TRAVEL HERE: AND JUGGLING IT WITH HELLO FRESH
So for a week, the Sadek family was wading in meal kits. It was all my fault, so I was the one who had to figure out how to squeeze all the meals into our schedule. Sun Basket arrived bright and early, just like Blue Apron, which ties them for first place in the delivery department, and Hello Fresh came along in the afternoon.
A Hello Fresh Packaging Surprise
Among my Hello Fresh (HF) complaints was the huge grocery bags in which they packed their meals. There must have been a supply line problem, because my second week showed up in the same small bags Sun Basket (SB) used. So now, HF and SB are neck-and-neck in the packaging race, with Blue Apron still slightly in the lead.
Juggling My Meals
So what would I do with six meals ready-to-cook? Fish first, chicken next, then steak, a burger, chicken and finally falafel. That was the easy part.
First off the stove was SB’s Salmon with Cucumber Avocado Salad. Bill thought it was fine, but as I said last week, I wasn’t pleased with quality of the salmon, the cucumber was unusable and two other ingredients were less than optimal. Bill was happy with the meal. I was reserving judgement.
Next up was an HF win – one of Bill’s favorite dishes ever – Chicken Under a Zucchini Blanket. OK, I’ll admit it was pretty darned good. I’d pretty much written Hello Fresh out of the competition, but they were coming back strong on the second week. They down-sized their grocery bags and this was a very delicious meal. The instruction actually began with prepping all the veggies, so maybe I wasn’t the only one who likes to get that out of the way first.
But SB was back with a strong recipe – Steaks with Paprika Butter – only they failed to send me one of the primary ingredients, sweet smoked paprika. The paprika from my spice cabinet was fine, but I wondered what I was missing. The recipe suggested we grill the steak outside and since it was a Friday night we did. Very, very delicious. Oh and by the way, the recipe featured gremolata, something I had never even heard of, so extra gourmet points to SB.
Saturday was HF burger night and it was a fine burger served with parmesan-crusted zucchini fries. Obviously, it was zucchini week at HF, but we love zucchini and could pretty much eat it every night. The burger was triple-sauced: a mayo aioli, ketchup and onion jam. Even Bill noticed the complexity of flavors, but he thought it was good, not weird, so good for HF.
Monday was another HF night with Warmly Spiced Chicken Thighs – another winner. Bill loves dark meat chicken. The meal was easy to make and delicious. Hello Fresh was having a good week.
Then it was falafel night. We love falafel, but I was nervous. We’d had falafel one time with Blue Apron, but it had been a colossal fail. It wasn’t Blue Apron’s fault, but our attempt was disastrous. I over-processed the garbanzo beans and Bill didn’t get the oil hot enough before trying to fry the patties. We found out what the term “hot mess” really means.
SB Falafel Burgers were a better version of the dish that BA’s had been. This time the recipe came out right, but not right enough for us. We’ll stick to eating falafel when we dine away from home.
Our meal kit marathon over, I had to admit Hello Fresh won. SB’s Steak had been very, very good, but HF’s chicken/zucchini rocked our world. Throughout the week SB had been plagued with bad or missing ingredients, while HF had been flawless in that department.
To get the bargain price we’d scored with SB, we had to sign up for two weeks, so even as I prepared my falafel burgers, we had another week of meals waiting in the frig. All three dishes, Steaks with Chimmichrui and Harissa-Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Skewers, and Pork Chops in a Southwestern Sauce with tomatillos and sweet potato were good, but nothing received rave reviews from Mr. Bill and that’s what this wife is looking for. And yes, they did leave out an ingredient – preserved lemon for the chicken skewers and this customer hates missed ingredients! So, come back next week and see how we do with Home Chef.