Hello Fresh seldom offers steak as part of their regular offerings. Instead, dishes with steak are usually considered “gourmet” and require an additional supplement. These are usually a very poor value, so I never ordered them. I did this time because when I added to my cart, HelloFresh showed that the 65% off discount that I had applied to the supplement as well. Alas, when I checked my account I realized that I was charged the full supplement price, which makes me feel defrauded. Still, it’s a lesson learned and in the future I just won’t order any meals that require paying a supplement.
This meal kit for Sirloin in a Mushroom Sauce with Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots was pretty good, if a little too much work. It basically had 5 components that had to be cooked separately: the steak, the mashed potatoes, the carrots, the onions and the mushroom sauce. I think one (the onions) could have been skipped without losing much beyond cooking time.
But all ingredients were very tasty and, in particular, the mushroom sauce was phenomenal, which helped elevate both the meat and the mashed potatoes. I’ve had similar mushroom sauces before, but I liked how simple and quick this one was (recipe below).
All the ingredients were included and they were mostly fresh (the carrots were a little wobbly) and good quality. The steaks were very, very thick but at least they were around the same thickness.
I paid a little over $20 for this meal kit, including the supplement, or about $10 per person.
I recommend you double the sauce
- 3 Tbsp butter, divided
- 4 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp. beef demi-glace
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat in a pan, preferably one you used to cook steak. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until softened – 2 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the demi-glace and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in the mustard. Simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in the remaining Tbsp. butter.
My vegan daughter discovered she liked vegan chili while eating at the A.Y.C.E. buffet in Vegas – and she asked me to make her some at home. I went with this recipe because it had fairly good reviews and it seemed easy and flexible enough to make. I did make a couple of changes from the original, but my daughter loved the results and has kept bugging me to make it again.
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup rice or bulgur, rinsed
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz tomato puree
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
Heat oil in a large cooking pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Stir in the rice or bulgur, chili powder and ground cumin.
Add the tomatoes and beans and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about an hour, or until the beans are tender. Season and serve.
This kit came with already made hummus, tzatziki, olive tapenade and za’atar spice, as well as a zucchini, a yellow squash, 2 roma tomatoes, a slice of red onion, a small bag of arugula, pita bread and pita chips. Preparation consisted of slicing the squashes, quartering the tomato, sauteing them for about 8 minutes and then assembling the pitas. You then serve it with a side of pita chips and hummus. So a super quick meal to put together.
I didn’t use the tzatziki or tapenade, omitted the onion and substituted the arugula for some spring mix I had to accommodate my daughters’ preferences. I also added some cubed tofu to add protein to the dish.
In all, she was very happy with the results. She found it a very tasty meal. She particularly loved the pita bread. The problem is that the kit came with only two pita breads – so one per person. That was not enough for the amount of filling there was.
This is also a pretty simple meal to put together on your own, though I wouldn’t know where to buy the spongy pita bread they sent.
I got this kit for free due to credits and a welcome back promo code. Use this referral link to get a free kit for 2 with your first box.
Note: if you use my referral link I *may* get some credits in return, if I happen to be subscribed to the meal kit service at the exact moment you use the code – which is unlikely.
This was my second Marley Spoon’s dish and, most likely, my last one. It was perfectly fine as a dish, and I thought the presentation was quite attractive, but it wasn’t special enough to justify the issues I had with it.
First, the steak. It wasn’t particularly great quality – it was sirloin, after all -, and the two steaks were of significantly different thickness, which means that cooking them both together resulted in one more done than the other. While the tamari sauce (recipe below) added a very good flavor, the steaks were not particularly tender.
The farro/red pepper stir-fry was good – or would have been, had I not added the spinach. Once again, it provided an unappetizing bitter taste to the dish.
The portion was also on the small side – I was left hungry after eating it.
Even more vexing was the fact that the kit didn’t include all the ingredients I needed to make the meal. It asked that I provide my own balsamic vinegar. Fortunately, I had some – but the whole dish would have been a fail if I didn’t. To be fair, Marley Spoon did mention in the instructions online that dark balsamic vinegar was needed, but I shouldn’t have to look carefully at every recipe to see what ingredients I have to provide. They really should send everything you need other than oil, salt and pepper (other kits do).
In all, it was a nice meal but frustrating.
- 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Use to glaze meat or as a sauce.
This kit for Cauliflower Tacos al Pastor, Slaw with cilantro-lime aïoli and refried black beans was a complete success for my vegan daughter. She actually wants me to make her more of these.
The key to the dish is the sauce, of course, so I imagine I’ll have to experiment and find one that my daughter might like. Safeway has a pineapple peach salsa that might fit the bill. The cauliflower for these tacos is basically sauteed for 3-4 minutes with green pepper (which she didn’t like so I’ll omit next time), you then add some cubed pineapple, 1/4 cup of water and the al pastor sauce, and put it in a 400F oven for 15 minutes.
This kit also taught me how to make mashed black beans – you put the canned beans in a pot with a little bit of water and a teaspoon of vegetable stock concentrate, cook it for five minutes and then mashed.
The cabbage in the kit was supposed to be mixed with a cilantro aioli, but this wasn’t vegan, so I had to skip it. The cabbage was sort of blah on its own, but it added some crunch to the tacos.
Again, all in all she liked them and she wants me to make them again.
And I will, because I’m certainly not going to pay $26 to make this meal. I paid $10 with a promo, and for that it was a bargain.
I’m getting bored writing reviews of meal kits, but I want to at least finish this project. After trying Green Chef this week, I only have one more meal kit company to try (Marley Spoon), and then I’ll be ready to give my final verdict as to which is the best Meal Kit company. But I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Green Chef. You’ll have to wait until my review of the company to hear why, however.
I made the Chicken Katsu Noodle salad with cabbage, carrots, pineapple & pickled ginger tonight and shared it with my daughter. We weren’t particularly impressed.
First, as the cook, I really resented all the needless preparation. The cabbage, pineapple and pickled ginger had already been processed and cut into strips or cubed – and yet I was told to chop them. Why not go all the way and send them chopped? Most annoyingly, the instructions asked that I cut the chicken breasts horizontally into two thin cutlets. That’s the sort of task that requires sharp knives and knife skills. I did a fairly good job of it, but it shouldn’t be left to the home cook to do this preparation.
I did enjoy the chicken, however. The chicken cutlets were dipped in tonkatsu sauce, breaded with panko crumbs, sauteed on both sides for 3 minutes and then cooked in the oven for 6 more. I really would like to know why I couldn’t just finish the whole thing on the stove (I hate having to preheat the oven), so Green Chef fails for not explaining this. But my daughter really liked the chicken and it looks like the sauce is available commercially and it’s also fairly easy to make.
The noodle salad, OTOH, was a disappointment. It lacked flavor and none of us liked it.
I also wasn’t thrilled that the meal didn’t have any exotic ingredients. At this price point, I expect it to include things I can’t easily get at my supermarket. In all fairness, it did have some very cool looking black & white sesame seeds – but that was just for show – and it did include pickled ginger in the salad, but the salad sucked.
This meal kit had 580 calories per serving. It was on the small side and I was left hungry (but then again, I didn’t want to eat the salad).
The regular price for this meal kit is ~$26. I paid $10 with a discount, and really, I wouldn’t pay more than that.
Sometimes, often times, it’s in the sauce. Indeed, in this recipe of Steak au Poivre with Crispy Fingerling Potatoes, it was all the sauce.
The steak, sirloin, was fine but unexciting. The potatoes were blah – I mean, good, but just potatoes. But the sauce was very good and therefore, so was everything else.
The dish also included creamed kale. I wasn’t going to eat it, so I didn’t bother making it.
But this kit was another winner.
I paid around $16/$8 for this kit/per serving. Again, I thought it was worth it.
Sauce au Poivre
This sauce is to be served with steaks. I’ve doubled the quantities but it will probably still serve 2.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 tsp Dijon mustard
Add olive oil to pan where steaks were cooked and heat over medium heat. Add peppercorns and shallot and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until the shallot starts to soften. Add wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, scrapping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and mustard, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
I had no reason whatsoever to make this meal kit hack other than the fact that I’m enjoying hacking meal kit recipes and blogging about it. Hey, we all have our weird hobbies.
I did, mind you, need to use the rest of the skinless/boneless chicken thighs my husband got me by mistake a few days ago (the first half I used to make this meal hack) and I love Chicken Marsala, but I could have gone with my usual recipe – which is absolutely delicious. Granted, Plated’s recipe for Chicken Marsala is almost exactly like my own (this one doesn’t use shallots, though) – which is probably why this recipe was absolutely delicious as well.
The recipe for the chicken, that is. I did not enjoy the fingerling potatoes at all. The Dijon taste was too weird. Maybe I put too much, I had to guess how much were in the “packets” and “containers” that went with the kits, but more likely it’s just not a good combination.
I did make a couple of changes to the chicken recipe, the main one was that I used Madeira instead of Marsala. I usually keep Marsala around, but apparently I had actually run out of it the last time I used it. Madeira has very similar notes to Marsala, and I figured it would produce similar results. It did! If anything, the Madeira was better than the Marsala (or maybe, this is just a better recipe than mine).
I ended up spending almost the same amount to make this dish than I would have spent buying the kit – $18.3 for me vs $24, if bought as a subscription, or $21.4, if bought at my local Safeway. As usual, I didn’t have to spend money in some ingredients that I already had at home, but had to buy larger quantities than needed of other ingredients. I think
|Plated Ingredients||My Ingredients||Cost|
|9 oz cremini mushrooms||8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms||$3|
|8 oz fingerling potatoes||20 oz fingerling potatoes|
|1/8 oz parsley||1 Tbsp parsley||home garden|
|1/8 oz rosemary||2 tsp rosemary||home garden|
|1 lemon||1 lemon||$1.10|
|2 boneless chicken breasts||5 boneless chicken thighs||$5.50|
|2 packets butter||2 Tbsp butter||pantry|
|1 container chicken stock||1/2 tsp chicken stock concentrate||pantry|
|1 packets Dijon mustard||2 Tbsp Dijon mustard||pantry|
|1/4 cup flour||flour||pantry|
|1/2 cup Marsala||1 cup Madeira||pantry|
|2 Tbsp heavy cream||1 qt heavy cream|
My local Safeway carries this kit often, and I would consider buying it. My big hesitation is that it comes with chicken breasts, when I really prefer thighs so much more.
- 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup flour
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup Madeira
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp chopped parsley
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Cover each chicken thigh with plastic wrap and then pound until thin. Place flour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste. Flour the chicken thighs and leave aside.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Using a slotted spoon remove mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
Add olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Carefully transfer the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook until done, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a clean plate and set aside.
Add the Madeira, chicken broth and reserved mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, parsley and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 minutes. Return chicken to the the skillet and cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 5 minutes.
I got this meal kit for to make for Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with Mashed Potatoes & Creamy Mustard-Dressed Kale for my non-vegan daughter and me, but I ended up eating it mostly by myself: my daughter ended up with other plans. No matter, I saved the chicken breast for her for tomorrow and I’ll make her some fresh mashed potatoes with potatoes I had at home.
This is a meal that is more like disparate components than one full meal. The components all work with each other, don’t get me wrong, but you could substitute any of them for something else and the meal would still work. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
The chicken schnitzel itself was good – but it wasn’t really a schnitzel. The breast pieces were skinless and boneless but they had not been flattened – nor were there any instructions to flatten them. Moreover the cooking times given were for a thick piece of breast. The chicken was fine, but it would have likely been juicier and more enjoyable if it’d been flattened first. The flavor was OK, but not extraordinary given that there was no seasoning beyond salt on the breading. Commenters suggest adding onion and garlic powder to the flour, I’d also add dried oregano or fresh chopped parsley to the egg.
UPDATE: It turns out that the schnitzel part was my fault. Blue Apron had sent me boneless chicken thighs for this recipe, and the chicken breasts for another one. I didn’t look closely and just assumed both were chicken breasts and ended up using the wrong cut.
The apple slaw that accompanied the chicken was also good, but it didn’t really improve the chicken substantially. I also ended up with way too much slaw.
The mashed potatoes, which are simply mixed with olive oil and salt, were below average. The olive oil flavor was too strong. My vegan daughter didn’t like them. Personally, I think the recipe should have had you mix half the ghee with olive oil to fry the schnitzel, and use the rest of the ghee with the mashed potatoes. Commenters also suggest adding a couple of crushed garlic cloves to the potatoes.
The real star of the meal was the kale, however. It was dressed with a “creamy mustard dressing” which is just Dijon mustard and mayo, mixed with honey and salt. It was delicious – I don’t even like kale but I ate the whole thing (my daughter didn’t want to even try it, and I figured it’ll be soggy tomorrow). I’ll definitely try this dressing on other stuff (recipe below).
All the ingredients for this kit were there and they were fresh. I love that Blue Apron includes ghee for cooking rather than relying of you having butter at home (as HelloFresh does). And I also loved the container for the egg.
The only mild inconveniences is that it’s winter, and I don’t keep my house particularly warm, so the honey was crystalized by the time I went to use it. The ghee was also pretty hard. Don’t refrigerate either when you get them – at least in winter.
The meal was all in all satisfying – though I did eat all the kale by myself. It was also relatively quick and easy to prepare. And it’s also easy to recreate at home with your own ingredients.
I paid $12.50, or $6.25 per serving, for this kit with a sign-in promo. It was worth this but probably not the $20 regular price.
Creamy Mustard-Dressed Kale
- 2 oz kale or fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- salt to taste
If using Kale, remove central stem from kale leaves, then cut into strips.
in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, honey and mustard. Season. Add kale and mix well, using your hands to make sure all the leaves are coated.