watch out blue apron

A new Stop & Shop opened about 2 miles from my house. What makes this extra appealing isn’t just a new grocery store in suburbia, but it has a drive-thru Starbucks too! Yes, we are living the mom dreams over here in the Metro-west. And to make this sell even more desirable, the first kiosk when you enter the pristine grocer is a section of curated dinner preps. It is exactly like those meal delivery services like plated, one potato, and blue apron minus all that packaging waste! One bag filled with all the ingredients needed to prepare a quick, delicious home cooked dinner. Just grab the bag and head home and have dinner prepped and ready in approximately 20-30 minutes. As a working mamma, this is life-saving. A habit has recently formed in which this “meal kit” dinner is our Tuesday night cuisine.

Tuesdays are a bit of a hustle. It is after Monday which is always tough. Anyone else feel more tired on Tuesday than Monday? I guess Monday I run on adrenaline but Tuesday my body is like, “Oh hey we have to do this again?” And then after getting home from my hour long, traffic-filled commute it is time to get dinner on the table before I sneak off to pottery class. In an attempt to not only eat pizza quesadillas or frozen chicken fingers,  this Stop and Shop “kit thing” has been awesome! And David liked it so much he requested it join the dinner rotation and therefore, it is appearing here on the blog for posterity, since unless I log it, I will forget all about how to make it (and of course I threw out the recipe card because I am such a purger!).

Pork Chops and Sweet Potato Hash

2 bone in pork chops (or more if needed)

Salt and pepper

1 sweet potato

1 gala or honey crisp apple

thyme

honey

chicken broth (about a 1/2 cup)

3 strips of bacon

red onion

You will need two pan on the stovetop for this. In one pan, add some olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork and cook each side in the pan for about 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the chop. Once the pork is cooked remove from the pan and add in the chicken broth, some thyme, and honey. Stir and let simmer until reduced by half. This will become a nice deglaze sauce for the chops.  In the second pan, add some olive oil and diced bacon, apples, sweet potato, and red onion, and some more thyme. Cook for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Plate together and enjoy! Super simple, flavorful, and delicious.

Shepard’s Pie

On December 18, we eat sausage and rice casserole. David’s birthday request is a standard meal from childhood. A dish full of family folklore and a recurring request across all birthdays on David’s side. It is a simple and direct meal with few ingredients and even less prep. It is delicious and not a grain of rice is left after mealtime. Clearly, it is a birthday request meal I can easily stand behind. Then David said, “I think this might be my new favorite meal for my birthday!” What could this meal be? What dish could possibly unseat the casserole that has stolen hearts and minds for the past 36 years?  Hold your breath…..it’s shepard’s pie!

I know what you are thinking: Really?  Yes, really!

  • 2 lb ground beef or lamb
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 8 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/3 cups beef broth
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 3 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  •  1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Browned the beed. Transfer to a plate.
In the same pot over medium heat, melt 4 Tbs of the butter. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, cover and cook, stirring, until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the flour and stir well. Stir in the broth and wine. Add the rosemary. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pot bottom. Return the beef to the pot, cover, place in the oven and cook until about 1 1/2 hours. About 30 minutes before the dish is ready, oil a baking dish. In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well. Cut 3 Tbs. of the butter into pieces and add to the potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes while adding enough cream to create a smooth texture. Season the meat mixture with salt and pepper, stir in the peas and pour into the prepared baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Cut the remaining 1 Tbs. butter into bits and use to dot the top. Bake until the top is lightly tinged with brown, about 20 minutes. 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.