Blue Apron Vegetarian Review

I don’t know how many of you listen to podcasts or watch YouTube family vlogs, but ever since I finished school I’ve been kinda addicted to them. Podcasts make the commute to work 1000% better and the NPR ones can be really informative. Anyway, the reason I am bringing this up is Blue Apron has ads on all of my favorite podcasts and vlogs (perfect ad placement, like how did they know this was something I would totally be interested in?!).

I should also mention that I am not getting paid for this review. The only reason I really got into it is because a friend of mine posted a Groupon for the first 3 meals on Facebook. After using the Groupon deal, I was hooked. I’ve been getting the 2-person vegetarian plan every other week.

The way it works: Once you sign up, you choose a delivery schedule and you can opt out or skip weeks. You have to be careful because it will automatically bill you and send you a box if you don’t sign in and choose to “skip this week” ahead of time. On your chosen delivery day, the Blue Apron box will arrive at your doorstep with all of the ingredients needed for 3 meals including the step-by-step instructions. Everything is fresh and the box is refrigerated so its ok if you aren’t home (just make sure you get it sometime later in the day).

There are several services that send you fresh ingredients and recipes but I was really happy with the vegetarian option at Blue Apron. All of the recipes are really creative, and it’s not just salads and pastas. I don’t need special cooking utensils or appliances, it’s pretty basic. Some of the recipes can take a long time but most of the recipes that I’ve done haven’t been more than an hour including prep time.

Yall know my main complaint with cooking new recipes is that I end up wasting so much food especially when it calls for rare vegetables or spices that I know I will not use again. Blue Apron is perfect for that because they only send exactly what you need! It can be pretty expensive but it works for me because I spend about the same in groceries for 2 weeks. I usually eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next night so overall I am able to stretch the 3 meals a week to like 6.

I didn’t take a lot of pics of my meals because I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this post so now I wish I had but here are some of the meals:

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I’ll do another short post of future Blue Apron meals. This also means that I won’t be posting any recipes for the next month but stay tuned because there is still a ton of stuff I want to try.

Overall, I am very happy with the Blue Apron vegetarian plan and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try new recipes and hates grocery shopping lol. Well, it doesn’t eliminate grocery shopping completely…you’ll still need breakfast, lunch, and snacks guys 🙂

 

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people since I’ve moved to Connecticut; it’s almost been surprising. It’s not easy making new friends at my age because most people already have their well-established cliques or group of friends and aren’t looking to include anyone new in their circle. Anyway, the person who gave me today’s recipe is one of my closest friends here and I am grateful that we found each other 🙂

Ingredients: 3 bell peppers (doesn’t matter what color), 1 c. short grain brown rice, 1 can of black beans, 1/2 can of corn, 1/2 onion, garlic, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 tblsp olive oil, shredded cheese, 1 cup Morningstar Griller crumbles (optional), salt and pepper

This dish took longer than I expected. It was mostly the rice which is one of the reasons that I’m not a huge fan of rice because it takes so long to cook. At first, I had the rice cooking separately in a small pot while the other ingredients simmered in a large pan but I ended up transferring the rice and cooking everything together. Altogether, it took about an hour for the rice to cook; and if you follow the directions on the bag, it says around 45 min to an hour.

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First, saute the onion, garlic, and Griller crumbles with a little olive oil in a pan. After the crumbles are cooked, add the rice. For 1 cup of brown rice, add 2 cups of water. After that has boiled for a while, add the diced tomatoes, black beans, and corn (drained). Let it all simmer on the stove for about an hour covered. Keep checking and stirring periodically, add water if needed to finish cooking the rice. Also, add the salt and pepper to taste and whatever other seasonings you feel are needed.

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For the bell peppers, I used one of each color. I cut the green and red pepper horizontally (just cut the top with the stem off) and cut out the insides that way. I cut the yellow pepper vertically just to see which one I would prefer…I think I like the way I cut the green and red peppers best.

After cutting the peppers and removing the insides, grab an extra pot and put them in boiling water for a few minutes. This makes them softer while the rice mixture is cooking. Preheat the oven to 350.

When the rice mixture is finished, fill the bell pepper cups with it and place them in a pan. Put them in the oven for about 15 to 20 min.

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After taking out of the oven, sprinkle cheese and enjoy. The bell pepper cups make the presentation so pretty and makes me feel like a contestant on Chopped or something. I had two and it was really filling and delicious!

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Simple Breaded Tofu

This month’s recipe is so easy I debated posting because it seems pretty self-explanatory..Breaded tofu. But I realized that some people think tofu is this mysterious/weird food that is impossible to make taste edible. It’s not that complicated yall, and this is coming from someone who was never a huge tofu fan. However, I realized tofu can be really great if it’s seasoned well (which is true for most foods). I use regular seasoning like Tony Chachere’s and Season Salt but if you are more of a professional, just use whatever you usually season chicken (or whatever meat) with.

Ingredients: Italian bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/2 chopped red onion (or yellow onion), olive oil, seasoning (salt, black pepper, Tony Chacheres, and a little Season Salt), and extra firm tofu.

Heat a frying pan with olive oil (or vegetable oil). Slice the tofu into squares and sprinkle some salt and pepper on it.

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Have two bowls ready: the first bowl has 1 beaten egg in it and the second has the Italian bread crumbs with the seasonings in it. Dip the squares in the first bowl with the egg. Then, cover it in the bread crumbs and seasoning from the second bowl.

Place tofu in the heated frying pan and flip over until both sides are golden brown. Then place fried tofu on sheet of foil. As you can see from the pic below, some of the squares got broken up lol.

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When I finished frying all the tofu squares, I put them in the oven for a little bit just to make sure they were cooked thoroughly. I’m not that good at frying things…I should probably buy a deep fryer.

Separately or together, you can saute the chopped onion and put on top when time to serve.

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I had my tofu with mashed potatoes and broccoli. It’s a quick and easy dinner and really filling!

Chickpea Patties

This simple recipe for Chickpea Patties is something I came up with while trying to make falafel. So essentially this is my version of a falafel lol.

Ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas, chopped red onion, Italian breadcrumbs, 1 egg, feta cheese crumbles, garlic powder, salt, pepper, season salt

First, I put the onion and chickpeas in the food processor.

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Beat the egg and mix it with the chickpea mixture in a bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, feta cheese, and seasonings.

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Take portions of the mixture and roll into balls or patty shapes. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the patties in the pan. Also, preheat the oven to 350.

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When each side is golden brown, place the patties on a sheet of foil. When all of them are on the sheet, put it in the oven to finish baking the inside. I don’t remember how long I had them in the oven, but it wasn’t more than 20 min.

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I had the patties with yellow rice and spinach. Also ranch dressing was the sauce of choice since I don’t have tzatziki sauce on hand 🙂

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I wish I had some pita bread..but all in all it was really good and really easy to make! Maybe I’ll try to make real authentic falafel sometime.

Easy Morningstar Griller Tacos

I have always been a huge advocate for Morningstar “veggie meat” products. Some say that their soy based meat substitutes are too salty and not the most healthy alternative to meat. I feel that anything can be bad if you over do it, everything in moderation right? I just think that they taste good and can be thrown into any meal easily.

Now, the following “beef-like” tacos are really simple and super fast to make. All you need is a bag of Morningstar Griller Crumbles, 1 can of corn, Old El Paso taco seasoning (or any other taco seasoning packets out there), onion, green pepper, corn or flour tortillas, shredded cheese, and any other extras that you put on your tacos (sour cream, lettuce, etc)

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 With the taco seasoning, you can choose how much spice you would like I think I got medium (as opposed to mild). The crumbles come frozen (I use about half the bag) so I saute them with about 1/3 of  an onion and green pepper (roughly chopped) in olive oil.

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After the crumbles soften, I add the taco seasoning following the instructions on the packet. You add about a cup of water and stir in the seasoning…I put the pan on about medium heat while the sauce thickens and add about 1/2 a can of corn.

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The sauce is already pretty salty so I don’t add any salt, just a little chili powder and black pepper to kick it up.

I’ve finally made the switch to using corn tortillas instead of flour, and it hasn’t been that bad. The only part is that they tear so easily. To prevent that, heat the tortillas in a dry skillet for about 10 to 20 seconds on each side and this makes them more pliable.

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They were really good yall, I usually only have 2 but I ended up eating all 3 on that plate. There was definitely enough taco “meat” for left overs and you know how much I love my left overs!

 

Black Bean Burgers

Guess what? It’s a snooow daaayy!! What a perfect opportunity to be productive from the comfort of my little home. I even have the time to update my little food blog 🙂

As promised, this is the continuation of my previous post on Black Bean Enchiladas. I simply turned the filling into a patty by adding a few more ingredients.

As a reminder, this is what the enchiladas looked like:

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With the leftover filling, I added Italian bread crumbs, cooked white rice, and 1 egg. I also added some more chilli pepper and black pepper as seasoning.

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Formed into patties and baked at 350 for about an hour or until they looked cooked lol..It turns out I didn’t cook the rice enough so there were a few tough-to-chew burgers (you live you learn).

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I was lacking in toppings and condiments so this was a simple cheese burger with ketchup, but I’m sure lettuce, pickle, tomato, etc would make it the ultimate burger.

And there you have it, two completely different meals with the same-ish ingredients! Enjoy and stay safe in all of these crazy winter storms.

Spicy Bean and Lentil Loaf

I keep trying different loaf recipes but not all of them turn out great except for my Aunt Judy’s recipe. This one turned out ok but I wanted to share it with you anyway. The recipe comes from the same cookbook that I’ve featured before “Vegetarian” and I’ve realized that I keep using it because it’s the only one I have that has pictures for each recipe. I have a problem with following a recipe if I don’t see what the end product is supposed to look like..So I’m probably going to invest in more cookbooks with lots of pictures.

Spicy Bean and Lentil Loaf << pdf file of recipe, sorry if it’s too blurry

I couldn’t find canned lentils so I boiled them myself..and I got to use my food processor!

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I followed the directions on the lentils pack but I might have over boiled them. After sauteing the veggies, I added them, 2 eggs, and the beans to the food processor.

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I drained the lentils and the kidney beans but after processing it all, it turned out almost completely liquid. And I think that was the mistake that made the loaf not that great. Next, I added the ketchup, tomato paste, cheese, and seasonings.

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It wasn’t thickening up so I added Italian bread crumbs and put it all into a greased pan. Leave in oven for an hour (350 degrees).

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I would give the loaf a B- because it ended up tasting more like seasoned smashed beans instead of a loaf. But I think it’s because I might have processed it too much…maybe next time I won’t use the food processor at all and just mix everything the old-fashioned way lol