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With the coronavirus vaccine rolling out, more and more states are lifting restrictions on indoor dining—New York City recently increased the capacity to 50% for indoor dining and catered events, and Los Angeles is set to resume indoor dining at 25% capacity. But if restrictions haven’t lifted in your area yet, or you’re still staying at home to be safe, planning a restaurant-quality dinner at home is easier than you’d think.
The CDC says that “the safest way to enjoy and support restaurants and bars is to take out food and eat it at home with people who live with you,” though you don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet ordering takeout every night. A number of companies have pivoted to offering meals with pre-packaged ingredients that are easy to order online. Tools like meal delivery kits can also help you create a quality meal—and a night in—that’ll be truly memorable. We tried out Blue Apron recently, which has become our go-to recommendation for the best meal delivery service online.
What is Blue Apron?
Even if you’re a novice in the kitchen, you’ll still learn how to make restaurant-level dishes at home that will impress. That’s where Blue Apron comes in: you’ll be delivered chef-designed recipes that include all the premium ingredients you’ll need to put together an amazing dish for as low as $7.49/serving. When you’re planning a nicer dinner, online recipes will sometimes be too difficult, expensive, or time-consuming to make for your average weeknight. Blue Apron takes all the stress out of the question “What’s for dinner?” so you can skip the grocery store runs and actually enjoy the cooking process.
How Does Blue Apron Work?
We prefer this delivery service since the meal options are so versatile, and you can customize certain meals to add, swap, or change ingredients. For example, you can switch out one protein for another, add meat to a Vegetarian dish, or upgrade your cuts of meat when you want to get a little fancy. As someone who is both a foodie that misses dining out, but also someone who frequently cooks at home, Blue Apron struck that perfect balance for me when I tried it out for myself. I felt like I could have dinner full of high-quality ingredients that was easy to make after a long workday. They also deliver wine from an extensive international wine list, making it easy to elevate any weeknight dinner.
All the work was prepped for me, with easy-to-follow recipes and pre-packaged ingredients so I could stay stress-free in the kitchen. You know you’re getting restaurant-standard ingredients too, since Blue Apron works to ensure all their meat and chicken is GMO-free, and their seafood is Eco-certified. Still unsure about going out, but stumped on what to plan for dinner? Get $100 off your first five boxes until April 11th and become a master chef for the night.
What Kinds of Meals Are Available From Blue Apron?
My family has varying dietary needs, but having meals everyone can enjoy was easy with Blue Apron’s weekly rotating menu of Premium recipes, Vegetation options, nutritionist-approved and Weight Watchers-approved meals as well. We tried out the Fresh Basil Fettuccine, which is Vegetarian, but was easy to customize by adding hot Italian pork sausage to the meal, so we could it in half the pasta for the meat-eaters in the house.
Blue Apron’s recipes didn’t make me dread meal prep either, since almost all of their meals are ready in under 35 minutes. With “Easy Prep and Cleanup” recipe options, my cooking process was streamlined I didn’t end the evening with a sink full of extra dishes. My Sheet Pan Panko-Baked Cod with tomatoes, green beans and butternut squash came together with fewer pans and bowls than anything I’d normally make, and all the ingredients ended up perfectly cooked at the exact same time.
Their recipes can give your cooking routine an upscale refresh, and you can actually learn new kitchen skills as well (their guide to searing and cutting steak really helped my NY Strip steaks shine). It also exposed me to ingredients and flavors I wouldn’t have thought to try, like making caper butter or topping roasted potatoes with vinegar, which is exciting if you already love to cook.
Blue Apron Review: The Verdict
Overall, I loved my Blue Apron experience because there were so many choices for different kinds of dinners, all with fresh ingredients, so I knew everything from a Vegetarian pasta dish to one-pan dinner would come out tasty with minimal fuss. It was a great value too, and I didn’t feel the need to turn to takeout to get chef-worthy meals.
You don’t have to wait for your favorite restaurant to reopen its doors—right now Blue Apron is offering $100 off your first five boxes, so you can get stress-free recipes delivered straight to your door. Your kitchen may not win any Michelin stars, but you can start making impressive, delicious meals at home today.