When it comes to cooking it is something I absolutely love doing, however sometimes when I travel it can be a bit overwhelming to create some of the more elaborate dishes I enjoy. So often I am solo which also limits my options vastly when it comes to purchasing items in transit.
I really wanted to explore the option of meal delivery service. While most look at this as an at home only style service I was wondering how it would hold up to an overnight trip option for shorter travel.
This might seem a little out of the box but go with me on this….
I noticed that HelloFresh had the option for 2 or 4 serving meals and this vastly intrigued me. I was offered the opportunity to try out their selection and see how easy it would actually be to prepare. I am sure when they offered me this service they had NO idea I was going to be truly putting it to the test of what I could achieve with a limited kitchen.
Often when I travel I have very limited amenities. While I do have a camp style griddle by Blackstone and also two single burner backpacking stoves, one by Coleman and another by Primus, I have no formal kitchen oven when traveling. I did not specify this in my response brief to the company, I wanted to strictly see what they would send and how it could be modified to best suit my travels.
What Typical Bag Contents Look Like:
I received 3 - 4 person meals. Before you scratch your head as to why I received the larger boxes, while at home I was sharing so I wanted to see truly how much food would be included not only for sharing with family but also for sharing with you all at home to truly give my impressions.
When sending my package they specified my delivery date and also included that items would be delivered fresh and packed in boxes containing ice. While this ice held up well in the Texas heat on the truck, I was right there to scoop it up when it arrived around 5:30 just to make sure it wasn’t left sitting for an extended time. I really appreciated the communication of delivery date and also how it would be packed.
The three meals I received were each vastly different. While I have noticed you can customize your packages to flavors you like and also dietary needs, mine package was entirely up to the company and I really was very interested when I opened the box to find out more about what they had sent.
I quickly noticed that 2 of the 3 recipes would be able to be prepared on my existing equipment and did not require an oven. I opted to make both of these first to see how long the true prep time would be in addition to how much modification I would have to make to realistically prepare them.
All of the ingredients are included in your packaging short of your basics: salt, pepper, oil or butter. You of course must provide your own cookware, but a nice element of the recipe cards is that they tell you exactly what you need before you make the recipe so there are no surprises. The two dishes which I knew would be a great fit for my limited kitchen were the Chicken Sausage and Spinach Ricotta Ravioli and the Beef Bulgolgi Bowl. (Just seeing these and having the food memory of eating these makes my mouth water….mmmmm)
The Chicken Sausage & Spinach Ricotta Ravioli was the first of the two which I prepared. All I really needed for this at home was a large skillet and a large pan to boil water in for the Ravioli. If I were traveling this could easily translate into the same style of dishes or I could use my griddle in place of the large skillet. This one was a cinch and took no real thought on how it would translate.
The second dish of course being the Beef Bulgolgi was also very simplistic in the need for cooking surfaces. Basically with good time management you could make this dish entirely in a single skillet if need be or in a skillet and a pan just as the first if you want to save a little time. This could easily be done on one of the backpacking stoves or even the griddle top.
So what about the extras??
Both dishes require a knife and cutting surface. The Bulgolgi also requires a dish of some type, I used a glass bowl, and a peeler for your pickling of the cucumbers. I did think outside of the box a little on this however and if you do not feel comfortable taking a glass bowl you could easily substitute a plastic bowl or even a zip lock baggie which you could seal and tumble the cucumber inside. The peeler could be substituted for your knife if you have delicate knife skills or a very sharp knife.
What is the advantage of using a meal delivery service for meals?
I found that this service actually taught me a few things about techniques. The very detailed recipe cards were clear and concise about each step and allowed me to learn how to do a light pickle on cucumber which I had never done. I learned how to not hate tomatoes through cooking them down with certain seasoning to give them a nice texture instead of the unpleasing one I had always experienced. (Don’t hate me for not loving tomatoes!). And lastly I learned how to merge a few flavors which I had not considered previously. I could see how this could be a great service for those who are not as familiar with the kitchen as I am because if I was able to take away new insight someone much more novice truly could learn the art and love of cooking through HelloFresh.
But moreover the service provides all major ingredients in the correct portion for a decent price point. I might not be able to find just enough to make a meal for 1 or 2 while traveling with full bodied flavors. I would have to buy even in small form much more product than I would need in most instances. This meal delivery service literally sends you the amount you need of items which you don’t think about like sour cream or sriracha. They give you the perfect amount of scallions rather than having to buy more than you could consume then wasting perfectly good items. It is nice to see you actually have the correct serving amount for your recipe rather than having to take bulky items such as measuring spoons and cups. At home things might be more accessible but when traveling every little bit truly does count.
After testing many coolers I have found two which I am confident about in keeping my items for an extended time even during summer months so I can easily say that a HelloFresh meal could be a very valid option for an overnight camping trip. While again, I am sure they did not intend on their meal service being a ready to take on the road product I have found it to be something which can be one of those travel products which make your life on the road a bit more comfortable and like a home away from home. If I can create these amazing dishes using a very limited kitchen just image the possibilities in your own kitchen at home or in a condo or cabin kitchen at a destination.
Say HelloFresh and think HELLLOOOOO Travel.
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