Psst, I make money on some of the links in this post at no cost to you. It keeps the lights on around here.
Hello! I’m Picky Nikki, Mr. Picky Pincher’s sister and reformed shopaholic. I have a long way to go on my frugal journey, but it helps having a family that is also interested in saving money to keep me on track. I’m sharing my experience cutting costs as a working mom and trying to find the best deals for my family.
In my family, we love cooking.
It doesn’t matter how elaborate the meal, food is love and we have a lot of love to give. So when I got married I made it a point that homemade meals were a regular occurrence. I’m sure other parents can relate to the shock you have when all of a sudden, frozen popcorn chicken and boxed macaroni make more appearances than your favorite home made meatloaf.
After picking up the picky toddler, we have 2 hours to make dinner, give the kiddo a bath, and have “family time” before it’s bedtime. Convenience meals were being a little too “normal”, if you know what I mean.
Add in the curveball: my husband is very picky so I was very tired of the same meals on repeat. I decided I needed some razzle dazzle in my life, and my friend suggested Hello Fresh.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen other bloggers promote this and I was always skeptical. Since I had my friend’s coupon code, I told myself I could try it out for a week and told my Picky Husband it was for the good of the blog.
I’m sure this will become glaringly obvious, but I am in no way affiliated with Hello Fresh and if anything, they probably hated the review I sent back to them. Read on if you enjoy laughing at my failures.
What is Hello Fresh?
It’s a subscription box service that sends you all of the ingredients for meals. They have packages made for 2 people or 4 people. You can upgrade to a box and choose meals out of a selected database, or you can pick the cheaper option and they send you pre-selected food. Obviously I chose the cheaper option.
Meal One: Italian Meatloaf, Green Beans, and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
In the name of honesty, we started off on a rough note.
My mother was visiting and unloaded the box and put everything in the fridge for me. I was lazy and did not throw out the boxes (thank God.). The next night I checked the adorable brown bag labeled “meatloaf meal” and noticed I was missing the meat. With a sinking sensation in my stomach, I realized they must have packaged the meat separately from the other food (duh). Luckily I’m lazy and luckily the freezer bags were ice cold and the meat was surrounded by ice blocks. Win!
I set out my ingredients and became even more pissy.
The husband was not amused by the small package of meat. I was not amused at the tiny portion of green beans. I made the meal and it was fine, but we were both still hungry after eating it. I thought it would taste revolutionary or gourmet, it just tasted like sadness and hunger.
Meal Two: Pork and Eggplant Stir fry
My husband saw the eggplant, laughed, and walked away to make a sandwich. “His loss”, I thought to myself. I love veggies and after last night’s disappointing dinner with 15 green beans each, I was ready to go.
It was easy to cook and it seemed like it made so much more food, since the rice was a solid base for the stir fry. As much as it pains me to admit this, my husband was right. It was the weirdest damn thing I’ve ever eaten and I eat some really weird foods.
My toddler also decided a hunger strike was better than eggplant, so I was left with a ton of food that no one would eat. I took it to work and my co-workers also agreed it was tasteless and just plain weird.
Meal Three: Honey and Orange Chicken Jambalaya
THIS was going to be the meal, I could feel it.
It seemed similar to other meals I have cooked and it had a chorizo spice blend to add to the food. I was so stoked. Sure, the meat was a smaller portion than we were used to, but it’s probably for the best. The bell pepper had gone bad, but I told myself it was fine since my picky boys hate green bell pepper anyways.
I plated our food and….holy smokes that was insanely spicy!
Just for reference, I regularly eat food that is so spicy others think it’s inedible. So for me to say it was spicy means it was spicy.
My husband couldn’t eat more than a few bites and I couldn’t feed it to my toddler due to the spice level. I ate mine out of spite since it was the “home run” of the three dishes, but couldn’t finish mine either.
I did drink 2 bottles of water though, so at least it helped me stay well hydrated.
Obviously, this was a colossal failure for my family.
I don’t know if it was a fluke, but all three meals were total failures. The other people that recommended Hello Fresh to me said they chose the more expensive option so they can pick and choose their meals. While I understand the more expensive option gives you some freedom to pick what you like, I do think it says something that all three of our meals were busts.
At a normal price of $69 for 3 meals for 2 people, I can’t justify that all three meals didn’t work out. Also, for reference, we spend about $150 a week for all of our meals. This is way out of our price point.
Many people also have problems with the packaging. They have a ton of waste, most of which I was able to recycle. I’m not sure what happens with the giant ice bags, but that seems like a huge waste issue if people regularly order food and have to throw away the ice bags. At least the boxes and paper bags can be recycled.
In an odd way, the experiment of Hello Fresh was the kick in the butt I needed. Our family is more committed than ever to cook homemade meals and peruse cookbooks so we can alter dishes to our liking.
We want to know: Have you tried a box meal service? Any successes? Any failures?