the best kind of kitchen help

22 January 2015

While Simon is always incredibly supportive of all of my posts and blog ideas his eyes definitely lit up and he didn't hesitate for a second before saying, "oh, you should definitely do that" when I broached the idea of Blue Apron kindly sponsoring a post (this post!) once he heard about their genius service and scrolled through their website. His mom is a magician in the kitchen and I'm a seriously lacking work-in-forever-progress in that department and I really should take all the help I can get so I'm glad I did.

I'm willing to bet some lettuce that you've heard of Blue Apron but if you haven't I'll give you a lightning fast rundown:

+ Blue Apron is a food service (two person or four person meal plans) that delivers farm-fresh food to your doorstep in the exactly the right proportions along with detailed recipe cards complete with helpful photos.

Fast enough?

The fixings for Winter Chicken Ramen with a blurry cameo of Julia minus her entire body, plus her hand.

Bok Choy. Never did it ever think it would see the likes of our kitchen in all of its exotic glory. Life is crazy like that.

I almost had a very minor heart attack when the recipe card went missing (even though the entire recipe is online, Grandma - along with others!!) but then I heard my super helpful helper around the corner on her favorite perch reading the instructions out loud ...

"Number one: put that green stuff in."
"Number two: put that other green stuff in the first green stuff."
Heavy sigh ... 
"Number three: cut the green things up very small with a dangerous knife."

 I knew I'd be cooking up some new recipes that I would never dare to try on my own but I didn't anticipate learning some new-to-me cooking techniques like this one ...

frying chicken pieces under the weight of a pot of water. So smart. {although: they said to use foil which we did not have so I used parchment paper which I do not recommend lest you like putting out smallish kitchen fires, ahem}

My new skill made some of the best (nay, thee best) chicken I've ever tasted. I can only take about 5% credit, of course, but it was GOOD. Miss Piggy Patton herself woke up just in time to help me taste test ...

... and immature jokes aside, she would've eaten an entire breast if I'd let her. 

The chicken all dressed up and ready to go along with the soft boiled eggs ...

(eggs straight from a farm! We all know how I feel about those! Might've been the highlight for me)

And the final Winter Chicken Ramen product ...

the Pattons are very particular about matching dishes.

I made this as a late lunch/early dinner for Simon and myself while the kids napped because it's a treat to get to eat together (and Phoebe, but she keeps her talking to a minimum) even though Blue Apron just started offering a family meal plan that's designed for four people but was plenty for all six of us for a meal plus leftovers. Plenty. And Theo and Phoebe are huge eaters ... despite being the youngest kiddos.

Things that surprised me about the service:

+ the family meal plan is $8.74 per person (with free shipping) which is a lot less than we spend when we ever dare to dine out once we factor in drinks and fat tip for the poor waitstaff left to clean up the leftover floor and table carnage. There's no fee to delay or cancel the service at any time which is so nice because I forget that sort of thing all the time (thank you new yearlong magazine subscription - oops). The two person meal plan is $9.99 a person.

+ average prep time for their meals is 35 minutes which is more than doable if I get a little head start at the tail end of naps. 

+ I knew everything would be included (other than obvious items like salt and pepper or a tablespoon of olive oil here and there) but it was really a nice and refreshing change not having to pause and ask Simon to run to the store for the inevitable forgotten ingredient because it was all right there - labeled and perfectly portioned. And best of all - no waste. I'm the WORST about that.

+ I always thought I hated (HAY-TED) mushrooms but this recipe included Enoki mushrooms ...

... middle culprit on the cutting board.

and I really liked them. Miracle of miracles. So now I'm eying my other nemesis (olives) and wondering if there's a variety I might tolerate somewhere over the rainbow ...

+ the box the shipment came in was refrigerated. I knew it was outside waiting to be brought in and I kept saying, "okay after this diaper I'll grab it" or "let me just sweep the kitchen again" or or or ... so it was outside in the not-freezing weather for quite a few hours and by the time I brought it in - everything was still cold cold. The meat especially - which is obviously the most important.

+ I kept thinking what a great gift this would be to send to a postpartum mom a few months after the baby is born. While meals ready to pop in the oven are amazing (seriously) immediately post-delivery ... I thought it might be a nice surprise gift to get once you're sort of back on your feet and craving something that doesn't require a freezer and a microwave but just aren't up for a big trip to the store or thinking up a fancier meal quite yet. Something to keep in mind as a lot of my friends get ready to have sweet summer babies, for sure.

So if you ever dare to  come over dinner and the meal seems a little bit too good to be Grace Patton true ... you'll know my dirty little secret.

And if you'd like to give Blue Apron a try - the first fifty readers can snag two free meals with their first order right here!

Thanks for reading and thanks to Blue Apron for the fancy feast. The kitchen is still reeling from all the highly unusual excitement.


  1. Bummer, they don't ship to my area!

  2. that sounds so amazing! Favorite part her reading aloud, lol!

  3. "the cutting board" love it! no service to Alaska yet probably a money loss for them anyway : ) you're awesome

  4. This is too funny!! I just signed up last week for the dinner for two menu. I am coming out of the fog of the last month but am not yet ready for the whole meal planning thing yet so a friend suggested this service. It's a great price for the three meals we will get next week. I am looking forward to it. Great minds think alike my friend. Hugs from VA <3

  5. Umm this look AA-MAZING!!!! Can I go ahead and get this delivered for the first week home with baby? Surely Chris can follow directions if it is all right there? Right? Maybe? As long as it is edible.

  6. i'd totally come over for dinner.

  7. cooking chicken under the weight of a pot of water, what sorcery is this?! Looks delicious

  8. Gah. They don't yet ship to the backwater I live in. I will monitor this situation....I would LOVE this service!

  9. We had a free trial for a week. My favorite part was trying new meal ideas I would have never found otherwise. The hubs loves to watch cooking shows and channeling his inner-Bobby Flay. I think he liked practicing all his knife cuts and fancy platings ;-) It's not something I would do every week (I think it's a little pricey for cooking at home), but it was fun to try some new recipes! I loved that everything came prepackaged and portioned out too!

  10. I'm all over this and just signed up. THANK YOU! I had a beer and a brownie for dinner (sure to fuel my late night sewing / filling of orders). Child, on the other hand, had a less sensible meal of chicken with veggie rice. Thankfully, my husband will be back in town just in time for our first delivery.

  11. looks fantastic! we have had a couple of those order boxes before and they are great for new recipes. And I need to borrow Julia to help me cook!

  12. Can Julia read all of my recipes to me? Her directions are spot on.

    Also, I love that painting above your couch... have you mentioned in another post where you got it? Thanks!

  13. love the idea to use it as a gift for new moms (or 3rd time moms as my friend is soon to be). it definitely does sound interesting and quite affordable - totally trying that chicken pot pan trick next time. and mushrooms are the best! olives - no. stay away. they are never good. yuck.

  14. my first delivery comes on the 31st (can't wait to try it - thanks for the code!). i'm not great in the kitchen - hopefully this will make my boyfriend want to order take out less often :-)

  15. I just ordered and my first deliver come next week. Thank you for the code! Excited to try out the recipes and learn some new things in the kitchen!

  16. Wow! This looks AH-MAZ-ING! I love Asian inspired dishes but it seems like to be really good, they require too many hard-to-find ingredients. I just signed up and am excited to try...thank you for the code :-)



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