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How Blue Apron made me not fear my kitchen anymore

I daresay I’m a #VixenInTheKitchen now.
I was a horrible cook before subscribing to Blue Apron.
My Blue Apron subscription helped me go from scared to confident in the kitchen. (Nikki M. Mascali)

I’m the first to admit I’ve never been a good cook. I’m not confident in the kitchen nor do I like getting my hands dirty, especially whilst touching raw chicken.

Unfair as it is, I blame my parents, who owned a popular restaurant during my formative years, which meant that a home-cooked meal was always nearby or a phone call away.

Fast-forward to living on my own in my early 20s, and there I am subsisting on pasta and finagled dinner invites from my parents and friends, a practice that continued well into my 30s.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I never cooked and used my stove for storage like Carrie Bradshaw. There were a few delish dishes that I’ve perfected over the years, mostly vegetarian fare because again, raw chicken. But those dishes were outnumbered by horror stories like the time I cooked two chicken breasts on 400 for an hour and 45 minutes “just to be safe” or when I had to have my partner step in for a special, easy-sounding dinner I concocted because I underestimated the cooking time of the pancetta and everything else was becoming an overcooked, congealed hot mess that he luckily ended up saving.

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It wasn’t soon after that escapade that we decided to give Blue Apron a try. My less-than-stellar cooking skills were not the only catalyst, though. Tom, who, for obvious reasons, was head chef in our kitchen, had just undergone bariatric surgery, so we were looking for portion-controlled, healthier meals for the two of us and my stepdaughter, Tyler, since I still relied on pasta, veggie dishes and that godsend Seamless on my nights to cook.

I was nervous the first time that refrigerated box arrived at our door. Tom was laid up post-op so I was flying solo and chose the easiest-sounding of our three-meals-a-week plan, which was, of all things, my old nemesis, chicken.

I anxiously set out making the spicy chicken with carrots, harissa, dates, chickpeas and basmati rice with a dollop of labneh, following the easy-to-understand, step-by-step (with pictures!) recipe and was astounded when it came together without mishap, fire or chicken that was rubbery and/or overcooked.  It was, in fact, perfectly Instagrammable.

Before I knew it, I became an expert zester of lemons and limes — actually using a zester tool I bought in 2002 for the very first time — a medium-dicing boss and a perfect pacer of prep. I still cringe touching raw chicken and fish, and furiously scrub my hands immediately after contact, but I’m definitely more confident in the kitchen.

“Nikki’s so much better at cooking,” Tyler secretly told Tom, who, of course, told me, and I take pride in that because I finally have become a true Vixen in the Kitchen.

If you’re interested in getting Blue Apron, here’s the skinny on what I think you should know:

HOW MUCH DOES BLUE APRON COST?

Because of what we jokingly call Tom’s tiny tummy, we get Blue Apron’s 2-Person Plan, which gives us three meals a week for $59.94. There is also a family-of-four plan for $69.92 with two meals or four meals for $139.84.

Some people I talk to about Blue Apron scoff at the price, but if you really think about it, when was the last time you got several full, perfectly portioned, sustainable, healthy meals — as in all the fresh produce and herbs, meat or fish — at your local grocer for under $100? Exactly. Next question!

WHAT GOES INTO PREPPING A BLUE APRON MEAL?

 

And so it begins!! @blueapron #blueapron #healthy #foodporn @tr_digital

A post shared by Nikki M. Mascali (@nikkimmascali) on

Blue Apron breaks down the recipes so simply that even a formerly shitty cook like myself can not only comprehend them, but grows more confident with each meal I cook.

Having said that, while most of the total time, including prep and cooking, falls within a 30- to 40-minute window, both Tom and I find that you should allot for at least an hour total due to chopping and other prep needed for each meal.

Blue Apron provides absolutely everything you need to make one of their meals except for olive oil, salt and pepper, which are three staples that should be in everyone’s kitchen already.

I HAVE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS. IS BLUE APRON FOR ME?

While Blue Apron cannot address individual food allergies, you can choose a vegetarian meal plan for two people. Non-vegetarians can choose to have beef, poultry, fish, lamb, pork and shellfish in their boxes or any combination of those they desire. We usually get a chicken, beef and fish option in our plan.

Each week, Blue Apron creates six recipes, or at least they do for the two-person plan. You can opt to have the company select the three you receive or customize them yourself between the six available options in advance.

HOW DOES BLUE APRON DELIVERY WORK?

 

Mixed mushroom bucatini with collard greens, tonight's #blueapron #foodporn #vixeninthekitchen #cleaneating

A post shared by Nikki M. Mascali (@nikkimmascali) on

Delivery is included in the price and can be customized to arrive on a day that suits your schedule. Since the boxes are refrigerated with ice packs inside an insulated liner, you don’t have to wait around all day for your Blue Apron to arrive, and it will remain fresh until you get home.

You can also easily skip deliveries if you’ll be away or whatnot, but you’ll just have to alert Blue Apron six days before your next delivery.

LET’S EAT BLUE APRON TOGETHER

No, I did not get paid by Blue Apron to write this post. As food lovers, my family truly loves our subscription and highly recommends it. We’ve broken out of our same-old-same-old meal rut, tried a lot of really delicious new types of food and in the long run, definitely saved money grocery shopping. And it finally made a chef out of me, something that, if you ask Tom and Tyler, is probably pretty priceless.

I often share my masterpiece meals on my Instagram (@nikkimmascali), so do follow along with this #VixenInTheKitchen there.

Now who’s hungry? 

 
 
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