it was amazing...restaurant quality). I've learned a lot about cooking and techniques. I find it really easy to cancel or change up my order online, no issues there. I had not thought about how it all comes together at the same time before, but now that you mention it, that is another plus. The only minus for me is that I find I am using way more dishes and utensils that I normally would...but maybe that is what it takes to make more interesting meals.

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  3. Nope - never tried blue apron. I always think that the on-line meal providers are too expensive. Probably not true anymore, but that's my bias.

    Just curious - why do you hang your bananas up backwards?

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    1. Haha! Is that backwards? I've always done it that way. Now you have me questioning my whole identity.

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  4. My sister who lives in D.C. Ordered blue apron for a side trip we were planning to Virginia! Awesome, it showed up at the door step and in the car it went with us to our cabin. All the meals were great but on the downside I would NEVER order it due to all the ridiculous packaging!! Save the earth people and shop local or join a food share program.

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  5. It would be a great deal now that I live in Hawaii where food is pretty expensive. Sadly, they don't deliver here.

    I hate the whole getting everything ready at the same time dilemma. That's why I love using my crockpot!

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  6. This looks delicious! I've never tried blue apron, but hearing a recommendation from a fellow runner has definitely put it on my radar! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  7. I love meal services like this. We recently tried another one! It was fun to receive different ingredients than I might usually purchase and all of the fresh ingredients!

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  8. I have always wanted to try it out for a week or two, but we're not in the budget to spend that much on meals (we don't eat out at all right now), as we're saving for a house and have a new baby on the way. But MAYBE I can talk hubby into it for the first couple of weeks after baby is here - to avoid shopping.

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  9. My wife and I are about to start Blue Apron and I can't wait to see how it goes. The food looks delicious!

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  10. Ihave never tried blue apron. I have to feed 5 and with my two boys. There would never be enough food. When they finally quit eating 6 lbs of food each I will try this out. :)

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