Green Chef Meal #2

Tonight we made “white bean chili with sweet potatoes, wild rice, and corn-cabbage slaw.” It was a quick and easy recipe taking only 35 minutes to prepare. It contained cannellini beans, sprouted rice, sweet potatoes, corn, crushed tomatoes with pickled peppers, ancho-cumin spice blend, green peppers, yellow onion, monterey jack cheese, red and green cabbage, ancho-herb apple cider vinaigrette, scallions, cilantro, and garlic.

The pickled peppers made the meal spicy. I didn’t eat the chili because it was too hot and spicy for me. Before I continue, I want to explain the reason I don’t eat spicy dishes. I have a geographic tongue (also called benign migratory glossitis). It occurs in up to 3% of the population. Many people with this are asymptomatic, but some people with it report increased sensitivity to hot and spicy foods (that’s me!).  Geographic tongue is irregular patches on the surface of the tongue that give it a map-like appearance. The change in pattern on the surface of the tongue occurs  where there is a loss of the tiny, finger-like projections, called papillae, on the tongue. The areas of patches move from day to day. Symptoms can include soreness and burning (University of Maryland Medical Center). I have always been sensitive to spicy foods. So pickled peppers make Picky Point #15; that’s a lot of P’s!

(Example of geographic tongue–not mine.)

The corn-cabbage slaw with ancho-herb apple cider vinaigrette was good. It b
ordered on spicy, but I was able to eat it.

My husband ate the chili but, as is typical for him, there wasn’t enough cheese. He added some shredded cheese we had on hand, because the chili was a bit spicy even for him. So far I’ve only eaten the slaw in the past 2 meals. It isn’t a good track record for this company.

My rating: 2/5 (for the slaw)          Hubby rating: 2.25/5

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Hello Fresh

A quick word about Hello Fresh. I have tried multiple times to order from this company. I get to the payment section and instead of giving me a order confirmation, it goes back to the shipping address. It seems like it is stuck on a loop and I can’t actually go through with the purchase online. I’m sure I could call and get set up, but I like the flexibility of signing up online whenever I have time (even in the middle of the night).

Green Chef Meal #1

Today was the first day of Green Chef. One of the cool things about this company is you have options for carnivore, omnivore, paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan. The cost for 3 meals a week is $89.94 ($14.99 per person per meal), so this company is quite a bit more expensive than the others. There is a $50 discount for the first week.

I chose what I thought would be the meal I would like best of the three. They don’t give you ANY OPTIONS for choosing meals, like the other companies. You do get to put in your preferences within your dietary selection (ours was carnivore), such as no seafood, no lamb, and no game. But otherwise there are no choices.

Tonight we made dijon-maple chicken with herb-roasted parsnip fries and snap pea-cabbage slaw with dried cranberries. There was chive-parsley vinaigrette for the slaw, paprika-thyme spice blend for the parsnip fries, and dijon-maple sauce for the chicken.

I was excited to try the parsnip fries. When I opened the paprika-thyme spice blend and smelled it, I had a feeling I would not like it. I was tempted to instead use olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. But as I have committed to trying new things, I made it as directed by the recipe. And as I suspected, I didn’t like the parsnip fries because of the seasoning.

I don’t like dijon mustard (Picky Point #14), but thought maybe the maple would mellow out the spice of the mustard. It didn’t.  I thought the slaw would be the redeeming factor for the meal; I like chives and parsley. Instead the slaw was spicy, and you all know I don’t do spicy. In fact, everything was spicy in this meal. I tried a bite of all of it, but didn’t eat more than that bite (sigh). One positive is the preparation was easy and everything was portioned out, so there wasn’t much prep.

This was the meal that was supposed to be the one I would like out of the three sent. I just wish I could choose three meals from a group of six. I guess because they cater to multiple dietary styles, maybe they don’t want to have multiple different dishes in each category.

My rating: 0.25/5         Hubby rating: 4/5

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Blue Apron Meal #3

Tonight’s meal of the day was “Pibil-style pork with spinach and citrus rice.” The dish was inspired by “cochinita pibil.” I had no idea what either pibil or cochinita pibil meant, so like always, google to the rescue. According to cooksscience.com cochinita pibil is the pride of the Yucatan peninsula–a dish of smoky, slow-roasted pork marinated in a special  blend of ingredients including cinnamon, allspice, and achiote (annatto) seed. The cochinita part means baby pig. This recipe obviously substituted the pork chops and went for the pibil-style.

The ingredients for this dish were boneless, center-cut pork chops, long grain white rice, spinach, cara cara orange, lime, garlic, cilantro, scallions, pork spice blend (the pibil seasoning), and pickled jalapeño pepper. Maybe for this meal I should name the things I do like instead of the things I don’t. I like rice, spinach, orange, garlic, and scallions. Therefore, the remaining ingredients encompass Picky Point numbers 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.

This was the most disappointing meal so far. We didn’t even add the pickled jalapeño pepper. I firmly stood my ground on this. The hubby thought mixing the ingredients together would make the peppers tolerable. I guarantee it wouldn’t have improved this dish, to picky eaters anyway. The pork spice marinate was really overwhelming and not in a good way. Since the spinach was sautéed in the fond of the pork chops (per recipe instructions), they also were coated in the marinade.

I ate the rice. I couldn’t even convince my husband (who does NOT like to waste food) to eat what I didn’t. I did try everything, including the pickled jalapeño peppers, but hated most of the meal.

This is the end of Blue Apron dishes. Overall, we loved the beet fettuccine meal. My husband liked the blue cheese turkey burger, but I didn’t. We both didn’t like this meal. He states he would give it a 2/5, but I give it a 0.5 (only for the rice). The last picture from tonight’s meal is what I ended up throwing away.

Blue Apron is a huge pain in the ass to cancel. You have to send an email to get emailed instructions back, then you have to cancel on a DESKTOP computer. For whatever reason, the layout on the mobile site doesn’t allow you to get to the cancellations. Blue Apron is one of the biggest advertisers of their product, so it could sway people to choose their product. This is exactly why I’m trying different companies, so I can rate each company based on their food.

My rating: 0.5/5         Hubby rating: 2.5/5

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Blue Apron Meal #2

Seared chicken and mashed potatoes with kale, mushrooms, and verjus blanc was on the menu tonight. Verjus? It is the juice of young wine grapes.

My nose scrunched up when I pulled the ingredients out for this meal, specifically when I pulled out the mushrooms. I don’t like them… at all (Picky Point #8). Kale is not my favorite either, but I can tolerate it. My husband on the other hand thinks all the greens he has ever tried (kale, mustard greens, collard greens, romaine, bibb, and iceberg lettuce) “all taste like grass.” My greens palate is a little, well a lot really, more discerning than his. And I can’t remember the last time I had grass to compare. Maybe when I was seven? It had to have been a dare from my older brother whenever it was.

The husband bought a new fry pan and was pretty excited to test drive it tonight. I made the potatoes and he made the chicken, kale, and mushrooms.

I liked the chicken and the potatoes. What kale I could separate from the mushrooms was palatable. I did officially try one mushroom, but the rest went to the hubby who scarfed them down like a starving kid.

My rating: 3.5/5 (for the chicken and the potatoes)     Hubby rating: 5/5

Blue Apron #1

Tonight I laid out the ingredients for “Fresh fettuccine with beet, goat cheese, and poppy seeds.” The first thing my husband said was, “That is not going to be enough goat cheese.” He freely admits to being a cheese whore and a bread whore. If we’re going to be honest here, so am I.

In ordering Blue Apron, there were only six dish options and you choose three. I wanted to choose the Za’atar roasted broccoli salad, but when I tried I wasn’t able to choose the other meals I wanted. It was like a bundle. You can choose this bundle or that, but not one meal from this and two meals from that.

Ironically, the meal I wanted to sub out was this one (because the hubby doesn’t really like beets). The irony is I LOVED this meal! He liked it too! It contains fresh fettuccine, beets, rainbow chard, chives, garlic, butter, fromage blanc (white cheese in French), poppy seeds, and crumbled goat cheese. I like all of the ingredients. A miracle of miracles, no picky points today!

I like beets, but up until now I haven’t found good ways to incorporate them into a meal. I will definitely be making this again! If the rest of the meals by Blue Apron are like this, they will get ranked higher than the Home Chef meals.

Blue Apron charges $59.94 for three meals, which averages to $9.99/person per meal. They had a $30 discount for the first week of food.

My rating: 5/5          Hubby rating: 4.75/5

 

 

Home Chef Meal #4

Today was the last day of Home Chef meals. I worked late the past several days, so the meal was postponed until tonight. The dish was “Buffalo Turkey Burger,” and included ground turkey, sweet potatoes, celery sticks, liquid egg, green onions, Panko breadcrumbs, Frank’s red hot sauce, blue cheese, slaw mix, and pretzel buns.

Despite the plan to stick to the recipe, I HATE (and hate is a strong word) hot sauce (Picky Point #6).  So I decided to use a little culinary freedom and 86’d the hot sauce. The cole slaw was supposed to be made with olive oil and hot sauce. Oh hell no! I made regular cole slaw, with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and vinegar. Anyone who is closely following the blog is saying, “Wait a minute, she doesn’t like mayo!” You are correct. But something magical happens when you mix mayo in with other ingredients. It doesn’t taste like mayo.

I’m also not a fan of blue cheese (Picky Point #7). But since I was skipping the hot sauce, I felt guilty not using the blue cheese. I started eating the burger and thought it was okay. When I reached the middle of the burger, which had the highest quantity of blue cheese, (full disclosure here), I spit it back out onto my plate. Typical 4-year-old move. The second half of my burger went in the fridge as leftovers for my husband.

A critique of Home Chef is if you don’t use the ingredients promptly, you risk them going bad. By not preparing it within 5 days of receiving the food, we had some mold on the pretzel buns.

Summary for Home Chef experience: I really liked one of the four meals sent, two were okay, and one was um… spit back out. Four meals of Home Chef (for 2 people) is $79.60, which averages to $9.95/person per meal. There is a $40 discount for the first week. The ingredients were all packaged together by meal, so you don’t have to guess which is parsley. The only reason I noticed is because the Blue Apron meals came today and they are all loose in the box. So you have to know which is parsley versus cilantro. Don’t laugh! We can’t all be Rachel Ray.

Coming up this week, three meals from Blue Apron.

My rating: 1/5          Hubby rating: 4.75/5

Home Chef Meal #3

By virtue of it taking less time to prepare, tonight’s dish was “London Broil Marinated Steak.” It included sirloin steak, zucchini, sweet potato fries, garlic, parsley, honey, seasoned rice vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.

I can tell you right now I don’t like sweet potato (Picky Point #4) or Worcestershire sauce (Picky Point #5). Granted, I don’t specifically recall the last time I tried Worcestershire sauce.

The steak was marinated with parsley, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, honey, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then the steak and zucchini were cooked by the grillmaster (a.k.a. the husband). We had a Masterchef moment when he was cutting into the steak. I could hear Gordon Ramsey asking, “What temperature should I expect when I cut into this.” Hubby was commenting on how he was cooking blind. Usually he cuts into the meat on the grill to check the temperature, but not today. His steak was medium rare (perfect for him) and mine was medium (perfect for me).

Overall, I liked the sweet potato fries more than I expected. The zucchini was okay. The marinade on the steak was a bit spicy for me.

My rating: 2.5/5             Hubby rating: 3.75/5


Home Chef Meal #2

“Pork Shumai Meatballs” were on the menu tonight. My first thought, “What the hell is a shumai?” From what I read, shumai is a type of traditional Chinese dumpling, originated from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. Tonight’s ingredients were ground pork, jasmine rice, sugar snap peas, garlic, green onions, chopped ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, white rice flour, red pepper flakes, and ponzu sauce.

I didn’t know what ponzu sauce was either. After a quick internet search, I found out that ponzu sauce is a citrus-based sauce, commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is tart, with a thin, watery consistency and dark brown color. To us, it tasted like soy sauce. And just like a 4-year-old, if you asked me before tonight, I wouldn’t have tried it and I would have said I didn’t like it. I’m not a big fan of either ginger (Picky Point #2) or red pepper flakes (Picky Point #3). I tried getting out of putting the red pepper flakes in, but was outvoted again by the husband. He reminded me that we are stepping out of our comfort zone.

The prep was fairly easy; we both helped with the meal preparation. The one thing we aren’t excelling in yet is having everything done at the same time, so everything is hot on the plate. The rice and peas were a little cold by the time the meatballs were ready.

I initially put the ponzu sauce on the side for dipping, but ended up pouring it on. The meal was pretty good. Not great. After trying it, I can honestly say I’m not a big fan of the ponzu sauce. On the other hand, I didn’t mind the ginger and red pepper flakes.

I consider that progress in pickiness.

My rating: 2/5       Hubby rating: 3.75/5

Home Chef meal #1

Tonight’s meal was “Ditalini Chicken Caesar Salad with Parmesan Croutons.” The ingredients were chicken breasts, ditalini pasta, baguette, romaine lettuce, roma tomato, grated parmesan cheese, garlic, mayonnaise, and white wine vinegar.

On first glance, the poor tomato was so pale and tasteless. Tomatoes aren’t supposed to go into the refrigerator, because it makes them bland. So full disclosure, I used tomatoes I had on hand instead of the one in the package.

The preparation was easy. Neither my hubby nor I am a gourmet chef (or even good home cooks), but the instructions were easy peasy. The chicken breasts were pan-fried, which we never do at our house because the hubby prefers to grill everything. We opted to try the pan frying though and it was pretty good.

I don’t like mayonnaise (Picky Point #1). I was planning on skipping the mayo for my portion of the meal, but the hubby told me it was defeating the purpose of expanding our culinary palate. I made the meal as instructed (with the exception of using my own tomatoes), and loved it.

The portions were bigger than I expected. Dinner was done in about 30 minutes.

My rating: 4.5/5            Hubby rating: 4/5