Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Let's Get Cookin' with Blue Apron Fresh Ingredients & Recipes: #Review + #Giveaway


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.

Blue Apron

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.

Here's our big box from Blue Apron, which was delivered to our home, and left right on our porch.




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...

Eggplant Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce & Fresh Spinach Noodles
Eggplant Lasagna

Beef Ramen Noodle Soup with Choy Sum and Enoki Mushrooms
Beef Ramen Noodle Soup

Mexican Chicken Mole with Lime-Cilantro Rice
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!

Good luck!

My MBP Signature


83 comments:

  1. You're the second person who has great things to say about Blue Apron. I think I 'll try it too!

    Connecting today via SITS Comment Love. Happy Blogging!

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  2. What an amazing service! I love how it takes the work out of things. I wonder if they deliver to Canada...

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  3. This looks great - I love the picture recipe cards AND that they give you everything you need for the recipes. I actually don't mind the cooking -too often, it's the grocery shopping I don't like! Looks like a winner! I'm going to check and see if they're in my area! Thanks for the tip.
    xo ~kim & chloe @ popcosmo.com

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  4. Wow - this is really cool! I just followed Blue Apron everywhere. I had not heard of them before, but we are always looking for convenience. Our schedule during the week is always hectic, but I love to cook. I'm entering because we are in a Blue Apron shipping area!

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  5. I like that the ingredients are fresher than buying them from the supermarket. Seems like a really neat idea.

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  6. interesting idea. I would love to get our groceries at the door and not have to fight the crowds and kids.

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  7. This would be such a fun date night each month too! All the ingredients & you can get cooking together and learn new things. I'll have to enter and check this out!

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  8. This is awesome! I love the part where the send you the spices! Sometimes I buy a specific spice for a lot of $$ and only use it once or twice =/

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  9. OH wow! I've never heard of Blue Apron! I'm going to have to check this out, because that is an AWESOME idea!

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  10. I like the easy preparation times.
    wanda72 (at) aol (dot) com

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  11. I like the freshness of the ingredients and the step-by-step instructions with pictures. I am ordering one for a friend's birthday.

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  12. The Eggplant Lasagna looks like the recipe I would most like to try.

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  13. I like that its convenient...everything is delivered and ready to go...saves time for busy moms like myself :)

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  14. I love that all the FRESH ingredients are delivered right to my home. No more running to the store, figuring out what to make, looking through recipes, etc. The convenience is fantastic!

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  15. I'd love to try the Stir-Fried Chicken Pad Thai

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  16. I love it arrives with all the ingrediants. What a great way to try new recipes.

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  17. I'd like to try the Taleggio & Olive Tapenade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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  18. I like that they offer free and convenient delivery to most of the country.

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  19. The French Onion soup in a sourdough bread bowl looked great!

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  20. I'd try the Mexican Chicken Mole

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  21. I love that it delivers to the door and everything is ready to put together. I hate shopping at grocery stores.

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  22. I like that the ingredients come from farms, importers and family-run purveyors. The Pad Thai sounds SOOOO good.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  23. I want to try the PAD THAI!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  24. I shared on Facebook 2/16
    https://www.facebook.com/MsCarolsueA/posts/644183698972128?stream_ref=10
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  25. I pinned
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/138204282289152230/
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  26. I like that they send the recipes on cards and the meals are easily prepared in a short period of time.

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  27. The Pan seared Talapia would be good.

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  28. I shared on Facebook again
    https://www.facebook.com/MsCarolsueA/posts/644618368928661?stream_ref=10
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  29. I pinned again
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/138204282289159363/
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  30. I'd like to try the Mexican Chicken Mole
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  31. Nopales Tempura Tacos
    with Chipotle Vegetables & Cotija Cheese looks good

    joe gersch joebissy@mail.com

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  32. id also love to try the Melted Leeks over Millet
    with Old Bay Potatoes joe gersch joebissy@mail.com

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  33. Shared on Facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/MsCarolsueA/posts/645115858878912?stream_ref=10
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  34. Pinned
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/138204282289165848/
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  35. I also want to try the Chicken Potstickers
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  36. I like that you don't need to spend time in the grocery store trying to find new ingredients.

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  37. great recipes delivered to my home! I am stuck in the same dinner every week rut...

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  38. I would also like to try the roasted spaghetti squash
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  39. shared fb https://www.facebook.com/john.mains.9/posts/497918956986266?stream_ref=10 joe gersch joebissy@mail.com

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  40. i would love to try the Salmon Caesar Salad

    joe gersch joebissy@mail.com

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  41. We live in VERY rural area. Getting salmon that isn't in a can, real bratwurst, and romaine that isn't wilted would be a true delight.

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  42. The Chicken Potstickers
    with Baby Tatsoi sounds wonderful.

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    Replies
    1. Yipperbear = Judy Gregory

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  43. I like that they use fresh ingredients and deliver right to your door.

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  44. I would like to try the Beef Ramen Noodle Soup, Stir Fried Chicken Pad Tai and the Chorizo Toastata to name a few.

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  45. I love how everything you need is sent to you. So easy!

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  46. I'd love to try the Vietnamese Bun Cha. I love Vietnamese food but never thought I'd be able to cook it myself!

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  47. Shared on FB
    https://www.facebook.com/MsCarolsueA/posts/645932985463866?stream_ref=10

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  48. Shared on Pinterest
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/138204282289179644/
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  49. As a single mom, I dont have a ton of time to meal plan/shop so this sounds like a great idea for quick, easy meals!

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  50. Would like to try the Butternut squash mac and cheese.

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  51. I'd love to try the Chicken Potstickers

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  52. I'd love to try Nopales Tempura Tacos
    with Chipotle Vegetables & Cotija Cheese.

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  53. I also would like to try the Thai Shrimp Soup.

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  54. I would also like to try the French Onion Soup
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  55. pin http://www.pinterest.com/jtwark1/blue-apron/

    joe gersch

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  56. id like the New Orleans-Style Shrimp Etoufe

    joe gersch

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  57. Mexican Chicken Mole
    with Lime-Cilantro Rice sounds great.

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  58. cod coconut curry with baby bok choy and yukon gold potatoes

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  59. i like the Taleggio & Olive Tapenade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    joe gersch

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  60. I'd like to try the Pan Seared Chicken
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  61. Shared on Facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/MsCarolsueA/posts/646842382039593?stream_ref=10
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    ReplyDelete
  62. The Eggplant Lasagna
    with Bechamel Sauce & Fresh Spinach Noodles sounds great.

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  63. The Coconut-Poached Tofu with Lemongrass and Red Curry sounds delicious!

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  64. Shared on FB
    https://www.facebook.com/MsCarolsueA/posts/647300261993805?stream_ref=10
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  65. I'd liketo try the Chicken Supremes & Broccolini
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  66. Tuscan Ribollita Soup
    with Soft-Boiled Farm Eggs & Lacinato Kale sounds wonderful.

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  67. i would love to try the Short Rib Burgers on a Pretzel Bun

    JOE GERSCH

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  68. Shared on FB
    https://www.facebook.com/MsCarolsueA/posts/647739805283184?stream_ref=10
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    ReplyDelete
  69. I'd like to try the Mushroom Stroganoff
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  70. Pinned
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/138204282289208115/
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    ReplyDelete
  71. I'd love to try the Stir-Fried Chicken Pad Thai

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  72. Short Rib Burgers on Pretezel Buns
    with Hoppy Cheddar Sauce & Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds sounds grest.

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  73. The beef Ramon noodle soup looks so good

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  74. I would love to try the Short Rib Burgers on Pretzel Buns!

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  75. Yum, the Latin-Spiced Shrimp in Butter Lettuce Cups sound amazing!

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  76. I'd like to try the Mushroom Stroganoff
    with Brussels Sprouts & Fresh Egg Pappardelle.

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  77. I'd like the tofu Bahn mi
    Jo gersch

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