Blue Apron: A Working Mom's New Friend
About twice a month, a heavy cardboard box arrives on our front porch. Sometimes, one of my kids or my husband will lug it in inside, and sometimes it even makes its way onto the kitchen counter. But it always stays shut until I get home.
I slice open the seal and pull out two glossy, full-color cards: our Blue Apron recipes and easy-to-follow directions. Then I pull back the silver quilted bag that holds the ingredients. Produce on top, then two small brown bags that contain the "knick knacks" for each meal -- often a spice sack, sometimes a small container of special oil. I love that it's actually got a "knick knack" label! Finally, at the bottom, always protected by 2 large, long-lasting cold ice packs, is the protein -- chicken breasts or ground turkey, catfish or shrimp.
I often take a quick survey to decide which meal sounds most appealing to the family, but often times, I let myself judge a book by its title:
Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry with Tango Mandarins & Jasmine Rice
Blackened Cajun Catfish with Sweet Potato & Collard Green Gratin
Seared Pork Chops with Farro, Brussel Sprouts & Cranberry Chutney
Shokichi Squash Pasta with Walnuts, Sage & Kale
Once I make my choice, a put on a little smooth jazz, preheat the oven and start cooking. Usually there's a slew of chopping to "prepare the ingredients". One out of every two recipes includes garlic and the smell of freshly chopped garlic always sends the signal "There is a real dinner coming out of this kitchen tonight!" I've never used tango mandarins or baked a sweet potato & collard green gratin, so I take the recipe card to my cabinet, at eye level, so I can follow along closely -- words and pictures always make this "How to" easier for me (and the bold print when they reference ingredients is another helpful text feature!). Within 15 minutes, there is usually a bubbling pot or a timer ticking and I skim ahead to see how I'll "assemble the food and plate my dish" (usually I just serve it up, but with Blue Apron, I'm plating!). Sure, there have been some misfires (seared chicken with turnip, apple and barley salad was 4 thumbs down), and occasionally, I'm crazed for time (pimento cheeseburgers with roasted carrots and parsnips became "regular burgers and carrot sticks on the side"; parsnips were never used), but for the most part, new foods + detailed recipes = a meal everyone is willing to take a bite out of.