One of the mothers at my group mentioned this deal on Groupon for 50% off vouchers for Aussie Farmers Direct, and said she was pretty pleased with their dinner boxes where you get 4-5 meals worth of groceries and recipe cards to go with them. The cost per meal for services like this isn’t always better than if you grocery shopped yourself, but it takes the thinking out of meal planning. As 50% off groceries isn’t anything to sneeze at, we gave it a go.
The vouchers are only for new customers, so with only one shot at the discount, I thought I’d be able to pick up the larger voucher ($74 for $150 credit) and get two dinner boxes over consecutive weeks. That was a mistake. It needs to be spent in one purchase, and ordering two boxes over two weeks counts as two separate purchases. So we cleaned out our fridge and freezer and prepared for 9 days straight of home cooking dictated by recipe cards.
We ordered one of their Best Seller boxes (4 meals) and one of their Weight Watchers boxes (5 meals) just to see what the different in meals is like. Both boxes were $89ea, so with the $150 credit, the total expenditure was $102 for 9 meals ($11.33 per meal for 2).
Today, I’ll be reviewing the Best Seller dinner box.
The four meals in this box are:
- Walnut Pesto, Mushroom & Rocket Linguine
- Roast Duck Breast Salad
- Crisp Pork Belly and Pineapple Salsa
- Chicken Kiev with Steamed Greens
For all of these, I followed the recipe cards for portioning.
Walnut Pesto, Mushroom & Rocket Linguine
This and several other recipes required flat leaf parsley, but they didn’t provide nearly enough for all of them, so I swapped the quantities of parsley and rocket. Tasty on its own, and I dressed it with a little truffle oil because I could.
The card called for 25g of walnuts, 20g of shaved parmesan and 200g of linguine, and they provided full bags/packs of those ingredients so there’s plenty left over. I ended up making five very substantial portions (could have comfortably stretched to six) of this recipe with the ingredients provided in the box, with mushrooms for the last portion taken from the WW dinner box. Using the leftover rocket and pasta from the WW dinner box, I’ve also made additional mushroom-less portions for lunches as well.
I made each meal using the Tupperware Smooth Chopper due to the small quantities, but if I was making all six portions of pesto at once, it’d have gone into the Thermomix.
Roast Duck Breast Salad
This recipe comes with a two pack of Luv a Duck roasted duck breasts and the recipe calls for one. I foolishly ignored that and gave us one each, forgetting how dense duck meat is. It was delicious, and again, substantial. The recipe and ingredients provided could easily have been used to make 3-4 portions.
For fun, I also used the aquafaba from the can of chickpeas to make chocolate mousse for dessert. I had some couverture on hand, so that was essentially a freebie course.
Crisp Pork Belly and Pineapple Salsa
This dish was our favourite, and definitely one we’ll pull out again. It’s a great mix of flavours and textures. Our oven struggles to get to the 250C temperatures suggested for super crackling, but it came out adequately crisp all the same.
While there are no extra portions to be stretched out of this recipe, we were provided a whole pineapple even though the recipe only calls for half.
Chicken Kiev with Steamed Greens
Straight forward to make, but I skipped the pan-frying step and put it straight in the oven. To be honest, for the effort involved, I’ll just buy it from Lenard’s for 4 for $20 and just live with the fact that it might end up being $7-8 per portion which is what it would have cost at full price for the dinner box.
There were plenty of leftover ingredients. Sometimes enough for additional portions like the linguine and duck, otherwise plenty to be used to make other meals in general. I’ve definitely been comfortably supplying my lunches with these leftovers.
Although the base cost is about $5.66 per portion, the additional meals we’ve been able to get out of the leftovers brings that down to just over $4 per individual meal. However, at full price you’re not really getting significant savings over buying the things yourself and potentially making more portions in one go which would also save time. Also, were you to buy the meals separately through Aussie Farmers Direct, the pork belly meal for 2 is $30, and the roast duck meal is $34.50. But you can buy the required amount of pork belly or duck for less than half that, and you certainly won’t be spending the balance on the remaining ingredients.
If you can get the boxes at a discount it’s definitely worth getting, otherwise, if you’re happy grocery shopping yourself, you could always just pull the recipes off the site and make your own dinner box. That said, grocery shopping with a baby is quite a task, so if you’re in the same boat, the effort might make it worth ordering your groceries through Aussie Farmers Direct or other supermarket service anyway.
Next time, I’ll be taking a look at the Weight Watchers dinner box recipes.