Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. As always, all words and opinions shares are honest and my own. And, you might want to stick around, because there is a special offer for my readers!
It’s always a happy day when a Blue Apron box arrives at my door. Even though I selected the meals, I know the box is full of chef secrets – techniques and flavor combinations that I’m about to learn. It’s not just a box of ingredients. It’s not just a reprieve from the weekly dinner routine. It’s a hands-on, independent-learning culinary school delivered to my door. And, as someone who loves to learn and nurture a variety of interests, that is right up my alley.
I’ve shared about Blue Apron a couple of times before, so what can I share that is new? I’ve already said how much I like learning new recipes and tips for making good restaurant-quality food. I like discovering new ingredients and ways to prepare them. As a foodie and a homebody and the mom of a type one diabetic (who is hard to leave at home with a babysitter), it’s a way for me to get a “chef experience” in my own kitchen.
When I’ve shared about Blue Apron in the past, I’ve been asked a lot about how healthy and diet-friendly the meals are. So, in this post, I’m going to speak to that and also share about their commitment to sourcing quality ingredients and building a better food system.
To give you an idea of their offerings, here is a sampling of the Blue Apron menu for next week…
As you can see, there are a variety of options that can appeal to a wide range of eating styles and all of their meals stay within the 500-800 calorie range. And, of course, you can control your portions on things that are higher in calories or carbs or whatever it is you’re trying to limit. The calories as well as the time it takes to prepare the meal are listed on each meal detail screen, so you know exactly what you’re ordering.
I am a big-time pasta lover, so I selected Creamy Cavatelli with Zucchini and Romaine & Orange Salad as one of our meals.
All of the ingredients are always fresh and “real food”. Blue Apron really pays attention to quality, which does make a difference.
You can follow all of the steps, but if the zucchini is bitter or the orange is dried out, it’s just not going to be as yummy as it can be. Ingredients matter and they stand behind the ingredients. If anything is disappointing or unusable, they will make it right.
In addition to being ripe and ready, all of the ingredients are non-GMO, the meats are antibiotic and hormone-free, and the seafood is sustainable.
Blue Apron says this about their ingredients…
“At the grocery store, it can be hard to tell whether food is high quality and sustainably grown. We are partnering with the foremost sustainability experts to create better standards for growing food and raising animals. This means better outcomes for our environment, guaranteed markets for our farmers and higher quality ingredients for our home chefs.”
As someone who was a vegetarian for years, partly due to a disappointment in meat industry, I really appreciate their efforts. I started eating meat again, because quality meats were more readily available and that is due to the fact that, collectively, the American people and businesses in the food industry, like Blue Apron, have asked for better.
I realize I’m treading into dangerous territory, because food can be strangely polarizing and even political, but I don’t mean to go in that direction at all. I have no wish to spark a food debate! I think we can all agree that we want to eat good food. That’s my only point.
The meal I made was simple and quick, but so good and had several new-to-me ingredients and flavors that I was excited to try. It’s funny, because I’m not a very adventurous eater. But, if a chef says, “These things go great together. Try it. Trust me.” I’ll do it.
Pasta is one of my favorite things, but I don’t eat it very often, so this was a real treat. And, it was fresh pasta at that!
I boiled the pasta and sautéd the zucchini while I mixed up the dressing for the orange and romaine salad.
As I’ve shared in other Blue Apron posts, I love making sauces! Americans buy so many sauces and dressings in bottles and packets, but they are really simple to whip up! This dressing was made with olive oil, dried Italian seasoning, quark cheese (which I’ve never even heard of before), red wine vinegar, and salt & pepper. Simple, but so tasty.
Once everything on the stove was cooked, it all went into one pan…
…with some starchy “pasta water” and Crema Bel Paese cheese. And that was the sauce! Again, it seems like it would involve more, but that’s really it. A little garlic, salt, pepper, pasta water, and cheese.
Our meal was made for two, but we were able to easily feed three of us with it. (The fourth member of the Parsons’ family is super picky and opted for cereal.) I have found the portions are generous and I can stretch them out further by adding some more vegetables that I already have on hand (zucchini, in this case.)
The salad was the most surprising part of the meal. I haven’t had a salad quite like it with the cheesy, creamy dressing and the bright note from the orange sections.
Jeff isn’t one to eat just a big bowl of pasta for dinner, so I added a chicken breast to his cavatelli. Even he admitted that the pasta was pretty darn tasty, though.
We all enjoyed dinner together at the end of a relaxing weekend. And our plates were cleaned, although a few noodles were reserved for Sebastian and added to his dinner, much to his delight.
I have two more recipes to make this week – Coconut Chicken & Garlic Rice and Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches (The pasta was for me and the cheesesteaks are for Jeff! The coconut chicken looked like something interesting to try.) Dinner can sometimes be a point of stress for me, so it’s nice to know that I don’t even have to think about two dinners this week. All of the fresh ingredients are at the ready in the fridge.
A few other things I like about Blue Apron…
- Because the ingredients are perfectly measured out, there isn’t any waste. I’m not left with a container of quark cheese that is 80% full and now I have to figure out how to use it, so it doesn’t go to waste.
- There are 8 recipes to choose from each week and meal plans available for 2 people or a family
- There is no commitment. You can skip or cancel your service at any time.
Are you interested in giving Blue Apron a try?
The first 50 readers who sign up will get $40 off their first two weeks of meals! So, it’s a good time to give it a try and see if you like Blue Apron as much as I do.
Just click HERE to sign up and get that special deal!