I recently had a very exciting e-mail drop into my inbox, asking me if my family and I would like to trial and review HelloFresh boxes for two weeks. For each week of those two weeks a box would be delivered to my home, complete with dinner recipe cards and all the ingredients needed to make the meals. Anyone who is in charge of meal planning and food shopping in their household will understand my excitement – it’s a total grind and a job I was very happy to avoid for a fortnight.
There are 3 types of HelloFresh boxes available – Classic, Veggie and Family. I selected to have the Family boxes as they are tailored to be more ‘child friendly’. Would the meals appeal to my fussy two-year-old? Time would tell!
I was given a choice of 3 days in which my delivery could take place so I chose Thursdays (as we tend to eat more together as a family over the weekends). I was also given the option to leave a note for the courier, such as a place to leave the box in the event that I’m not at home when it arrives.
Both of my boxes arrived just before midday. Each box contained recipe cards and ingredients for four meals. The items in the box are packed with cold packs to keep the chilled items (meat, dairy products etc.) fresh.
The first thing that struck me when I opened the box was just how much was in there. Everything was accounted for, right down to the herbs & spices. Secondly, I was blown away by how good quality everything looked, the meat in particular looked far nicer than our usual supermarket-bought meats. I was also pleased to see the new potatoes were locally sourced from Suffolk! At this point I was really hoping it was all going to taste as good as it looked.
Pictured above is every item that came in our first HelloFresh box. The only things we had to supply ourselves was cooking oil/spray and water.
The meals included in our first box were the following:
- Garlicky Courgette Chicken Gratin with Roasted New Potatoes
- Beef and Chorizo Burgers with Red Onion Marmalade
- Jamie’s Sausage Gnocchi with Broccoli and Tomato
- Stir-Fried Chinese Chilli Beef
And here’s what we thought of them…
I think this was possibly my favourite meal overall. The chicken was brilliant quality (although 4 large chicken breasts was probably too much for the 3 of us). I had never thought to roast new potatoes before but they came out lovely and crisp. Spinach isn’t something I tend to eat as I find it a bit boring. However, the Honey and Orange salad dressing that was supplied in the box to dress the spinach was divine so I scoffed the lot! I cooked this meal (Stephen and I took turns) and it took exactly the amount of time the recipe card said (35 mins). This was a tasty, quick and easy meal which I will definitely be making again in the future.
We love a good burger in this house so we had high hopes for these Beef and Chorizo burgers. The recipe we was fairly straightforward but I did find it hard to grill the meat as the burgers do fall apart a bit. It also took quite a bit longer to cook the meat than the 4 minutes each side that was instructed on the recipe card. All in all, it was still a quick dinner and very tasty.
None of us had ever tried gnocchi before and to be honest we weren’t entirely sure what it was. (FYI gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made from potato, semolina or flour.) I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver’s recipes so I was still excited to try this meal. There was quite a bit of prep involved with this recipe (mostly chopping veg) and it did take us closer to 40/50 mins to make (recipe card says 30 mins). It was well worth the wait though – this meal was full of flavour and I’m already looking forward to using gnocchi again. Oh an my fussy two-year-old? She was asking for “more, more, more!”
I felt this meal was a little faffy for a stir-fry – the ones we usually make at home take a lot less than 30 minutes to make. The beef was brilliant quality but we couldn’t really get it to ‘crisp up’ like it was supposed to have done. It was an OK meal but nothing to write home about. Jasmine also found this recipe a little too spicy.
My final thoughts on our first HelloFresh box:
I really enjoyed trying out new recipes and eating ingredients I had never eaten before. I looked forward to our evening meals and eating together as a family. Aside from the stir fry – they all went down well with our little lady. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my toddler’s clean plate! I couldn’t wait to see what was going to be in our next box…
The meals from our second box were:
- Lebanese Lamb Tortillas with Minted Tzatziki and Toasted Almonds
- Speedy Vietnamese Steak Stir-Fry
- Pan Fried Pork Medallions with Tarragon and Potatoes
- Chicken and Romanesco Pasta Bake with Bacon and Courgette
Here’s what we thought of them…
We had my mother-in-law stay over for the weekend and I decided to make this as a lunch for us all. This meal had quite a lot of prep involved but made a nice midday meal for the 4 of us (3 adults and 1 child) – there was plenty to go round. I didn’t bother with the almonds in this recipe as neither hubby or myself are that keen on them. The mince was lovely although I am used to buying reduced fat/extra lean mince from the supermarket. I feel like an extra side would have been nice with this meal, although I’m not entirely sure what… some couscous perhaps?
This meal was by far the biggest ‘surprise’. My husband pulled a face when I showed him the recipe card. “I won’t like that, I’m not that keen on pork and I hate tarragon”. Oh! Although it’s definitely not the type of meal we’d choose to cook, I was a little more open-minded and was looking forward to trying something a bit different. Despite his initial reaction, hubby offered to cook the meal for us and within in minutes he was was starting to change his mind as the sauce smelled so good whilst it was cooking. I thought the meal looked quite fancy when it was placed in front of me, I don’t think it would look out of place in a classy restaurant! But the truth is in the eating…. the mother-in-law gave it “11 out of 10!” and the rest of us agreed. This meal has been added to the “must cook again” list!
After being a bit disappointed with the last HelloFresh beef stir-fry I had my reservations about this one. I needn’t have worried though because this stir-fry was GORGEOUS. The steak was tender and the sauce was full of flavour. The toddler didn’t have this meal with us as we had it on a nursery day (she has a big dinner there) so I can’t say if she would’ve eaten it or not. But it was an absolute win with the adults of the family!
I’m not sure that I’d ever even heard of Romanesco before, let alone cooked with it. It’s a strange looking vegetable that is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It turns out that it’s pretty tasty too. I’m a big fan of pasta bakes and make them regularly but tend to stick to making the same old ones. This dish felt like proper comfort food and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. There was even quite a bit leftover so I had it for lunch the next day.
My final thoughts on our second HelloFresh Box:
I was glad to see that the quality of produce supplied in this box was just as high in standard as the first time around. The meat, in particular, was second to none. Again, there wasn’t a single meal that I didn’t like and I actually now have a few new favourite meals! The toddler enjoyed all of the meals that she ate with us which is kind of a big deal seeing as mealtimes are often a bit of a battle.
What we weren’t so keen on:
- It was often difficult to know which order we were best off cooking our meals in, in order to make the most of the fresh ingredients. The spinach (from the first box) did have an “eat me first” sticker on it but after that we had to go by eye and decide what would keep best in the fridge and what would need eating first.
- I never thought I would say this but… there was too much food. We’re a small family – two adults and a two-year-old (who, as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t eat an evening meal with us every night) and therefore the quantities supplied for each meal was more than we could actually eat, which is a real shame. I have, however, noticed that you can order the Classic HelloFresh boxes for 2 or 3 people so perhaps that would be better suited to our family/lifestyle.
- Recipe timings: more often than not the meals took quite a bit longer to prepare and cook than it said it would on the recipe card. Although, I often find this is the case when you’re making something new for the first time.
- We have a very well stocked kitchen cupboard so it felt a little silly at times to be using sachets of ketchup or balsamic vinegar when we have whole bottles of the stuff to hand. I appreciate that not everybody has a cupboard full of condiments, though.
What we loved:
- The high quality of the meat products – it was far better than the meat we usually buy at the supermarket.
- Seeing locally sourced veggies in our boxes!
- Not having to do as much grocery shopping or meal planning – I loved having that time back to do other things.
- Enjoying cooking again – hubby and I both love cooking but due to having such busy lives we often end up making the same meals for dinner week in, week out. Having our HelloFresh boxes delivered seems to have renewed our love for cooking food and trying new ingredients.
- Seeing the toddler’s ‘happy plate’ – I’m so pleased that our two-year-old enjoyed the food. You can tell the recipes have been well thought out in terms of supplying ingredients/meals that the whole family can enjoy.
We have loved trialing the HelloFresh Family boxes and I would urge anybody who has ever considered trying them to give it a go – you’ll not be disappointed. The Family box, which is available from £37.95, is enough food for 2 adults and 2 children which I think is very reasonable, especially considering the fantastic quality of the ingredients. Unfortunately, as we are only a family of 3, we ended up not being able to eat all of our meals and so we would’ve been paying for food that would end up being thrown away. Personally, I think the Family Box would be better suited to a family of two adults and two older children.
It’s worth noting that if you subscribe to the HelloFresh boxes you can check out the forthcoming meals for the next week and if you don’t fancy them, you can pause your subscription. I think this is a great idea. I don’t like fish so being able to pass up on recipe boxes containing fish meals makes a subscription more appealing to me – there’d be nothing worse than paying for food you would never eat in a million years!
If you’re stuck in a rut with meal planning – then I would encourage you to try the HelloFresh boxes (there’s normally a good offer available on your first box). It will give you plenty of inspiration and bring a bit more joy back into dinner times.
Check out the HelloFresh website to find out more about their subscription options and have a look at the recipes.
Are you currently stuck in a meal planning rut?
Do you think your family would enjoy the HelloFresh boxes?
**I was sent two HelloFresh Family boxes over a two week period for the purpose of this review. All photographs and opinions in this blog post are my own. **