Dinner Made Simple with Blue Apron


As a university student, I don’t have a ton of time on weeknights to dedicate to cooking and being too creative.  We usually have a pretty regimented dinner schedule with burgers on Mondays and pizza on Fridays and Saturdays, filling in the days in between with grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken, or pasta.  After hearing about Blue Apron on all of my favorite podcasts week after week, we decided to give Blue Apron a shot this week and that was an awesome decision.  It’s a mail order food service that sends fresh, pre-portioned food right to your doorstep with meal cards detailing exactly how to make incredible meals weekly.  I made an account and was given a selection of 6 meals to choose 3 from for the coming week.  It was a hard decision but we decided on the Spinach and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza, Seared Salmon and Lemon Labneh, and Chicken “Under a Brick”.  I chose for the food to be delivered the following Wednesday and was pleasantly surprised when it came right on time, especially mail up here seems to always take an extra day or two.  All of the food that came was in perfect condition and very fresh (plus the packaging is adorable!)

I thought the little newspaper that came with it, “Season’s Best” was such a cute touch! You can also pair on a wine that complements you meal (each card had suggested wines) for a little bit more, which we passed on doing.

This was everything that came in the box!

For the first meal, we made the Seared Salmon and Lemon Labneh which ended up the favorite out of the three meals! It’s rare that I eat salmon so it was a nice change to have it! I thought the lemon labneh on top was such a lovely touch and it was on a bed of Freekah, which I had never tried before but ended up enjoying quite a lot.

This was the kale, date, and garlic sauteing for the freekah.

Ta da! The finished product!

The following night was pizza night! This was the Spinach and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza which also had shallots, green bell pepper, and olives on it.  It was definitely the easiest of the meals to make and it was done very quick;y.  I thought it was quite a gorgeous pizza when it was finished and topped with ricotta, red pepper flakes, and parmesan! Definitely a bit more fun than a normal pepperoni and cheese pizza!

Last, but not least was the Chicken “Under a Brick”.  I had never heard of chicken being prepared this way so it was a whole new experience.  I was a big fan of the carrots and potatoes that were served with it, I thought they were flavored so well with a wonderful italian dressing! I actually made the mistake when I was making this of going to flip the chicken and realizing the burner was off… earlier I had to switch burners and had turned the one in front on instead… whoops.  But nonetheless, it worked out, it just took longer than expected because of my mistake!

Isn’t that a beauty?

I really enjoyed Blue Apron and it was an awesome way to have home-cooked meals without a lot of the hassle of going to the store, something that’s not always realistic on busy days.  It allowed us to be adventurous and try foods that otherwise would not have been on our radars or even available up here! If you want to try it, grab this coupon for $30 off your first purchase at Blue Apron–> https://ooh.li/bd2c789

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Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Veggies

Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Veggies – An easy sheet pan meal made with chicken, potatoes, asparagus, lemons, and a delicious blend of seasonings! Perfect for busy weeknights!

So I finally got on board with sheet pan meals.  I have been seeing them everywhere for a while now but was finally sold when I was looking at the recipe for a ranch chicken meal and was thinking about how good that sounded with a few changes, including not using ranch! So I made one that fit my preferences a lot more with lots and lots of little potatoes and lemons! I thought it ended up quite delicious and will definitely be making this again in the next week of two.  I even made some garlic cibatta bread with it which paired perfectly! It was actually pretty amazing how quickly this all got devoured, we ate it all in one sitting.  I am always on the lookup for new easy weeknight meals to try out and add into the rotation, this week homemade tortellini alfredo is up which is one of my favorite meals but I have yet to actually make my own alfredo sauce all of this time!

Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Veggies

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb asparagus
  • 3 cups red skin potatoes (quartered)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 lemon (sliced)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray sheet pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, and salt.
  3. Spread chicken, potatoes, and asparagus on sheet pan, spreading seasonings evenly on top.
  4. Top with lemon slices.
  5. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked through.

 

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Carrot Cake Mug Cake

Carrot Cake Mug Cake – A perfect one-serving dessert that tastes just like a carrot cake! It is a delicious treat that is sure to be a new favorite!

It’s time for another mug cake! Currently, this is the fourth I’ve made but only the second I’ve actually posted.  Since this was more of a spring flavor, I pushed this one ahead of the other two! This was by far the best carrot cake I’ve had and it was a SO easy! I will definitely be making this again later this week as I have a really large bag of carrots and no other plans for them currently.

As for toppings, I made a homemade whipped cream to go on top along with a bit of shredded carrots and chopped pecans.  They all worked so well with the mug cake, I highly suggest! I considered making a bit of butter cream frosting for the top but decided whipped cream would be a bit easier since I didn’t have any cream cheese or butter softened.

I’ve been a bit addicted to making mug cakes for lunch, it’s been happening at least 1-2 days a week for about a month.  They are so easy to make and a lot more exciting then a boring grilled cheese sandwich or any of my normal options, I don’t usually get super creative when it comes to lunch so these have been a welcome change!

Check out the video!

Carrot Cake Mug Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 2 tbsp carrots (shredded) *
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk

Toppings (optional)

  • Whipped cream
  • Chopped pecans
  • Shredded carrots

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl (or straight inside the mug), combine all ingredients in and stir until there are no lumps.
  2. Microwave for 1-1.5 minutes or until baked through.
  3. Top with whipped cream, chopped pecans, and shredded carrots.  (optional)

 

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Lemon Chiffon Dip

Lemon Chiffon Dip – A wonderful lemon dip made with fresh whipped cream and lemon pudding.  Grab some fresh fruit and dig in!

Can I just say how happy I am that it is spring? Well, the weather is still really quite winter-y still up here which is sad but I can hope for it to be warm in a few months! I’ve been celebrating through spring recipes like this lemon dip which is SO delicious! It was perfect to dip fresh fruit into and tasted like spring! It was super easy to make which was great and I absolutely loved to color too, especially the contrast between the strawberries when I dipped them in.  It is essentially lemon whipped cream since I took my recipe for homemade whipped cream with lemon pudding mix in it to give it lemon flavors.  I’m think about trying this with some other pudding flavors like banana or french vanilla, it could work out really well and be seriously so easy!

It’s been so busy here, loads of exams and assignments which is quite frustrating since it seems they all end up being due at the same time… But at least I have this dip to eat my feelings away with.  I made a video to go along with this recipe, I’ve been trying to do that for every new recipe I put out to help clarify instructions and because they are pretty fun to do! Each one has been getting better and better, I think, as I learn how to use my video editor better.

Lemon Chiffon Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 package of lemon pudding
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix using a hand-mixer until the dip is light and fluffy, like whipped cream.
  2. Top with lemon zest and serve!

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Blueberry Banana Bread

Blueberry Banana Bread – A simple bread with fresh blueberries and bananas.  Perfect for breakfast with a bit of butter on a slice!

Banana bread is seriously so good.  I always enjoy having it in various forms whether with walnuts in it, as muffins, or as a classic loaf.  After waiting quite a while for my bananas to finally become overripe, I finally could make this bread! I was so excited about it! It was such an awesome breakfast to have before class for a whole week! I really love blueberries and bananas together too, between this and my Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal, they just are perfect together!

I made this bread well over a month ago now, I kept pushing off posting it because I made the video and intended to edit it while I was at the airport going to Japan but then ended up getting a new game on my computer and then wasting so much time playing it that it got pushed off for three weeks! Now it’s finally going up which I’m happy about as I have two more videos to edit in the queue so it’ll be great to move on to those! Make sure to check this video out down below!

Blueberry Banana Bread

Ingredients

Bread:

  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 bananas (overripe)
  • 2 cups blueberries

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to combine butter and sugars.
  3. Add in milk, eggs, flour, baking powder, and baking soda, using a whisk to combine.
  4. Mash bananas and add into the batter, stirring until combined.
  5. Fold blueberries into the batter and then pour into loaf pan.
  6. Combine cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and then sprinkle over the bread.
  7. Bake for 65-70 minutes or until the top is golden-brown and it has baked all the way through.
  8. Let cool before slicing.

Adapted from The Baker Upstairs

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Honey Roasted Almonds

Honey Roasted Almonds – Almonds roasted and then covered in a delicious honey glaze and sugar.  They are so addicting!

I’ve been dying to make these Honey Roasted Almonds for months! After I made the Maple Cinnamon Candied Walnuts, I knew I had to try making more candied buts because they were just so good! I always enjoy things that have both honey and almonds in them so I decided to combine them into one delicious snack! Needless to say, they were devoured incredibly quickly and for good reason! I’d find myself eating a handful every time I went into the kitchen and then coming back to grab another handful immediately!

I ended up finally getting around to making these about a month ago but then life got in the way and I never actually put together a post.  Having been up since 2 AM because of the lovely jet-lag from an 11 hour time difference here in Japan, I decided it was a good time to go for it because there’s not much else to do at 2 AM other than quietly hang out in my hostel until it’s late enough to go buy some melon pan!

Honey Roasted Almonds

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Spread almonds on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for 15 minutes at 350°F, occasionally flipping nuts over.
  2. While nuts are roasting, combine coconut oil, honey, and water in a medium saucepan.
  3. Bring liquids to a boil and add in almonds.
  4. Continuously stir almonds until they have mostly absorbed the liquids.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, coconut sugar, and salt.
  6. Transfer almonds to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on to the almonds.
  7. Let cool and enjoy!

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Snickerdoodle Mug Cake

Snickerdoodle Mug Cake – In only one minute, you can have the perfect, personal snickerdoodle cake! So easy and delicious!

I am so excited to finally have gotten on the mug cake train.  It took about 3 minutes to whip up and 1 minute in the microwave.  I couldn’t believe something so wonderful took so little time, it was crazy! I love sweets but would never be able to eat an entire cake by myself, having so much just go to waste, so a personal mug cake is so awesome.  It was the perfect amount of cake and tasted just as good! I had been really leery of them for years because I had tried making one about 6 years ago and it was a bit of a mess, the recipe just wasn’t the best and I was quite disappointed.  But thankfully, this is nothing like that and it came off just perfect! Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookies too so having all of those delicious flavors in cake form was pure perfection.

This actually ended up my Valentine’s gift to myself.  I whipped this up, threw on The Office, and just lounged for a bit in the afternoon before starting up work again for the day.  Pretty good way to relax if I may say so! The best part was when I went to grab a mug for this, I realized the only mugs that weren’t a weird shapes and sizes that were also microwaveable was this one that has the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter on it that shows up when you put something hot in it, a mug with King Henry VII and his wives, and an AT&T mug.  Although the AT&T one was my personal favorite, I went with this one.  You can never go wrong with a Harry Potter mug, right?! 🙂

One of my favorite parts of the holidays every year is making a fresh batch of snickerdoodles.  I love all of the flavors and the aroma is ! I always end up eating a whole stack and it is a wonderful experience.  My mom and I started making them many years ago and have since become such a staple here.  Last time I made a batch of snickerdoodle cookies, I added slices of almonds on top in the shape of a sand dollar and they were so cute! I can’t wait to make those for a summer party!

Check out the video of me making this Snickerdoodle Mug Cake!

Snickerdoodle Mug Cake

Ingredients

Batter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1.5 tbsp butter (melted)

Topping

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  2. Combine in vanilla, milk, and butter.  Stir until combined with no lumps.
  3. Pour batter into mug and sprinkle topping on top.
  4. Microwave for 1-1:30.
  5. Let cool before eating.

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Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal – Start your day off on the right foot with this baked oatmeal! It is the perfect healthier breakfast packed full of blueberries and bananas!

I’ve been meaning to make baked oatmeal for so long! I eat oatmeal every morning, usually just grabbing a pack of flavored oatmeal, pouring it in a bowl, and tossing in blueberries.  Nothing too exciting.  But then I go online and see all of these delicious variations of oatmeal that sound way more exciting like overnight oats, baked oatmeal, slow cooker oatmeal (like this Slow Cooker Pecan Pie Oatmeal), and such.  This was definitely worth the wait! I loved having it already cooked and I would just grab a slice to heat up before school.  So easy! I need to try making more variations in the future, I think adding in other berries and such would be such an easy and tasty way to mix things up.

Apart from making this baked oatmeal, I’ve been messing with making videos with one hopefully coming next week.  I am definitely not set up well to do one, I had to make the entire thing at my coffee table in my living room.  Thankfully, I managed to only get a litle bit of sugar on the table!

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 flax egg (or normal egg)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (brown sugar works as well)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 8″ square pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mash bananas and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon, chia seeds, and granulated sugar.  Slowly add in the rest of the ingredients and stir.
  4. Pour in the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Take out of oven and let cool!

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Easy Lemon Sweet Rolls

Lemon Sweet Rolls – Everything you love about a cinnamon roll, but with lemon flavors instead! They have a sweet, sticky lemon filling topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting!

My favorite food is hands-down cinnamon rolls.  I just think they are the greatest thing ever for literally every meal.  We make breakfast for dinner here a lot so either we get a can of premade ones or I make some from scratch.  Somehow, I have yet to actually make a post about them just because it’s either late at night and the lighting on photos would be horrible or what not.  I ended up adapting my normal cinnamon roll recipe to be more of a simple lemon sweet roll because I thought it was time to branch out into sweet rolls.  I had tried making a batch completely from scratch this summer, they were supposed to be strawberry sweet rolls, but they turned out so bad and really just lacked any flavor.  I ended up tossing most of those out as no one at my house even dared to try them.  But these are different! These are actually really delicious and SO easy to make! You don’t need to knead any dough and they only take 30 minutes! Crazy, right? I topped these with a little bit of lemon zest for a pop of color which is totally optional but it adds to the overall aesthetic!

After a long day of class, my friend came over for dinner that night.  I decided to make these sweet rolls, bacon, and little potatoes (my favorite side dish!) as a surprise.  The feast was a hit and all of the lemon sweet rolls were devoured! We both agreed that these were a hit and will be on the menu again in the future! I’m all for quick and easy meals that can be made after class so anything that fits those parameters is fair game.

30 Minute Lemon Sweet Rolls

Ingredients

Rolls

  • 1 can pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Frosting

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray 8″ circular pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, ginger, and lemon juice.
  3. Spread filling evenly across the pizza dough.
  4. Slice pizza dough into 6 pieces along the shorter side of the rectangular pizza dough.
  5. Roll dough slices and place into pan.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. While sweet rolls are baking, combine cream cheese, vanilla, and butter in a bowl and mix together using a hand mixer.
  8. Slowly add in confectioners’ sugar until combined.
  9. Take out rolls and let cool before frosting!

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Dorot Basil Garlic Butter Pierogies

Dorot Basil Garlic Butter Pierogies – Frozen pierogies topped in a delicious and super simple basil garlic butter sauce using Dorot herbs.  It doesn’t get any easier than this!

So I have to let you in on a secret.  I have a new best friend.  It’s Dorot herbs.  These herbs are seriously going to knock your socks off and might just be the coolest things since sliced bread.  Yup, they are that cool.  So they come in frozen, pre-portioned cubes so you literally just pop one or two out for your recipe and you’re done! No more chopping herbs! Isn’t that the coolest?! I always hate chopping garlic especially because then my hands just reek of garlic no matter how much I scrub them but that is one issue I don’t have to worry about anymore.  No more herb-prepping! I can’t even begin to explain how excited that makes me!

I bought my two different types of Dorot herbs at my local Trader Joe’s in Ann Arbor and they were so easy to find there.  I literally walked straight into the frozen section and they were right there on the right side corner.  I grabbed both types of Dorot (and maybe a thing of cookies or two) and headed over to the checkout, eager to get home and start cooking.

I decided to make these basil and garlic butter pierogies and wow, they were so good and oh so simple! The pierogies were frozen since I was going so a simple dinner that I could make in 30 minutes or less and they sauce was SO easy to whip up since I didn’t have to chop up any the basil and garlic since I was using Dorot! Being a college student, I just don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to cooking so any shortcuts I can take are so helpful!

Oh, and did I mention this recipe is vegetarian?!

Check out this video to see how great Dorot is in action!

Dorot Basil Garlic Butter Pierogies

Ingredients

  • 16 oz box frozen pierogies
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Dorot garlic cubes
  • 2 Dorot basil cubes
  • 2 tbsp butter

Directions

  1. Cook pierogies according to package directions.
  2. In a skillet, melt butter and then add in all the Dorot garlic and basil cubes.
  3. Add in liquid and cornstarch, bringing the sauce to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer until thickened.
  5. Let cool before serving!

You are going to love trying Dorot herbs! Save $1 on them using this coupon!

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