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Pickles Loves Pickled Grapes: Favorite Blue Apron Repeat Recipe.

September 5th, 2016 No comments

Pickling Grapes

Have you ever tried Pickled Grapes?  I hadn’t until last year and will now eat them forever.  I buy Grapes more often because of it.  Pickled Grapes are amazing, especially when served with Fish over a Summer Succotash, pictured below — It’s our favorite Blue Apron meal that I’ve made several times.  The original recipe used Cod, which is fine, but I’ve since used Salmon and Yellowtail at different times.  This dish is extremely flavorful with much attributed to the Pickled Grapes.

Favorite Blue Apron Meal

A little White Wine Vinegar (2 T.), Sugar (1 T.), and a big pinch of Salt do a lot to elevate Grapes (at least 2 oz.), to a refreshing gourmet topping, side or special ingredient in another dish. Simply combine cut Grapes with all ingredients, let marinate for at least 10 minutes and see what we’re saying.  Yum!  Pickling is a beautiful thing, I’ve discovered.  And my husband happens to call me Pickles.  It’s just meant to be.  Consult Blue Apron for more about recipe #227.  We love it too.

Hello Fresh Meal Delivery: A Comparison to Blue Apron And Plated.

July 18th, 2016 No comments

Hello Fresh Test

Well… Hellooooooo Fresh.  It’s finally your turn — Nice to try you.  It’s hard to give-up Blue Apron, but I’m ready.   Temporarily that is.  We previously tried and reported about Plated, another meal (recipe + fresh ingredients) delivery company.  It’s my plan to try most, if not all of the popular meal delivery companies and here we try and compare Hello Fresh to Blue Apron and Plated.

Box from Hello Fresh

The Hello Fresh ingredients and recipe cards arrive in a large box that lists the enclosed meal’s nutrition facts on its side — A nice feature not included on the Blue Apron and Plated boxes.

Hello Fresh Menu

All ingredients were well packed and arrived fresh.

Leon and Hello Fresh

In fact, each meal is packaged individually in nice windowed white boxes.  It’s different than Blue Apron and Plated — The recipe ingredients are contained and sealed together in the large box.

Hello Fresh Packaging

The smaller boxes are impressive, but unnecessary — Hello Fresh can save on this packaging.

Hello Fresh Ingredients

The proteins arrive under blocks of ice, as like the others, and all was perfectly fresh.

Hello Fresh Meat

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are smaller than all others I’ve used, including the recipe cards from Chef’d, soon to be reviewed here on Nibbles of Tidbits — Check back for that comparison.

Hello Fresh Recipe

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are harder to read than the others — The card and photo are smaller, thus appear less detailed.  The Blue Apron recipe cards are more user-friendly than those printed for Hello Fresh and Plated.  Blue Apron includes a photo of the chopped ingredients and the others do not.  I had no trouble following the Hello Fresh recipe cards, but Blue Apron’s are better.

Hello Fresh Meal

Taste and the recipes — I made Jamie’s Roasted Chicken with Lemony Bombay Potatoes (above) and Spring Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto with Meyer Lemon (below).

Hello Fresh Shrimp Dish

I’m not sure why my Shrimp Risotto (below) looked albino compared to its photo (above).

Hello Fresh Risotto

Dukkah-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Snap Peas and Citrus Sour Cream (below). I liked it best from our first box.  Not pictured, we also tried three Hello Fresh vegetarian meals. Since I forgot to deselect upcoming meals, I received a second Hello Fresh box in the mail. Related to that, the Hello Fresh web interface could use improvement.  It’s not as easy to view and/or cancel future meals as it is on the Blue Apron and Plated websites.  I had switched from the Hello Fresh ‘Classic Box’ to the ‘Veggie Box’ subscription on their website, because it’s a better value.

Hello Fresh Chicken Dish

Hello Fresh costs approximately $10 more for a Classic Box (three meals w/meat) = $70.  Three meals w/meat from Blue Apron costs the same as three vegetarian meals from Hello Fresh = $60. Aside from cost, we agree that Blue Apron meals are more flavorful and sophisticated overall. And since they do cost less, they’re a better deal all around.  I keep the Hello Fresh and Plated subscriptions open in case there’s a meal I can’t refuse, but need to manage them better so not to receive meals from all companies in the same week.  Each offers potential for a great meal.

Plated (Recipe + Ingredients) Delivered: A Comparison to Blue Apron.

April 22nd, 2016 No comments

Plated Fish

It’s official — I’ve prepared 100+ Blue Apron recipes.  My husband counted them.  After two-hundred plus total dishes, I decided it was time to try a few other meal delivery companies.  At least three to start… Plated, Hello Fresh and Chef’d.  It’s not because we don’t like Blue Apron.  We love them.  I’m now curious how others’ dishes compare.  Are they as flavorful and international?

Plated Box

The Plated Report — Plated’s box was huge and all was packed within a thick insulation that looked like it should be recycled in the garden.  Different than Blue Apron, but it kept all cold and fresh.

Plated Dessert

One of the BEST things about Plated is they offer Dessert.  Blue Apron currently does not.

Plated Recipe Cards

Dessert (recipe and ingredients) costs about $8 more, over Plated’s meal plan — Most comparable to our Blue Apron Meal Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), Plated offers (2 Meals for 2 People = $48 + $6 for shipping = $54).  Shipping is free with $50+ purchases.  I thus added one of Plated’s weekly Desserts to try and to qualify for free shipping.  $56 was our total for 2 Meals and 1 Dessert for 2 People from Plated.  Leon thought all looked good upon arrival (below).  I did too.

Leon and Plated

Plated’s recipes were well written and somewhat unique, like those offered by Blue Apron.  The pictured Plated meals were good, but none knocked our socks off, like many Blue Apron meals have. We also missed the third meal offered by Blue Apron.  Apples to Apples, the same Blue Apron Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), costs $72 at Plated.  I wouldn’t mind future meals from Plated, but I prefer to save money.  Plated is good, but they charge more for the same comparison of food.

Plated Soup

I prepared Plated’s Pan-Roasted Redfish with Baby Kale Risotto (top), Cheese Tortellini with Basil and Spinach in Tomato Soup (above) and Caramelized Pear Shortcakes with Whipped Cream (below).  We liked the Pan-Roasted Redfish the best and the other two recipes were just average.  Plated’s recipe cards are nice and large, but not as glossy as Blue Apron’s.

Plated Shortcakes

The Caramelized Pear Shortcakes aka Biscuits were already baked, which made preparation easier, but the Dessert not as homemade.  I may order from Plated again to try a different Dessert if its weekly menu sounds better than Blue Apron’s weekly menu.  I’m currently subscribed to all listed herein, though opt for Blue Apron most of the time.  If interested in trying any meal delivery company, be sure to obtain a coupon or coupon code, as each offers a $20 – $60 discount on your first box.  Don’t miss out on that.  Check back soon to read our Hello Fresh and Chef’d Reports.

Winning Salad Ingredients Inspired By Blue Apron Meals.

September 27th, 2015 No comments

Winning Quinoa Bean Salad

It was Red Quinoa, introduced by Blue Apron, that inspired me to create the pictured Red Quinoa and Garbanzo Bean/Chickpea Salad, with Shallots, Parsley, Mint, Arugula, Toasted Slivered Almonds, Red Wine Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper.  It was for the OC Fair’s Culinary Arts Competition this year and I won a 5th Place Ribbon for it.  Measurements aren’t listed, because they didn’t need to be submitted — I just fine tuned the combination until it tasted great and now it’s a Salad I’ll forever make in varying combinations, with Quinoa, Beans and Nuts.

Winning Ribbons

I won a second 5th Place Ribbon for a different Salad using Orzo Pasta, Broccoli and Pine Nuts.

Blue Apron Took Me Away: We’re Still Cooking Here (A Lot).

September 4th, 2015 No comments

Blue Apron Meatballs

Fifty-four recipe cards later… We’ve had some terrific meals with Blue Apron.

Salmon Burger

Though I’ve experimented with a lot of different ingredients, thanks to Blue Apron I keep discovering new ones like… Pea Shoots, White Miso Paste, Queso Oaxaca, Arepas, Pearled Barley, Yu Choy, Yuzu Juice, Ramps, Soba Noodles, Castelvetrano Olives and Fregola Sarda Pasta.

Blue Apron Meal

Meals are forever changed knowing these ingredients — Several meals will remain on my menu.

Blue Apron Meal

I now love Red Quinoa, which has been included in a few Blue Apron Meals.  I used it in a Salad I created and entered in the Culinary Arts Competition at the Orange County Fair this year and won a 5th Place Ribbon for it.  That recipe will soon be posted on Nibbles of Tidbits.  Check back for that.

Fish Meal

I have posted Blue Apron meal photos on Instagram @ShellyChiliFreis, but for the most part I just want to eat them.  Dinner on my time has been more important than pausing to compose a photo. There is work involved.  The meals don’t make themselves, but they’re worth the time.

Meatballs

Meals pictured from top down — Spiced Meatballs with Garlic Toasts & Summer Squash Salad, Salmon Burgers with Crème Fraiche Sauce, Arugula & Potato Salad, Arepas De Carne Molida with Avocado & Pickled Jalapeno, Chicken Milanese with Summer Corn, Cherry Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Seared Cod with Spring Vegetables & Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette and Hoisin-Glazed Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini & Brown Rice.  Blue Apron continues to be highly recommended by us.

Categories: Food Pictures & More

Blue Apron Review: The Menu Of The Week Never Looked So Good.

April 30th, 2015 No comments

Cod

Blue Apron Box Report No. 2 — We love them even more now.

Blue Apron

It’s Blue Apron’s unique and enticing recipes that I appreciate most — The meals are exciting to eat.

Chicken

We received 3 new recipe cards and the ingredients to prepare them all — Our final dishes are pictured on the right of its respective recipe card and our first Blue Apron report is linked here.

Cod

Each meal was completely different than the one before it and all had exceptional flavor.

Pork

We’re already looking forward to the next box from Blue Apron.  Originally I was just going to try them, but their weekly menus and quality of ingredients are keeping me interested.  I had also planned to try and compare similar companies, but after a little research it looks like Blue Apron may be offering the best deal.  If that continues to be true, I may not want to try nor like another. Each looks similarly impressive, but I must have a good price too.

Similar companies are listed below and prices may change — Check them out yourself.

Plated.com – Eating Well Made Easy ($12/Serving – $72/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Hello Fresh – Restaurant Quality Meals At Home ($11.50/Serving – $69/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Green Chef – Deliciously Simple ($14.99/Serving – $89.94/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Forage – Recipes from Notable Restaurants ($7.50 – $15/Serving – $60/Week – 4 meals total, which may serve 2. It’s unclear)

Chef’d – The Easiest Way to Cook Like a Pro ($19 – $38/Serving for 2 – Each meal has its own cost)

Testing Out Blue Apron: A Weekly (You Cook) Food Delivery Service.

April 15th, 2015 2 comments

Spicy Turkey Meatball Pitas

Have you heard of Blue Apron?  It’s a weekly food delivery service.  Blue Apron delivers recipes and ingredients to your doorstep for YOU to prepare.  Blue Apron takes meal planning and grocery shopping off your To-Do List.  They do that for you then deliver all to you.  We tested them out.

Blue Apron Delivery

Our delivery included 3 Recipe Cards and all the ingredients to make them.

Leon and Blue Apron

All was wrapped in bubble foil insulation with sealed frozen ice blocks.

Blu Apron Box Inside

After review of its contents, let’s just say that I hope every box is as fresh as this one.

Fresh Ingredients

All produce was fresh — Kale, Spinach, Bibb Lettuce, Fava Leaves, Sugar Snap Peas, and the meat appeared fresh too.  The box of ingredients even smelled fresh.  The quality of all made me happy.

Blue Apron Ingredients

Each recipe comes with a “Knick Knacks” bag, which holds small and measured ingredients.

Shrimp Ingredients

Knick Knacks bags may include Butter, Cream, Spice mixtures, etc.  I love organization.

Beef Ingredients

I had fun exploring my first Blue Apron food box and couldn’t wait to make and taste everything.

Blue Apron Ingredients

Shrimp, Flank Steak and Ground Turkey were included in this delivery for Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp with Fresh Linguine Di Cavolo & Fava Leaves, Pan-Seared Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce & Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Spiced Turkey Meatball Pitas with Sugar Snap Pea & Bibb Lettuce Salad — A good variety of recipes I wouldn’t make or try, but for Blue Apron.

Blue Apron Meat

I like trying new things and I like surprises, so this type of service is entertaining.

Recipe Cards

You can look ahead at upcoming recipes online or surprise yourself when the box arrives.

Meal Prep

The step-by-step instructions on each recipe card are done well.  I’ll often change something in a recipe to make the dish better, but I didn’t need to and wasn’t going to, as I wanted to make all as instructed for this post.  Recipes are created by Blue Apron’s culinary team and renowned guest chefs.  Recipes will never be repeated in the same year and meals are 500-700 calories.

Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp

Meals take about 35 minutes to prepare and ingredients are pre-measured, so there’s no waste.

Pan-Seared Steaks

Matt liked all the meals too — Maybe I’ll get him to cook one of the recipes.

Hey Matt likes it!

I didn’t expect to like Blue Apron as much as I now do, but I find it convenient and enjoyable — You still need to chop, mix and cook all, but it’s nice to not have to plan what to make and shop for the ingredients.  If I shopped for the quality ingredients I received here, it would probably cost more money, and more time and stress to look for and obtain all, let alone conceive the recipes.

Blue Apron Meal

Choose when you want your box of food delivered and how often — Once a week, every other week, once a month, etc.  I set up Blue Apron to deliver recipes and ingredients every other week for now and look forward to trying more recipes.  If everything remains fresh, I may be a customer for a long time, though I simply intended to try it.  I’ve seen advertisements for similar food delivery companies and may need to compare them to Blue Apron who sets the bar high.  Blue Apron’s prices are reasonable too, approximately $60/week for three meals for two.  Shipping is included in the price too, which helps sell me.  Check back to see how our second box of food turns out.  Posted will be a clear side by side comparison of each recipe card and meal.