After my husband and I were married almost seven years ago, we discovered that we really enjoyed cooking with each other. Not only did we enjoy cooking, we loved trying new recipes. I recall a grocery store clerk once asking us if we were having a fancy party, because we needed four different types of block cheeses for one recipe. Over the years, our budget grew much tighter, and we had to really cut down on our exploratory cooking adventures. Once we became parents, we narrowed it down to a few simple meals that were quik to make and cost effective, and kissed tryology goodbye.
It wasn't until I discovered Blue Apron, a unique company that encourages home cooks to get into the kitchen, that I realized we could learn to try new things and cook together again. Blue Apron sends fresh ingredients and recipe instructions for an entire meal, directly to your door, starting at $9.95 per person, per meal. With their convenient delivery dates, which you can choose, Blue Apron offers free delivery to most parts of the country. The name Blue Apron is also significant, as they were originally worn by apprentice chefs in France. To this day, the blue apron still symbolizes lifelong learning in cooking.
I was so excited for the opportunity to work with Blue Apron, and give one of their boxes a try. I selected a meat/fish menu (you can also choose a vegetarian menu), but really had no idea what we would be sent. I knew that it would be a delicious surprise, either way.
And here's that snazzy Blue Apron logo on the box.
When I opened the box, I found a letter and three large recipe pages.
I peeled back the top layer of the packaging, which was keeping the fresh ingredients cold to find all sorts of interesting ingredients. I hadn't yet looked at the recipe cards, so I was really intrigued by these items, and curious as to what we would be making.
Looks like romaine lettuce and fresh herbs on top...
All of the meats were on ice- bratwurst, salmon and chicken.
The mystery bag!
The bag of Knick Knacks was pretty cool. I suggest opening it right away, and going through everything in the bag, because mine had a cup of mayonaise, which needed to remain refrigerated, as well as whole grain mustard. The bag contained pre-measured spices, oils, vinegar, as well as a few other key ingredients we would need for cooking up these new recipes, that I might not already have on hand. I thought it was really cool that they gave you just the right amount of all of these ingredients, epecially because some of them are hard to find, or are a bit more expensive than what you might buy everyday.
Ready to try our first meal from Blue Apron, so here are the ingredients we need, all laid out.
Our first meal from Blue Apron was a Salmon Caesar Salad. My husband and I both love Caesar salad, and would really have loved this more, if it had been chicken as the protein, because we generally do not eat seafood. However, my mom loves seafood, and didn't mind being our guinea pig for testing this recipe!
We laid out all of the ingredients: garlic, lemon, romaine, Parmesan cheese, the salmon fillets, the bread, etc., grabbed our recipe card, and we were ready to cook!
The Salmon Caesar Salad recipe card...
I love the recipe cards from Blue Apron. On the front of the card, they tell you what you'll be making, list the ingredients and measurements, and then begin to give you step by step instructions, with colorful photos! This is so wonderful for anyone (like me) who is a visual learner. I sometimes screw up recipes, because I get way too ahead of myself, and this breaks it up into steps/sections, plus, the photos helped me stay on track and gave me reassurance that I was doing everything correctly.
The salmon, enough for two servings, looked beautiful and very fesh.
The romaine, also beautiful, crisp and fresh!
Here's our little helper, Chef B, tearing the lettuce for the salad.
A small Boule bread was included to make homemade croutons out of it!
We tore the bread, spread it on a baking sheet, sprayed with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and baked until golden brown. Voila!- homemade croutons!
While the croutons were browning in the oven, my mom cooked the salmon. It smelled very non-fishy, and I knew she was excited to try it. We made a homemade dressing from the garlic, lemon and some of the other ingredients from the Knick Knack Bag! When salmon was cooked, we threw the salad together and sprinkled the croutons over it, then laid the pieces of salmon on top of it. It looked delicious- even to me! My mom said it tasted fabulous, and she would definitely be holding onto the recipe card and making this again!
Beautiful Salmon Caesar Salad
Up next, we had a traditional German meal: Bratwurst with red cabbage and potatoes. My husband was pretty willing to try this recipe, sans the cabbage, which he cannot eat.
Here's our recipe card and ingredients all laid out...
Detailed instructions, which I needed, because I had never cooked cabbage before.
I sliced up the cabbage, and sort of munched on it raw, because I like it that way.
I also peeled, diced and boiled one large potato.
After the potatoes were boiled, they went onto a baking sheet, sprayed with grapeseed oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and baked at 500 degrees for twenty-three minutes.
While the potatoes baked, I made a caramel sauce for the cabbage.
I added the cabbage to a large pot with the caramel sauce...
...and then sprinkled in the Winter Spice Mix.
The cabbage cooked down for several minutes...
...and hubby cooked the brats while I watched the cabbage and potatoes.
This meal took very little prep time. Most of the cooking time went for the potatoes, baking in the oven. The cabbage was pretty tasty, and I think I may have liked it a little better without the winter spice, which had a lot of nutmeg and cinnamon in it (I am not a big fan of either of those spices). Still, I wanted to try it with the winter spice. I'm not someone who says they don't like something before they've even tried it.
The brats were quite different than the ones we're used to purchasing in the grocery store. These had different blends of meats, like veal in them. They were very smooth, both in texture and taste. The potatoes were crispy on the outside, and nice and fluffy on the inside. Boiling them before baking made them extra delicious. I shared what was left of the red cabbage with my parents, and they said it was quite yummy!
Our yummy winter meal of cabbage, bratwurst and potatoes was a hit!
Last, but not least, was the recipe I was most eager to try- Chicken Pad Thai. It was sort of funny that this recipe was in our box, because just days earlier, I watched a Martha Stewart program, where she made homemade pad Thai. I thought that we ought to try making it at home, and here we are... making our own pad Thai!
Lots of yummy ingredients for the Chicken pad Thai...
...and our recipe card, which was very helpful, since we'd never made pad Thai before.
We boiled the rice noodles for a few minutes, and then immediately rinsed them with cold water, to stop the cooking process.
I prepped the garlic and tatsoi...
...and mixed up the peanut sauce.
Sacha cooked the chicken in a skillet...
Once the chicken was cooked through, we removed it from the pan, and added the tatsoi, cooking it for 2-3 minutes.
The next step was to add the noodles and the peanut sauce, and fold them together.
While everything melded together in the skillet, I was becomming very hungry. Everything smelled so delicious, and I couldn't wait to taste it all. I'd never has tatsoi, so I was really eager to try that. This was a visually stunning dish, even still in the skillet. The skillet worked well enough, but makin this dish really made us wish that we had a wok.
Everything coming together in the skillet...
The last step was to add the chicken back to the skillet, and gently mix together.
Just a quick note- the rice noodles break apart much more easily than pasta, so you have to be very gentle with them. Do not stir them- they will break, and no one wants mushy, broken ride noodles in their Pad Thai.
We plated our Pad Thai- hubby opted not to have the tatsoi on his plate, which meant more for me.
Beautiful! Homemade Chicken Pad Thai was a huge success!
Sacha and I both really enjoyed the chicken pad Thai, and agreed that it was our favorite recipe that we wound up making from the Blue Apron box. We definitely want to have it again! The rice noodles were so yummy in the peanut sauce, and there was a little kick to the dish from the spices. I thought the tatsoi and cilantro really added depth to the dish, and made it taste just plain delicious! The chicken was so good, and if I hadn't been so completely stuffed after eating this, I would have gone back for seconds.
All of the recipes that are sent out by Blue Apron are original recipes, and hats off to them and their chefs for being so creative and diverse with their meals! The step by step recipe cards are super easy to follow, and though there is a bit of prep work involved, these recipes only take about thirty minutes to make and are unique, restaurant quality meals that you can make in your own kitchen.
Check out some of these other great recipes by Blue Apron...
Beef Ramen Noodle Soup
Mexican Chicken Mole
This is just a small sampling of recipes and ingredients sent out in boxes by Blue Apron! Imagine all of the yummy dinners you can make for yourself, you and your spouse or partner, or your family! I think this is ideal for single folks, who have trouble knowing how or what to cook for just one person. This is also a special treat for couples, who may want to heat things up by getting into the kitchen together and experiencing new foods/recipes.
Blue Apron has been buzzing about in the media lately, and has been featured in The New York Post, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and many more! We were very fortunate to be able to give Blue Apron a try, and definitely recommend it to anyone who wants fresh, healthy meals, wants to try new foods, or is looking for convenience in their busy schedule, but still wants to put a fresh meal on the table for their family! You can even give Blue Apron as a gift!
Want It? Buy It!
Head on over to Blue Apron to learn more about their service, and to order a box of your own! You can also connect with Blue Apron through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, the Blue Apron Blog, as well as sign up for their newsletter. You can also view their online cookbook, filled with recipe cards- including step by step instructions and photos!
Want It? Win It!
Blue Apron is offering MBP readers the chance to win one box (three meals for two!) to ONE winner who's in the Blue Apron delivery zone (http://www.blueapron.com/assets/learn-more/blue-apron-ship-zones.jpg). Please be sure to check that you are in the Blue Apron delivery zone before entering. Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older. Just use the easy peasy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win!
Special thanks to Cara and the Blue Apron team for allowing us to try and experience/share about Blue Apron, and for offering this awesome giveaway for our readers!