banh mi

That food truck festival left me craving banh mi sandwiches. Seriously, it is crazy how yummy that sandwich was. I can still taste it if I close my eyes, mmmmm. Anyway, instead of pining for it, I decided to try to recreate it. And of course with this goal in mind, Blue Apron has the same recipe as one of their meal selections. While I don’t subscribe to the service right now, I headed out to the grocer to buy the ingredients and whip it up.  What ensued was hilarious.

Overall the recipe was super simple. Since it is a sandwich you sort of create an assembly line for the eaters-to-be. First, I prepared the cucumber and carrot salad then the mayo then the slaw then the toasted breads. Once each of these was lined up in their serving bowl on the kitchen counter, I turned my attention to the chicken. Now the issue with Blue Apron is that they send you spices in the perfect amount. While I can copy their recipes, when it comes to the proportion of spices I have to wing it. We love a good spicy meal so I was quite heavy handed with my “copied” spice blend. I covered each piece of chicken with the blend and started to cook it up in the pan. Suddenly, Henry was sneezing and sneezing in the living room, David started coughing, my mom started to sneeze and cough. Then it hit me and finally all four of the dogs started to sneeze!  WAY TOO MUCH PEPPER got into the air. We were all suffering from this effect, eyes watering,  and sneezing uncontrollably. I turned on the vent and opened a window but the sneezing continued. We were very skeptical at this point about eating the sandwiches but found that they were actually quite delicious, if a bit too spicy. Thirty minutes after the meal we were still sneezing and Henry continued to sneeze even through his bath!  Clearly, the next time I make this we will use about 10% of the spice I originally thought was necessary.  And yes, I do plan to make these again sneezing or no! Hopefully I can convince the rest of the family to trust me again.

Ingredients:

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

2 Carrots

1 P Cucumber

¼ Head Red Cabbage

4 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce

2 Banh Mi Rolls (we used sub rolls)

2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon Bánh Mí Spice Blend (Chinese 5-Spice, Galangal, Lemongrass Powder, Smoked Paprika & Cayenne Powder)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel and cut the carrot into thin matchsticks and cut the cucumber into thin circles. Thinly slice the cabbage leaves . In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce and mayonnaise. Completely coat the chicken in the bánh mì spice blend (this is where I went a little too crazy!). In a small pot, combine half the rice vinegar, ½ cup of water and a big pinch of salt. Heat to boiling on high. In a large, heat-proof bowl, combine a dash of the sesame oil, the carrots and cucumber. Once the pickling mixture is boiling, remove from heat and pour over the carrots and cucumber. Cover and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sliced cabbage, remaining sesame oil, half the hoisin-mayonnaise sauce and the remaining rice vinegar. Toss gently to mix and set aside. In a medium pan, add chicken and cook.   Slice the bánh mì rolls in half lengthwise. Place the sliced rolls on a small sheet pan (or directly on the oven racks). Toast 3 to 5 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and warmed through. Assemble sandwich to your particular liking and enjoy!!

parmesan basil chicken patties

Thankfully this meal was salvaged! Just when you think everything is going smoothly and you confidently saunter about the house feeling like the most amazing new mom, you are snapped back into the reality of messy motherhood when you have a sleep-deprived moment. There I was cooking up the chicken patties and thinking I could briefly multi-task only to turn back around to the chicken and see them filling the entire kitchen with smoke! I had completely forgotten to turn down the heat to medium and had left the chicken to burn on high long enough to trigger the smoke alarms. David ran downstairs with Henry and the dogs as I stood there paralyzed not knowing what to do (this is my response to a crisis, which is a terrible response!!). Thankfully David snapped me out of my “playing possum” state by shouting turn the stove off, open the window, and flap a towel by the smoke detector. We were a jumbled mess as we tried to fix the kitchen drama, calm down the dogs, and soothe the baby. Luckily within a few  minutes the alarms stopped and the smoke cleared enough for it to no longer be scary. When we looked into the pan we were surprised to see that the chicken was burned but not so badly that we couldn’t still enjoy it for dinner. Despite the mishap dinner was still delicious!

Ingredients:

2 diced cloves garlic

1 bunch basil

1 tomato

1 diced bunch green onions

1/2  edamame

3/4 cup barley

10 ounces ground chicken

1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the barley to the pot of boiling water and cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Set aside until it is time to plate the meal.  While the barley cooks, in another pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced garlic and the green onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced tomato, basil, edamame, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, once boiling cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the barley is done about 12-15 minutes. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, basil, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese.  Create 4 patties and cook up in pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Loosely cover the pan with tin foil and cook on MEDIUM (not high like we did!) for 4-6 minute per side. Once all elements  are prepared plate and enjoy!

skirt steak with long beans

It is amazing what you can do when sleep deprived. The last two nights Mr. Henry has decided to host an all-night dance party. The problem is mom and dad were not really feeling it. Unfortunately for all of us, Henry gets to dictate the evening schedule right now and so we were up, up, UP all night with the little fellow. Yes, he did sleep a little but it wasn’t for long and by the time we fell back to sleep ourselves, he was rising out of his shallow slumber. Despite the last 48 hours of no sleep, we have still been able to shower, cook, and function more or less. Last night we cooked up this skirt steak with green beans and potatoes. It was super simple but if I had to do it again, I might not use skirt steak. I think a sirloin would have really heightened the meal. Fingers crossed that we are able to cook tonight before collapsing into a pile of sleepless jelly!

Ingredients:

1lb Skirt Steak

6 Ounces Long Beans

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Bunch Thyme

1 Pound Russet Potatoes

1 Tomato

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange the seasoned potatoes in a single layer and roast in the oven for 20 to 22. season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned steaks and cook, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan and set aside. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and heat , dd the diced garlic cloves and cook. Add the long beans, tomato, half the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. Plate the dish by placing the potatoes first, top with greens, and lastly add the steak. Enjoy!

shrimp summer rolls

Our last Blue Apron recipe for the week was for Shrimp Summer Rolls. This was the one recipe that David was not too excited about. As a result, it has us questioning whether or not joining Blue Apron is right for us. While you can indicate generally what you want to eat via categories such as poultry, beef, and vegetarian, you don’t really get to specify what you want to eat in detail. So if you have selected to receive seafood, you are open to receiving then any type of seafood dish. Some you might really like and others you might be lukewarm about it. Even though David was not a fan of the summer rolls as an idea, once it was cooked up it was quite good. When we go to the Cheesecake Factory, I always like to have the summer roll for an appetizer so now being able to make these myself will satisfy my craving for this light and refreshing dish.

photo-36

Ingredients:

1 Bunch Cilantro

1 Bunch Mint

1 Carrot

1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce

1 Kirby Cucumber

10 Ounces Peeled, Deveined Shrimp

2 Ounces Cellophane Noodles

1/4 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Tablespoon Mirin

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Sriracha

10 Rice Paper Wrappers

 

Bring a small pot of water to boil. Turn the heat off and add the cellophane noodles. Allow the noodles to sit in the hot water to cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water for 30 seconds and set aside. In a pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and saute until shrimp are cooked through approximately 4 minutes. Take the shrimp off the heat and place them on a plate in the refrigerator to cool down. Now it is time to assemble the roll. Cut the cucumber and carrot into thin strips, pull the mint and cilantro leaves from the stem, and wash the lettuce. In a swallow bowl of warm water dip the rice wrapper for 20-30 seconds. Lay the softened rice wrapper on a clean surface, place lettuce, carrot and cucumber strips, 3-4 shrimp, 1-2 mint leaves, 1-2 cilantro leaves, and cellophane noodles. Roll the wrapper like a burrito and place on a plate. Repeat the assembly line until you have used all of the ingredients.

Sauce: In a small bowl add the peanut butter, mirin, soy sauce, and sirarcha (to taste)

 

oven fried chicken with sauteed green beans and corn

Our second Blue Apron meal was delicious this week. Oven Friend Chicken with Sauteed Green Beans and Corn really hit the spot and even David agreed that it was quite good!  With two of our three meals digested, we are really really thinking about joining Blue Apron during this first year of new parenthood. Because, even though I can get the recipes from the service online, can I get all the ingredients for the price Blue Apron is offering, that is the question! David and I will try this week to buy three meals worth of ingredients for these Blue Apron recipes and see what it costs us from a regular grocery store. Anyway, back to cooking this meal. While Henry napped in his mamaroo, I cooked up this meal in 20 minutes. I seriously cannot believe how easy this company has made dinner time.  Yes, I cooked it at 3PM and then let it sit on the oven until David got home and we reheated it for dinner, but it is the small victories in life as a new mom that matter! This meal will definitely join our meal rotation since it was super flavorful, easy, and the quick quick quick.

Ingredients:

5 Ounces Green Beans

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

2 Ears Corn

1 Bunch Basil

1 Clove Garlic

1 Lemon

1 1/2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs

1 Cup Buttermilk

2 Teaspoon Fried Chicken Spice Blend (Smoked Paprika & Garlic Powder)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Mini Bottle Tabasco Hot Sauce

 

Preheat the oven at 450. Cut the chicken breast into three equal pieces. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk and then roll in the panko breadcrumbs and spices (which you should blend together in a little bowl). Place the breaded chicken on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs have browned.  Meanwhile, in a pan on the stove, melt the butter and  add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the green beans (which you should cut into 2 inch pieces). Once the beans are a bright green, about 2-3 minutes, add the corn kernels that you removed from the cob, juice of half the lemon, salt, pepper,  and basil. Saute all together for another 2 minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of water to thicken the mixture.  Then plate the sauteed vegggies and top with the delicious chicken.  They recommend adding Tabasco sauce to taste on the chicken but I skipped this part and it tasted fine.

lamb, mint, and pea orecchiette

We have been so lucky.  Since Henry was born we have been able to avoid cooking in the kitchen for almost 3 weeks. Our nearest and dearest friends have taken amazing care of us and have brought over nutritious and delicious meals. From chicken pot pie, to kale salad, to fajitas, to lemon pepper chicken, to homemade pizzas, to stir fries, and so many more, we have truly been overwhelmed by the love and care of our friends. It cannot be stressed how amazing it was to not have to think about, worry about, or shop for dinner.  We were really able to focus on Henry and figuring out his needs and were able to avoid the frenzy of cooking and juggling the baby. Unfortunately, preparing dinner has now become a daunting task and I feel quite shy about being in the kitchen and trying to make sure Henry isn’t having a meltdown. But timing dinner and naps is unreliable at this early stage. Thankfully, our friends, Lauren and Mark, have helped us with this big transition. They currently use Blue Apron as a weekly meal delivery service and generously gave us a free week trial of meals. We received our package yesterday and everything was fresh and perfectly portioned. All I needed to do was mix it up on the stove top and enjoy. With Henry as my sous chef, we prepped and cooked our first Blue Apron recipe and we loved it!  It was so simple and the recipe was complete in 20 minutes.  This service is perfect for new families and David and I are thinking about extending our membership now.

The service provides you with recipe cards for each meal that you can then use again in the future if you decide not to use the delivery service again. So it is a win-win situation!

 

Henry was an excellent sous chef in his rocking chair on the floor. I kept holding my breathe and hoping he would stay content while I told him what I was doing on the counter and stove top. Hopefully in the future he can help his momma out with a little more of a hands on approach.

Ingredients:

Orecchiette Pasta

English peas

3 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of mint

1 lemon (for zest and juice)

1 purple spring onion

8oz ground lamb

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Cook the pasta and reserve 1 cup of water. In a pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute diced onion and diced garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ground lamb and cook through. Season with salt and pepper. Add peas, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, squeezed lemon juice, butter, Parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta. Add the reserved water slowly to create a light sauce. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, serve and enjoy!

braised chicken thighs with tomatillo sauce

Last night we were a little adventurous. We knew we wanted to cook something that could last a few nights but we wanted it to be a new recipe which is always a little risky. What if we make a huge batch of something nasty?  Do we push through it all week long or decide to throw away a perfectly good meal because we don’t find it to our liking? Having had a lot of red meat lately (which I have been craving!), we settled on a chicken dish. A lot of pregnant women have an aversion to chicken.  While I don’t hate it right now, neither do I go searching for it. This added an additional element of surprise to dinner: would I be able to even tolerate the meal based on its protein?  The answer was thankfully a resounding yes. As a one pot meal, it practically cooked itself and it was so flavorful and simple to piece together that I am sure it will get added to our rotation of repeat meals.

Ingredients:

6 bone in chicken thighs

3 cups of chicken stock

3 jars of salsa verde (approx 5-10oz)

1 jalapeno diced

1 carrot diced

3 garlic cloves diced

1 yellow onion diced

2 bay leaves

Olive oil

Canola oil

Salt and Pepper

Start by heating up a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of canola oil in a braising pot. When the oils are almost smoking, add the chicken thighs which should be seasoned with salt and pepper skin down until the skin is browned (approx 5-7 minutes). Flip the chicken over and add in the onion, jalapeno, garlic, bay leaves, carrot to the pot for about 5 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add in the salsa verde and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Serve in a bowl over rice and with warmed tortillas.