Welcome to On the Table, Blue Apron’s spotlight on home cooks. This column is all about the challenges and joys of cooking. We’re exploring how busy, food-loving families get dinner on the table every day. This month we’re talking with Delia. Delia is a Vice President at a medical lab company processing Covid tests, a mother of two active boys, and a hater of grocery stores. These days, she’s never been busier. Here’s how she uses Blue Apron Customized to balance cooking, picky eaters, and the other demands of life. 

Weeknight dinner at Delia’s house

Blue Apron: How long have you been cooking with Blue Apron? 

Delia: I’ve been cooking with Blue Apron since October 2018. Other than vacation, I don’t think I’ve missed a week since I started!

BA: How has the Blue Apron experience changed since you started cooking?

The meals have always been wonderful, but I think recently there have been more and more options. Honesty, two or three years I have probably only repeated meals two or three times. We try new things all the time. That’s one of the things that I love, just how much variety there is and the seasonal aspect of the ingredients. In the fall and the winter we’ll get a lot of squash and kale, and in the summer we get a lot of corn and tomatoes. It’s just lovely to be able to eat seasonal fresh food and have such great options. 

BA: How do you choose which Blue Apron meals to order? 

I’ll typically set a reminder on my calendar to review recipes. I do it once a month, and I’ll go out as far as you have recipes. I love using the app; It’s so good and it’s fun. I’ll make some changes to our meals depending on how much time I have and the complexity of the food. I really just go with what I’m in the mood for, and I look to try new things. 

I also keep an eye on what I think all of us will like. My youngest son is a picky eater. So sometimes I look for things that I can adapt at home. It works 90% of the time. Sometimes if there’s a chicken recipe I’ll just grill the chicken and serve the sauce on the side for him. That’s easier if it’s a recipe where the sauce isn’t mixed in. That’s one factor that influences the meals I choose.

BA: How has customization changed your Blue Apron experience?

Customization is so helpful! As I mentioned, my youngest son can be picky, but he’ll always eat the protein. Sometimes I’ll make the protein, set it aside for him, and then make some plain pasta for him to have with it. Having the extra protein has been helpful for him. It’s also been great to have more leftovers that I can take for lunch. Customization has given us a bit more flexibility in the meals that will work for us. 

BA: What does a typical weeknight dinner look like for you? 

My family is very busy. We are a working couple, my husband and I. We also have two boys, ages 11 and 14. They’re in middle school, and they’re both active in sports. On a typical evening during the week someone is running to go get a kid from hockey practice while somebody is preparing dinner. I’m usually on point to get dinner on the table, while my husband is on point to get kids. 

We try to eat together most of the week, but that’s not always what happens. Probably about half the time two of us will eat together, and then the other two of us will eat together. We usually pick the nights that we’re going to be together to cook our Blue Apron dinners, and on the ther nights we’ll do something easier. I usually put out the recipe card in the morning, and then the kids can see it and know what we’re having for dinner. 

BA: What are your go-to dinners on nights when you’re not eating Blue Apron? 

I only cook Blue Apron, and it has completely changed my life. It used to be a huge source of stress for me to have to do the meal planning, find the recipes, do the grocery shopping, and then worry about the food waste. It was honestly a big source of stress that has been removed and replaced with amazing food and joy. The food is so good. We usually rate the recipes, just internally, my husband and I, on a scale of 1-10. It’s almost always a 9 or a 10. I think it’s been a 5 once or twice in two years, and a 5 is still pretty good. 

On nights that we don’t have Blue Apron, we’ll do something quick and easy. A few of our favorites are pasta and butter with feta cheese for the kids, and sandwiches. Maybe I’ll put some broccoli in the oven. If it’s just me, I’ll have a salad. Sometimes we’ll pick up prepared food from Whole Foods. We’re just looking for something quick that can be eaten on the go. That’s what we do! 

BA: Do you have any favorite Blue Apron meals or ingredients? 

This one is top of mind because I had it recently, we loved the za’atar chicken with roasted squash. It was just a perfect medley of savory and spiced. The sauce was amazing.

I was never familiar with za’atar before cooking with Blue Apron, but I always like anything with that spice blend, as well as the Weeknight Hero spice blend, my kids love that. Before working with Blue Apron I had never cooked with bok choy, or with Calabrian chile paste, and it’s such a great compliment to any dish. I’ve loved trying so many new ingredients.