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An Alternative to Blue Apron

March 24, 2017

This post isn’t sponsored by anyone, although I did get two free Crock-Pot meals, but I just liked the concept so much that I wanted to share! 

UPDATED: After this post went live, Omaha Steaks offered to give away three of their four-meal Crock-Pot kits, so if you’d like to win one of them, head over to my Instagram to enter!

About two years ago, I wrote a post about Blue Apron and how, while I appreciated the concept of the service, it didn’t really work for our family because of the cost and the effort involved in making the meals.

It was one of those posts I wrote just for fun because I had lots of opinions and things to say about the service. I didn’t know that anyone would actually care.

Somehow, that post went on to become one of the most popular posts on my entire blog. It has over 100 comments on it, with people who LOVE Blue Apron and others who hated it and plenty who were somewhere in between like me, and it still gets new comments on it nearly every week, even after all this time.

All of this was on my mind yesterday when I was putting dinner in the crockpot.

In January, I got asked to do a mini Pinterest campaign for Omaha Steaks and their new Crock-Pot meals. After the campaign wrapped up, they sent me two of those Crock-Pot meals as a thank-you and they arrived, coincidentally, the day we got home from the hospital with Tally.

Talk about a good welcome home gift.

I popped both meals in the freezer and felt delighted with the fact that I had two dinners ready to go once my mom left and nice neighbors stopped bringing dinner in.

Yesterday, while I was getting the girls breakfast, I pulled out the Beef Bourguignon kit and 90 seconds later had it in the Crock-Pot (okay, it took me more like 5 minutes because I started talking about it on my Instagram Stories and then I couldn’t stop talking. . . ).

Then we went out for a few hours and when we came home, our house smelled AMAZING. I made some of my favorite rolls to go with dinner and a quick salad, and voila! Dinner was on the table.

Was it the most amazing meal in the universe? No. Was it very tasty and as good as any meals we’d had in the last month? Definitely.

Here’s why I like this concept better than Blue Apron.

First, the price is more reasonable. The cheapest you can get Blue Apron is with the four-person plan and it’s $8.74 per person. The Crock-Pot meals are all about $6.50 per person (so it’s still not the cheapest eating option, but it is cheaper). To be fair, Blue Apron has side dishes, and the Crock-Pot meals are the main dish only.

And I like that you can order as many or few as you want, instead of being locked into doing several meals at a time like with Blue Apron.

Two, it’s not a subscription so you don’t have to remember to cancel it or postpone it. It’s actually stressed me out the two times I’ve done Blue Apron because I felt like I had to make the meals before they went bad (why this is different from regular grocery shopping, I don’t know. It just felt like more pressure. Probably because I don’t usually spend $35 per meal when I grocery shop myself). I’d much rather just order a few things I can put in the freezer and use when I’m ready.

Three, the prep time is just night and day different. The Blue Apron meals always require a fair amount of prep (they claim 30 minutes, but usually it’s more like 45-60 minutes for me and I feel like a fairly confident cook). With these ones, you just toss everything in the slow-cooker and call it a day. I love having dinner basically taken care of by 8:45 a.m.

Four, I also think the meals are more regular family food. When I looked through their selection of meals, most of them looked like things my family would actually eat. I have to admit that in my second Blue Apron box, I ended up not even making one of the meals because it just was so unappealing to me. I put the meat in the freezer and used it for something else and now, six months later, I still have a bunch of tiny bottles of random condiments for that meal rolling around in my fridge (of course, the fact that I was pregnant and feeling not that great probably was part of the reason I didn’t make that meal).

Omaha Steaks only have about a dozen Crock-Pot meal options, but they also have a bunch of 30 minute meals that include side dishes and sometimes dessert, and they start as low as $19.99 (I swear, this whole thing sounds like an ad – I promise it’s not) and some, like t-bone steak dinners go up above $100. They also have meals designed for grilling, which I’m dying to try out.

When I wrote my original Blue Apron post, someone asked if I thought it was a good gift for a new parent that they wanted to take dinner to but lived too far away to do it in person.

Frankly, I think not. I suggested that personally I thought gift cards to a local restaurant or take-out place would be better. Blue Apron meals are complicated enough that making one when I had a new baby would not be my idea of a good time. Plus, the clock is ticking on your ingredients since it’s all fresh.

This, on the other hand, seems like the BEST gift for someone who has had a new baby. They can just toss it in their freezer until they’re ready for it and then it’s a matter of minutes to put the whole thing in the slow-cooker and dinner is ready (with a side helping of feeling extra accomplished for “making” your own dinner with a new baby).

I’d never heard of any of this until I did that Pinterest campaign, so I thought it might be new to some of you too. Or it’s entirely possible I’m the last person on earth to hear about this.

Are there other sources for meals like this? It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d love to order when we were coming home from a trip to an empty fridge or to send to a friend who’s had a new baby or been in the hospital or started a new job.

 

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11 Comments

  • Reply kristin @ going country March 24, 2017 at 5:18 am

    This does sound much better to me. It may even be something I would consider indulging in before my own fourth baby arrives in October. We live in a very rural area with no restaurant options nearby (not even prepared deli grocery store stuff), so I literally have to make all our food or we don’t eat. My husband is also a serious meat eater and we have some gluten issues in our family, so frozen pizza or whatever is a non-starter. I was planning on doing quite a bit of prep for freezer food anyway (uncooked meatballs and meatloaf, along with prepared chili, taco meat, par-cooked roasted potatoes, and cooked rice were all things I successfully froze before I had my last baby, and more importantly, actually liked after they came out of the freezer), but this would of course be even easier. Albeit more expensive.

    I don’t have a slow cooker of any kind, but I don’t see why these wouldn’t work just as well in a Dutch oven in a low oven.

    • Reply Maaike March 25, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      I think someone needs to give you a Crock Pot as a baby gift!! 😊

  • Reply Betsy March 24, 2017 at 6:55 am

    My cousin just had a baby, and this will be a PERFECT gift. Thanks so much for letting me know about it!

  • Reply Kiriakie Merwin March 24, 2017 at 6:58 am

    All of our local supermarkets (Kroger, Walmart, HEB) have items like this in the meat section so you really don’t have to order online and the price is similar I believe.

  • Reply Karen March 24, 2017 at 7:04 am

    I, too, had never heard of these, but they do sound worth trying. Having tried (or participated in trying) Blue Apron once, I agree that it does take time to put together and the ingredients have a limited life span. Also Blue Apron is more aimed at adults or at least those with somewhat gourmet tastes. This sounds like it would be easy and appeal to the whole family. Thanks for posting and introducing these to me. I’ll have to look into their other options as well.

  • Reply Kristen from Pugs & Pearls March 24, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Oh wow! What a neat idea. I tried Plated, which is basically the same thing as Blue Apron. I liked that I didn’t have to think about what to make, but the cooking wasn’t any easier than any other recipe. I LOVE crockpot meals. I think it’s awesome to come home and have dinner waiting for you. It makes the house smell so nice too! And if you can take it out of your freezer, and dump it in, even better. We’ve always like Omaha Steaks when my Grandad would send us steaks once in awhile. I’m going to check these out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Christine March 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Love this! I love Omaha Steaks, but had no idea they did slow cooker meals. I will definitely send this to out-of-state family and friends when they need a meal. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply Kayla March 24, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Oh this is brilliant. I might try a couple.

  • Reply Erica Ashford March 25, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I have been researching Blue Apron I am glad that I found this information that you provided it really helps me. I’m going to do some research on the Omaha Steaks options and I just may try it. Thanks for your help!!!!

  • Reply Katey Daugherty March 25, 2017 at 6:51 am

    I have been asking this question for a while. While currently we at times get blue apron, and deal with the hassle of cooking it immediately once everything is chopped and ready to go. There needs to be a good delivery system like this for crockpots. Where the food comes already chopped and in a vacuum seal bag so that you can dump it in the crock pot and go or put it in your freezer for later. I think there would a lot of moms like me who subscribed to this. I know I would.

  • Reply LisaM March 25, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    My husband has a client who has a few different times sent us Omaha Steak packages. We haven’t tried the crock-pot meals but I can vouch for the sides and desserts- all good so far and the best part is that they go from freezer to oven! Definitely a plus when you’re postpartum.

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