Blue Apron Free Trial: Review

Let’s be honest, many of us lack the time or the money to cook unique, cost-efficient meals today.  Whether you are a couple or a family, it is sometimes easiest to just eat out.  Eating out on a regular basis can get very expensive.  I recently received a Blue Apron free trial.  I was eager to try and cook my way through a new and adventurous meal, something I wouldn’t normally eat.

As this was a Blue Apron free trial, I had nothing to lose.  I had three meals delivered right to my door.  All of the packaging was recyclable, and it came with a couple of nice reusable freezer packs.  Here is my experience:

Meal: Chipotle-Glazed Meatloaf

Blue Apron Free Trial: Chipotle-Glazed Meatloaf

What I expected: Blue Apron said the prep time for this meal was just 10 minutes with the cooking time of the meal being between 35-45 minutes.  The card (included in the picture) came with a quick description of the meal along with all of the ingredients for the meal.  Each ingredient listed even came with a picture in case you weren’t sure.  The flip side of the card came with step by step instructions on how to prepare the meal and also some pictures to assist you along the way.  I laid out all of the ingredients on top of my counter along with the card and began.

The Good:  You have all of the ingredients you need to create a unique dish.  If you tried to go to the grocery store and buy all of the necessary items to create something similar, you would spend way more than $10/meal.  All of the items looked fresh and appeared top notch.  Everything from the beef, to the potatoes, to the garlic looked like it had been prepared just mere days before.  Finally, Blue Apron also pairs each of the dishes with a wine.

The Bad:  While the meal card said the prep time was just 10 minutes, this was not the case.  It took me about double that time to prepare the meal.  The only way someone could have done the prep in 10 minutes is if they were highly experienced in the kitchen or if they had prepared this meal before.  The meal also lacked a side of vegetables.  While this might seem quite minor in the details, some healthy vegetables to go along with this meal would have made it complete.  I ended up cooking some green beans to go along with the meat and potatoes.  You also needed some cooking experience to help guide you through.  I don’t believe these meals are for the complete rookie.  For instance, you had to mince garlic, slice potatoes, and needed a few kitchen accessories to complete the meal.

Chipotle-Glazed Meatloaf Dish

Conclusion

Ultimately my Blue Apron free trial was a success.  I was able to create a delicious, unique meal all by myself.  At just around $10/meal, it is also a great value because the same ingredients would cost much more if you purchased them at the store.  Downsides would be that it requires some basic kitchen knowledge and elementary kitchen items.  This meal service is great for a couple who enjoys cooking together and wants to spend some time create different dishes and bonding over the experience.

Are you interested in Blue Apron? Get $30 off your first week using this link.

The 5 Keys for a $100 a Month Grocery Bill

http://www.westkelownacommunityfoodbank.com/
http://www.westkelownacommunityfoodbank.com/

How do I eat on $100 a month?  I will tell you some tips for how I manage my grocery bill.  This $100 a month category includes all of the food I purchase at grocery stores along with some occasional household supplies, laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc.  I have a separate row in my budget for “eating out”.  I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and a couple snacks throughout the day.  I do not starve myself or eat Ramen and PB & J’s.  I am able to eat healthy and consume items such as chicken, pork, fish and beef.  Lastly, I am only supporting ONE person with this grocery budget, no kids or anyone else.

Here are my 5 Keys for a $100/month grocery bill:

1) Make a list: I make a list with all of the items I need beforehand.  This prevents impulse shopping or the purchasing of WANTS instead of NEEDS.  Always make a list!

2) Only buy items on sale: If chicken is on sale for $1.99/lb, I buy many pounds of it and place it in separate Ziploc bags in the freezer.  Additionally, I buy fruits and veggies that are on sale.  It might be apples and carrots one week, strawberries and cucumbers the next week.

3) Go generic: I will be the first to agree that some generic products do not taste as good as the original (i.e. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup), but find out what generics are the same for you.  Whether it is nuts, chips or cereal, find out where you can save that extra dollar.

4) More prep time equals more food: I can buy a box of dry brown rice for the same price I can buy four microwaveable pouches.  The difference is that the box of dry rice yields twice as many servings as the “convenient” pouches.

5) Don’t waste food: This is a big one for me.  Whatever I buy, I eat.  I never let food go bad.   Google a recipe for a food close to its expiration date or something that didn’t taste as good as you thought.  Any food that you throw away is harmful to your budget.

These are 5 things I do to keep my grocery bill low every month.  See if you are able to incorporate any of these into your shopping trips.  If you have any additional tips, leave them in the comments section below.

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