Making a date with HelloFresh

I’ll be honest: I’m not great at having other people tell me what I’m going to make for dinner. My kitchen is my happy place; I love cooking, finding what’s in the fridge, and generally making it up as I go along. I’m often pretty exhausted at the end of the day, but we’re a busy family – normally four, but currently five, due to the addition of a French Rotary exchange student – and they all come in, clamouring for food – what’s a mum to do but cook?

So, when HelloFresh asked me if I’d trial their Family food boxes, which contains four meals designed for four people, I’ll admit – I was sceptical. The idea of having it all laid out for me – and there being enough for us all – isn’t one I’d really considered for our family.

The big brown box (very popular with the cat) came packed with all the ingredients needed (mostly in brown paper bags) for each recipe, all colour-coded with matching colours on the recipe cards, and a compostable chill bag. So far so good – it was easy to understand what was what, and it wasn’t wrapped in heaps of useless plastic. So, all the mysterious brown paper bags went in the fridge, and I put the recipe cards on the kitchen side. And suddenly I was surrounded by the teens. What was in the box? What was in the interesting-looking bags? Before I knew it, they decided this week was my week off – they were going to do the cooking. Are you kidding me? If I’d known that’s what happens when it all comes in fascinating wrapped parcels, with simple instructions, I’d probably have done it years ago!

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever tried getting the kids to make dinner, but it’s not easy. They usually end up pulling everything out of the cupboards, making a huge mess, calling you about 60 times to ask what they should do next, and then leaving the place a tip, having made either way too much, or not enough. And guess what? None of those things happened!

Over the week, we had a good array of meals – creamy chicken in tarragon sauce, pork rissoles with baked kumara (there was actually a battle to make these – even teens think squishing food into buns is fun), vegetarian pesto pasta with feta, broccoli and spinach, and Mongolian beef stirfry. The beef was pronounced best of the week, but all four dishes were cooked really well, by three teenagers, aged 14, 16 and 17. Is that a win? Yes. Very much so.

We were provided with most of the ingredients needed for the recipes – it was assumed we had the basics, like sugar, soy sauce, olive oil; the sort of thing you’d be able to find in most kitchens. Even the kids knew where to find them! The protein portions were ample, and there were loads of vegies included in each recipe – the pasta dish even got me eating broccoli, which is pretty unusual in itself! Some of the dishes weren’t what we’d usually eat, but that in itself made getting a food delivery box worth a go.

All in all, our HelloFresh was a win. There was more than enough food for everyone – even sporty teenage boys – and we even had leftovers of the pasta, even if it was only for an hour before Charlie decided he wanted more! While food delivery bags aren’t for everyone, they are definitely great for encouraging other family members to get in the kitchen once in a while, and for picking up new ideas for family dinners. As for me? The best part by far was getting a week off!