Aug 01

Blue Apron: Keepin’ It Fresh in the Kitchen

Some friends of ours recently got into this new concept grocery delivery based out of Brooklyn called Blue Apron.  Blue Apron offers a once-a-week subscription service where they deliver all the fresh ingredients you need to make 3 meals crafted by top chefs, in exactly the right proportions.  They designed the service to teach their customers fun new recipes, save prep time, and also reduce unnecessary waste.  They claim to bring you fresher and higher-quality food than you could get on your own in the supermarket, and for better prices.  This sounded pretty perfect to us, so we decided to give it a shot!

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Here’s the Q+DD about Blue Apron’s subscription service:  Blue Apron delivery comes with all the raw ingredients you need to produce 3 meals for the week, in exactly the right portions.  Each plate is designed to be a well-balanced, healthy meal (a serving is approximately 500-700 calories).  In addition, each delivery comes with printed recipe cards and step-by-step instructions.  The cost is $9.99 per person per meal.  You select the type of plan you want and the number of people.  Blue Apron currently offers two plans: one that includes poultry, meat, or fish with each meal and one that is vegetarian.  Delivery is free, and they deliver the same day each week.  There’s no commitment: you can cancel anytime before the weekly cutoff.  Blue Apron meals are designed to stay fresh for the week in which you order them.  For ingredients, all you need is salt, pepper, and olive oil.  For cooking equipment, all you need are standard pots, pans, and knives.  Blue Apron provides you with everything else.

This is what the box looks like when it arrives:

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And this is what the instruction cards look like:

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Since THIS is what we’ve been dealing with in the Young kitchen, it really couldn’t have come at a better time…

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Our first meal was Beef Bibimbap.  It’s a popular Korean dish whose name comes from the Korean word for “mixed rice.”  It consists of white rice topped with sauteed veggies, marinated meat, hot chili, sesame oil, and other condiments.  The ingredients are all mixed thoroughly along with gochujang, a sweet-spicy soybean-based chili paste.  It was, by far, the most adventurous meal we’ve ever made in our kitchen.

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Our second meal was Salmon Burgers & Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter.  The recipe didn’t require breadcrumbs or binders for the mix.  We used freshly chopped salmon and cooked the burgers slowly over low heat so they stayed juicy.  We used a ring mold to get the round burger shape.  It was my favorite of the three recipes!

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Our third meal was Chicken Paillards topped with Endive, Radishes, Haricot Verts, and Fingerling Potatoes.  It was a pretty simple meal, but it had a kick!  I didn’t think I was going to be too excited with the final product, but I ended up really enjoying it.

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Blue Apron is a brilliant idea.  (I only wish I’d invented it.)  And it made the past week exciting to come home from work and experiment in the kitchen without having to stop at the grocery to pick up all the ingredients ahead of time.  Most of all, I love that it gave us a little more culinary confidence.  Who knows, maybe Kevin will be on THIS cover one day!  (Not really, but it was still a funny picture.)

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Check out Blue Apron HERE You deserve a fresh meal!  :)

xx, L

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Categories: Health,Vendors,What we're Cooking

Apr 05

Working On Our Wife Skillz…

I am not the world’s best chef.  I really like quick + easy meals (time is money, people!), and I LOVE my microwave.  So, I was Meagan’s “most eligible” friend to invite to join her for a cooking class she won at The Cook’s Warehouse.  (Thanks, Meagan!)

She selected the “Brunch Basics” class, and I felt pretty confident that I wouldn’t be the most remedial chef in the room since the word “basic” was used in the description.  (I still was, by far, but it wasn’t a big deal.)  We met for the class early on a Saturday morning at The Cook’s Warehouse in Ansley Mall (pictured below).

We sat down at a table full of friendly-looking aspiring chefs and the instructors brought us over a cocktail.  NOW they had my attention!  They started the class by introducing themselves and running through the tasty items we’d make over the course of the next few hours.

Then, cocktail in hand, they turned us loose in their massive kitchen!  (I didn’t get a picture of the CW Ansley Mall’s actual kitchen, but this one of their Brookhaven location is pretty close to what it looks like.)

Over the next two and a half hours, we made a breakfast strata, mix and match muffins of various kinds, two fruit salads (we learned how to properly cut fruit – Meagan is demonstrating what we learned in the picture below), and stuffed french toast.  The instructors also made us another brunch cocktail.  I certainly didn’t turn my nose up at that!

I learned so much over just a few hours in the Cook’s Warehouse kitchen, and Meagan and I had an excellent time working on the recipes.  She got married the weekend before I did, and we joked that we were practicing our “wife skillz” during the class.  (The wife skill I’ve been practicing the most over the past few blissful months of marriage has been letting Kevin think he’s making our decisions when I’m actually doing it. #marriedlife) 

I really enjoyed our cooking class at Cook’s Warehouse, and I’d recommend checking out a class to anyone who would like to learn a few new recipes or cooking techniques or anyone who wants to plan a fun date.  There is definitely a lot of teamwork involved!  Oh – and the very best part of all is that you get to eat everything you make:)

Click HERE for information about Cook’s Warehouse classes.

xx, L

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Categories: What we're Cooking,What we're Doing

Feb 27

Cooking w/ L+L: Anjali’s Spinach Lasagna

My buddy, Anjali, is pretty serious in the kitchen.  I am not.  My dinner repertoire consists of a regular rotation of turkey tacos, baked salmon or tilapia, homemade pizza, crock pot pulled pork, and spaghetti-squash-with-crumbled-veggie-burgers-and-marinara.  Needless to say, Kevin and I eat out A LOT…

When I was in DC over my birthday weekend, Anj made a delicious lasagna one night.  It was so impressive and half of it fed six people.  It was a real meal in my book.

I felt inspired a week ago to take a stab at it.  Since Kevin and I tied the knot, our kitchen has been filling up with exciting cooking gear + it was time to break some of it in.  There weren’t that many steps to the lasagna recipe, and I had a lot of the ingredients at home anyway.  It was the first real meal I’ve prepared as a married lady.  And, it was AWESOME!!

Behold my very first lasagna in all its Instagram glory:

(I was a little heavy-handed on the cheese, but whatevs…)

Okay, so here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 box of whole wheat or regular lasagna noodles
1 16 oz container of part skim ricotta cheese
1 16 oz package of mozzarella cheese
1 smaller package of shredded parmesan cheese
1 box of frozen chopped spinach
2 bottles of marinara sauce (whatever flavor you prefer)
Dried basil, oregano, or any other Italian seasoning
Red pepper flakes
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to whatever it says on the lasagna noodle box.
2. Boil lasagna noodles according to box.
3. Defrost spinach.
4. Mix together spinach, ricotta cheese, and half a jar of marinara sauce.  Season to taste with dried basil (or other Italian seasoning), salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
5. In a 9×13 inch baking pan, pour some sauce, lay down three cooked lasagna noodles, add 1/3 of the spinach ricotta mixture, and then sprinkle mozzarella cheese.  Add sauce, noodles, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese for a total of three layers.  After the last layer of noodles, add remaining sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.
6. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for however long it says on the box.  After that amount of time, remove foil and broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese.
7. Cool for 10 minutes.
8. Slice and serve.  Enjoy!

Make this lasagna.  It’s really pretty easy, super delicious, and you’ll feel like a grown up in the kitchen!  It lasts forever if you freeze it properly, too.

Thanks, Anj!  :)

xx, L

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Categories: What we're Cooking

Feb 03

SuperBowl 47: Brother v. Brother/Sister v. Sister

So, its Super Bowl Sunday.  It’s the biggest game of the year (apparently.) and I’m actually pretty jazzed up about it.  Not because I like anything that’s consistently classified as “Super” (I do.) or because I care about sports (I don’t!) or even because of the outrageously amazing ads (ok, I’m still excited about that)… I’m just REALLY into the Harbaugh Brother Rivalry! 

John: "ARE YOU WEARING MY SHIRT?" Jim: "I LOOK BETTER IN IT!"

I mean, WHAT are their parents going to do? 

Whelp, I guess that answers that! 

I was on the phone with my sister last night discussing this matter and, more importantly, which dishes we will be bringing to our respective Super Bowl parties when it occurred to me…we just may have a little Super Bowl Sibling Rivalry of our own!

May I present to you… the FIRST EVER

(former) Kraselsky vs. (former) Kraselsky SUPERBOWL PARTY SNACK-OFF!

GameFaces: It. Is. ON.

We will each bring one savory and one sweet item. Feel free to let us know which items you prefer… or just enjoy the recipes below for Buffalo Chicken Dip, Oreo Truffles, Baked Brie, and S’mores Brownies!

I came to play with the crowd-pleasing Buffalo Chicken Dip!

It's not the prettiest dip. But it is delish. And you make it with this bad boy

It’s SUPER easy.  (Pun intended.) and people go CRAZY for it.  This is how you do it:

Ingredients: I run to the grocery and get the following: 1 rotisserie chicken (Costco also has a cheap/good one.), 2 8oz packages of cream cheese (I usually do a full fat and a low fat…like that’s gonna help.), 1 small bottle of ranch dressing, 1 bottle of Frank’s Original Hot Sauce, and a 16oz package of grated Sharp cheddar cheese. I like to serve this dip with Chicken in a Biskit crackers and celery sticks.

Old school. Delicious.

Directions: First, I get Greg to dismantle the rotisserie chicken while I’m in another room.  Ick.  Then I throw the chicken pieces into my blender with 3/4 of the bottle of Franks and blend.  Then I transfer the mixture to a pot on the stove and heat it with the 2 packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of ranch dressing, and 3/4 cup of the grated cheese until creamy.  Then I pour it into a Pyrex and cover the top with more grated cheese.  When I’m ready to serve, I heat it for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until it’s bubbly on top.

Prepare to have zero conversation while this dip gets wolfed down the moment you set it on the table.

For my sweet dish…I’ll be making my super easy Oreo TrufflesSomehow the post I wrote several years ago is nowhere to be found, but here’s another good how-to (although I use Wilton’s candy coating instead of semi sweet chips.)  In any event, they’re really easy. 

For an extra special gameday version (or the “extra point” if you will…) I ran to Michael’s and picked up some disposable candy decorating bags, rolled the filling into ovals instead of balls, and made them look like little footballs! 

teeny, tiny, delicious footballs.

So, I feel pretty solid about my “roster…” but my sister is a well-known amazing cook and fierce competitor!

Katie will be competing with her standard party favorite: Baked Brie.  (obviously her party sounds pretty high brow.)  

She always uses this recipe and said that she uses crescent rolls and switches up the jams.  She says the honey and sugar are optional.

For dessert, she’ll be serving her always delicious S’mores Brownies.

Here’s how you do it:

Ingredients:  You need 10 whole graham crackers (20 crossway halves), 1 package Betty Crocker brownie mix (and its ingredients), 2.5 cups mini marshmallows, and 1c semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Instructions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking pan with foil extending beyond sides of pan and grease foil.  Make brownie mix as directed on back of box.  Try not to eat it all. Place 15 of graham cracker halves in bottom of pan (overlap slightly), set aside other 5 halves (break into large pieces). Spread brownie mix over graham crackers

Bake 28-32 min (toothpick comes out fudgey crumbs. DON’T OVERBAKE… and don’t turn your oven off just yet.)

Sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chunks on top, then throw that sucker in for another 3-5 min or until marshmallows begin to puff.  Then press graham pieces into marshmallows and allow it to cool in pan.  Lift out of pan onto cutting board using foil and cut brownies…voila!

So, there you have it! 4 extremely easy gameday recipes you totally have time to make before kickoff!  Now, go forth, enjoy your commercials and…

May the best Harbaugh win!

xx, L

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Categories: Entertaining,Parties,What we're Cooking,What we're Doing

Jan 16

Kale Chips: My New Favorite Snack

I really like to eat.  Like a lot.

I think breakfast, lunch, AND dinner are all the most important meals of the day.  (This is why I try to work out so much, because I’m always eating.)  On top of my three square (usually) meals, I am a pretty big snacker, too.  If I could eat whatever I wanted, I’d go for nacho cheese Doritos every time.  Because I just can’t eat like that whenever I want + I definitely wouldn’t want to offend you with Doritos breath (no really – Doritos give you the worst breath!), I’ve turned to alternatives like whole wheat pita chips + my newest love/ favorite snack: kale chips.

Kale is super healthy for you since it’s high in fiber, vitamin A, and calcium among other things.  It tastes pretty good raw, but it’s truly awesome when thrown in the oven and made into chips.  Kale chips totally curb my salty/ crunchy cravings and they are way more filling than they look!

Basically, I get this bag of kale from Trader Joe’s

…and in a few simple steps I turn it into this.  Voila!

Here’s the kale chips recipe I’ve been using lately:

What you need:
8 cups of kale
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of black pepper

How you do it:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line sheet pan with parchment paper.  Remove stems from kale.  Tear into very large pieces.  (Chips will shrink considerably.)  Wash kale.  Dry in a salad spinner or with paper towels.  Make sure it’s fully dried.

In a large bowl, add kale, oil, and seasonings.  Stir to coat evenly.  Add kale to parchment lined sheet plan in a single layer.  Bake in batches for about 8 minutes until edges are slightly brown.  (Start checking your chips at about 6 minutes.)  Do not allow to overcook – they can go from perfectly crisp to completely burnt in a matter of seconds.  Enjoy!

Happy healthy cooking + eating, y’all!  :)

xx, L

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Categories: Health,Tricks of the Trade,What we're Cooking