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Chili’s Skillet Queso Dip Copycat Recipe: A Perfect Mash Up Of Others.

February 21st, 2017 No comments

We love Chili’s Skillet Queso and Chips on Chili’s Appetizer Menu.  And now I can make it perfectly at home.  Well, we think so — That’s six of us here who have tried it several times.  I searched the internet for a good copycat recipe and found five.  Enlarge photo above to view them. I took all into consideration to subsequently create my own, slightly different than the other’s variations, based on what I know about its actual flavor and texture.  My Chili’s Skillet Queso copycat recipe is posted below.  For the Dip only.  Chili’s Chips are too good to copy.

To make Chili’s ‘Skillet’ Queso Dip as easy as possible, I combine all ingredients in a small crock pot and occasionally stir — Technically this recipe should be called… Shelly’s Crock Pot Queso Wannabe Chili’s Skillet Queso, which is a long, dumb sounding name, but that’s what it is and how it tastes.

However, for the authentic Chili’s Skillet Queso and Chips experience, I serve the Queso in the small skillet below and pick-up Chili’s Chips to go, since I cannot re-create their thin, delicately crispy texture.  I’ve previously posted about Chili’s amazing Chips and Skillet Queso Dip here.

Shelly’s Crock Pot Queso Dip Recipe — A Copycat of Chili’s Skillet Queso Dip

Ingredients:

16 ounces of Velveeta Cheese (Chopped into small chunks)

(1) 15 ounce Can of Spicy Hormel No-Bean Chili (Or non-spicy version or other non-verified brand)

1 1/4 Cups of Milk

(1) Tbsp. Chili Powder

(1) Tbsp. Cumin Powder

(2) Tsps. Paprika Powder

(1) Tbsp. Lime Juice

(1/4) Tsp. Cayenne Powder (optional)

Salt to taste

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a small crock pot and stir occasionally until evenly melted.  Serve the Queso Dip from the crock pot or transfer to a small skillet or bowl.  If you don’t have a small crock pot, combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook on low stirring occasionally.

FYI:  After this process, I now realize that Chili’s Skillet Queso is most likely not prepared in the small skillet it’s served in, ha — Chili’s may need to clarify ‘Skillet’ too.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern: Love At First Sight & Bite.

January 16th, 2017 No comments

It was really love at first sight and bite at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (JFAT).

First, I love Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern’s MENU and pretty much want to try everything listed.  I reviewed their menu online before visiting this JFAT in Brea — It’s one of five JFAT locations. The others are in Dana Point, San Diego, Woodland Hills and Santa Monica.

Before tasting anything, we appreciated JFAT’s exterior entrance lights, outdoor patio and courtyard view, and its dimly lit, stylish America-inspired interior.  God Bless America indeed.

My first bite came from the Pimento Cheese Dip in JFAT’s Dueling Southern Dips.  It’s served with a Roasted Corn & Poblano Guacamole and Tortilla Chips — And wow.  We were happy with the amount of flavor in both Dips.  Every dish we shared had an amazing amount of flavor.

It was love at first bite in conjunction with its appealing sight — Pictured from top down is JFAT’s Signature Grilled Santa Fe Caesar Salad with Fried Chicken, the Dueling Southern Dips, the Whisky Shrimp, and BBQ Spice Crusted Salmon with Creamed Corn, Green Beans, Bacon and Crispy Onions.  Each dish was seasoned, grilled and prepared well.  Nothing is bland at JFAT.

I’m pictured below with Chef Kim.  He is so nice and worked hard to make our plates great.  Good people work at JFAT.  We also thank Manager Todd Cords for his superior hospitality.  When we have time, there is much more to go back for — The FOOD, cocktails, atmosphere and friendliness.

I’ve highlighted, at least, ten dishes I want to try — They include JFAT’s Boneless Short Rib Stroganoff, White Truffle Mac and Five Cheese, Charred Brussels Sprouts, Santa Fe Honey-Poblano Pesto Grilled Flatbread, etc.  Enlarge menu below or see link here to view food and drink options.

My favorite JFAT Cocktail was the Cucumber Cooler.  It’s made with Finlandia Vodka, St. Germain, Fresh Cucumber and Lemon Juice.  See Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern’s full list of “Liquid” items here.  JFAT says get in here and we want to get back there.  ASAP.

Happy New Year From Nibbles Of Tidbits: A Toast To Food In 2017.

January 1st, 2017 No comments

I’m thankful for this guy — My back-up better photographer, husband and best friend.  Cheers to him.  He’s a trooper.  And he’s fun, funny and smart.  Now enough about him.  We’re moving on to 2017 and more FOOD related reports from Nibbles of Tidbits.  Happy New Year to you from us.

Big things will be happening here next year and we’re excited.

In 2017, Nibbles of Tidbits will feature more home cooking, restaurants reviews, product, ingredient and recipe testing, food competitions and culinary events — It’s ‘more of everything’ if it involves food.  And in conjunction with all that, we’re remodeling the kitchen from its current 1970’s style (rarely seen here) to a modern food blog-worthy kitchen.  We’ll show its transition here.  Until then, upcoming reports pertain to Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Brea, Chili’s Skillet Queso Dip and Food Dehydration.  I received a food dehydrator for Christmas.  Reports coming soon to this blog near you.

Photos:  At Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Brea.  Report will follow.

Dirty Sauce: It’s Ike’s Love & Sandwiches Very Special Ingredient.

December 30th, 2016 No comments

Dirty Sauce

It’s the Dirty Sauce that makes Ike’s Love & Sandwiches so darn great (and the Dutch Crunch Bread).  Ike’s Dirty Sauce is on every Sandwich, unless specified otherwise.  This time I ordered it on the side to decipher its ingredients.  It’s one of the things I like to do.  Breakdown a recipe.  And from what I can taste, see and smell, it appears to possibly be made with Mayonnaise, Butter, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, a few fresh and/or dried Herbs, Salt and maybe other Spices — Not the precise breakdown I hoped for.  It’s more complex than I thought it would be, though I should have known that by its elevated flavor.  That’s why it’s so good and why it’s on most Sandwiches.  Boom.

Dirty Sauce — It sounds weird, but don’t be afraid of its name.  Get it on your Sandwich.

Wrapping Up Knott’s Berry Farm’s All Season Dining Plan: Whew.

December 28th, 2016 No comments

Seemingly free or not, there were times that I just couldn’t eat it — I didn’t want to use Knott’s Berry Farm’s All Season Dining Plan, though I had already paid for it.  Sometimes because the food just didn’t sound good, and other times because I didn’t want to wait in a long line to be greeted by a Knott’s employee with no sense of urgency.  They get paid no matter how many meals are served.

This Southwest Burger could be our last meal using Knott’s All Season Dining Plan.  The Southwest Burger at Coaster’s Drive-In at Knott’s consists of a Hamburger, Cheese, BBQ Sauce, Fried Jalapenos and Pickles.  Different.  That makes a Southwest Burger?  Well, it wasn’t too bad this evening.  We were hungry and they have good Pickles.  And most meals come with a lot of French Fries.  I almost want it again, before the end of 2016 when our plan ends.  We’ll see.
 
This will be my last report regarding Knott’s All Season Dining Plan, unless we renew it sometime down the road.  Also, we will not be renewing Knott’s annual pass in 2017.  We tend to purchase one every other year.  Knott’s meal plan is a great deal, but, well, you know.  It’s explained above and in previous reports.  The Knott’s employees we encountered in 2016 were nice. Overall, we love and appreciate Knott’s Berry Farm, with, but most likely without, a meal plan.

D’Vine: A Fresh & Authentic Mediterranean Experience In Fullerton.

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Fool

D’Vine Restaurant in Fullerton — Somehow it feels hidden, though it’s within plain sight in the heart of downtown Fullerton, an area hosting some of the best restaurants in Fullerton.

D'Vine Sign

It has been open a few months and I’m glad to finally try it.

Cold Mezza's

D’Vine is a gem and its Master Chef Owner, Walid Alarja is a Star.  His food is truly authentic, fresh and flavorful — Love of food, cooking, and years of worldly experience are behind each and every ingredient and dish.  An authentic Mediterranean experience is created, as the D’Vine sign says.

Chips

Pita Chips, Olive Oil and a Spice mixture of Thyme, Sumac, Sesame Seeds, Salt (and maybe more) are served upon arrival — I like that.  All is house-made, dried, baked, mixed, toasted, etc.

Dip

First Dip the Pita Chip into the Olive Oil and then in D’Vine’s Special Spice Mixture.

Interior

This is D’Vine’s second location.  The other one is in Brea — It’s been open for about five years.

Arak and Cooler

I had Arak on the Rocks with Water (above right) — Arak is a traditional drink in the Middle East. We tried it and a Mediterranean Cooler (above left) and both ultimately wanted the Mediterranean Cooler.  Though I knew Arak to have an Anise flavor, it punched us in the face, ha.  It was a flashback to my Jagermeister college shot days.  Not the best choice to compliment this wonderful meal, but fun to try it.  D’Vine offers several Signature Drinks and a full bar of options.

Kefta

We also shared the Kefta made with grilled ground Beef and Lamb, finely chopped Onions, Parsley and House Spices, along with their Red Cabbage Salad — All Entrees are served with your choice of (1) one of D’Vine’s Cold Mezza’s (they make and offer 14), Rice and Pita Bread.

Shawarma

We enjoyed D’Vine’s Chicken Shawarma made with grilled, thinly sliced marinated Chicken Thigh Meat, with their Cucumber Yogurt Salad.  Walid even makes his own Yogurt.  He is quite impressive.  We were honored to meet him and taste why we should go back.

Interior/Kitchen

It’s very nice inside with a long bar, and tall and short tables.

Smoking Area

There’s a sometimes smoking area (above) that leads out to a large outdoor patio.

Event Room

And there is a beautiful room (above) for events of all kinds.  It could be a perfect venue for a wedding reception with < 120 people.  It’s attractive and serves great food, which is sometimes hard to find in a venue.  This room makes me want to have a party.  Cheers to all parties there!

And finally, there is Fool (top photo) — Of course I loved it.  Fool is offered under D’Vine’s Hot Mezza’s.  It’s seasoned Fava Beans with Lemon, Garlic, Olive Oil and Jalapenos.  It’s so flavorful and great with Pita Bread.  It’s what I want most again.  I also have much respect for Walid’s Turshi, house-made Pickles, Olives, Beets, Turnips, etc.  All were better than imagined and well flavored.

Note:  Apologies for the date stamp on some photos (above).

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches: Best Sandwich ‘Ever Had In My Whole Life’.

November 26th, 2016 No comments

Ike's

I had the best Sandwich I’ve ever had in my whole life — That’s what my employer/attorney/foodie friend Mike said about Ike’s Love & Sandwiches in Newport Beach.  He recently had a couple Sandwiches there and told me that.  I work in the Newport Beach/Irvine area three days a week. And now, after four consecutive work days of Sandwiches from Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, it’s my new obsession.  Mike is right.  Ike’s makes some of the best Sandwiches I’ve ever had too.

Ike's in Irvine

Pictured is the Matt Cain Sandwich, made with Roast Beef, Turkey, Salami, Provolone Cheese and Godfather Sauce, whatever that is.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s sure tasty.  The photo does not do it justice.  Ike’s Sandwiches are named after famous people, different things, and some have quirky names like… Name of the Girl I’m Dating.  Thus far I’ve tried the Jim Rome, The Little Mermaid, Steve Jobs and Matt Cain, and all could contend for the best Sandwich ever.

Inside Ike's in Irvine

It’s true — Each Sandwich is loaded with flavor.

Line at Ike's in Irvine

So far, the Jim Rome is my favorite — It’s made with Turkey, Avocado, Cheddar Cheese, and Ike’s Red Pesto Sauce, made from Sun Dried Tomatoes, I think.  Simple ingredients, but so dang good.

Ike's Sandwich

It’s busy at Ike’s Love & Sandwiches in Newport Beach so we call in our Sandwiches, pick them up fairly quickly and eat ’em in our office conference room.  It’s an efficient method that’ll be in play again next week.  My sights are set on Adam Richman, a Sandwich made with Fried Chicken, Ham, Honey, Pesto, Avocado and Swiss.  We’ve had all on Ike’s World Famous Dutch Crunch Bread.

One of many Sandwiches

Better photos of our next amazing Sandwiches will soon be posted.

Example of Ike’s Dutch Crunch Bread unwrapped (above).

I’ve now had so many Sandwiches I don’t know which one is posted above, but I know I loved it.

God Bless America (Especially Veterans) Post Election Day & Always.

November 9th, 2016 No comments

patriotic-cake

 

IHOP® RESTAURANTS THANK VETERANS AND ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY
ON VETERANS DAY WITH FREE RED, WHITE & BLUE PANCAKES

Servicemen and Women are Invited to Savor Time with Family and Friends Over a Made-to-Order Breakfast at IHOP on November 11, 2016 — Including a Free Pancake Offer From 7 AM – 7 PM

WHAT:

On Friday, November 11th, Veterans and Active Duty Military can enjoy three of IHOP restaurant’s hot-off-the-griddle, world famous Buttermilk Pancakes with glazed strawberries, blueberry compote and whipped topping for free at participating U.S. locations, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., as part of the Red, White & Blue Pancake promotion for retired and active duty military personnel.

WHERE:

Participating IHOP Restaurants in the United States.

WHY:

For close to six decades, IHOP has been the leader in bringing guests a freshly made breakfast served any time of day, every day, as well as unique, made-to-order limited time menu items. IHOP is proud to honor veterans and active duty military this holiday.

WHEN:

FRIDAY, November 11, 2016, 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Photo Credit:  The pictured Cake is unrelated to the Pancakes being served at IHOP — The Cake recipe is linked here if you want to make it for someone special this Veterans’ Day.

And IHOP is just one of many appreciative businesses offering deals to deserving American Veterans on Veterans’ Day.  That’s nice of IHOP and others.  Additional offerings to Veterans are linked here. I’m grateful for the service of each and every serviceman and woman and thank all so very much.

Best New Views In Huntington Beach: At Pacific City And Pasea Hotel.

October 14th, 2016 No comments

Treehouse Lounge

We toast to several new restaurants with a view in Huntington Beach.  Here we’re at the Treehouse Lounge at Tanner’s, which is part of the Pasea Hotel & Spa.  You don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy its fabulous restaurant, Tanner’s with floor-to-ceiling upstairs and downstairs views of the Pacific Ocean across Pacific Coast Highway.  We enjoyed beers and a couple appetizers there — Grilled Asparagus and Chips, Salsa and Guacamole.  All was fantastically flavorful.

Asparagus Appetizer

Though the view and food are terrific at the Treehouse Lounge at Tanner’s, more shade is needed upstairs to enjoy all during the day — It’s stylish and comfortable, but there is not enough cover.

Tanner's Treehouse

We plan to try more from Tanner’s menu, after the sun goes down and the fire pits are lit.

Tanner's

Next door to Tanner’s is The Bungalow, another amazing new restaurant with a view.  Below we toast with specialty drinks at The Bungalow, where a little more shade can be found during the day.  The food is tasty at The Bungalow too, though prepared by the restaurant downstairs and delivered via dumbwaiter upstairs.  The kitchen below it created a special menu just for The Bungalow.

The Bungalow

At The Bungalow, it feels like you are enjoying drinks and appetizers at a friend’s house and Tanner’s feels like you’re at a nice beach resort.  Both are a wonderful addition to Huntington Beach.

Penzeys Specialty Spice Retailer: An Aromatic Oasis In Anaheim.

September 18th, 2016 No comments

Inside Penzeys

I’ve used Penzeys Spices for years.  I ordered them through the mail.  It was the only way to get them some time ago, but now there are six Penzeys retail stores in California.  And one of them is in Anaheim, a few miles from our house.  This Penzeys store is an oasis in a busy shopping center off Euclid and Crescent — It’s spacious, welcoming, aromatic and tranquil in contrast to outside.

Penzeys Anaheim

One of the best things about shopping at Penzeys is… YOU can smell everything they sell.  Each herb and spice is presented in a large jar for the sole purpose of smelling it.  Put your nose in and take a whiff — Doing so helps to distinguish flavor nuances in similar spices like Vietnamese and Indonesian Cinnamon, Californian and Hungarian Paprika, and herbs like Turkish and Mexican Oregano, etc.  How do they differ?  How are they alike?  Aside from taste, your nose can tell.

Various Pepper

You may not want to smell the Mignonette (above) and other Pepper, but you can.

Kid's Area

Penzeys‘ Anaheim store has an adorable kids area where kids color while you sniff and shop.

Cute Area at Penseys

There is also a retro kitchen display that offers the best in baking Spices, Extracts and Vanilla Beans. Once past the hustle and bustle outside, it’s fun to shop inside Penzeys in Anaheim.  Its employees are friendly and knowledgeable, and prices are good too, especially since you don’t have to pay for shipping.  I love Penzeys Spices and retail store option.  I’m lucky one is nearby.

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.

Lay’s Passport To Flavor: Taste Testing With Leon On Dog Beach.

August 21st, 2016 No comments

Tikka Masala

You won’t need a passport to try Lay’s latest test Chip flavors… Indian Tikka Masala, Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce), Greek Tzatziki and Chinese Szechuan Chicken, also known as Lay’s Passport to Flavor collection, and some will transport you to a dish from another country.

Lays Chip Taste Test

I appreciate the unique flavors Lay’s is willing to create.  They’re fun and interesting to try.  We’ve tried and reported about most of them here.  Leon likes all of them, because he likes anything.

Testing Lays Chips

After trying this passport series, our favorites are the Indian Tikka Masala and Brazilian Picanha. The thought of the Greek Tzatziki flavor is better than the actual, because it’s too subtle.

First and Second Place

If we were to buy any of them again, it would be the Indian Tikka Masala Chips, because they taste just like the dish.  I now want Indian food and will most likely order the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Indian Tikka Masala

The other Chips could use more flavor, though Leon would eat ’em up in a second.

Season The Day They Say: At Croutons With Especially Excellent Soup.

August 5th, 2016 No comments

Croutons Lunch

During the week, I provide paralegal services for a law firm in Irvine.  My office, pictured above is on the 9th floor.  It’s where I’ve enjoyed several of Croutons‘ Soups, Salads and Sandwiches for lunch.

Croutons Cost

Croutons‘ Salads and Sandwiches are good, but I especially love their Soup.  I generally alternate between Croutons’ Tomato Basil Soup and Chicken & Wild Rice.  Actual Croutons are served with the Soup and I ask for extra.  Croutons’ Soups are consistently flavorful and taste homemade.

Croutons Irvine

They’re often busy, but operate efficiently.  Though their line seems daunting at times, it moves along well.  Prices are okay, on the higher side, but you get a fair amount of good quality food.

Tomato Basil Soup

Nibbles Of Tidbits: It’s Worth Testing Logo Designs With Fiverr.

July 31st, 2016 No comments

Nibbles of Tidbits LogoI like the one pictured above — With little instruction, effort and money put forth, I received these logos.  Not bad at all.  I used Fiverr.com and reported about them previously.  One is able to buy and/or sell graphic design services there and more, which has seamlessly served me well so far.

nibbles_of_tidbits_2

I appreciate the time that I didn’t spend creating all.NibblesofTidbits LogoEach can be used at any time, but the first, top one is the winner of this batch of inexpensive logos.

Fun Fair Food & Competitions Happening NOW At The OC Fairgrounds.

July 24th, 2016 No comments

Pepsi Donut Bacon Dog

How about a Pepsi Donut Bacon Dog?  You can get one at the Orange County Fair now through August 14, 2016.  It’s a Hot Dog that’s wrapped in Bacon and served on a Donut topped with a Pepsi Glaze.  We had the opportunity to try it and other new food options at this year’s OC Fair.

Food Tasting

We attended a “Media VIP Food Party” to taste “Interesting & New Foods at the 2016 OC Fair.”

Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger

The Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger is pictured above and found at Tasti Burger on Livestock Lane.

Pineapple Bowls

Yes, there are healthy options at the OC Fair — My favorite is the Shrimp Pineapple Bowl found at Pineapple Express in the Main Mall area.  They also offer a Teriyaki Chicken Pineapple Bowl.

Chicken Charlie

And you’ve heard of Chicken Charlie right?  Of Chicken Charlie’s?  He’s pictured above and always serves something interesting — One of his menu items this year is a Chicken in a Waffle on a Stick.  It’s a Waffle with pieces of Fried Chicken cooked into it and it comes with Maple Syrup.

Pinks

Pink’s Hot Dogs is a booth I frequent every OC Fair, but it’s because of their Chili Cheese Fries, another one of my favorites.  Aside from that, they’re offering a couple of new Hot Dogs this year, like The Lord of the Rings Dog, a Hot Dog served with Onion Rings wrapped around it.

Dominic Palmieri at OC Fair

Dominic (pictured above) of Biggy’s and Fair Fix & Fried A Fair, both located in the Main Carnival area, tops himself this year with the Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly Dog, Deep Fried Butter, Deep Fried Nutella and more.  Stop by and say “Hi.”  All the food vendors we met are friendly.

Pickle Fries

A drum roll for the Pickle Fries — I love Pickle Fries, especially since my name is Pickles Freis.  My husband nicknamed me Pickles and my last name is Freis.  Thus I’m Pickles Freis.  And these are good Pickles and the Batter is thin and crunchy too.  Pickles Freis very much likes these Pickle Fries.

Tasti Chips

Tasti Chips with Parmesan Cheese from Tasti Chips, located on Livestock Lane is pictured above. We had the Jalapeno Cheddar Tasti Chips after seeing The Offspring concert last week.

Me at the OC Fair

I love the Orange County Fair — There’s so much to do and see.

Dahlia

Though you can’t eat these flowers, I must post at least one, and Matt capturing them.

Photographing Flowers

The baby pigs below were only 4 days old when they were photographed here.  They grow fast.

Baby Pigs

As always, I will be entering the culinary competitions happening at the end of July and in August. I’m working on a couple ideas and hope to claim the first place ribbon I have my head through below.  I tested one of my recipes and it turned out well, but I will report the judge’s results.

Me at Fair

See you at the OC Fair — Too bad it’s not all year long.

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.

A Safe & Happy July 4th Celebration To You: God Bless The USA.

July 4th, 2016 No comments

July 4th Strawberries

We wish all a SAFE and happy 4th of July celebration.  I made the above with Strawberries, White Chocolate and Blue Sugar Crystals.  They are easy to make and perfect for an American observance. They’re red, white and blue beautiful and tasty too.  God bless America today and always!

RECIPE:  Melt White Chocolate.  Dip half the Strawberry in the melted White Chocolate and then dip the Chocolate-covered Strawberry tip in the Blue Sugar Crystals.  As pictured above.  That’s it.

Burger King’s Mac N’ Cheetos: A Fun Concept That Misses.

July 3rd, 2016 No comments

Mac N' Cheetos

We tried Burger King’s new Mac N’ Cheetos (pictured) — Macaroni and Cheese inside fried batter shaped like Cheese Puffs.  The Macaroni and Cheese in Burger King’s ad looks creamy and their “Cheetos” appear to be dusted with an orange, cheesy powder, but in person they look different.

Burger King Mac N' Cheetos

I hate to report it, but they kind of look like little fried turds — That’s from a consensus of three tasters.  Burger King’s Mac N’ Cheetos were darker than expected and had no visible orange flavored powder, like Cheetos and Cheese Puffs do.  If the batter is supposed to be made with Cheetos, we couldn’t taste the Cheetos flavor in it.  And the Macaroni and Cheese inside was very dry.

Inside Mac N' Cheetos

I didn’t want more than just one Cheeto.  That’s not good.  I didn’t expect them to be great, but they’re just plain funny and bad, like crazy Fair food.  Maybe BK should wrap them in Bacon, JK.  I waited in line too long for them, and the first BK I went to ran out of them, while I was stuck in the drive-thru.  That wasn’t good either.  I wish I could report better, but three tasters on behalf of Nibbles of Tidbits do not want them again, though all appreciate the fun concept of ’em.

Tomatoes Galore & Not The Corn We Expected: It’s Autumn Corn.

June 26th, 2016 No comments

Home Grown Tomatoes

Our garden and Tomatoes continue to flourish — Yeah!  Now I must put all to good use.  I’m currently oven roasting the pictured Cherry Tomatoes at 200˚ in the oven for approximately 4 – 5 hours.  They always turn out great that way.  And I’m contemplating what to do with the rest of them.  Most likely they’ll become a Soup or Sauce, or just had with a little Olive Oil, Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.  We’re growing Basil too, a supplement for all the big plans.

Autumn Corn

As for the pictured Corn, we plan to set it aside until October.  They are beautiful and hard as a rock. We thought we were growing edible Yellow Corn, but found these under the husks.  Not sure if it’s something we did or if the baby plants were wrongly marked.  Either way, we’re pleasantly surprised and look forward to seeing what our other corny-children will look like. 😉  It’s exciting.

Nibbles Of Tidbits: Playing With Cartoons & Testing Potential Logos.

June 19th, 2016 No comments

Shelly Borrell Freis

Have you heard of Fiverr.com?  It’s where I got the cartoon above created.  Fiverr.com is a fun, useful, creative place where one can commission a custom cartoon, caricature, logo or other graphic design for a great price.  One can buy and/or sell graphic and design projects, as well as writing, translation, video, audio, programming and marketing projects, and much more.  Check it out.

Pie Honorable Mention Photo

I’m currently hooked on graphics — I commissioned a couple cartoons, vectors and logos.  At approximately $5 – $20 each, I can afford it.  It’s interesting working with artists/sellers around the world.  I’ve had good experiences so far.  Comparison Photo:  A Pie I made won an honorable mention at the Orange County Fair a few years back and this is a photo of me behind it.

Tending To A Flourishing Garden: Appreciate Each And Every Growth.

June 12th, 2016 No comments

Tomatoes and more

Remember how all looked not too long ago?  Our garden is flourishing nicely.  We’re picking Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Jalapenos and Herbs daily, and the Fennel, Corn, Swiss Chard, Onion and Lettuce is coming along well.  Good thing we have a tortoise to enjoy the Arugula overgrowth.

Fennel, Herbs and more

I need to think of more recipes using Arugula.  Our garden is keeping us busy on the home-front. So far I’ve made Salsa and inhaled ripe Cherry Tomatoes and Blackberries before much else can get made. All had without photos, but do check back as we plan to grow, cook and eat forever.  Amen.

Menu Change Update: Get The Caramelized Brussels Sprouts I’m Told.

June 8th, 2016 No comments

Brussels Sprouts

It’s happened again, a favorite dish is taken off the menu.  For some reason I tend to favor dishes that don’t sell as well as others.  This time it’s not much longer after reporting about it that it’s gone.  It was Simmzy’s Cauliflower with Cilantro Pesto, linked here.  After sitting down with a Beer Flight at Simmzy’s Long Beach location, we learned it’s no longer on their menu.  What? Maybe they will bring it back.  Until that fine day, we tried Simmzy’s Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (pictured), a suggested popular dish.  It’s good, but it’s not their super-tasty Cauliflower with Cilantro Pesto that is now on my copycat list.  I must try to recreate what I can no longer point to and have.  Aside from these dishes, Simmzy’s menu offers much I’d like to try.

Oh How Nibbles Of Tidbits’ Garden Grows: It’s A Better Year Here.

May 4th, 2016 No comments

Blackberries

Much is growing here this year.  It’s something I’ve always wanted.  An edible garden.  I want to grow everything possible to eat — Fruit, herbs, vegetables, berries, nuts, you name it.  It would be a dream come true. Though we’re unable to grow everything, it’s a better crop than last year.

Blackberries

Blackberries.

Pineapple

Pineapples.

Grapes

Grapes forming on healthy vines.

Planters

Six different types of Tomatoes, four stalks of Corn, seven Walla Walla Onions, and three types of Sweet Peppers are growing strong, while Cesar the tortoise mows the backyard lawn.

Early Growth

Before (above) and after (below) in just weeks — Corn, Tomatoes, Peppers and Onions are taking off.

Growing Fast

Herbs (Baby Basil, Oregano, Mint, Chives and Thyme), Jalapenos, Arugula, Fennel, Dill and various kinds of Lettuce are doing well in our other raised garden.  A couple seeds we planted I can’t recall.

Herbs

Heirloom Tomatoes are starting to form — It’s a beautiful sight.  All looks healthy.

Tomatoes

Boysenberries — We bought a Boysenberry plant from Knott’s Berry Farm and now see a mini berry.

Boysenberries

Lemons — A staple for zest and juice in many dishes.

Lemon

Strawberries — The birds or something else usually gets them before we do.

Strawberries

Too many Tangelos sometimes, but we appreciate the tree.

Oranges

Two Pineapples are clearly visible with the potential for two more.

Pineapples

Spring is springing — We’re grateful for all that grows and lives.  Thanks to God.

Leon and Cesar

If all goes well, we’ll be thrilled to show a bounty this summer.

Garden Update:  June 12, 2016 (check back for future updates and bounty).