Whether you want to or not, there are things you temporarily sacrifice when you have a new baby. Time in the kitchen is a big one for me. Cooking has become more than a hobby for me, more than a way to feed myself! I long for those days of casually perusing cookbooks while I sipped my morning coffee, taking notes and making grocery lists, imagining interesting flavor combinations. I’d come home from the store with tasty ingredients and spend as much time as I wanted in the kitchen, creating yummy things and testing recipes and photographing the process. I’d write about it and find my recipes on various websites in collections with names like, “The Best Labor Day Recipes to Try This Year” or “Holiday Recipes We Can’t Get Enough Of.” I giggle at the difference between then and now. A sweet little dude named Oden has taken priority over, well, everything. While I plan on diving back into this kitchen and continuing those website collaborations, my casual, long days in the kitchen are on hold for now!
We signed up for Blue Apron meal deliveries a couple of months ago, just to try it out. Have you heard of it? We receive all of the ingredients for three tasty meals each week, delivered right to our door. It’s a temporary luxury while we get a handle on Life with Oden, and it’s been fun to try new recipes I might not otherwise have made. The ingredients arrive in a cooler box and are already measured out for you. Each meal is described on a recipe card, with an ingredient list on one side and an easy-to-follow step-by-step recipe on the other. You’re still prepping and cooking the meal, but some of the time-consuming aspects have been taken out of the equation. Blue Apron focuses on healthy, balanced meals, and 99% of the ones we’ve tried have been super delicious. Look at some of the gorgeous meals we’ve enjoyed!
Something I appreciate about the Blue Apron situation is that it’s usually just the perfect amount of food for the two of us. (There’s also a “family of four” option.) Occasionally there will be some leftovers, but not much. We waste less food! I also like that, even in a pretty basic recipe, there will be at least one ingredient I’m not super familiar with. For example, this week I made beef quesadillas. I can’t count how many quesadillas I’ve made in my lifetime! But this one had different seasoning than I’m used to and a unique salsa made with corn and shishito peppers. They were SO good!
The recipes generally take 30-40 minutes to prepare, which is doable on a weeknight with a baby’s bedtime to factor into the equation. Each recipe card is a full meal with a side dish, not just a protein. You can choose to receive vegetarian or pescetarian meals if you don’t eat red meat. You can skip deliveries if you’re out of town, and you can request to change the upcoming menu. You come away with the recipe to make your favorite ones again sometime. We eat well, and it feels like I’ve actually created a home-cooked meal for myself and my hard-working hubby. SO much better than take-out!
One of my only complaints about Blue Apron is that for the couple’s program (feeds two people per meal), the minimum number of meals you can receive each week is three. While I appreciate not having to stress out about what to cook for dinner three times a week, it feels like too much- I feel obligated to make the Blue Apron meals instead of trying new recipes or making one of my old standbys. I’d prefer just two meals per week. Another issue for me is the amount of packaging. While it’s all recyclable and we save the freezer blocks for later, it’s still a lot of cardboard and plastic baggies.
Like I said, our Blue Apron experience is a temporary one. The cost of having the three-meal box delivered to us each week is probably not much more than what I’d spend at the grocery store purchasing all of the ingredients for three full meals, but it’s not something we’ll keep up long-term. But until I can get back into the groove of cooking regularly myself, it’s a helpful solution and super fun! Plus, I have a stack of new delicious recipes I can revisit when our Blue Apron time is done. Yum!
If you’re interested in trying Blue Apron without making the commitment, I have a few free deliveries I can share! Just send me an email that includes your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you’ve made any of the recipes I’ve made and shared here over the years!
Hungry for more? Check out my collection of recipes HERE.
One year ago: Simple Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.