Written by NYC Flywheel Instructor Sarah Ballan @sarahballan
I order the best food. I simply do not cook. I’m not sure if it’s laziness, or maybe I just don’t know how. Not that I’m all that lazy – I teach eleven Flywheel classes a week, freelance, and babysit whenever I have a free night. I always get slightly intimidated when I go to the grocery store. I food shop when I’m hungry and end up buying a lot of items I don’t need, or sometimes an excess of one particular item. After a long day, take-out is usually the best option, and in New York City, the choices are infinite.
I decided to give Blue Apron a shot because Flywheel gave me the chance. The ordering process was simple. I created an account online, then I chose my meals from a lengthy list of recipes. There are multiple categories: Signature meals, Weight Watcher meals, and Vegetarian options. Each order serves two people, but there is an option to upgrade to four servings. You can pick your meal based on cook time. If you know you won’t have a ton of time, opt for a 25-minute recipe instead of an hour-long ordeal. After scrolling through the virtual cookbook, I decided the Garlic-Caper Chicken and Curry Beef Burgers.
The large cardboard box containing my two meals for two arrived on Tuesday night, which was fairly quickly since I ordered over the weekend. Shipping and processing the orders usually take a few _____ business days. Blue Apron does a good job of telling you exactly what day and time you should expect your delivery to arrive. If you aren’t home at the delivery time on the dot, don’t worry because there’s a ton of ice in the box to keep the ingredients fresh. I did a fancy Instagram-style unboxing and carefully took out the contents of the box, only to stock the items in the fridge because it looked too intimidating. Needless to say, I settled for sushi instead.
The next day it was time to tackle Blue Apron. I looked carefully at the ingredients and directions I had been so quick to dismiss the night before. Each ingredient – quantity and all – was perfectly packaged, ready for immediate use.
I went with the Garlic-Caper Chicken: 35-minute cook time, 580 calories. The ingredients were as follows: a small bag of orzo, one zucchini, a lemon, dried oregano, chili paste, two sizable chicken breasts, and parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top. The only thing I needed on my end was a pot, a pan, and some EVOO. I had wine in my apartment, but you can opt to add a wine pairing to any blue apron recipe if that’s your thing.
The directions were clear and concise. I neatly arranged the contents on my counter and began boiling the water for the orzo. As the water boiled, I sliced my zucchini and simmered it in a pan with the pre-portioned mix of oregano, chili paste, and lemon squeeze. The aromas of edible food began to fill my kitchen and I felt accomplished.
From start to finish, the meal took me an hour to prepare, instead of the allotted 35 minutes. If you are a more seasoned cook (pun intended) perhaps it would take the suggested amount of time, but just in case I would leave an extra 20 minutes or so as a cushion.
I am by no means an experienced cook, but Blue Apron gave me a confidence boost. My Instagram followers joined me on my journey and gave an overwhelmingly positive response. My friends who usually joke that I burn water seemed impressed by the aesthetic of the final Blue Apron product. Those who don’t know me as well were conned into thinking I can cook! I didn’t have a surplus of ingredients leftover in my fridge for once! I used all of the ingredients and didn’t spend the extra time or money in the grocery store. And who knows, maybe soon I’ll be able to finish a recipe in the allotted cooking time.
Verdict: I can definitely see Blue Apron in my future as a feasible dinner option. My second box arrives tonight.