Weekly Menu: Hello Fresh!

standard February 20, 2017 Leave a response

Disclaimer: I was gifted a free box of Hello Fresh meals in exchange for sharing my experience. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I loved the service so much, I have since subscribed and purchase weekly boxes for my family.

This week’s menu post is going to look a little different. But to keep things  realistic (yes, I do make my weekly menus each week!), I’m at the point in my pregnancy where thinking about cooking and meal planning is just too much. I’ve cancelled my CSA deliveries until May. And we are surviving on takeout, boxed soup, and meal delivery services. I’ve used Blue Apron on and off in the past year, mostly for the husband’s meat-centered meals. It’s convenient, especially for someone who doesn’t eat or like to cook meat. But they’re not always the most nutritious, calorie conscious, or veggie filled. And as an RD, those things have bothered me a bit. So when I heard about Hello Fresh, a comparable services that has meals planned and approved by a Registered Dietitian, I was all about trying it out.

As soon as I got my box delivered to my door, I knew I was going to love this service. Their packaging is super convenient (and recyclable). Each individual recipe’s ingredients are boxed together inside the insulated cooler box. All you have to do is pop each box into the fridge until you are ready to make a meal. Then you just grab the box, open it up, and get straight to cooking. No rummaging around in the fridge for all the ingredients or figuring out where to store everything. A bonus trick I have learned is to use the box as a trash container while I cook. Food scraps, packaging, etc all get dumped into the box and then can be disposed of properly (either via compost, trash, or recycling) once I am done cooking.

The second HUGE plus to these meals is they are extremely simple and fast to make. I’m all for a fancy, elaborate dish. I have the cooking knowledge and skills to handle extensive step by step directions and fancy equipment. But at this stage in pregnancy, it’s all about fast and easy, minimal effort, and even more minimal cleanup. Some of the prep work has already been done, so there is little chopping and dicing. Most dishes only use one or two pans. And every recipe I have tried has come together in under 30 minutes, including clean up. Some recipes left me a little hesitant about their flavor, since they were so simple to make. But each time I was pleasantly surprised. The only exception I had was that I added more spices and vegetable broth to a chili recipe (because I’ve apparently lived in Texas too long).

My biggest concern about using Hello Fresh? How easy the meals were to make vegan! While they have a Veggie box subscription option, these recipes do contain dairy and eggs. After scrolling through some recent past recipes, it looked to me like these ingredients were minimal and easy to remove. A lot of recipes use cheese as a topping, which is easy to omit. Recipes do not generally rely on the dairy or egg component as the main protein source in the dish (which was a pain point I had with Blue Apron recipes). Rather, many Hello Fresh veggie recipes used beans, lentils, and even seitan as the main protein ingredient. I have not seen tofu or soy in any of my boxes, for those with soy concerns. Hello Fresh also assumes that each cook has salt, pepper, sugar, oil, and butter at home to add to recipes when called for. These ingredients are on recipes but not included in meal boxes. As a vegan, I love that butter is included on this list, as I know I am not wasting my money on butter being sent in a box that I will just trash. I can easily add oil or vegan butter instead, which I generally keep on hand in my fridge. I have not yet received any dishes with eggs or had ingredients that included eggs in any boxes. This makes me feel more comfortable about being able to adjust recipes without wasting money or ingredients I will not use.

Pros of Hello Fresh:

  1. Nutrition quality // All recipes are developed and approved by a Registered Dietitian. Nutritional information, including allergens are listed on the Hello Fresh website for each recipe. Most meals are between 500 and 800 calories, though all the veggie meals I have tried have been under 700.
  2. Simplicity // All recipes are given a rating of difficulty, with Level 1 meals being extremely simple and quick, Level 2 requiring a little more skill and concentration, but still easy, and Level 3 being the most adventurous with unique ingredients and techniques. I have found all levels to still be easily manageable in a 30 minute time frame.
  3. Packaging // Hello Fresh takes care to ensure sustainability of packaging. Recyclable paper and cardboard is used as much as possible, with plastic only being used to protect fragile ingredients when necessary. Insulation packaging changes with the season to ensure food stays properly cooled through winter freeze and summer heat. Ice packs are water-soluble and recyclable. Hello Fresh also takes steps to ensure minimal food waste, donating unused foods to food banks and community kitchens, direct sourcing ingredients, and providing fast and fresh delivery.
  4. Easy to Use App // Hello Fresh has an iPhone and Android app that is extremely user-friendly. You can see your upcoming deliveries, menu options, recipes and ingredients, all with ease. You can also make changes to deliveries, cancel meals, or cancel your subscription directly from the app or website.

Cons:

  1. No designated Vegan or Gluten Free meal options // However, allergen information for each meal is listed, and the majority of meals are easily modifiable with little waste or extra cost. All ingredients arrive individually packaged so there is no cross-contamination if an allergen item needs to be removed.
  2. Swapping between meal plans // With Blue Apron, I am able to choose any three meals from their 3 meat and 3 veggie options, in case I want to have meals for both the husband and myself in one box. With Hello Fresh, choosing the Veggie Box means I only get those three veggie options that week. Their classic box subscription has six menu items to choose from (you can pick any 3) however there are only maybe 1 or 2 veggie options each week (and some weeks I have noticed there were none). If I want to order meat-based meals for the husband I would have to add a separate subscription to manage. This isn’t a huge deal for me, as I can also add proteins or other ingredients to a veggie box to meet the husband’s dietary needs. But it is the one thing that I still like about Blue Apron over Hello Fresh.

Want to try Hello Fresh for yourself? Use THIS LINK to get $40 off your first box (Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link).

 

Blog to Table with Recipost!

standard February 17, 2017 Leave a response

Anyone else ever seen a recipe online and wished it would magically appear in front of you? While we haven’t gotten quite there yet, you can now get all the ingredients to blog recipes delivered to your door SAME DAY for you to make for dinner that night. Cool, right?

Neat & Nutritious has partnered with Recipost to provide some of our top searched recipes directly to you to make at home. New recipes will continue to be added, so be sure to check back and see what’s new. You can also suggest recipes that you would like to see added by leaving a comment on a recipe or sending me a message here.

So what is Recipost?

Recipost is a relatively new service platform that allows you to search for and purchase meals from your favorite bloggers to make at home. Similar to meal delivery services such as Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, Recipost sources its recipes from bloggers and allows you to choose what meals you want. With same day delivery service, Recipost also eliminates the waiting game. As a new service, Recipost isn’t in all locations yet, but most major cities across the U.S., including Austin, Dallas, and Houston here in Texas are currently on their routes.

How Do I Find Recipes?

You can search via recipe or by blogger. There are meals for every diet type, including Vegetarian, and Vegan options. In addition to recipes from Neat & Nutritious, there are other fellow dietitians with healthy meal options, allowing a wide variety of options.

What Do I Get?

With each Recipost purchase, you get all the ingredients to make that recipe along with the recipe instructions. To meet delivery minimums, all meals start at $40. Servings per meal vary, but all available Neat & Nutritious recipes serve at least 4 people, sometimes 6, meaning each serving is around $10 or less. Not bad for same day delivery and no grocery store shopping necessary!

How Do I Order?

You can purchase meals from the Recipost website. You can also find and order directly from Facebook (cool and a little scary at the same time, right?). Meals are also available via Pinterest.  As new recipes are added, I will also include a link to order directly from each recipe post.

Happy Cooking!

Disclaimer: This post is NOT sponsored by Recipost. All content and opinions are my own. I do receive compensation from each Neat & Nutritious recipe purchased. Thank you for supporting brands that support Neat & Nutritious.

Turnip Potato Mash with Roasted Vegetables

standard February 15, 2017 Leave a response

I’ve been making variations on this recipe for years. It started out with baked potatoes that we would top with veggies and some sort of sauce. Then I started scooping out the baked potato flesh and making twice baked potatoes, mixing the veggies and sauce into the potato before baking it again and serving. Then I tossed out the potato skin and just went straight for the mashed potato filling on a plate with the veggie and sauce toppings. Similar to polenta dishes that have veggie and protein additions, this dish is rustic, hearty, simple comfort food. And for those of you who aren’t fans of turnips, cooking and mashing them in with the potatoes adds a richness and depth of flavor without actually having to taste turnip. This also works well for other white root vegetables such as rutabagas or parsnips.

The veggies I used here are from what came in my CSA box. Any combination of veggies you have on hand will work. Because almost any vegetable tastes better when its roasted. Little effort, maximum flavor! For texture, top with a little crunch from pepitas or almonds. Or add a little cheesy flavor with nutritional yeast. My personal favorite is a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to bring out the rich sweetness of the roasted veggies.

Turnip Potato Mash with Roasted Vegetables

Yield: Serves 2

Calories per serving: 363 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 c yellow potatoes
  • 1 1/2 c turnips
  • 1 c broccoli
  • 1 c mushrooms
  • 1/2 c winter squash
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 c vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Small dice the potatoes and turnips. Place in a large stockpot and fill with water until veggies are just covered. Season with salt and heat over high heat until boiling. Cook until tender. Drain and rinse.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roughly chop broccoli, mushrooms, and squash. Toss with 1 T olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until browned and softened.
  3. While veggies roast, mash potatoes and turnips with vegetable broth, garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To serve, spread turnip potato mash evenly in the bottom of each bowl or plate. Top with roasted veggies. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired.
http://www.neatandnutritious.com/turnip-potato-mash-with-roasted-vegetables/

Nutrition

Per serving: 363 calories, 59 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat, 10 g protein, 539 mg sodium, 8 g sugar