Rustic Ragu Beef & Herbed Couscous

Hello, HelloFresh!

I have always been curious, skeptical, yet respectful of food delivery subscriptions. I think it is a genius idea and perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time to grocery shop or learn how to cook and eat a bit healthier. I personally love going to the grocery store (weird, I know) and making meals that fit in our budget and lifestyle; however, I am always down to try something new – especially when it comes to cooking and food!

Over this past weekend, we had dinner with Chad’s mom and dad. Just before leaving, they offered us their last HelloFresh meal due Mr. Nashdog going out of town. Long story short, we couldn’t say no and very gratefully took home an entire HelloFresh meal! Though I didn’t go through with the entire subscription service and receive all three meals, I thought I would share some initial thoughts with you all.

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I want to touch on three important topics when it comes to meal reviews: the convenience or how easy it is to make, price point, healthy vs. not so healthy, and of course flavor. Tonight’s dish is a Rustic Beef Ragu with a Herbed Couscous. It is described as being the soul mate of spaghetti, perfectly paired on a bed of fresh Italian herbed couscous. This dish is roughly 790 calories per serving, and there are two servings.

First Impressions

I almost couldn’t believe that our entire dinner could fit into such a small box! But it did and everything was right where it should be.

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The produce was all very fresh and neatly organized. Each herb had it’s own custom HelloFresh container, the parmesan cheese was tightly sealed, and they even used a can of no salt added diced tomatoes. This recipe called for 8 oz. of beef, which at first I didn’t think was going to be much for both Chad and I, but much to my surprise, it was enough.

Each recipe comes with a recipe “guide” that explains step by step, how to prepare each meal. The pictures were nice and clear, the ingredients list matched accordingly, but I did notice that the instructions were broken down into sections rather than steps. First thing that came to mind was breathe. If I’m going to ‘follow’ a recipe, I really really enjoy simple step by step instructions; a bullet point after bullet point kind of gal. However, this was different. And not necessarily bad – just different than what I’m used to. It was more of a guide than instructions.

All in all, I was very impressed with the opening of HelloFresh!

Making It Happen

As instructed, I started with boiling the water, chopping veggies, and sautéing my beef. Well, if you watched my story then you know this was all a bit hectic. The water boiled quicker than expected, the couscous cooked quicker than expected, and the “stock concentrate” referred to a packet that said “beef” on it. This was a bit frustrating, but I wasn’t going to let that ruin the meal!

Once I put the couscous aside and started adding veggies to the beef, things really came together. The rosemary, onions, and bell pepper smelled heavenly with the beef. After we added in the diced tomatoes, I couldn’t believe how flavorful this homemade sauce was.

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With the zucchini quickly roasting in the oven, this meal was done within 30 minutes. It was packed with super healthy and fresh ingredients, despite having messed up the couscous a bit. I would definitely make this dish again, it was incredibly quick, easy, and tasteful. I love that it got me to use some herbs that I wouldn’t have normally used in a pasta dish such as rosemary. I can absolutely see how insightful these subscriptions can be for any young chef.

Final Thoughts

HelloFresh is a great way to incorporate new and healthy meals into your weekly routine. I think it’s an awesome way to learn how to cook/explore new recipes and ingredients. I was thoroughly impressed with how fresh all of the produce and herbs stayed over the week. Everything was neatly organized, packaged, and secure in the small delivery box.

One aspect that I didn’t love was the recipe guide. I thought the execution steps were a bit over-whelming for a beginner or even someone who enjoys more of a step by step approach. I often found myself running back and fourth, trying to cook this while cutting that, and all pretty unnecessary. I would’ve liked to have my veggies cut, zucchini roasting, and meat sautéed before cooking the couscous.

For the price, I think that $60 a week is a bit high for any college student/anyone on a budget. I definitely think you could purchase all of these ingredients for less, and make more than two servings with them. However, you are paying for the convenience, lesson, and ease of it all so it isn’t outrageous.

I really enjoyed this rustic ragu beef with the herbed couscous (which mine was Italian + beef lolol). I personally would not purchase weekly meals from HelloFresh. Chad an I try to eat as healthy as possible, for as little moola as possible. If you want to hear more about that, be sure to check out our meal planning post!

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All opinions are my own + not sponsored in anyway

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