Mushroom & Lemon Cream Sauce – Chicken

I love dark meat, yes it is true. I also love thighs: my thighs, fat thighs, Chris Pratt’s thighs, and chicken thighs…..which is what we are talking about today. Do yourself a wonderful favor and cook with some dark meat because dark meat is heavenly. You cannot argue that! I make this dish so often that I never thought to publish a recipe since to me it isn’t anything special, but good lord I posted a picture on Facebook and I thought I was going to get eaten alive. Y’all came after me. Enjoy! This also takes 30 minutes to throw down from start to finish so this fancy meal real isn’t that time consuming.

Ingredients
4 Bone in – Skin on Free Range Chicken Thighs
2 Cups Sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1/2 red/white onion diced finely
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 Lemon worth of zest & Juice
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Whole Fat Milk
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter
2 TBSP Flour

P.S I never said this recipe was healthy.

How To

Start getting a pan hot on medium-high heat, I used my cast iron skillet. Put your butter and a little oil of your choice in the pan. By mixing your butter and oil you get a higher burn temperature so that your butter doesn’t burn and ruin your whole dish. While the pan is getting hot salt and pepper your chicken thighs ON BOTH sides, love everyone equally. Place the thighs skin DOWN in the pan – your pan should sizzle – kitchen music. Let the thighs sit there and work there magic DO NOT touch them for 4-5 minutes and by the time you flip them over they should have beautiful brown caramelization. Now, you can finish your chicken in the pan but I through mine in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes because I wanted to finish my sauce by the time the chicken was done and you NEED those pan drippings. Chicken is in the oven. Throw a another pat of butter in the pan you used to cook your chicken and toss in the garlic, onions, and mushrooms. While you are moving everything around you will notice the drippings coming off the bottom of your pan….we want this! Once your onions are translucent add your flour and let it cook for a minute or so and then finally add your fluids: milk and broth. Stir everything together and let your sauce come to a simmer so that it can thicken. I add in the parmesan and lemon juice & zest right before plating so that it stays bright and fresh. I served this with mashed potatoes, then sauce, then chicken placed on top. The side dish pictured is brussel sprouts roasted with balsamic and walnuts.

I hope you enjoy!

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Loco Moco

If you follow my Facebook ….. which hello? It’s me. You will know I LOVE Loco Moco. What is Loco Moco? Loco moco is a meal in the contemporary cuisine of Hawaii. There are many variations, but the traditional loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Thank you, Wiki.

I have been going to Aji Japanese Bistro which is nestled in the El Dorado Hills Town Shopping Center almooooost every weekend, and they make the most amazing Loco Moco. I have a problem. Well, this past weekend I hosted a Cousin Cult Party and decided I would just make my own version! What is Cousin Cult, you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. Mikaela (my cousin & photographer) and I find it very important to spend time with family so we often plan Cousin Cult parties filled with food, cards against humanity, and funny movies. The other night’s theme was Christmas in August as Mikaela and I are holiday freaks! My two brothers came as well, Jacob and Lucas. Pictures below if you dare. Fill your life with memories and food!

Ingredients
1Lb Grass-fed Ground Beef
2 Cups of White Rice (Serving is 4 people) – Cauliflower rice could also be used here, wild rice, brown or whatever you dietary needs
8 Finely Chopped White Mushrooms
2 Cups Beefstock
1TBSP Flour
2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
1TSP Sesame Oil
S&P
Garlic Powder
1TSP Rice Wine Vinegar
Bundle of Green Onions for Garnish
2 Eggs per serving

How To

Always start with your rice because out of all the items we are preparing rice is going to take the longest. Now, I have a rice cooker, but if you do not follow the instructions for the rice you choose to use. I do put the sesame, soy, and vinegar IN the water I am cooking my rice in as it infuses the flavors throughout the entire cooking time so no matter how you choose to cook your rice make sure to put those ingredients in.

Beef Patties – the simplicity of this dish is key so I ONLY use S&P and garlic powder on my little meat patties and fry them in butter until medium rare(once again, any temperature you prefer is fine). Out of the pound of ground beef I made 6 patties about half an inch thick and smooshed down to the size of my palm, and I have little hands. The patties took only 4-5 minutes on each side on high heat for a medium/rare cook. Let them get those crispy bits on their tops.

Gravy – In the pan that we fried the beef in begin your roux – add the butter and then cook the flour and add beef stock. I add the mushrooms last as I like them to have a bit of bite left but you can saute them in beef fat/butter and then make a roux and add stock.

Eggs – Traditionally, the eggs are served fried and medium so the yolk mixes with the gravy and rice…..gurl. Make your eggs the way you like but fried over medium is how they turned out for this recipe.

Assembly – Take your beautiful rice and place on the bottom of a bowl, add your beef patty, gravy, and finally your eggs. I garnish green onions and maybe some hot sauce! I hope you like this dish and are willing to try it!

Enjoy the random pictures of Cousin Cult night and yes, I do eat store bought frozen fries and weird cinnamon rolls out of a cardboard tube…..I am a real person.

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Sweet and Spicy Chili and Beer Cheese Sauce FRIES
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Left to Right: Lucas, Yours Truly, Jake, and then Mikaela as a snowman!
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Kyle isn’t really a cousin but he wore a taco Christmas shirt so we let him in ❤
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Weird Cardboard Cinnamon Roll “Christmas Tree”

Protein Packed Twice Baked Potatoes (Vegetarian)

Protein? Without meat? Krystal, c’mon.

Y’all c’mon. In case you have not noticed a lot less meat is being consumed in my tiny household. A couple months ago I started having an odd aversion to chicken(no, I am not pregnant). I’m very in tune with my body and its cravings and dislikes. When I crave eggs I fry up an egg and eat it. So, when chicken became repulsive and I was still traumatized by seafood – vegetarian became much more dominant in my life, and since Kyle can’t cook his as well. I have been participating in meatless Monday for months now and at least 2 other dishes for any given week are also vegetarian. I have been challenged for new recipes that are unique, tasty, and still have an appropriate amount of protein. I have muscle dystrophy (muscle wasting) I need protein in my diet – it’s not negotiable. On average, I try to stay around 60-75g of protein a day.

Greek Yogurt!

If you have not tried subbing out mayo/sour cream with greek yogurt you are missing out. I swear it is good! AND packed with protein! Now, my secret is to still mix in a tiny amount of sour cream or mayo whichever the recipe called for with the greek yogurt because you will get less of that tang. I promise if you get a good quality greek yogurt and put it in a sauce or dip you may be able to tell the difference but it will not be bad! I used a cup of greek yogurt in these bad boys with just a couple tablespoons of sour cream. Delicious!

I ate these for lunch all week. Each HALF is as follows: 15g protein, 10g fat, 15g carbs.

Ingredients – 4 Servings
2 Large Russet Potatoes
1 Cup Greek Yogurt (I use Fage)
2 TBSP Sour Cream
1 TBSP Butter
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Broccoli – chopped finely
1 Cup Spinach – chopped finely
S&P
Garlic Powder

How To

Line a baking pan with foil. Get your oven set to 450 degrees. Poke holes all around your potatoes and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, take them out coat in olive oil and sea salt and bake in for 20 minutes.
All other ingredients go in a large mixing bowl.
When the potatoes are down let them cool……or don’t like me and burn your fingers off. You’ll want to cut them horizontally and scoop out the filling into your bowl with all the goodies. Give everything a quick mash, stir, and then the filling goes back into the potato skins….add some extra cheese and cook for another 10-15 just so your small broccoli florets cook.

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Healthy, fast, and veggie.

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Crispy Bean Tacos with Avocado Sauce

Sometimes……a lot of times…. I feel like this blog should have been named Wine, Whisk, Bliss, and Tacos. Tacos got kicked out though simply for the rhyming issue.

Our house eats tacos at least once a week. Yes. No shame in our game. Kyle and I have been eating less meat the last few months, well, mainly I just haven’t been cooking a lot of meat products and Kyle is forced to go along with it because he can’t cook. An easy dinner for when you just don’t feel like cooking but don’t want to eat out is always bean burritos. Open some beans, saute some veggies, add a little cheese (or a lot if you’re me) and throw in the oven for 20 minutes or so. Done. Dammit I just gave away a recipe!

We did not have flour tortillas the other night so burritos were out of the question. We did have leftover corn tortillas.

I like crispy tacos. I don’t like mushy tacos. I also do not like mushy avocado. Overly ripe avocado is what you want for this sauce.

Avocado Cream Sauce

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Ingredients 

2 slightly over ripe avocados
Lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Clove Garlic
S&P

Put all these ingredients into a blender and blend away! I have made this before by substituting the sour cream with salsa verde and it is equally delicious and vegan.

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Crispy Bean Tacos

Ingredients


Refried Beans
Shredded Cheese (we are a Tilamook house)
Red Bell Pepper (sliced)
Red Onion (sliced)
Corn Tortillas
Avocado Oil

Slightly coat your pan with avocado oil you don’t want to deep fry these. Put beans, cheese, bell pepper, and red onion on one half of the tortilla, fold over, and then place in pan. Cook on each side until crispyness has been achieved.

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Serve with some salsa, hot sauce, and of course your avocado sauce.

This is a healthy poor girls meal. Tacos can use up leftover veggies very easily and they are tacos so everyone HAS to love them!

 

Cauliflower Chowder with Crispy Chickpeas

Well, California is currently becoming one with the sea. For years I have been mocked as the unnecessary worrier constantly riddled with anxiety when storms come knocking.

-“We live in California, Krystal we don’t have storms”.

Well, California just pulled some Noah’s Ark bullshit up in here this week. Six days of rain and looking like we may end on the eighth. As always when the end is approaching and my home is about to break into a free floating island I prepare. I went to Barnes & Noble, spent entirely too much money on books to read during the apocalypse, bought yarn so I could crochet myself clothes upon the end of civilization, and made cauliflower chowder. Ready.

My cauliflower chowder is not labeled as healthy, gluten free or any of that crap. The end is near I am damn well eating butter.

Let’s go!

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Ingredients

-3 Heads of Cauliflower – roasted (This step is VERY important, in fact the most important part of the recipe, if you find yourself too lazy to roast the cauliflower save it for another day because you’ve already ruined it.)
-4 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
-3 Cloves of Garlic
-1 Yellow Onion
-3 Carrots (peeled)
-3 Stalks of Celery
-3 Cups of Chicken Stock
-1 Cup Half & Half
-3 Tablespoons Butter
-Green Onion
-1 Can of Chickpeas
-3 Tablespoons Avocado/Olive Oil

Recipe

Roast all 3 heads of cauliflower roughly chopped with some love (oil, salt, & pepper) at 400 degrees. I like mine very tan so I keep them in there about 25 minutes.

In a stock pot put diced carrot, celery, potatoes, butter, and oil. You will want these all to be diced roughly the same size for even cooking. Once the potatoes are cooked and onions translucent add the garlic.

Chickpeas! Do not knock it til you try it.
Strain your chickpeas, rinse, and completely dry! Put on a baking sheet with some avocado oil, garlic and chipotle powder, salt and pepper. 450 degree oven 15 minutes later garnish and healthy snack. I eat these all day long.

Now, I have an immersion blender. Yet, I was too lazy to get it down. So, once your veggies in the stock pot are cooked throw them in a blender, add some chicken stock, and blend til the mixture is creamy. Repeat the routine with your cauliflower. Then, throw everything (cauliflower included) into your stock pot, and season, and TASTE. I added salt, pepper, red chili flakes, some Italian seasoning, chipotle powder, garlic powder, and a bay leaf. Feel free to get creative and add whatever may suit your fancy. The chowder is technically done other than adding half & half, but all things are better with time. I let mine simmer for about 2 hours before adding the half & half.

I like cauliflower chowder better than potato soup because there is some texture. This is not a cauliflower soup you can sit on the blender for 10 hours with because of the potatoes, they will release too much starch upon over working them and you will have glue. Trust me I have done it before when Kyle had teeth pulled. Thank you jesus for Vicodin sucker didn’t even notice.

Trust and believe – make this!

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Vegan Potstickers

I am only posting these because they were not as much of an epic fail as I predicted. I have wanted to make potstickers for sometime, foolishly as I know they are $10 for a bag of 1,000. Yet, I had to try, because I am stupid.

I get to blame my husband for not buying mushrooms for these delicacies as they were the only ingredient I desperately needed. Kyle did earn points with his potsticker folding skills as they were superior to my own. Figures, the Irish guy can pinch potsticker dough.

Add mushrooms to your recipe.

Ingredients

Wonton Wrappers (you get a million in 1 package)
1 Head of Purple Cabbage thinly sliced
1 Carrot thinly sliced
Bean Sprouts (as many as you like)
1 bunch of green onion
MUSHROOMS
1/2 Jalapeno
1/4 Red Onion
1 clove of garlic
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce
Sugar
Red Chili Flakes
Siracha
Avocado Oil

Instructions

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Slice, dice, and chop all your veggies then add them to a pan with avocado oil. The veggies only need to cook for about 5 minutes as you want them to still have crunch left.

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After my veggies cooked down I did realize they were too large for the wrappers so upon cooling I did chop the filling down to more manageable size pieces. Learn from my mistakes. Also, seriously wait til the filling is cool.

Once your filling is room temperature OR cooler begin filling the wrappers. 1 outer edge of the wrapper needs to be moistened with water so that after filling it can be “glued” together with the other side. I was awful at this. I could not get the classic pinch right, my nails kept breaking through the dough, and as always I tried to stuff my wrappers with too much goodness. Somehow Kyle made decent looking potstickers. We like our potstickers cripsy and not boiled. I place the potstickers in a pan with some avocado oil, crisped them up and placed about 4 tablespoons of water in the pan and covered.

Even though I missed my mushrooms terribly these were in fact delicious. I made a simple sauce of soy, sesame oil, siracha, rice wine vinegar, green onion, and red chili flakes for dipping. Potstickers/dumplings have endless possibilities, and I may or may not be making these again as it is pretty darn tempting to have them ready to go in my freezer. These were way better homemade, though.

Battle of the Boxes: Blue Apron vs Plated

If you have not heard of Blue Apron or Plated continue enjoying life living under a rock. Please do not let this blog disturb you as I am sure it is quite peaceful under the shelter of a boulder.

Blue Apron and Plated pop up all over my emails, Facebook, and Instagram on the daily. I’ve never followed either service until we decided to make the two brands duke it out, and so I am assuming the Internet is reading this blog and chooses to advertise food to me. “Hey all you post about is food – here is a box full of it, fatty!” -Internet. So, the idea was born for competitions between meal delivery services.

Blue Apron and Plated are the most advertised and in my humble opinion the most popular for meal delivery make it yourself fancy culinary grade service. Too many adjectives? Both companies are about equally priced, seem to have a similar style in meals, but Blue Apron demolishes in the world of marketing. I can guarantee 9/10 people have heard of Blue Apron, but maybe only half of those people know of Plated. I wanted to change that. I wanted to see who was really better. I was joined by my friend, Rayann on this adventure, and then the idea to include husbands came about. Plated and Blue Apron advertise they provide all ingredients for culinary grade meals with detailed instructions to make the process of cooking a breeze. Well, neither of our husbands can make scrambled eggs. So, we shall see.

This is a full and detailed review of both subscriptions.

Step 1: Ordering

Ordering was not challenging. These are subscription boxes and so upon signing up you will be placed on a monthly order, BUT this is very easy to opt out of once your first box ships if you are just trying the service for the first time. Websites/Apps were user friendly. Blue Apron’s site and app seemed to be more fluid which was not too much of a shock. The only mention in the negative realm for both services was that they are advertised as you (the customer) being able to pick your meals exactly upon signing up or every month, but this is not particularly the case. Instead, both companies give you a list of meat preferences(they also have you notate any allergies & have vegetarian options) and unless you go into your account, view the menu and elect to change the recipes in time you’re stuck with what they send you. I ordered both recipes on a Friday night, went to elect changes the following afternoon (not even a full 24 hours passed) and could only change for Plated because Blue Apron said the order had already been processed.

Step 2: Delivery

Deliveries arrived intact. One of the boys did want us to notate that Blue Apron had a fancier box with a close-able lid. Also, if you choose to order two subscriptions at once do not have food in your fridge if you live in an apartment, because you need to learn from our mistakes.

Step 3: Unboxing

Plated

3 Recipes – 2 Servings – $72 per week
$24 per day
$12 per person/serving

Long Life Noodles with Mushrooms and Soy-Sesame Sauce
Vegetarian


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All ingredients arrived intact and packaged.

Korean Beef Tacos with Bell Peppers, Gochujang, and Kimchi

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Seared Steak with Sunchoke Hash and Red Pepper Aioli

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All ingredients arrived intact and packaged.

Blue Apron

3 Recipes – 2 Serving – $59.94 per week
$19.98 per day
$9.99 per person/serving

Carmelized Onion & Kale Quiches with Frisee & Pear Salad
Vegetarian

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All ingredients arrived intact and packaged.

Spiced Pork Burgers with Pickled Beets and Cone Cabbage Slaw

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Cone Cabbage did not come wrapped, but rather just placed in box unprotected.

Pan Seared Chicken with Roasted Honeynut Squash and Apple

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Apple was clearly bruised, and squash was unprotected as well, and left at bottom of box so one whole side rested on the ice packs causing freezer burn on one side of the squash.

Step 4: Quality of Ingredients/Packaging

I would really like to know where Blue Apron finds such miniature vegetables and fruits? Seriously, they are adorable and somewhat strange all at the same time. Due to a few of our items arriving bruised, freezer burned or just rolling around in the box quality and packaging has to go to Plated.
The one thing I felt was missing from both boxes was acknowledgment of local or used vendors. Both boxes stated grain free meats, no antibiotics, and then a few items used (honey, for example) had brand packaging but no mention of the brand nor of the farm the meat products came from. I feel both boxes are really missing a strategic move here. I like to know where my food comes from, and even more so if it is miniature sized.

Step 5: Cooking

Plated

Long Life Noodles with Mushrooms and Soy-Sesame Sauce

Plated instructions are very simple to follow and they go in order and do not try to have the cook multitasking too many tasks at one given time. This recipe did say to salt and pepper the mushrooms/leeks while they were cooking but later in the recipe we would be adding quite a bit of soy sauce so I opted out of S&P, but a person that does not cook may not know that. I feared the food would be far too salty upon adding the soy sauce in entirety as instructed. Plated tends to stay in the world of comfort food but with a twist of ingredients not often used by common cooks. I rarely use leeks or wild mushrooms and I cook A LOT.

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Easy to make? Yes
Worth $12 a plate? Yes

Korean Beef Tacos with Bell Peppers, Gochujang, and Kimchi

Recipe was extremely easy to follow. I believe this by far was everyone’s favorite meal of the night. Can you really beat tacos? Really? Once again, a comfort and classic but with a twist. I am not afraid to admit that no one in the household had ever had Gochujang (almost a sweeter sriracha) and it was absolutely amazing. The bell pepper and onion are marinated in this mixture but then mixed in with cooked ground beef so the sauce is dispersed throughout the meal. Every single thing was on point with this meal, AND 3 tacos per person is more than enough. We had 4 people try one taco each and still had plenty of filler mixture left as well as Kimchi.

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Easy to make? Yes
Worth $12 a plate? Yes, absolutely 1000 times yes

Seared Steak with Sunchoke Hash and Red Pepper Aioli

This meal was cooked by Bradley(Rayann’s husband), and there were no “during” pictures as we took video of the men attempting to cook. Bradley was unfamiliar with the ingredient sunchoke and felt kale is the worst food on the planet, but overall he did fairly well. The aioli frustrated him the most as the instructions did state “whisk till smooth” but the task would have been impossible without a blender or food processor (which the instructions also state you may use). The steak was incredible and very high quality. We are hoping to have the video live shortly after this review…..it is far more interesting than this post.

IMG_2808.jpgI was instructed to notate that Bradley was unaware aesthetics of plating were important.

Easy to make? Medium
Worth $12 a plate? For the steak alone, yes

Blue Apron

Carmelized Onion & Kale Quiches with Frisee & Pear Salad

Let me just say that these quiches were good, BUT they are quiches. This was the meal I was most disappointed in. Reason one is because it is quiche. Quiche is quite possibly one of the easiest dishes to make AND master all in the same day so immediately upon opening I was bored. Reason two you only receive two eggs, and yes that means one egg per person. I added an extra egg to one quiche and left the other with the solo egg that belonged to it (pictures below of the difference). I do not feel this would fill someone up even with the little micro nutrient salad to accompany it, and it is QUICHE. I have seen a million recipes just like this one all of Pinterest.

Quiche using only one egg as instructed.

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My quiche using two eggs. I am not bitter. I promise.

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They both puffed up fairly well for the end result but I think we can tell who is 1 egg and who is 2.

Easy to make? Child’s play
Worth $9.99 a plate? Considering I can buy 2 dozens local eggs for that price, no.

Spiced Pork Burgers with Pickled Beets and Cone Cabbage Slaw

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These burgers were unique and have convinced me that switching out a pickle for a beet on occasion would not be the worst. The box came with a little baggy filled with spices for the pork. Pork needs lots of seasoning, and salt, and this little baggy did not do the trick. The flavor was just lacking. Due to the fact that we were not told where the pork was supplied from we cooked it to well, and not medium as the 4-5 per side time allotted. We put the side coleslaw on the burgers because they needed some crunch and sauce, the mayo, mustard and goat cheese blend for spread was not enough for two burgers. Overall these were tasty. Did they knock me on my feet? No, but I’d let them take me out again if they paid for dinner.

Easy to make? Definitely
Worth $9.99 a plate? Yes

Pan Seared Chicken with Roasted Honeynut Squash and Apple

This was the meal Kyle cooked on his own (my husband). He feels the meal was tasty and the instructions were easy to follow. The apple became mushy (possibly as it was bruised) but he is not the biggest fan of fruit with savory items so he may be biased or rude. This meal was outside the box for our household as we do not eat a lot of squash or baked apples.I enjoyed that sage was used since I generally only use it with whole roasted chickens, and never thought to incorporate into sauce. Overall it was challenging enough for Kyle to keep us all entertained but delivered a delicious meal for even the culinary lacking as Blue Apron promised. This is a meal I would make again for a dinner party. It is an impressive meal without all the blood sweat and tears.

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Easy to make? Medium
Worth $9.99 a plate? Yes

Final Thoughts

Will we be ordering again? I think both subscriptions would be amazing for hosting a dinner party (both boxes have options for servings up to 6). For ourselves? We would order Plated again, and it may surprise some as it is the more expensive subscription but it really nailed the comfort food/slightly different aspect. We all enjoyed the familiar dishes but with unique ingredients, and all had a new ingredient we had not previously thought to use. The leeks in the noodles, Gochujang with tacos, and sunchokes with the amazing steak all ingredients that made all 4 of us change our mindset. Blue Apron is the less expensive subscription and they do now have the ability to add bottles of wine to your order, and you know I am all over that. Blue Apron just had a small step down in the category of creativity compared to Plated. Personally I would also order Plated as strictly vegetarian on my second order as I think they would deliver on some really unique and delicious recipes (I am not bitter about the quiche). I read an article the other day about how Blue Apron can reduce someone’s grocery bill, and I am not sure I can agree with that. Kyle and I eat quality meat and vegetables, and spend an average of $100 a week on groceries, but if I used Blue Apron $59.94 I would only have $40 left to provide breakfast, lunches, and 4 additional meals.I do think getting a box for a fun dinner party OR a holiday would in fact be cheaper than buying all necessities individually from the grocery store. Maybe that can be yet another challenge? Rayann and I plan to continue the Battle of the Boxes series with other subscription meal boxes (Hello Fresh, Martha Stewart, the list goes on and on).

I encourage you to try both subscriptions if you have been on the fence. Blue Apron and Plated delivered on unique and tasty dishes for a fair price (you get a discount for your first month from both boxes). Cook the meals with a friend or your spouse as it can definitely be an amusing activity. Overall, it would be a fun week filled with food and eating outside the box. Get it?