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Anyone do the new food ordering websites? BlueApron, etc?

Nov 8, 2012
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Work has gotten a lot busier these days, so a lot of times during the week we've had tons of fun answering the question of "What's for dinner?" with the same answer of "I dunno, whatever is in the fridge - or we can heat up something in the freezer like a pizza".

So in light of that - Our overall shitty diet right now, and our lack of time with both of us busy at work - I've been contemplating trying out the meal websites such as BlueApron and HelloFresh. Both of them keep sending me tons of sign-on offers for $60 off or whatever. But I wanted to get ATOT's perspective first.

1) Do you save any money doing this - or are you paying more overtime for convenience? I can see how you can save money when you go to the grocery store every week and end up throwing things out that go bad. When you get the EXACT things you need for a meal, it's hard to throw them away.

2) Do you recommend a certain site? Hows the overall costs per meal?

3) Do the meals taste any good? Suck? Okay?

4) Whats the best sign-on coupons you have ? ;)
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
6,003
387
126
I have some friends who do it. They definitely don't save money on groceries, however they make meals that they otherwise would have no idea how to make or would do without it, which I think is the benefit of such things. Once you do it for a couple of weeks, or months, or whatever and have the base idea of how ingredients go together, it should be easy to do your own planning and meal prep.

As far as the taste, they've been super happy with how the meals turn out with hello fresh.

Personally, I do all my meal planning and prep and cook everything on sunday and reheat for the rest of the week. Doesn't work as well if you have a family however.
 
Nov 8, 2012
20,778
4,750
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Personally, I do all my meal planning and prep and cook everything on sunday and reheat for the rest of the week. Doesn't work as well if you have a family however.
Yeah, exactly - and that's part of my problem. Wives are picky creatures. If it were up to me, I would eat the same thing every single day. Ultimately, I eat to survive - not to enjoy it. Obviously there are some nights when you want to enjoy it - so you go out of your way on certain nights... But as far as day to day grind week eating? I can eat the same thing.
 

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
24,144
1,806
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I do Plated twice a week. The meals are somewhat expensive, but they are fairly easy to cook and are pretty damn tasty.

And, yes, I can send you a referral code so you can get your first box cheap. PM me your e-mail address if you're interested.
 

Chaotic42

Lifer
Jun 15, 2001
33,854
957
126
I've had friends do them and they've all told me that after a few months the quality starts going down.
 

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
24,144
1,806
126
I've had friends do them and they've all told me that after a few months the quality starts going down.
I had that problem with Blue Apron, where some of their ingredients were hit or miss. If you call them up and give them hell, they will refund you for that meal kit.

Plated's product quality seems to be pretty consistent, though.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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holy cow, 10$ a serving? that's a hefty price for eating at home.
Time is money these days, and spending 1.5 hours at the grocery store (driving there, going through tons of aisles looking for specific things, stupid morons getting in the way, and driving home) is a lot of valuable time/money. It's really a pick your poison game - and as someone that just recently had a kid, H-O-L-Y-S-H-I-T of all things that will teach you the value of time.

I do Plated twice a week. The meals are somewhat expensive, but they are fairly easy to cook and are pretty damn tasty.

And, yes, I can send you a referral code so you can get your first box cheap. PM me your e-mail address if you're interested.
I'll think about it, I'm kinda hunting around for the ones that are something to the magnitude of first 3 boxes for cheap :p I've seen those types of codes from the likes of Hello Fresh.
 

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
11,511
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If you get a couple good cookbooks, tweak some recipes out you can build a pretty steady rotation of dishes to cook a few times a week. Then it becomes second hand nature at the grocery store to make your runs. Every once in a while throw in a special recipe for variety sake. I'm a freelancer so I also get to go to the grocery store at off hours during the day so that saves me some time. I have five go to recipes that I just add a protein too, makes tons of leftovers, and I can do the shopping for them in my sleep.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,793
825
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We've been using Chef'd (does not require a subscription) and Home Chef (subscription, but you can opt out each week for no charge, and you can pick from an assortment of entres each week - granted many are variations on the same thing) for about a year and love it. We get a couple every couple weeks to try. I used it to basically get better at cooking. If you like cooking at all, you learn quite a bit, and I've done the whole 'find it on the internet and make it' thing, and while it can be good, it's never been as good as this stuff. Once you have the recipes you can make this stuff yourself, but I can say for certain that the ingredients make a HUGE difference, even just brand. Some things are hard to get around here, but there is Amazon. Generally you can get it cheaper from these delivery services than buying the stuff outright, but it depends.

The trick here though is to get coupon codes, etc.

As for the pricing...it really depends on how many of you there are. For instance for Chef'd I bought a bunch of 50% off gift cards, and 20% off coupon each order and free shipping. I could not buy the ingredients for that price - and keep in mind depending on how many of you there are, if you bought bulk, it would go bad before you use it all. There's just two of us so it works out to be pretty cheap for a few meals every week or so.

We don't do Hello Fresh or Blue Apron because you don't get to choose what you get.

If you are at all interested - try Chef'd. There's no commitment.
 

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
11,511
8,095
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Here's something I made tonight that I make about once a week. Eggplant and tomatoes with caramelized onions. Add any protein - sometimes I pan sear some sirloin steaks from costco. Or bread up some chicken cutlets. You could even broil/grill some fish or saute up some shrimp. But the foundation is there. This particular dish is hearty enough sometimes we just eat it as a meal by itself.

Slice up a few sweet onions and get them caramelizing. While you are doing that peel and dice up 2 eggplant, put in a large bowl with a little bit of water and cover with saran wrap - nuke for 10 minutes. While that is nuking and the onions are doing their thing, take a couple packs of cherry or grape tomatoes (I use one pack red and one pack yellow for color) and slice them in half. Also take 3-4 cloves of garlic and mince them up.

After the onions are about done doing their thing, maybe 30 minutes after takeoff - make some space in the center of the pan and throw in a touch more oil and then the garlic, let it get fragrant, then mix it all up. Drain the eggplant and throw it in. Start seasoning - I use some dried basil and marjoram, and just a little bit of onion and garlic powder, fresh ground salt and pepper. Let that cook down for just a little bit then add in the tomatoes. Mix it all together and add some balsamic vinegar ( a little goes a long way). Taste and check for sweetness - if the tomatoes and eggplant weren't sweet enough sometimes I add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar and cook for another 2 minutes. Voila.

Get like 4-5 more dishes like that, rotate them and rotate the proteins, and you got meals galore without eating the same thing every day. Because leftovers.
 
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ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,793
825
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Exactly, that expensive and you still have to cook it. Not worth it in my book unless you have more money than time.
Depends on what you get. Some things will make lunch or dinner for leftovers. Some things you can get cheaper just going and getting the ingredients and many you can't. I wouldn't recommend it for EVERY day, but a few a week or so is not bad at all, most people are spending that or more every day per meal unless they are eating ramen, tuna, hotdogs or hamburger helper. We've done the research and tried other things, and frankly the cost is about the same by the time you consider waste and in our case we love just about everything we've got. Things we REALLY like we research and order the ingredients/buy them at the store.

The one key thing these things use as part of the recipe that we can't get around here is the Savory Choice broth packets. We've tried other kinds as alternatives and they just aren't as good. Had to order them on Amazon and they are not cheap.

Granted this is coming from someone who didn't cook a lot, but enjoys doing it so I like learning without having to 'experiment'.
 
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Carson Dyle

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2012
8,174
520
126
If the OP is as pressed for time as he claims, then why not order or pick up fully cooked meals? The original premise doesn't quite add up. Time to cook meals, but not time to shop once a week?
 
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Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
19,424
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holy cow, 10$ a serving? that's a hefty price for eating at home.
Yeah - we look into these occasionally since we're usually pretty busy but the price is a big reason we don't. We can get Bertolli or Bird's Eye meals for $2.50-3.50 a serving. Just toss those into a pan for 12 minutes and stir occasionally. Pretty easy. You do have to look a bit at the nutritional contents as some of them are fairly high in calories but they also have some that aren't:

https://www.bertolli.com/frozen-meals/roasted-chicken-risotto/#anchor-nutrition
 

vi edit

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 28, 1999
61,320
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Also - if you have a Kroger grocery store in your area, they have been offering "premium meal kits" in the produce area. They run $14 - $18 a package and have some interesting choices. Depending on the day, they sometimes have buy on get one free. It's cheaper than a restaurant for similar quality, don't have to pay for a tip and it's got a fraction of the sodium that most restaurants pack into their meals. You can also add your own bottle of wine for a lot less than a restaurant.

No it's not as cheap as tossing a pot roast into a crock pot or buying larger portions and parting them out. You are paying for convenience and the curated nature of the meal plan. Sometimes my wife and I grab them to have for dinner after the kids eat whatever shitty flavorless pile of super processed slop they will consume and go to bed. Then we make up a nicer meal and bottle of wine and have nice dinner "in".
 
Nov 8, 2012
20,778
4,750
136
If the OP is as pressed for time as he claims, then why not order or pick up fully cooked meals? The original premise doesn't quite add up. Time to cook meals, but not time to shop once a week?
Uhhh I don't have some kind of conspiracy theory here. The problem (that I guess you're missing) is that eating out/picking up is rarely healthy. Good luck keeping it under 700 calories, much less 400.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
I have 4 hair-trigger smoke alarms in my apartment so my in-home meal services are GrubHub and Amazon Restaurants :)
 

Mayne

Diamond Member
Apr 13, 2014
8,763
1,285
126
I can see how grocery shopping can get to be a pain in the ass...anything that makes it easier seems like a good idea to me.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
51,148
3,819
126
I don't use them because I'm not lazy and they are not worth the price of entry IMO.

Spending 90 minutes for a grocery store trip? WTF...

I go grocery shopping every Monday after I go to the gym and I'm in there for 20 minutes max. And I have like 4 grocery stores within 1 mile of me, I thought that was the norm as far as how close they are to homes unless you live in the sticks.
 
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Carson Dyle

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2012
8,174
520
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Uhhh I don't have some kind of conspiracy theory here. The problem (that I guess you're missing) is that eating out/picking up is rarely healthy. Good luck keeping it under 700 calories, much less 400.
Still doesn't explain how you two can't afford a trip to the grocery store when you're planning on spending several hours a week cooking meals.
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,180
2,454
126
Just admit you don't know how to cook and you're paying premium for prepackaged meals that you have to cook. Saying you don't have time to grocery shop is weak excuse. If you know how to cook and know what you need, grocery shopping can be quick. And often you can just substitute items and ingredients you have at home. And you can make sauces and broths in big batches and freeze it so you can use it to make quick meals later.

But if you don't know how to cook, you'll end up wasting huge amount of time cooking and cleaning up. Something I can make in 30 minutes might take you 3 hours as you fumble around in the kitchen.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
51,148
3,819
126
Just admit you don't know how to cook and you're paying premium for prepackaged meals that you have to cook. Saying you don't have time to grocery shop is weak excuse. If you know how to cook and know what you need, grocery shopping can be quick. And often you can just substitute items and ingredients you have at home. And you can make sauces and broths in big batches and freeze it so you can use it to make quick meals later.

But if you don't know how to cook, you'll end up wasting huge amount of time cooking and cleaning up. Something I can make in 30 minutes might take you 3 hours as you fumble around in the kitchen.
Grilling this time of year is the best because I can just sit outside with my son for 30-40 minutes and play with him while chicken cooks on the grill, and then there is zero cleanup in the kitchen. And the whole house doesn't smell like food.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,793
825
126
I don't use them because I'm not lazy and they are not worth the price of entry IMO.

Spending 90 minutes for a grocery store trip? WTF...

I go grocery shopping every Monday after I go to the gym and I'm in there for 20 minutes max. And I have like 4 grocery stores within 1 mile of me, I thought that was the norm as far as how close they are to homes unless you live in the sticks.
Are you aware that life is not just about what your circle is? People have different lives and live in different areas. No, that isn't the norm. It isn't 'lazy' at all. In fact, it's pretty damn the opposite. Lazy would be going out to eat. The same people who say this, probably order everything off Amazon and pretend Prime is a steal. I basically told everyone here how to get these things for nearly $5 a serving (shipped).

I do agree on the grilling part though.
 

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