Monday, May 10, 2021
Let's face it--adulting is hard. As a wife and a mom, when I saw this meme it hit home.
To some degree, this meme was exacerbated by the pandemic. While some people took all the time at home to bake sourdough bread and make home cooked meals, I mourned the ability to eat out and wondered how many nights a week we could eat pancakes (and what wine to pair with them). I finally decided to sign up for some meal kit delivery services, thinking that it would be a great chance to try something new, and I could also write a review for the blog. The two that I tried were Home Chef and Hello Fresh.
In signing up for a service, I was looking for something with generous portions (think, leftovers), something that would be easy (I have a newly turned 3 yo and a baby), and something that would be kid friendly (my 3 yo could live off dino nuggets and pancakes).
We tried Home Chef first. Here is what I liked:
- Meal selection--I thought that they had a great selection of meals. I have some food allergies, and it was generally easy for me to find meals that accommodated those allergies.
- Portion size--I was shocked at how generous the portions were. We would make a 2 person meal and have leftovers. I sometimes added a starch to stretch the meal a bit, like noodles or rice.
- Kid friendly--My toddler was not super impressed, but throwing his dino nuggets into the toaster oven was pretty easy and gave us more leftovers.
- Ease of cooking--So this is where I was both impressed and disappointed. Home Chef has 15 minute meals. If you did not have two small children either crying or trying to help you, I think that these meals could actually be prepared in 15 minutes. For example, if the meal called for cut chicken, the chicken was sent to you pre-cut, which I loved. But, they also have these "oven ready" meals. If you see the ads for Home Chef, you just assume that these meals come ready to pop in the oven. Not true. At least twice we had "oven ready" meals that included meatballs, and I was expected to make the meatballs. That is not oven ready. We also had a few oven ready dishes that took a lot longer to cook then what the instructions said. Still, nearly all the ingredients were packaged in the servings that you needed. It was pretty easy.
- Packaging--For the first two weeks we got three days of meals with four servings. But, the four servings came in two bags of two servings each. This was awesome! It allowed us to easily cook just a two serving portion, which is what we needed unless we had company.
- Delivery--I did like that we could pick our day of the week for delivery. This allowed us to use these meals during the busy workweek (and then eat pancakes for dinner on the weekends).
What didn't I like:
- Ease--As I noted above, I was a little disappointed in the so-called "oven ready" meals. They weren't super "oven ready."
- Cost--Once our promo period ended, we didn't continue the meals. It was just too pricey. Honestly, I could buy a few Costco meals for the same cost and keep them in our deep freezer.
Now on to Hello Fresh. I have to be honest, there wasn't anything that I thought Hello Fresh did better than Home Chef. But, I will provide comments on some of the same categories.
- Meal selection--The meal selection was ok. I saw a lot more noodle dishes, which is what I was trying to avoid with my allergies
- Portions--The portions seemed noticeably smaller. We did not have the same amount of leftovers.
- Kid friendly--I think that this was about the same. My toddler might have eaten tacos once, but only because they were on my husband's plate and all parents know that food is more appealing when it isn't on your plate.
- Ease of cooking--These meals were a lot more time intensive. Hello Fresh has a handful of faster meals, but most of them ended up being the same type of meal. It seemed like there was just so much more prep work. And, the packaging didn't make it easy. The four portions came in one package, and sometimes they didn't always send two of the same condiment or spice. I also found that the produce was not as fresh.
- Delivery--We could not change our delivery date. That was a pain. Our meals came on Saturday.
- Cost--Hello Fresh was a little cheaper, but not a lot, and still not worth it.
If we had to sign up for one of the services again, I would definitely do Home Chef. I have looked into a few other services but have not been impressed with their menus. Now that summer is almost here, my teaching load will ease up and I will hopefully have more time to cook. Or, there is always Costco and the frozen options they offer.