Whenever it comes to gift giving time my mother always asks me if I want a subscription to Blue Apron. I’ve never taken her up on it thinking it wasn’t cost effective and didn’t offer the kind of choice that works for my family.
One night we were out with very good friends of ours, Renee and Justin, and they were raving about their Blue Apron subscription. My girlfriend cooks but doesn’t really find the joy in it that I do. Blue Apron has helped her serve a wide variety of meals that her husband and daughter have happily eaten. After a few too many glasses of wine we decided to do a cook off between me and Blue Apron. She had a shipment for Chicken Parm on the way and given that was something I grew up making we figured it was a no brainer.
The first part of my challenge was for me to source the ingredients. I bought a family pack of chicken cutlets at the supermarket and some Polly-O brand mozzarella. Polly-O is the only store bought mozzarella I will use. It’s difficult to find outside of New York City and is even a pain to find in Manhattan. Normally, I’ll buy it when I’m out on Staten Island for a visit, but I was lucky enough to find it at the Fairway on 6th Avenue in Chelsea! My Murray’s brand chicken cost me $11 for six cutlets and the mozzarella was $5. I admit I cheated for the remaining ingredients. I had some leftover tomato sauce in the freezer and already had breadcrumbs and eggs in the kitchen. Blue Apron’s family plan will cost you $72 for 2 meals, so our Blue Apron chicken was $9 per serving, while my chicken was $4. Not a fair fight though given that I already had some components on hand. Once the ingredients were in hand, Renee and I got to cooking in her gorgeous kitchen.
My analysis on Blue Apron:
- Prep time is underestimated, or probably based on more experienced cooks. I was way ahead of Renee in being able to start my dish.
- Recipies are creative – their version of chicken parmigiana was a deconstructed one where you sautéed your chicken, added tomato sauce to the sautee then baked the chicken with mozzarella in a casserole pan.
- Packaging is something to be envied – I loved that they deliver a complete set of ingredients, fully measured and easy to work with.
- Cost per serving wins over ordering take out or dining out but not over shopping yourself. Even if I had purchased a can of sauce and breadcrumbs I would have beat Blue Apron on serving cost.
The end result – It was a tie! The Dads voted for the classic version of Chicken Parm, the kids voted for Blue Apron and the Moms liked both equally.
Next time we do a side-by-side cooking challenge, we’re going to choose a recipe that isn’t in my arsenal. I won’t be allowed to cook Italian and will have to source all ingredients. This may be the right time for that Blue Apron subscription…