I recently moved to the city where I now share a cramped, pre-war apartment with my roommate from college. I used to live in the midwest, where with the help of a minivan and endless cabinet space, had an efficient grocery shopping and cooking routine in place. It was easy to buy in bulk, bring everything home, and store goods in my pantry and kitchen cabinets. But here in the city where each additional square foot is worth its weight in gold, I've learned that stocking up a week's worth of groceries and storing tons of pantry items for different recipes just isn't very realistic.

And if lack of kitchen storage space wasn't already enough of an issue, I also quickly realized that carrying heavy groceries back from my weekly shopping trips was another big inconvenience I hadn't had to deal with before. Waiting in line for ages during "grocery store rush hour" and then trudging outside into the summer heat, feeling like a pack mule with multiple bags slung across each shoulder, is not what I had in mind when I moved here. 

So when I heard all of my friends talking about Blue Apron, a new meal delivery service that sends you pre-planned meals in a box, I knew I had to try it. I ordered my first box for $60 and couldn't wait to get my entire week's worth of ingredients at my door step. No standing in line, no heavy bags cutting off my circulation on the walk home, and no wasted storage space in my tiny cabinets.

A week after I ordered my first Blue Apron I returned home from work and saw my box waiting for me on the doorstep! Because Blue Apron boxes are so well insulated, it was still nice and cold even though it had been sitting there for a few hours. As I unwrapped all of my spices, veggies, and "knick-knacks" I was pleasantly surprised to see how fresh and vibrant the produce was! I'm a stickler for ripeness and freshness and could tell that produce was better quality than I can sometimes find in stores. 

The heirloom eggplant and english cucumber for the Tandoori-Spiced Chicken were bright and colorful and I could tell right away that the vegetables really did come straight from the farm. My friends weren't lying when they said that Blue Apron sources locally and seasonally. 

The box also contained beautiful recipe cards with easy to follow instructions and step-by-step photos. After glancing at the three recipe cards I decided to try the Seared Cod & Fregola Salad first. I'll be honest here, I wasn't thrilled to try the fish. I've never been a huge fan of seafood, but I've been trying to incorporate wild-caught fish into my diet a few times a week. 

I washed and prepped the veggies as the fregola simmered and then threw the cod into a pan to quickly sear it. I finished cooking the entire meal in only 35 minutes and boy did my kitchen smell amazing. My roommate and I poured a glass of wine and immediately dug in. We couldn't believe how delicious the cod was! It was fresh and light and paired perfectly with the herbs de provence in the salsa. I never would have thought to blend all of those spices together and include green beans in the salsa. I also loved that Blue Apron gave me only as much parsley as I needed, so I didn't end up with a huge bunch of herbs going to waste in my fridge. 

I cooked up the other two meals later in the week and had enough for leftovers each day. The whole process was so easy and now I totally understand why my friends were raving about it. I've been using Blue Apron ever since and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I love that it's healthier than takeout and less expensive too. The meals are also good for portion control and only have 500-700 calories per serving. 

Here's a quick breakdown of the cost and meal options:

The 2-Person Plan is a package of three meals, one box each week each with three chef-inspired recipes. The total cost is $59.94, which comes out to only $9.99 a meal, and the 4-Person Plan comes out to just $8.74/meal. Shipping is always free and you can skip anytime!

Update: Blue Apron is now offering two meals free on your first order! Click this link to redeem your coupon and get started in the kitchen!