Tag Archives: HelloFresh meal kit reviews

Reviews of several HelloFresh meals

After giving up on cooking for a while, I’ve gone back to making meal kit meals – they work particularly well when it’s just my husband and I for dinner.

HelloFresh has changed from last year, and their meals are now simpler and quicker to cook. They still range from pretty good to very good, though they are not nearly as tasty as the Gobble meals I’ve cooked lately. They’re far cheaper, however. Currently, if you use my referral link, you can save $40 off your first box, though there may be better deals out there.

These are the last six dishes I made from HelloFresh.

Sweet ‘N’ Smoky Pork Tenderloin
with Apple Carrot Slaw, Mashed Potatoes & Cherry Sauce

Rating: 7/10

I forgot to skip this week and got HelloFresh’ default meals. I wouldn’t have selected this one, as I try to avoid pork as much as possible, but it was pretty good. The pork was tender and the cinnamon-smoked paprika spicing was very tasting. It really didn’t need the cherry sauce, but this one was very nice as well. In general, I’ve really enjoyed the jam-based sauces that I’ve gotten in meal kits. Still, the meat didn’t have as much flavor as I would have liked.

I enjoyed the mashed potatoes, which really go very well with green onions. I don’t like carrots, but my husband was very happy with the slaw – he had my portion as breakfast the next day.

All in all, this wasn’t my favorite meal but it was a nice alternative. As usual, it was a perfectly sized meal.

Cherry Sauce Recipe

For two people, multiply as necessary, substitute with another flavor jam if as per your liking.

  • 1/4 cup cherry jam
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon paprika spice*
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a small microwavable bowl, mix together the jam, vinegar and spice. Microwave for 40 seconds. Add the butter and mix until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

* 1 part ground cloves, 8 parts onion powder, 8 parts ground cinnamon, 6 parts smoked paprika, 16 parts mustard powder, 24 parts sweet paprika, 24 parts white granulated sugar”.

Smothered Pepper Jack Burgers
with Spicy Ketchup & BBQ Potato Wedges

Rating 6/10

I might have liked this burger more if I hadn’t overcooked it – and if I hadn’t recently had an amazing waygu burger from Gobble. As it was, I found it OK. The pepper was a bit too spicy for me, though I used plain ketchup. My husband had his with the spicy ketchup (which is really just ketchup mixed with hot sauce) and far more peppers, and he still didn’t think it was spicy at all, so YMMV.

The potatoes, mixed with a sweet & smokey BBQ spice, were very good, though. I’ll have to make them again for my vegan daughter. I found the recipe online

Sweet & Smokey BBQ spice

  • 8 parts smoked paprika
  • 6 parts granulated sugar
  • 2 parts garlic powder
  • 0.5 (half) parts black pepper
  • 1 part dry mustard
  • 1 part ground cumin
  • 1 part ground ginger

Middle Eastern Steak Bowls
with Spiced Basmati Rice, Roasted Veggies & Lemon Garlic Yogurt Sauce

Rating 5/10

This dish was a big disappointment. It was relatively complex and I had great expectations, but they weren’t met. Basically the whole thing was bland, all the flavors blended into one another and didn’t excite the palate anywhere.

It’s a pity, because this could have been really good. Maybe some dried fruit in the rice would have helped or a harissa sauce instead of the lemon garlic sauce. Actually, having fresh garden instead of garlic powder might have made the sauce more exciting.

Balsamic Fig Chicken
with Roasted Potatoes & Mixed Greens

Rating 7/10

This was another meal with a delicious jam sauce. It’s a simple enough recipe that it should be quite easy to make at home.

The greens came with a simple lemon juice dressing, so I decided to use my own instead. The potatoes were OK, but they were just plain. HelloFresh does much better when it adds spice to its potatoes.

Still, it was a pretty good meal.

Balsamic Fig Sauce

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 5 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp jam
  • 1 tsp chicken stock concentrate
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste.

    Heat oil in a small saute pan. Add shallot and rosemary leaves. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the jam. Simmer for one minute, until syrupy. Add the stock concentrate and water. Cook until thick, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Chive Chicken

Rating: 8/10

This is yet another simple dish of a plain chicken breast spruced up with a cream sauce. Fortunately, this chive sauce is very good so it does the job well.

I liked the side dishes quite a bit, but my husband didn’t like the texture of the lemon rice, probably because I had overcooked it. Still, I’d get this again.

Chive Cream Sauce

This is enough for two people. Serve over chicken or fish.

  • 2 tsp chicken stock concentrate
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 oz chopped chives
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat small pan over medium-high heat. Add the stock concentrate, mustard, water and lemon juice. Stir and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat.

Stir in the sour cream and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cheesy Beef Tostadas
with Long Green Pepper, Tomato Salsa & Hot Sauce Crema

Rating 7/10

The filling for these tostadas was actually very good and both my husband and I really enjoyed them, but I overcooked the tortillas, thus making them too tough and difficult to handle it. It would have been better if the tortillas had been soft.

I neglected to take a photo.

Review: HelloFresh’s Gouda Pork Burger

Last time I renewed HelloFresh I forgot to choose my meals, so I ended up with three of HelloFresh’s choice. While I wasn’t thrilled at first, two of them ended up being a good choice – I cannibalized the ingredients of the last one for other stuff.

I was particularly worried about this recipe for pork burgers. I figured, if pork burgers were any good, you’d see them in restaurant menus. Ground pork doesn’t seem enticing at all, it’s so greasy for one. But I got the kit, so I made it, and I was quite surprised at how tasty the burgers were. They didn’t feel too greasy, and though I probably overcooked them (you can never be too sure with pork), they were still moist. Still, I wouldn’t make them on my own.

I particularly liked the bright mayo/sour cream based sauce that accompanied the burger.

In the year+ since I’ve subscribed, on and off, to Hello Fresh, I’ve almost never had issues with the quality or freshness of their ingredients and this time it was not different. I live in the Bay Area in California, so YMMV elsewhere.

Review: HelloFresh’ Moroccan Pork Sausage Tagine

Rating: 7/10

I selected this meal kit for Moroccan Pork Sausage Tagine with Dried Apricots and Chickpeas over Couscous because it seemed easy enough to veganize it for my vegan daughter, by simply substituting vegetable concentrate for the included chicken concentrate, and omitting both the sausage and the cream on her portion. It did mean having to cook the sausage in a different pan, but that wasn’t a big deal.

All in all both my husband and daughter enjoyed this dish, and it’s simple enough to put together. It was a good portion for both of them. If you make the original recipe, beware that the sausage is very salty, so be careful of how much salt you use in the other ingredients.

All ingredients were good quality, though the carrots were a bit wobbly.

I should point out that calling this dish “Moroccan” is almost insulting. Yes, the dish includes couscous and dried apricots – but that’s as far as the Moroccan influence goes. The vast majority of Moroccans are Muslim, and Muslims cannot eat pork. The sweet Italian pork sausage included in this recipe is not used in Morocco. Moroccans are famous for their merguez sausage, which is made of lamb or beef and has no pork products in it, but it is probably too expensive for HelloFresh to include.

I paid about $8.50 for this mealkit or about $4.25 per portion. Great deal!

Review: Hello Fresh’ Sirloin in a Mushroom Sauce + Recipe

Rating: 7/10

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.

Mushroom sauce

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.

Review: Hello Fresh’ Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bake

Rating: 4/10

After being off meal kits all summer (both because I wasn’t cooking and because I didn’t get any good “come back” offers), I went back to HelloFresh after getting a “65% off your first box” deal. Apparently I had forgotten just how hard it was to find meals that I actually wanted to make, which is why I ended up selecting this kit for Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Bake
with Cavatappi and a Crispy Panko Topping
.

Truth be told, I love pasta baked with sauce and cheese, and I’m a pretty big fan of good meatballs as well. Still, this is the sort of dish I can easily make on my own and, as it turned out, much better.

There were lots of things wrong with this dish. First, baking the meatballs was a mistake, they were left dry and with a crusty shell. The recipe also called for too much salt. Second, the tomato sauce was pretty tasteless. No wonder, making a pasta sauce requires a long simmering town. This dish would have been much better with a commercial pasta sauce. Finally, the mozzarella cheese was pretty bland. The dish could really have used some Parmesan cheese instead of the bread crumbs that was included.

I paid ~$8.50 for this meal kit for two people with the discount.


Review: Hello Fresh’ Tex-Mex Cheese-Stuffed Burgers with Tomato Salsa and Potato Wedges

Rating: 8/10

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I decided to get this kit after really enjoying the last Hello Fresh burgers I got. They were definitely better than the ones I made myself. It occurred to me after I order this kit, however, that my burgers may not be as good because I usually use low fat ground beef. I tried making them with 27% fat ground beef and it was a completely different story – they were delicious!

And t

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his is a good thing because I ended up using my own ground beef to make this recipe – I had used the one from the kit earlier in the week to make plain burgers, and yes, the meat was great. Really, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two.

These burgers were also very tasty – though the tex-mex spice sort of overwhelmed the meat. I particularly liked the tomato-cilantro salsa. It gave the right counter of freshness to the spiciness of the “crema,” but it was hard to keep on the burger, it just kept sliding off!

I also ended up using my potatoes – having made the ones from the kit previously – and the addition of the tex-mex spice worked very well on these.

All in all, it was a very satisfying lunch, but really, one you don’t need a kit to make it. Still, I paid a tad over $11 for this kit with a “welcome back promo”, so I’m not complaining. I would if I’d paid the $20 standard price.

Review: Hello Fresh’ Cheesy Smothered Mushroom Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots

Rating: 7/10

Cheesy Smothered Mushroom Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots

This kit for Cheesy Smothered Mushroom Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots provided another good-but-not-great meal from Hello Fresh. My husband enjoyed it, but wasn’t wowed. I see no great reason why to make it again, and none of the components were good enough that they merit sharing the recipe.

The ingredients were fine, but even though Hello Fresh has increased their prices (by $1), they don’t match the quality of those sent by Blue Apron. I got chicken stock instead of demi glace and sour cream instead of creme fraiche.

All in all, this meal was what I paid for, $11 for the kit ($5.65 pp), with a “welcome back” promo I got in the mail. I still have a couple of codes for free boxes of HelloFresh if someone wants them.

Review: Hello Fresh’ Crispy Pork Milanese with Cheesy Potatoes and Blistered Tomatoes

Rating: 7/10

This meal kit was a mixed bag. The pork milanese was sort of bland and it really needed acidity. The blistered tomatoes just didn’t provide enough of it. It was good with lemon juice, but not extraordinary.

I did like the cheesy mashed potatoes a lot – but what’s not to like about cheesy mashed potatoes?

I think my favorite thing about the kit was getting the eggs in their little container. Plus they were cool eggs. I only had to use one, and it had the darkest yolk I’ve ever seen.



Review: Hello Fresh’ Melty Monterey Jack Burgers with Red Onion Jam, Garlic Mayo, and Crispy Breaded Zucchini

Rating: 9/10

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I made this kit for my husband and daughter, and they were both very pleased with it. A burger may seem like a trivial thing to make, but making a new and exciting burger and getting the right amount of fat in the meat – and the right quality meat – is not always easy. Given how expensive burgers have become, even at the regular price of $21 per kit this would have been a good meal, but I got the whole kit for $11 with a promo (make sure to always check on the right hand menu for referral links with promo), which was a super bargain.

BTW, keeping the buns in the oven and then toasting them seems to work very well.

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Meal Kit Review: HelloFresh’ Sirloin and Horseradish Cream Sauce with Garlic Bread and Roasted Carrots

Rating 5/10

This meal kit for Sirloin and Horseradish Cream Sauce with Garlic Bread and Roasted Carrots may be the first HelloFresh kit that really failed to impress me. It was acceptable dinner fare, but very pedestrian. There were no new flavors here, no tricks, no recipes I’d care to copy and repeat. It was ultimately what it looks like: meat with carrots and garlic bread, with some onions and sour cream. I’ve had it all before (indeed, I had pretty much the same dish concept from EveryPlate – HelloFresh’ cheaper meal kit brand). Moreover, it seems to me that HelloFresh is trying to cut corners and send out cheaper ingredients and ask cooks to include more and more staples of their own to the meals.

The main ingredient of this meal was the sirloin and I was unimpressed with the quality. The meat was tough and wasn’t particularly flavorful. The two steaks sent had very different shapes from each other and, as you can see above, they were partly discolored, which took from their visual appeal (at least before cooking).

The steak was stopped with sliced onions cooked with beef stock which were fine, but unremarkable. I wondered if HelloFresh was cutting corners by not including demi-glace instead of the stock concentrate.

The accompanying horseradish sauce was also disappointing. It was basically sour cream with a few green onions and horseradish powder. I think it might have been better with some prepared horseradish.

The carrots were just carrots – not my thing but my husband happily ate them just like he has every other time a kit has included carrots.

Finally, the garlic bread included the same “semi-baguette” buns that were included in the EveryPlate meal I referenced above. Once again, I really liked the consistency of the buns. I didn’t like that I had to provide my own butter – I understand that from EveryPlate, but I expect more from HelloFresh -, and I specially didn’t like that the kit included garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.

At the end of the day, however, I am likely to blame for choosing this kit. But I’ve noticed that I’m not particularly excited by many of HelloFresh’ kits – I’ll be suspending for several weeks now as I can’t find much in their upcoming menu I actually want to eat.

Update: I have 3 referrals for 1-week free of HelloFresh. E-mail me if you’d like one.