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Meal Subscription Review: Hello Fresh

There are so many meal services to choose from, but none of their websites make it very clear what to expect. In fact, most sites felt like there was no information at all besides “Here is food – sign up now!” We hope to make things a little clearer for anyone out there trying to explore and compare different meal service subscriptions.

Today, we’re reviewing DeAnna’s favorite meal service: HELLO FRESH! (And sharing the recipe for the HF meal she made last night too.)

We first reviewed EveryPlate, which we found to be one of the most affordable services. You can read our review on that here: EveryPlate.

We learned that EveryPlate is a sister company to Hello Fresh, so it is no wonder we like them both. In comparing the two, we like to think of Hello Fresh as the older, fancier, often more sophisticated sister with her home completely organized and her life together. 😂 While both services are wonderful and produce delicious meals, there’s more attention to the details in Hello Fresh meal choices and the delivery method that makes it our number one choice, despite the small difference in price.

What to Expect

Your chosen meals will arrive like clockwork in a big Hello Fresh box full of fresh goodness. If you forget to choose your meals for the week, the algorithm will choose for you. Be sure to learn your “choose-by-day” deadline so that you can avoid any unwanted meals, or if you like to be surprised, let it roll the dice! From the HF website: “Choose from 50 weekly menu + market items including vegetarian, kid-approved and low calorie meals, crafted and curated by our chefs. Add ready to eat salads, sandwiches, soups and many more options.”

We were nervous about the “serving size” before we started Hello Fresh, but trust that these are real-life servings. The portions are generous enough that we finish it all and never find ourselves hungry after a HF meal. Your delivery options are available with as few as 2 servings (for 2 people), which make it ideal for a couple or a single who likes to have leftovers. If you have a family or roommates, the meals can be ordered in as many as 4 servings (for 4 people) too.

Ingredients Arrive Pre-Sorted and Measured

The sorted packaging is THE BEST. Instead of each ingredient being dumped into the box all jumbled together, Hello Fresh pre-measures and separates each meal’s ingredients into separate bags. The bags store well in the fridge and make it so easy to grab and go. You’d think things being separated out wouldn’t matter much, but it saves a lot of time in the prep-work stage. We also love that spices are included in the exact amount needed for the recipe.

Directions Are Easy

Directions are on a large card that is easy to read and understand. Ingredients and a meal photo are shown on the front of the card with directions on the back. The directions are separated out into bite-sized steps (see what we did there? 😁) which keep us from getting overwhelmed. The meal cards make it possible to re-create any meal on your own with store-bought ingredients.

PRO TIP: Hole punch and store your favorite meal cards in a 3-ring binder to make on your own in the future.

Our Favorite Feature

One of our favorite things Hello Fresh offers are the fancier add-on meal options. You can add meals to your plan at any point. Sometimes they are themed and offered around celebrations like Super Bowl, or they might just be something fancy like wood-plank salmon. We also love the variety of different bowl-type meals they offer regularly too!

Pause or Cancel

When you have a busy week or holiday plans Hello Fresh allows you to change the delivery day, or even skip a week. HF also allows us to cancel at any time and pick up again in a few weeks or months. We’ve typically skipped weeks when we are super busy, but have even cancelled when we will be on vacation, when family is visiting for an extended period, or even just to change things up for a bit. It’s never been a problem to stop and start the service again. In fact, it’s super quick to pick right back up because all of your preferences remain in your account.

Customer Service

Hello Fresh customer service is great too – they are very quick to correct and compensate for any issues.

Now, the potential cons of this meal service.

  • Many meals require a bit of chopping and prepping. Often the prep-work takes us longer than the cooking part. We don’t mind this feature, but can see how some might not enjoy that.
  • These are not pre-prepared meals you just pop in the oven. These meals are made – by you – from scratch. Meaning, from chopping the measured-out fresh ingredients, mincing, zesting, adding, stirring, sautéing, boiling… to the finished meal, you make it. Again, we like this feature because we love to cook, but can see where it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Hello Fresh is not the cheapest meal service option, but we find the attention to details to be well worth the price. HF is cheaper and healthier than dining out, so again, we don’t find this to be a con but can see where people might. If more affordable is a must, see our review of EveryPlate meal subscription service. It’s like a lite version of the Hello Fresh experience.

Do you have a different meal service? Share your pros/cons/experience with us in the comments of our social media for this article. We’d love to hear about it!

Instagram and Facebook:

@DeAnnaAndCompany

*Note: This article is not a paid advertisement or endorsement. We really have a subscription and have enjoyed the meals and service!*

Recipes

Pub-Style Shepherd’s Pie (Hello Fresh)

We have been relying on (and LOVING) our Hello Fresh subscription for fun and delicious meals safe at home during the pandemic. The Pub-Style Shepherd’s Pie was one of our many favorite meal kits from them.

 

Since Hello Fresh sends us the exact portions to make each dish, the recipe here is more of a “little-of-this, a little-of-that” approach.

Note: *This is not an ad, we really have a Hello Fresh subscription and we really enjoy this recipe!

 

Ingredients:
Mashed Potatoes (5 to 6 Yukon Gold or 2 to 3 Russet)
Sour Cream – about 2 tablespoons (for making the mashed potatoes)
Carrots – 2 to 3
Onion – 1
Celery – 3 stalks
Ground Beef – 1 pound – OR make it plant-based with Impossible Burger instead, same directions.
Tomato Paste – 1.5 ounces
Flour – 1 tablespoon
Beef Stock – 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup
White Cheddar Cheese – 1/2 cup
Garlic Powder – 1 teaspoon
Fresh Thyme – 1 teaspoon for mashed potatoes, 2 teaspoons for meat mixture
Vegetable Oil
Butter – 1 to 2 tablespoons
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Wash and dry all produce

  • Finely chop onion and celery. Peel, then slice carrots length wise and chop into 1/4″ half moons. Strip thyme leaves from stems and roughly chop leaves. Cut potatoes into 1/2″ cubes.

Next, make mashed potatoes and vegetables separately but simultaneously.

  • Mashed Potatoes: Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water (2″ of water above potatoes), add a little salt. Bring to boil and cook for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain. Return potatoes to original pot. Mash potatoes with sour cream, butter, and about 1 tsp of fresh thyme. Add splash of water as needed to loosen.
  • Vegetables: Drizzle oil in large pan, (use an oven safe pan if you’d like to make  the pie assembly easier). Cook carrots in a little salt and pepper for 3-5 minutes until slightly softened. Add celery, onion, and a large drizzle of oil. Cook 5-7 minutes until tender. Add splashes of water to keep veggies from browning. When veggies are fully cooked, add garlic powder, and 2 tsp of fresh thyme and cook for 30 seconds.

Add ground beef to vegetables, and season with a little salt and pepper. Break meat apart while cooking. Cook until meat is browned and thoroughly cooked.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of flour and 1.5 ounces of tomato paste to ground beef and vegetables and cook until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
  • Gradually add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of beef stock to ground beef and vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture is very thick, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If using oven safe pan: top ground beef/veggie mixture with even layer of mashed potatoes, leaving a gap around the pan edge. Sprinkle with shredded white cheddar cheese. BROIL about 3 minutes until browned. CAREFULLY WATCH it to avoid burning.

If using a baking dish: If you don’t have an oven safe pan, assemble pie in baking dish. Ground beef with veggies in the bottom. Top with even layer of mashed potatoes, leaving a gap around the pan edge. Sprinkle with shredded white cheddar cheese. BROIL about 3 minutes until browned. CAREFULLY WATCH it to avoid burning.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK‘S DAY!