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    If You're In A Cooking Rut, Hello Fresh Is Here To Help

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    We're all in this together, socially distancing and doing our part to keep our communities safe and healthy. But in these stressful times, one thing we can do to help things feel more normal is stick to a routine — and for me that includes a sit-down dinner when possible.

    New Line Cinema

    ^me thinking about my work-from-home eating schedule every day^

    But going to the grocery store and finding all the ingredients needed for specific recipes is especially challenging right now, which makes meal subscription services like Hello Fresh especially helpful.

    Hello Fresh

    For me there are three great reasons to try a meal kit like Hello Fresh right now: 1. to reduce trips to the grocery store without having to forgo fresh produce, 2. to get out of the same-dinner ruts, especially when we're cooking at home more than ever, and 3. to learn new cooking skills in a basically foolproof setting.

    Let me give you a quick run-down of how it works: you go on to Hello Fresh (duh), sign up for the plan you want (meals start at $7.49 per serving), and pick your recipes each week!

    Above is what I'm eating the week after next. Y U M.

    You can select from the four preferences: meat and veggie, veggies, low-calorie, and family-friendly.

    Recipes come portioned to two or four people (but I find the portions to be generous), and you can get either three or four recipes per week (for the two-person plan) or two or three recipes a week (for the four-person plan).

    And of course you can skip weeks, upgrade to ~premium~ recipes (think surf and turf) for an additional fee, or change the number of meals at any time.

    When your box arrives, you get everything you need to make the recipe, chilled to perfection, and portioned accordingly (you just need to provide pantry staples like butter, oil, salt and pepper).

    BuzzFeed / Maitland Quitmeyer

    This is bulgogi pork tenderloin, and it was delicious.

    And the instructions? Totally foolproof.

    CBC

    My fave recipe so far exemplifies how helpful Hello Fresh is for trying out new recipes and techniques — say hello to my little friend, tempura shrimp.

    BuzzFeed / Maitland Quitmeyer, Hello Fresh

    I have thought about making at-home tempura for like.....years, but it seemed like a lot of work, and I'd burn myself on the hot hot oil.

    But this recipe took all the scariness out of it — turns out I *didn't* need a whole pot of oil to fry these bbs up, a shallow fry worked PERFECTLY. And when I feel done with Hello Fresh, when we're no longer social distancing from the grocery store and I feel like I've learned enough, I will 10000000000% make this again on my own.

    And I've been thinking about the sauce (an easy mix of mayo, Sriracha, and apricot jam) ever since, and will put it on just every single thing from here on out — including just a spoon.

    BuzzFeed / Maitland Quitmeyer

    And the portions are IMO, very generous — I could not eat what they'd consider one portion in a single night, and the leftovers always reheated just as deliciously as they were the first night.

    So to me, it's actually cheaper than $7.49+ per servin!

    And the best part = you can access their database of over 2,500 recipes even when you're not a subscriber, so you can just use it as a cookbook when you're done subscribing.

    Hello Fresh

    And I'm not the only BuzzFeeder who has tried + found great results with Hello Fresh — let's hear from some of my colleagues now:

    While quarantining with her fam, Abby is stretching her parents' two-person subscription to comfortably feed three. And her mom raves about it all the time!

    BuzzFeed / Abby Kass

    "My mom’s been getting Hello Fresh for more than two years now and has always raved about it whenever I talked to her about it. She likes how easy it is to put together a whole meal during the week in roughly 30 minutes. She’s even got my grandma and aunt in on it as well. I’ve made a few meals with her before social distancing started, but now we’ve been making three meals a week.

    We haven’t changed our subscription, but since we are making meals for three people, we usually either add a side salad or make small tweaks to make it work for us. It’s been really nice right now to have three meals show up to our door every week. We are both enjoying making them together and also selecting the meals every week. There’s a pretty good selection of different types of meals, from pasta, to Mexican-inspired, to Asian-inspired dishes. We make the meals together at night, and the directions are super easy to follow and make us feel like we’re real chefs. It’s a nice break for us after the work day is over." —Abby Kass

    Kayla tried it and it turned out to be like the perfect cooking class, helping her feel less afraid to whip up new things (hello flank steak) and pair ingredients and flavors — without wasting food.

    BuzzFeed / Kayla Suazo

    "I, by no means, am an incredible chef. I can make the basics like spaghetti, bake boxed brownies without burning them, and occasionally cook a good chicken. As soon as I consider cooking any other type of protein (hello, perfecting a medium rare steak is intimidating!!), I panic and wind up sticking with the simpler dishes.

    On a total whim I decided to try Hello Fresh. Not necessarily with the intention to ~improve~ my cooking skills, but to do less grocery shopping and waste less food waste. My first box came with the ingredients to make three meals, enough to easily feed me through the week with leftovers. Flank steak tacos, salmon and veggies, and pork chops with a pineapple slaw. Now, had you told me BEFORE I got the box that I’d be dishing out some perfectly cooked flank steak, I would not have believed you!!!!

    But Hello Fresh makes it really easy to cook and master! more intimidating dishes (well at least to me, I am a baby cook over here!!). I learned how to pan cook pork chops to perfection, flawlessly bake salmon, and pair ingredients I never would have thought to match up. Basically, Hello Fresh is over here giving me a lesson in making some Quality Dinners. And of course, I LOVE that it comes with what you need to make the meals, nothing extra. No wasted veggies, no wasted food in general. Having everything delivered to my door step is really just the cherry on top." —Kayla Suazo

    BuzzFeed food writer Hannah tested eight meal subscription kits, and found this one to be well-balanced, filling, and full of classic recipes.

    BuzzFeed / Hannah Loewentheil

    "All of the meals came together in about half an hour. They felt balanced with a good mix of vegetables, carbs, and protein — and they were very filling.

    PROS:

    The meals were straightforward and easy to make. Mostly all of them came come together in 30 minutes flat, but still had a lot of flavor and were super satisfying.

    Dinners are balanced. Each week you'll find at least one chicken, one steak, one seafood, and one pasta dish served with veggies, rice, or potatoes.

    It offers wine, too. You can also order a box with red, white, or mixed bottles, which are tailored to pair with recipes on the menu.

    CONS:

    The menu is pretty meat-heavy. There is a vegetarian menu, but with only three options per week, it's a bit limited.

    The recipes are not always as adventurous as other kits. Most meals stuck to the basics (chicken, broccoli, etc.) that I already buy on my own, so I didn't feel like I was going out of my comfort zone."

    Hannah Loewentheil

    And Sam subscribed when she first moved to New York, both to make grocery shopping less stressful and to order takeout a liiiiiitle less often.

    BuzzFeed/ Samantha Tomaszewski

    "I subscribed to Hello Fresh for several months back when I first moved to New York two years ago. I was still getting settled and get into a routine of cooking instead of just ordering takeout. I was spending way too much money on delivery and not eating healthy. Even to this day, grocery shopping is probably my least favorite household chore — it takes so much time and planning. I get stressed if I don't make a good list ahead of time and I was always struggling with creative things to cook. Plus, as I was only cooking for one person, portions could be tricky and I would struggle what I could buy without having it spoil or go to waste.

    So I decided to try Hello Fresh and take that problem out of things to motivate me to cook more. I loved the recipes, they were perfect serving sizes for two nights of dinner, or sometimes I'd use them for date night when my boyfriend came over for dinner. The food was fresh, portioned nicely (I always loved the mini bottles of sauces or spices they'd send) and I was able to make them quickly after work. I also love that I was able to keep the recipe cards so I could make it again in the future with my own ingredients if I wanted to.

    I eventually stopped as I got into more of a routine. The box was slightly expensive for what I was getting and I couldn't justify staying on it forever. But it was really great to help me spice up my life with new recipes and help me integrate cooking in to my life routine. Would definitely recommend everyone try it at least once!" —Samantha Tomaszewski

    I'm not going to subscribe forever, but I will 100% keep using the tricks, tips, recipes (and SAUCES) over and over again — and for now, it's saving a whole lot of grocery store anxiety.

    Shoutout to all the frontline workers who help us stay home!!!

    If you're interested in trying it out too, subscribe to Hello Fresh for $7.49+ per serving.

    Hello Fresh

    Oh, and if you have favorite Hello Fresh recipes, shout 'em out in the comments below so we know which ones to pick!! 😉

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