Goodbye, Fresh!

Hello Fresh nights 3 and 4! Woo!

Last night, Josh cooked, so I have few pictures. I try to stay out of his way when he’s cooking… because I’m a pain in the ass. If I go in there, I’d just be examining what he’s doing and perhaps pointing at things and telling him to do things differently…so I just don’t.

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His dinner was roast chicken with vegetables, Basmati rice, and a lemon pan sauce. It was definitely the most prep-heavy recipe in the box. And it was, by far, the largest portion. I was STUFFED. But it was very tasty.

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The Brussels sprouts trimmings. And half a lemon.

The chicken cooking method was one I’d heard of, but not used: sear (essentially) the chicken on both sides, then stick it in the oven. It was lovely, because it kept the chicken nice and moist. I don’t usually roast whole chicken breasts because I never like how they turn out, but this makes me think I should try again/more often.

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It’s sauce! In a pan! It’s PAN SAUCE!

 

Tonight, I made the last meal in our box: Pork and apple burgers with rosemary potatoes and another cute little salad. This one was, far and away, my favorite. Could maybe be my small obsession with burgers, but it was good.

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I was afraid the potatoes would be too starchy, but they were lovely. And the brioche buns… we’re never going back to pre-packaged. The salad was the same as the one with the burritos (oil and balsamic vinegar), but the addition of the green apple was SO tasty. Like, going to start taking something very similar to that for lunch tasty.

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cheery!

I had never worked with fresh rosemary before. It looked like a Christmas tree, and definitely smelled like one. It didn’t taste like one, though, unless I was thinking about Christmas trees. Then my potatoes had a hint of cheer. Tasty cheer, especially when tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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The pork was mixed with grated apple to make the burger patties. If you’ve never grated an apple before, this is what it looks like after you’ve squeezed the excess moisture out of it. And don’t let any recipe fool you – this excess will rip through at least two layers of paper towel while you squeeze. And possibly apple pulp will go flying in random directions. I’m not sure about that last part, just saying.

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YUM.

 

New experiences from Hello Fresh:

1. Thyme and rosemary – two herbs neither of us had worked with (Josh did the thyme). That was one perk of Hello Fresh that I would struggle to recreate in a grocery store: I always have extra fresh herbs and HATE throwing them away, so I tend to not buy them. It was nice to use all of each in these recipes.

2. Brussels sprouts – I had eaten these maybe once or twice in my life, and never prepared them. Josh did those, too, but even just seeing his leftovers really explained the process.

3. Lightly seasoning things – This is a bit bizarre, but I love experimenting with mixtures of spices. Sage and cumin was an obsession for a while. Chipotle anything and… well, anything is also a favorite. Rarely do I just season with one spice at a time, or just straight salt and pepper like the Pescado Veracruz called for. Both the chicken and pork only had one added flavor besides salt and pepper (thyme and rosemary, respectively) and it was a bit of a revelation for us. Something I will definitely keep in mind in the future.

4. I want a stick blender. Dammit, Jamie Oliver.

5. I want/need to meal plan on Saturday/Sunday/sometime before the week starts and go grocery shopping and be ready for the week. It was so much easier knowing exactly what I was going to make for dinner that night when I woke up in the morning, and knowing that I had everything I needed. No last minute grocery runs, no agonizing conversations trying to decide what to have for dinner. I think I knew it would be better if I planned ahead, but actually experiencing it has made all the difference. It will be a priority now.

Thoughts on Hello Fresh as a service:

I’m glad we did it. I tried new things and I have a new perspective on meals. I like cooking, not just throwing together something last minute, and this was a nice reminder of that.

Would we do it again? I’m… not so sure. For one, without the promo code, it’s expensive. We also have a pretty sporadic weeknight schedule. We were motivated this week to do it and knew we had 4 nights free, so it worked – but that’s a fairly rare occurrence in our lives. That being said, for the week before we go to Scotland and don’t want extra groceries in the house and don’t want to have to think about extra things, hell yes, we’ll do it again.

I do feel like Hello Fresh is a bit misleading. They market themselves in a way that implies healthy, quick meals. Three out of four meals listed “cooking time” as 30 minutes (the burritos were 40) and “difficulty level” as 1 (burritos were 2). The times were…  wrong. The burritos were the most accurate, as we got those done in around 45 minutes (and they were also quite easy, in my opinion – not a level 2). The other three meals took around an hour each. I suppose they can get away with it because they call it “cooking” time and not “total” time – if I looked solely at the time the ingredients spent cooking, sure, 30 minutes works (except for the burritos… damn the burritos). But it seems unfair to do things like that. Healthy, yes. Quick… depends on your definition.

It was fun. It was mostly easy, required very little prep thinking, and was a huge relief at the end of the day to have everything ready and waiting for us. Overall, I would recommend Hello Fresh to someone who can afford it and who is looking for what it provides, along with the time disclaimer. We will plan ahead and use it again, at least before vacations, for sure.

And, to end this somewhat ramble-y, food-y post, a cat picture. Because you can never have too many adorable cat pictures in your life (and my cat is damn adorable).

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Mya says goodnight!

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