Delicious Things Lou Told Me About

Anyone that knows me well enough knows that I am not a fan of cooking. If a recipe has more than 5 ingredients, the chances are high that I won’t give it a second look. I have a cookbook specifically for 20 minutes or less recipes, and it is probably the only cookbook that has seen any love in our house.

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However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy delicious food. I just prefer when other people prepare it. ¬†ūüôā ¬†On the occasion that I do want to try a new recipe and spice up our usual kitchen rotation, I turn to my good friend Lou. She always has great ideas for both dinners and lunches. ¬†Below are a few examples of the delicious things Lou has convinced me to make.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

This chicken recipe sees quite a few rotations in our house. The husband likes it, and I like how fast it is to prepare and cook. Easy clean up too as long as you cover the oven pan in foil before you start. One of the best things about this recipe is that most of the ingredients are staples in your pantry, so just pick up some chicken and a vegetable for a side and you have one weekly meal ready to go.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-honey-brushed-chicken-thighs-0

Solutions for the Larabar Addict

I love Larabars. The ingredients are all things that you have heard of, such as dates, almonds, peanuts, etc. The downside is that I can only find them at Whole Foods. If I want to save any money on the rest of my groceries, that means two grocery stores each weekend, which is not high on my list of fun weekend activities. Enter Lou, who sends me a recipe¬†for how to make my own. She’s a smart woman.

  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup raw almonds or cashews
  • ¬ľ cup peanut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons water

Directions:

1. Combine the dates, almonds, peanut butter and water in a food processor and puree until mixture starts to stick together. Add a little more water if necessary to help mixture come together.

2. Pick up the mixture and use your hands to squeeze it together into a big clump. Mash the mixture into a container to form into one even rectangle.

3. Slice into 12 squares. Store in the fridge.

Brussel Sprouts and Kale – get those veggies in!

Lou is also more adventurous with her veggies. I love brussel sprouts, but do not feel the same about kale. Lou introduced me to this recipe and it has been a great make-ahead salad to have as a side or for lunches during the week. I’ll let her blog do the explaining on how to make it.

Easy Autumn Salad Recipe with Kale & Brussels Sprouts

Mason Jar Salads for the Weekday Win

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This picture doesn’t do the salad justice, but I made three of these for lunches last week and did not run into the usual salad burnout. While the recipe calls for putting everything in the mason jar, I prefer warm chicken in the salad, so I kept that and the cooked veggies in a separate container and reheated them before adding to the salad. I cooked and prepped everything on Sunday and when I ate the last one on Friday it was still delicious. Great choice for anyone trying to eat more veggies and save some money on eating out for lunch.

http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/salads/paleo-mason-jar-chicken-taco-salads/

Now, I did skip the roasted cumin seeds business and just used some cumin powder on the chicken. I’m quite sure I’m not missing anything with this substitute.

What are some of your go-to recipes for the family, or for your weekday lunches? Anyone else avoid the kitchen like I do?

Kendra Sig

Blue Apron Review 1: Cooking for Dummies

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A couple of years ago when my son was in Kindergarten, he made a Mother’s Day Booklet which included an “All About Mommy” page. ¬†He filled in my age and under my “likes” included that I like being on the laptop and taking naps. Nothing like a little honesty on Mother’s Day. ¬†Then, there was a fill-in the blank section stating “The best thing my Mommy cooks is ____”. ¬†He answered with, “My Dad only cooks”. ¬†It’s true, I don’t cook. ¬†My husband Michael has taken on that burden. And, it’s not because I don’t like¬†food, I actually LOVE food, I just never made a real effort at learning how to cook. ¬†Michael also has¬†grocery shopping duties because I get distracted by the hair and make-up aisle and end up with new beauty products instead of actual food like milk and bread. What can I say, I have my priorities and zero patience for endless isles. The torture of grocery shopping and¬†chore of cooking prevented me from learning how to cook until the clouds opened up in the sky and I discovered my food angel called¬†Blue Apron

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It’s convenient. ¬†Blue Apron is quite possibly the best thing in the world for my family when it comes to home cooked meals. ¬†It takes all the laziness and guess work out of grocery shopping and meal planning and puts a recipe with all of the necessary¬†ingredients in a giant cardboard box that arrives at your house ready for cooking! I could not refuse when I heard about it. ¬†Especially when I researched the price points.

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It provides options. ¬†I signed up for the Blue Apron family plan which is supposed to serve four but really there is enough food to feed six. ¬†I receive two meals a week because I travel a lot and it’s hard to commit to more. ¬†You can choose your selection of preferences from poultry, meat, vegetable, and fish and you can preview meals in advance on the calendar.

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It’s healthier than dining out. ¬†Our lives get super busy and it becomes so easy to grab fast food and not have to think twice about dinner. ¬†My husband usually prepares meals but lately we have been too busy to prepare home cooked meals. ¬†Now that we have food in the fridge ready for us to prepare, we plan ahead on which days we cook. ¬†And the recipe cards that are included contain calorie counts so you can be certain you are staying within a healthy range. ¬†Each meal includes veggies and a protein so you know you are eating a balanced meal.

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It’s surprisingly fun and easy. ¬†By taking all the guess work out of cooking, I lay out all of the ingredients and it becomes a puzzle I have to put together. ¬†And the finished product is a tasty meal from Blue Apron that we can all enjoy. ¬†My kids love “helping” me out by picking veggies apart and eating most of the cherry tomatoes. ¬†I love how the recipe cards have pictures with step-by-step instructions. ¬†Out of the two dozen meals we have cooked, I was only stumped once on the instructions and it was because they got a little fancy for me. ¬†I improvised and all was well.

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It’s yummy.¬† After three months of trying Blue Apron, we are definitely hooked. ¬†My kids love the pasta meals, I love the fresh salads and veggies and my husband is partial to the steak meals. Both of my kids are picky eaters and even my seven year-old son, who lived on Chick-Fil-A nuggets for his first two years of life, has found our new meals delicious. ¬†He was very leery at first and all we asked is that he at least try a couple of bites. ¬†Now, he practically inhales dinner! ¬†Tonight, I made chicken strips with a dipping sauce and a fresh side salad. ¬†He took one bite of his food and said, “Mama, your food is so good, thank you for making it!”. Excuse me while I die happy.

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They now offer wine pairings!  You can deliver my food and pair it with wine? Yes, please!

I’ve always made a point of having my family eat dinner at the table. ¬†It didn’t matter that we¬†were all eating Taco Bueno burritos from paper wrappers with our bare hands, we were going to at least be semi-civil. ¬†Now, I feel a sense of accomplishment after cooking a healthy meal for my family as we sit around the table and enjoy each other’s company. ¬†Even if some of us are pant-less or screaming. ¬†Thank you Blue Apron for making sh*t easy for me.

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Keep an eye out for Amanda’s take on Blue Apron on Monday September 29th. Let us know if you have tried Blue Apron or any of the other at home meal services out there and let us know what you think.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig