Tag Archive | food

Blue Apron Meals – Update

We have been ordering Blue Apron meals for a little over a month now. I can’t say enough about the meals and the cooking techniques we’ve learned how to to pull off. Admittedly, there are also plenty of food items I will never touch again… Kale pretty much being at the top of the list. I’ve made kale at least 5 different ways and none of them has produced a palatable taste for me. We now just buy some spinach for me when we see it in an upcoming meal. The next being sesame oil. OMG, it kills my insides and stays with me for days. ICK! Lastly, what is with all the radishes? I get it BA is trying to be eco-friendly and use what is in season, however a radish salad is not my cup-o-tea.

We often try to pick the fish meal when offered. All of them have been fabulous! I can’t believe how much I love catfish. My Father used to cook it all the time and the smell caused me to leave the house. The salmon, white fish and cod have all been fantastic also.

So far, our favorite meal has been the pork roast rubbed in spices. It was so juicy and tender! Super yum.

We’re going to continue to enjoy these. We also think these would be a great thing to bring along camping! All the ingredients are in the box, I don’t need to worry about forgetting something. The only things that would need to be aboard the ‘Daug Haus’ would be olive oil and the proper kitchen tools; pots, shredders, pans, etc.

Admittedly, I don’t remember the fancy names for the following meals… I’m going to call it as I see it. If anyone’s curiosity is burning that bad to know the recipe or true name, ask about it in the comments and I’ll get back to you.  =-)

Salmon with fried rosemary and apple farro

Pan fried chicken with bok choy, rice and marinated carrot slaw

Pan fried chicken with mushrooms, rice and kale.

Cheese cannolis with tomato sauce and creamy garlic salad

Here’s that pork meal!

Cumin crusted pork roast with fig / orange sauce on a bed of onion and barley.

Pork chop with jasmine rice, tomato/cilantro salsa and kale.

Fried chicken on a bed of kale and mashed potatoes.

Lamb and beef stew topped with fried potato disks and parmesan cheese

Moroccan Chicken on spiced tomatoes and carrots with rice. This one rocked!!

Shrimp with cabbage with curry. We did not like this one at all.

Meatloaf with ketchup pepper chutney and hash browns. Meh.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Blueberry Cheese Streusel Coffeecake

Blueberry Cheese Streusel Coffeecake

2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 to 1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter
To make batter, combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl; cut in butter as for pie crust. Reserve 1 cup of mixture. Add the following to the balance of the batter.

2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl constantly. Pour evenly in greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Clearly, I used two loaf pans. I always like making two, so I can make my friends fat also.. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over batter.

Next make the cheese:
1 c. ricotta or cream cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
Blend cheese, egg, sugar and lemon peel until smooth, then spoon evenly over blueberries.

Streusel topping:
1 c. reserved mix
1/2 c. chopped nuts (I used walnuts – Can be omitted also)
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Make topping by mixing the reserved mix, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over cheese layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Where’s Your Food?

We never spent a bunch of time training our boys to do parlor tricks. They do enough cute things throughout the day to entertain us! However, sometimes it’s not so much dog training as much as human training. Their food and treats are kept in this pantry. I started to notice Breck would paw at the door while I was in sight of it. Every time he did it, he would try to eyeball me. Who was being trained here?!? I started to ask him, “Where’s your food?”  After a little while, I was able to ask him and he would paw the door. Oreo can’t be outdone. He didn’t paw the door, his answer was to point his nose at it.

     

Where’s your food???

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Boxed Dinners ~ Activities for Foodie Couples

imageIf you haven’t heard about these blessings in a box, they are called Meal Delivery Services, and they are being shipped to most locations worldwide. I think they are an awesome idea for folks wanting to learn how to cook, learn new meals, save money and time, stuck in a ‘food rut’ (us), along with dieting or even just eating better!  We’ve batted this idea around for a bit… Having fresh ingredients arrive at our door to make meals for a few nights a week. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a savings or an expense. My husband really took a hold of this idea and ran with it. He compared many of the Dinner Box companies that deliver in our area. He decide Blue Apron was the best fit for us. They source the food as local as possible to me. I love supporting my community.

When he told me about the future box coming, he had sparkles in his eyes. He was genuinely excited to cook these meals! He then tells me the most mushy, lovey-dovey thing… “I can’t wait to spend time with you in the kitchen cooking these meals.” Awe! What a Sweety-Pie!!! I love you, honey.

Our first three meals arrived on a Friday. We picked Friday, so we would have more time to cook the meals over the weekend. The part I really like is that the amounts are per-determined, and there is no waste or leftovers. I feel like we waste too much food here. Another huge pro for going with this arrangement.

There are also beautifully done recipe cards with photos for most of the steps in the recipe. If there is something missing on the card, you can always go to their website to learn how to reproduce the technique they are asking you to do. There are many how-to videos, other recipes and comments from other Blue Apron clients.

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Lemon Caper Catfish, Chicken Paillard and Bucatini Pasta Bolognese, were our weeks choices. In plain English: Lemon catfish w/kale, Chicken & potatoes & Spaghetti w/meat sauce. There are generally 3 meat meals and 3 vegetarian meals, for a total of 6 meals to choose from for a week. Blue Apron only offers 3 meals a week, whereas other companies do offer 2 -7 meals a week. As I am a carnivore, the veggie meals are somewhat wasted on me. Yes, roasted cauliflower sounds yummy, but that is a side dish, not the centerpiece of the meal.

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The Chicken Paillard was to die for! I have never roasted a fennel before and I have been missing out! If you’ve never done it, buy one in the next grocery run. They are amazing roasted. We figured even if we didn’t like some part of the meal, it would introduce us to other types of food and how to cook it. A con was the size of the potato. It was smaller than my fist, and we had to split it. I get it. It’s called PORTION CONTROL 😉 Fatty-Fat-Fat!

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Sometimes we had to read the directions 10X to wrap our minds around something. The directions for the Bucatini Pasta Bolognese had us cooking veggies and sauce before we cooked the meat in the veggies. Huh? I’ve generally always cooked the meat first, then added other ingredients. This recipe also had us adding chopped brussels sprouts near the end of the process. In the end, it was a super yummy meal. I still like my spaghetti sauce better (I use pork shoulder), however I will now add carrot, celery and chopped brussels sprouts to mine!

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Here is the Lemon Caper Catfish. The catfish was great. It was on a bed of lentils and kale. I like many veggies, but you lost me at both lentils and kale. Blech! I can say that the lentils were not the same kind my Mom used for soup. These were called the ‘caviar of lentils’ and even resembled it. They were actually pretty good. Not the texture of dirt, like my Ma’s. The kale was kale. There was no helping it. In the end, I would just do this recipe with spinach and call it a day.

My hubby and I are very pleased with our choices, the turnout and the amount of fun we’ve been having in the kitchen. I’d really have to wait for more data, however the total amount of groceries and the Blue Apron box were even last week, thus it is a wash, budget wise. YEAH!! I would highly suggest trying one of these services out! Even if it’s just for a week here and there. I love that we don’t have to argue about ‘what’s for dinner?’ or spend time making a list or being pissed that we forgot something at the store!! I feel like this may take a lot of stress away from us, which makes it worth its weight in gold.
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I can’t wait for our next box and our next foodie adventure!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Fried Turkey, Cranberries, Stuffin’ et all!

This is a reblog of my recipes for my cranberries and stuffing =-)

We’ve been frying our turkey for years now. I’m not going to get into all the rules for frying here, although there are some funny EPIC FAILS on this topic!

I will share my recipe for stuffing though. Many who have come over to my house for Turkey Fry Friday in the past have asked me for it.

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I am horrible about placing ‘amounts’ on ingredients, as I add more of what I like and less of what I don’t. With this recipe, there really is no wrong answer. However, have these thing for the base and add things you like including: pork sausage, celery, carrots, use cornbread instead of plain bread, cranberries, raisins, water chestnuts (nice crunch!) or even nuts.

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Melt a stick of butter in a large pot. Cut up and combine everything except the chicken broth and stuffing. Here you see: Onion, Mushrooms, Celery and Apples.

I’m not really cooking it, just getting it started. I then add my seasonings like: Onion powder, salt/pepper, garlic, rosemary and of course some thyme. After this, I add my chicken broth.

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I then put my stuffing into a large bowl.

**As my family celebrated Thanksgiving November 2nd this year, ironically, I could not find stuffing (dried bread quarters) to save my life. I used fresh bread this time and the stuffing turned out like a bread pudding. Actually, everyone liked it more than normal!

Back to the directions…

Pour the pot mix over the stuffing and mix. Depending on how you like your stuffing (dry or moist) add more chicken broth or more stuffing to compensate. At this point I take a taste to see what I came up with. I tend to make mine moist, however you will loose some moisture cooking, be aware.

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Smash either into your turkey or into a oven safe dish if you are frying. Remember, you CANNOT fry the turkey stuffed. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.

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Although you really don’t need to inject anything into the bird for moisture, we like to add some garlic butter for some zing.

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Although my family loves the jelly-type cranberry sauce, I find it quite disgusting. This year I made fresh cranberry sauce, something I never thought of doing. It was a big smack to the head as to how easy it is and why I’ve not been doing it over the years.

  • 12oz of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Other additions (after cooking): orange slices, raisins, cinnamon..

Boil all 3 ingredients while stirring until the berries ‘pop’. You will hear it. Then remove from heat, let cool and add other enhancements if wanted.

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Turkey Time!!

Most of the fails happen upon entry. Be sure your turkey is defrosted, dry (water will make it splatter) and you use the ‘2 person + pole’ method of dunking for safety.

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Almost down!

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It only takes 3 1/2 minutes per pound @ 350F. Pretty quick, IMO.

Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!!

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Asparagus!

imageYa know… When it comes to holidays at my house, I tend to spend them on the down-low and don’t want to get sucked into the commercialized side. I’m also not religious.

There are other ways I celebrate and look forward to. Today is that day. The beauty of today is that I didn’t know exactly when this holiday would be celebrated. I knew it generally falls towards the end of April  (2015) or possibly the beginning of May (2014). Either way, it brings me great joy… More than Christmas. I’m sure you’ve already checked your calendar to see if this holiday is national or recognized. I’m sure there are some folks that will become celebrators after I let you in on what the big hub-bub is…

It’s Asparagus Season!!!! Yeah!!!! Woo hooo!!

Grilled, steamed, garliced, fresh, wrapped in prosciutto (thanks Mongo’s Dad!) & provolone, creamed soup, pickled, omelettes, sauteed… Did I leave out any other way to enjoy these succulent, juicy, gifts from Mother Earth?!?

 


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl