Note: This post is NOT sponsored by Hello Fresh and we did pay for our own delivery. I just wanted to share our opinion to help inform y'all!
WHY HELLO FRESH?
Drew and I live in such a tiny town in Idaho that there's about four restaurants. Not exaggerating, I have counted. We do live about an hour away from a fairly large city with good options, but it's a solid hour/60 miles and not at all worth going just to eat out. Thankfully, we both love to cook, but I was at a loss for ideas for more "special" meals and wanting to mix up our normal weeknight routine. That + a coupon code = Hello Fresh for the win!
We went with the classic/basic subscription (you can upgrade for fancier items like prosciutto-wrapped chicken but we're not fancy people at heart) and it came right on time. I'll confess, I was extremely worried about food safety because we live in such a rural area that even our Amazon Prime shipping takes 3 days instead of 2 - and I didn't want meat hanging out for an extra day. But the HF box showed up when it was promised, and the packaging was so impressive!
It came in a normal-looking cardboard box, but was lined with insulation + the meats were tightly wrapped and under an ice pack. I could have been a nerd and taken the food temperatures, but it all felt really cold on my bare hands as I unpacked so I rolled with it.
Each meal was made up of a package of meat + a paper bag of other ingredients, plus a recipe card. Our meals were: sizzling hoisin shrimp, creamy dill chicken, and sesame beef tacos. I'll admit, I was most excited for the shrimp since we never buy shellfish - but they were all pretty dang great!
SIZZLING HOISIN SHRIMP
This meal was up first, both because I was craving it, and because the Hello Fresh packaging department is no dummy about food safety and put a sticker on this to tell you to make it first. ;) The recipe cards for these were a type-A chef's dream and spelled out the steps in an order that ensured the whole meal came together at once! So easy. And goodness, this. was. good. The sides included roasted green beans and scallion-ginger rice that hit the spot.
This was easily my favorite recipe in the box. The fluffy rice, crunchy green beans, and perfectly tender shrimp were the perfect combo. Plus, the fresh ginger created a huge flavor burst in the rice. I could have eaten 4 more plates of this, but saved a little for a mini-meal the next day.
Side note: I use the Thyme app to keep track of all my burners when I'm cooking more than one thing at once.
CREAMY DILL CHICKEN
Next up was creamy dill chicken, which was a little more labor intensive (more monitoring/dishes dirtied). I didn't love that two meals had the exact same crispy green beans, but let it go since they were dang good. Essentially, for this we roasted the green beans and potatoes separately (potatoes take longer) while we pan-cooked the chicken. Everything got a simple salt + pepper sprinkle and then we made sauce with sour cream, chicken stock, mustard, and dill. In retrospect, I wish the instructions would have told us to butterfly or pound the chicken breast so it cooked more quickly. Also, the smell of warm sour cream and mustard kind of sicked me out, but thankfully the sauce tasted good! Overall, this was my least favorite meal but still fairly satisfying.
SESAME BEEF TACOS
Last but not least were sesame beef tacos, and can I just say...mmmmm. We saved these for a Friday night so we could sip on a few margs while we cooked/ate and it was worth the wait. Slicing veggies was the hardest part of this whole ordeal, and the quick-pickling process for the cucumbers + radishes was SO EASY and perfectly crunchy. The beef got a fresh twist with red cabbage, and the only thing I would change is that the recipe had you add sesame oil to the beef without draining it, and the end result was a little more greasy than I prefer. However, Hello Fresh hit the nail on the head in mixing together the crunchy veggies and savory meat, and I would make this again and again!
THE BOTTOM LINE
We would definitely order Hello Fresh again, especially since we live so far from a restaurant! I liked that the recipes were easy to follow, and they're easy enough to recreate by just picking up the same ingredients from the store. They were a fun twist on our usual menu, and with the deal we got for the first box ($30 total for all three meals) it averaged out to $5/serving which fit fairly well into our food budget for the week.
My biggest worry going into this whole thing was food safety, but like I mentioned before, the packaging was so well done that everything was fresh and cold when it arrived! Plus, now we have a giant ice pack to stick in the cooler while camping, so win-win.
Want $40 off your first box? Here's a handy coupon code Hello Fresh gave us.