Christmas dinner is one of the most stressful dinners to cook, I personally spend weeks stressing and worrying about it, sometimes even months. I’ve been known to make a lot of shortcuts in the past, I’ve even gone to a local cafe to pick up a three course Christmas lunch ready to be served before now! This year I am determined. I will cook my own Christmas dinner. With some help, obviously.
My parents are coming to our house for lunch this year, they have already agreed to do some of the veg and the stuffing to take the pressure off. I’ll also be roping them in to help with the gravy, I always mess the gravy up!
This year I am going to enjoy Christmas. I am going to be calm and relaxed. The dinner will be perfect and stress free. How you ask? I’ll be following the Christmas Dinner Timings Guide from HelloFresh. The guide is free to download, simple to follow and is basically a Christmas day planner which will allow you to have your dinner on the table by 4pm (or earlier/later if you wish, just adjust the times to fit in!).
Thanks to this guide I now know that if I want my stress free dinner on the table at 4pm I need to be pre-heating the oven at 10:30am and cooking my sprouts at 3:30pm, I also know what I can prep the night before for extra stress free cooking on Christmas day. As well as the timings guide the handy PDF includes some delicious recipes, including a mouth watering slow cooked red cabbage and a rich and delicious gravy – maybe I won’t need my parents to make my gravy after all!
Spencer and I used to regularly order HelloFresh boxes*, they were great as they saved us money on our weekly shop, meant that we didn’t need to come up with a meal plan, were relatively easy to prepare and had us trying new foods. I’m not really sure why but we stopped ordering them, I would guess it’s because, even though the recipes are easy to make, as with all cooking from scratch it can take quite a while.
If you are intrigued to see exactly how the box and the contents arrive take a peek at my unboxing video below, otherwise go straight down for my thoughts, photos and to find out how long it really took to cook the meals.
Honey and Mustard Glazed Pork with Lentils – While this meal was relatively straight forward to make it did require a lot of peeling and chopping. I am very slow when it comes to peeling and chopping and as a result I took a whopping one hour and five minutes to make this dish, a whole fifteen minutes longer than the suggested time of forty minutes.
Slowness aside this was a delicious dish. I would never consider using lentils and chopped veg as a base for a meat dish but it worked really well and was packed full of flavour.
Prawn and Serrano Linguine – I was really looking forward to making this dish as HelloFresh suggested that it would only take twenty five minutes, alas, this was another dish that required quite a bit of chopping and so ended up taking me forty five minutes, twenty minutes longer than the time stated.
This was another delicious and flavoursome dish and definitely one that I will make time and time again. I’ve never thought to simply use crème fraîche and stock as a pasta sauce but will definitely be doing so from now on, it is a simple to make and versatile sauce.
Italian Pork and Tomato Risotto – Another one with quite a bit of chopping and faffing, this one took me fifty five minutes to make, fifteen minutes longer than the stated time.
This was my first time making risotto and probably my last. I have very weak arms and couldn’t cope with the constant stirring. Despite being a real chore to make the dish was delicious and super tasty.
Mexican Chicken Wraps with Appley Beetroot Slaw and Potato Wedges – Spencer made this one and forgot to time it. The card states that it takes forty minutes and Spencer thinks that it took between forty minutes to an hour to make.
Another relatively simple to make but delicious, flavoursome dish. We really enjoyed the appley slaw and the chicken tasted delicious with the kick of the Mexican spice and the sweetness of the honey.
Overall we were really impressed with our box. All of the meals were filling and healthy. While they may have taken a while to make the simple instructions were super easy to follow and it was all easy to make. We ordered the box for a family of four which fed Spencer, Aria and me in the evenings and we had enough leftover to put aside a smaller portion for mine and Spencer’s lunch the following day.
Price wise this box costs £64, although it is currently on offer for £32 which is amazing! I personally think that the boxes are great value for money considering the quality of the ingredients and the ease of the meal planning burden. You can cancel your subscription anytime (I’ve cancelled mine several times throughout the years, it really is easy to do) and you can view the meals on-line before ordering your box so you have no nasty surprises.
You may remember seeing my final Hello Fresh post a little while back, we could no longer afford the boxes so cancelled our subscription. A few weeks ago they contacted me with an offer for £15 off a box, it would have been rude not to take them up on it!
Pan-Fried Salmon with Dill Creme Fraiche and New Potatoes. 578 Kcal, 21g fat.
I love salmon so this meal was perfect for me. I found the dill creme fraiche with lemon and shallot to be too bitter for me, thankfully I had another tub of creme fraiche in the fridge so I added this to it along with more dill and it took the edge off and tasted lovely. The salmon was cooked beautiful and tasted gorgeous. I also really enjoyed the simple mixture of spinach, garlic and shallot.
Mixed Bean Chilli with Herbed Pork. 925 Kcal, 41g fat.
I’ve had vegetarian chilli in a previous Hello Fresh box and it was lovely but I felt that it would have been nicer with meat. A few boxes later and along comes another chilli recipe with meat, it’s as if they listened to me! I usually go for the traditional route of beef mince with my chilli, I never would have thought to skin a sausage and add that, but I will from now on, the flavour from the herbed pork sausage worked so well with the chilli, it was beautiful.
I really enjoyed this, I found it a little hot but not too hot to handle, Spencer on the other hand found it too hot to handle and left most of his, which is odd because he usually has a much higher tolerance for heat than I do! The recipe card states to use 1tbsp of curry paste, I assumed that the sachet provided was the correct amount so put it all in, I’m now wondering if maybe I should have measured it out. This is where a note on the card to let us know if we have the correct amount of ingredients or not would really come in handy.
I love that this dish is so colourful and vibrant, Spencer on the other hand wasn’t keen on how it looked, I think the amount of veg scared him as he isn’t a big veg eater. Fears aside we both really enjoyed this meal. The flavours were delicious and all worked very well together.
Roasted Chicken with Smoked Pancetta and Herbed Lentils. 554 Kcal, 16g fat.
Spencer prepared this meal, and it was another meal that scared him, lentils aren’t his kind of food. Again, he was very pleasantly surprised and he agreed that all of the ingredients and flavours worked really well together. The chicken was beautifully crispy and the pancetta and lentil mix was beautiful. There was supposed to be a carrot in with this recipe but unfortunately by the time that we came to cook this meal the carrot had turned to mush. We ordered a box for five meals and cooked this on the fifth day so it is disappointing that not all of the ingredients lasted.
If you like the look of these meals and would like to try Hello Fresh for yourself than use my code J6J5KN to get £20 off your first box. There are several box varieties including family boxes and vegetarian boxes. You can see the meals before you order and cancel your subscription at any time.
Have you tried Hello Fresh yet? If not, are you tempted?
Unfortunately this is going to be our last Hello Fresh box for a while, as much as we love them it is an expense that we can’t really afford with me being on maternity leave. Not that the boxes are overly expensive, if we bought the ingredients in the supermarket it probably wouldn’t cost much less, but we can’t afford to buy the ingredients in a supermarket either!
If you are unfamiliar with Hello Fresh then read my introductory blog post here, otherwise carry on reading to see the delicious recipes in this three meal classic box.
Garlicky Courgette Chicken Gratin with Roasted New Potatoes and Steve’s Leaves. 414 Cal, 15g Fat.
This was the simplest dish that I have cooked with Hello Fresh so far, there were five ingredients and that includes the leaves, potatoes and chicken! As well as being very easy to make it is also one of my Hello Fresh favourites, I’ve even gone on to make this meal myself since this box.
Tagliata with Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Chips. 399 Cal, 12g Fat.
Another beautiful meal and top quality ingredients. The steak was huge with no fat or gristle running through it, I can’t imagine how much this would cost to buy and am pretty sure that this addition made this box very good value for money. Everything about this meal was delicious, Spencer was a huge fan of the oil drizzle, I liked it but would add less chilly next time. This was definitely the star of the box.
Grilled Aubergine Linguine with Chilli, Chorizo and Sun-Dried Tomato. 644 Cal, 12g Fat.
Another beautiful meal full of flavour. The pasta all stuck together which was quite annoying but the flavours in the dish more than made up for the inconvenience of sticky pasta!
Typically, as I had to cancel my subscription after this box, this was the best box that I think we’ve ever had, which is quite an achievement as we ordered less meals than we usually do!
If you would like to try Hello Fresh for yourself then don’t forget to use my referral code J6J5KN to get £20 off your first box. Please do so that I can afford another box!
Bye for now Hello Fresh, hopefully I’ll see you soon.
We ordered quite a few weekly Hello Fresh boxes in May, mostly the five meal classic box for two people which is what I will be sharing with you today.
If you are unfamiliar with Hello Fresh and how it works then you can read my introduction to Hello Fresh here, if you just want to see the delicious meals from this box then carry on reading.
Prawn and Asparagus Risotto 520 calories 4g fat.
This dish was beautiful, the flavours of the garlic and butter really worked with the prawns. I’ve never cooked risotto before and was very pleasantly surprised at how my first attempt came out. This was a delicious healthy meal jam packed with flavour.
I was really looking forward to trying this meal and it didn’t disappoint, it contains Ras-El-Hanout which I had never heard off before Hello Fresh but am now in love with. The only downside with this is that it was very messy to eat as there is just so much food!
I’ve heard a lot about Deliciuosly Ella but have never attempted any of her recipes, until now. This was a hit and has tempted me to try a few more of her recipes. The house smelt beautiful while this was being cooked which had us super eager to eat it, and when we did it didn’t let us down. I do think some meat, such as turkey mince, would have been a welcome addition, but it was lovely without it.
Fresh Homemade Carrot, Pancetta and Lentil Soup with Herb Foccacia 613 calories 22g fat.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to this meal at all and actually meant to cancel this box because I’m not really a soup lover, but I forgot to cancel it in time so went ahead and made it any way. Turns out that I was completely wrong to doubt this meal, this isn’t just any soup, it contains chunky potatoes, pancetta and a lot of flavour. We filled two bowls to tipping point and also had another serving leftover. This ended up being a lovely treat when the weather wasn’t very nice.
Butterflied Chicken with Feta, Leek and Minted Potatoes 424 calories 12g fat.
We received the recipe for this in a previous box, I was a little disappointed to see it again as I like a variety, but the box we had it in previously was the family box, I’m guessing that the duplicate doesn’t happen if you stick to the same boxes consistently. Even though we enjoyed this the last time this was another reason for me wanting to stop the box, as stated above I like Hello Fresh for the variety so don’t want the same meals twice. Any way, that aside, the last time we had this I really enjoyed it but didn’t like the way that the chicken was cooked, this time I popped the chicken in the pan while the leek & feta mixture was cooking and then finished under the grill for longer than stated in the recipe, it turned out a lot nicer (for my personal taste) and I ended up enjoying the meal a lot more.
Despite not looking forward to this box as much as previous boxes we ended up really enjoyed it, I shouldn’t have doubted it really!
If you would like to try Hello Fresh for yourself don’t forget to use my referral code, J6J5KN, which will get you a £20 discount off your first box.