Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hello Fresh (04-10-15)



I didn't know what to expect from this particular subscription.  But let me tell you, this is unlike any other subscription service I've encountered thus far.  This service provides you with three weekly meals (for two or for four), including remarkable recipes crafted by Hello Fresh's chefs, all of the ingredients you need to create these masterful meals (excluding butter, oil, salt or pepper), and they deliver it right to your door.

I mean, my husband and I happily cook our own homemade meals throughout the week, usually repeats... chili, spaghetti, soups, grilled meats and veggies.  But this enables us to take it a step further and make delicious dinners that we wouldn't think to just make on the fly.  With Hello Fresh, you can incorporate gourmet meals into your diet with minimal effort.

I selected three meals from five they offered to me, and Hello Fresh sent me the recipes and all of the ingredients... vacuum-sealed meats, fresh veggies and herbs, and anything else I should need.

The first meal I chose to create was the Rosemary Walnut Crusted Chicken, primarily because it included greens that I knew would not withstand several days worth of storage.  I thought my order wouldn't arrive until Monday, but it unceremoniously arrived on the Friday before, which also happened to be the day my husband had a big cookout planned.  He smoked a 9-pound Boston butt, grilled baked potatoes and squash, and had baked beans and cole slaw for our guests.  I waited until Sunday to begin cooking despite the massive amounts of leftovers we have. Fortunately my husband is a Hoover so no food should go uneaten.

OHMIGOSH!  This dinner was divine.  First I prepared the potatoes with olive oil and rosemary.  While those were roasting I made the crust for the chicken... panko, crushed walnuts, more rosemary and olive oil.  When that was ready, I pounded the chicken into thin layers.  Then I topped the chicken with the Dijon mustard they provided me and patted the crust on top.

The potatoes had been cooking for 20 minutes when I added the chicken to the baking sheet.  The recipe called for the chicken to cook for 12 minutes, but being the meat skeptic I am, I waited another minute before deciding I should at least TRY to follow the instructions.  That was a great decision because the chicken came out absolutely perfect.  So juicy, so flavorful... perfection.

During the time I was cooking this perfect chicken, I was also preparing the salad.  They included a lovely mixture of greens, which I tossed with olive oil and a balsamic vinegar that was provided by Hello Fresh.  OHMYGOODNESS!  For such a simple salad, it was so tasty!  So, definitely two new brands that I want to rave about.  First, Sir Kensington's Dijon mustard.  I had to run my fingers around the inside of the bottle and just savor the leftover spread from them.  Best Dijon EVER!  And Colavita's balsamic vinegar was ridiculously good on the mixed green salad.

The second recipe I tried was the Mushroom Quesadillas, because, you know... mushrooms don't hang out happy for long in the fridge.  I should probably have left the tomato out to ripen, but I didn't know how long it would be in there.  I also have NO IDEA how long an avocado survives, so it just all made sense to follow with this recipe next.  Plus after a weekend of pork butt and a chicken dinner, it was time to savor something light, and mushroom quesadillas fit that bill.

After slicing up the mushrooms, dicing the garlic and chopping the fresh parsley, I got to sauteing those.  It only took about five minutes and then I set it aside.

I peeled and cored the avocado... first time ever, and it was MESSY!  After smashing it with a fork and dicing the tomato, I added the remaining parsley and lemon juice.  I didn't do lemon zest as the recipe called for because 1) I don't have a zester and 2) I don't know how to zest a lemon without a zester.  That being said, it came out wonderful!  Such a delicious combination of flavors with the avocado, tomato and lemon.

The last part was so easy.  Toasting the tortillas with the mushroom mixture and cheese.  They didn't include much cheese, so I made my two with the included mozzarella cheese, and made my husband's with a super cheesy blend we had on hand.  He likes his cheese.  I knew he wouldn't notice or care.  They were remarkably good.  I didn't have high expectations, so I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

The last recipe was the one I was most excited about, Spicy Chorizo & Tomato Penne.  Of course, yesterday my husband decided to make homemade spaghetti sauce, which caused me to skip a night of this program, and then today he ordered pizza for lunch!  What a turd!

But I was determined that I was making the third "Italian" meal in two days and he was going to eat it.

Turns out it was the easiest dish to make.  While the peppers that I thinly sliced roasted in the oven, and the gourmet penne pasta they provided boiled, I cooked the chorizo and garlic in a sauce pan.  Then I added the diced tomatoes (they sent me a can, surprising, yet thankfully easy), chili powder, sugar and seasoning.  After simmering, I poured the pasta and roasted red peppers in and topped it all off with parmesan cheese.  Voila!

Once again, this was a delicious meal.  So simple, yet such a great payout.

Hello Fresh usually runs $69 for three meals for two people delivered weekly.  I got super lucky and got four meals free and only paid $23 for two.  While this promotion may or may not still be available, they always have some great deal on your first box.

I canceled my account, but only because the meals they were preparing for future orders didn't exactly meet my desires.  I'm sure they're amazing, but for $69 a week, I want to be wowed.  And I definitely was this week!  I will order from them again, and will be ravenously watching their site for recipes I can't resist.  I highly recommend Hello Fresh.  I love it and I know you will too.

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