We came home from our summer-long road trip and do you know what was the greatest joy of all?
I mean, I did fine with cooking on the road – mainly because it was only a few nights per week and we made the same three meals over and over again.
Hamburgers. Burrito Bowls. Grilled Chicken + Salad. Repeat.
But at home, I’m terrible at dinner. Terrible.
Especially once fall is in full swing and there are football practices and ballet lessons and homework and extra work projects added into our daily life. All of the sudden it is 4 o’clock and I have no idea what I’m making for dinner.
I wrote the following post last summer after having used a meal delivery service for six months.
Here we are over a year later and I can still wholeheartedly say that it is the best decision ever. I tell my real life friends about it all the time and can’t help but share with you as well.
So here you go … to my friends who maybe don’t mind the cooking part but can not stand the thinking, planning and shopping for all the right ingredients part … the dinner solution that changed my life.
(Originally published July 2016)
I’ve tried it all.
Planning dinner for the week.
Planning dinner for the whole month.
Eating the same meal on the same day each week.
A regular rotation of eating out at one of the three restaurants in our town.
Resorting to quesadillas because that’s the best I could do.
Dinner is just not my thing.
It’s not the cooking that’s the issue (I actually enjoy being in the kitchen – usually for baking, but cooking is fine, too) and I certainly don’t mind the eating part, but it’s the planning that gets me every time. I just can’t seem to find a rhythm.
In January of this year, Ryan decided it was time to come up with a better solution and offered to take on dinners around here.
After one week of a few botched recipes and realizing just how frustrating it can be to get to 4:00 and have no idea what’s for dinner, he did something crazy: he signed us up for a meal delivery service.
You’ve probably seen posts about companies like Hello Fresh and maybe you’ve rolled your eyes and thought, ‘nah, not for me.’
But hang on. Because I was in the same boat and now I’m fully, completely, 100% a believer.
So here’s how it works: Once per week a box is delivered to your door. Inside are all the ingredients for three meals (we buy the 4 person box and it feeds our family of 6 perfectly, usually with leftovers). Included is a recipe card with the meals and instructions for preparing.
There is a bag of produce/canned items separated for each meal that goes right into the fridge and the proteins packaged separately.
Each night, I just decide which meal to make and pull out the bags + protein needed.
All of the recipes are easy to make and take about 45 minutes to cook.
We were leery at the beginning, I’ll be honest. What if we didn’t like what they sent? What if the produce and meat was not good quality? What if we got bored of the same meals?
After six months of using Hello Fresh, here’s what we’ve found:
1. Dinnertime is one hundred times less stressful.
I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner. I just open the fridge, pull out a bag and start cooking. All of the ingredients are included except for olive oil, salt + pepper.
2. Three meals per week is perfect.
The other four nights we either eat out, are with friends or family or just make a favorite go-to meal (like burrito bowls).
3. With the exception of about two recipes, we’ve enjoyed every dish.
You can select three out of five options per week, but we usually miss the cutoff and just go with the chef’s choice. They’ve nearly all been great.
4. In six months, we’ve never had a duplicate recipe.
The meals are similar (protein+carb/starch+vegetable), but the flavors and techniques vary and we’ve tried recipes beyond our regular go-to meals. Many are gluten free and they also have a vegetarian menu.
5. Only once in 24 deliveries have we had a bag with produce that was not perfectly fresh.
And it was only because the balsamic vinegar spilled and mushed the spinach.
6. We are probably saving money.
The cost per meal is more than we would spend if shopping ourselves, but because I’m barely ever at the store (I just do a Costco trip once/twice per month and a few random add-ons while running through Target), I am buying less, we’re wasting less, and eating out much less. We haven’t calculated the exact savings but even if it’s costing us a little bit extra, the time and stress it saves totally makes up for it.
I sound like a crazy lady, but seriously, this dinner service has changed my life.
We subscribed because we needed a solution and have stuck with it for 6 months. We thought we’d cancel this summer since we seem to be out and about a lot, but have kept with it and just cancel the weeks we know we’ll be out of town.
If dinnertime is a struggle for you, stop the madness and give yourself a break. Ryan was so smart to do this for our family and I wholeheartedly recommend giving Hello Fresh a try.
You can see all the details on pricing, menu options and if delivery is available in your area RIGHT HERE.
When we joined we were given a referral code (8P7ZPV), so when you sign up and use that code you’ll get $40 off and we get a credit towards our meals. You’ll get a code, too, so if you love the service and tell your friends about it, you can get a credit towards your boxes.