(Avon Park, FL) Hi 81 Lo 69 – Welcome to the new year!
We brought in the new year like we do every year by watching the ball drop in NY. In the past we would watch "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" leading up to it, but the stuff they call "rock" nowadays sure is different from what we're used to. So instead we watched "Live From Lincoln Center." The NY Philharmonic was a nice change from the raucous stuff on the other channels. We didn’t make any resolutions because we never keep them anyway.
Jim found a website for a company called Blue Apron. They provide all the ingredients to prepare gourmet meals in your home. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a fan of cooking meals, so anything that makes it easier I'm all for. So I decided to try it out. I ordered three complete meals for two people, and the cost came to $59.00, which is less than it costs us to eat out. Everything was delivered by FedEx on the day promised in a refrigerated box. (Click on the pictures to enlarge)
I try to keep meal preparation time to a half hour or so, and Blue Apron says their meals can be done in 35-40 minutes. They include a recipe card for each meal, which has the ingredients on one side and the cooking directions on the other.
All the ingredients are provided in separate ziplock bags, in just the amounts required. This keeps you from having to keep a lot of bottles of spices on hand, a room-saving benefit for RV'ing.
I laid everything out and isolated the ingredients for each meal. The three meals were Pasta e Fagioli, Chicken & Wild Mushroom Casserole, and Paella-Style Rice with Shrimp.
I decided on the Pasta e Fagioli for our first meal. I started the prep about 5:00, my usual time to start dinner. Now I'm used to just slapping a few ingredients together and cooking it for 15-20 minutes and we're eating by 5:45 or so. In this case, all those ingredients that were conveniently organized had to be cut, sliced, chopped, and diced. There were some things I never heard of, like a fennel bulb. I have no idea what that is, but I had to cut the "fronds" off the bulb and chop them up. And a lot of the green things (like Kale) looked alike once they were cut up, so I had to be sure to keep the name label with them in the separate little bowls I put them in. There were two yellow onions in the package, one listed as a "yellow" onion (for this meal), and the other a "spanish" onion (for one of the other meals).
Jim and I spent 10 minutes online trying to figure out which one was which, only to find out their the same thing with a different name. Finally, after about 45 minutes everything was ready to mix together. I carefully followed the directions, but did make one mistake. I put a little of the wrong kind of spice blend (the one meant for the Paella dinner). Oh well! I did include the correct blend also, so hopefully we won't be able to tell. After cooking it up on the stove top we found out that Pasta e Fagioli is basically Italian soup. :) And for a meal that's supposed to feed two people there sure was a lot of it. We ate plenty and had plenty left over which I put in the freezer. We were a little disappointed in the taste. For all those spices it turned out to be a little bland. Maybe adding that one wrong ingredient affected the taste more than we think.
We sat down to eat a little before 7pm, so the whole thing took close to two hours. So much for that 35-40 minute preparation time they advertised! Tonight I’m making the chicken meal. I'll let you know how it turns out in our next post.
We're currently scheduled to receive three meals every other Wednesday instead of every Wednesday, but if the other two meals in this set turn out to be no better, I think we'll be dropping out of the program. We're not "gourmet" eaters, but I thought it would be nice to have some fancy meals once in a while for a reasonable price. But the quality has to be there to make it worthwhile. There's six choices you can choose from each week.
Thanks for reading and following along, it’s going to be a great 2015. See you in a few days.