Who Do You Think You Are?

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I have always been fascinated with the idea of wondering where my ancestors came from. It would be so cool to think my great-great-great-great-great grandparents were involved in some important event in history. Yet, when I asked my parents if they knew where our ancestors were from, they said they didn’t know. It just wasn’t something discussed growing up. That coupled with the fact that both of my grandfathers were dead before I was born, I thought that’d be a mystery of my life forever.

And then, Y2k happened! Or someat hing like that. Instead of computers “being dumb” and not knowing what number comes after 1999, technology became smarter and somewhat spooky. Thanks to other people wanting to know their family history and people being scientific marvels, DNA kits became available to be shipped to people’s homes.

This is where my “sucker for a good deal” label on my forehead came into play. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon the show “Who Do You Think You Are?” Yes, I was clearly late to this party since it has been on tv for about 5 years. Anywho, I got hooked as I decided to binge watch it. With each passing episode, I really wanted to find my ancestors’ roots. Alas, a commercial for a DNA kit from ancestry.com appeared with the low, low price of $79 on my tv screen. With a few clicks of my cellphone buttons (like cellphones have buttons now…), I ordered my kit. Soon, I would know if it was English, English, or English! Within 5 business days, this lovely kit appeared in my mailbox.

IMG_7928I couldn’t wait to see where my ancestors had traveled from to make it to America. I wanted to immediately dive into the kit, but the kit said I had to wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking to give my sample. Since I had been sipping on a Diet Coke on my ride home from school, I knew I had to wait. Fast forward an hour later…

 

My sample and kit were ready to be sent off to the lab! It was pretty simple to follow the steps. It says only 1/4 teaspoon of spit was needed. I’m pretty sure the amount is closer to a tablespoon! It seems like so much spit to see where my family came from. It still amazes me that all the answers are in that little vile.

So, who do I think I am? First and foremost, a southern belle. I’m a pretty proud American too. While working on my family tree, I have found out that the Black clan has been in Carolina since roughly 1780. Before our Tarheel and Sandlapper days, we were lovers in Virginia starting in the year 1760. But what about before that? So far, I haven’t been able to find documentation of where the Black clan began. But pretty soon (6-8 weeks to be exact), this little vile of spit will give me the answers. So, for right now, I’m still wondering, “who DO I think I am?”

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Newton Ain’t Got Nothing On Me

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I finally got around to making my last Home Chef Meal today. It was pretty simple, but I was too tired after work each day to think about it. So, I thought it would make a quick, delicious lunch today.

Quick, it was! The whole prep and cook time took 15 minutes. Granted, I modified this meal quite a bit. It suggested sauteeing onions in balsamic vinegar and roasting asparagus to include in the salad. I decided to save the onions to be used to make burgers later this week and to save the asparagus as a side dish with my leftover zucchini for another meal. So, maybe that’s why the prep time was so short!

Literally all I did was par-bake my flatbreads and then spread the fig preserves, sprinkle mozzarella cheese, and crumble goat cheese on top of the flatbread. I also toasted some walnuts and chopped them up to garnish with my arugula salad. At first I thought about saving the arugula for my burgers, but my gut told me that the sweetness needed some bitterness to cut it.

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And there you have it! Easy peasy Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread with Walnut and Arugula Salad. Nom, nom, nom! Sooo good and worth a repeat!

Btw, the first time I ate goat cheese was by accident! I ordered some yummy french toast in Charleston that was made with goat cheese. I somehow missed that description on the menu! Anyway, happy accident! It’s a nice tang to add to a dish.

Martha Stewart, I Ain’t. Pioneer Woman? Maybe.

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I was so excited to make the meals in my second Home Chef box. I’ve always been picky about meat, so I opted for the two vegetarian dishes this week. Tonight’s meal consisted of macaroni and cheese and roasted vegetables.

The prep and cooking time for this recipe suggested 40-50 minutes. I was skeptical at best. I thought that was way too long to make a vegetarian dish—especially when they suggest 25 minutes to cook chicken!

So, after I immediately began boiling my water, I chopped one zucchini and one tomato. The kit came with two each, but I opted to save them for cooking later this week. Within eight minutes, I had all the vegetables chopped and noodles in the pot. Basically, I was just waiting around for my noodles to cook, so I started cleaning up my mess. How nice to clean as my food was cooking! Within 28 minutes, my meal was finished and the macaroni was just toasting in the oven to crisp up the panko I put on top. A yummy dinner in less than 30 minutes! I can definitely dig that after teaching on a Monday! I also learned how to make a cheese sauce and brown butter. That was exciting enough in itself. Here’s a picture of the final product. The recipe says there’s 2 servings of macaroni, but this is only 1/4 of the pan. Yay for macaroni and cheese all week!

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Potatoes from Heaven

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Well, I typed out a whole blog about my delicious potatoes from Heaven yesterday, but somehow it didn’t save. I’m pretty sure that was due to my teacher fatigue coming back from Spring Break! So, here’s take two of my delicious meal number 2 from Home Chef that I entitled “Potatoes from Heaven.”

The real name of this dish is Parisian Chicken with Dauphine Potatoes. Translation? Potatoes made with shallots, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and butter. As soon as I took a bite of these delicious potatoes, I said, “Praise the Lord!” I will definitely add this recipe to my “will be used often” bank. What makes them even more delicious is that you finish them in the oven with more Parmesan sprinkled on top and garnish with chives. Yum, yum, yum!!!

The Parisian Chicken was good, too. It was a bit sweet, but I didn’t hate it. The potatoes definitely had enough savory elements. I’m not even a fan of carrots, but the glazed carrots I made were also delicious!

My one complaint would be the prep and cooking time. The recipe suggested 30-45 minutes. I never cook thick chicken breasts quickly. Maybe I’m picky or maybe I just don’t want salmonella. I was also on the phone during some of this prep and super tired after teaching. I didn’t even start cooking until about 5:15. All in all, it took me 50 minutes. Almost an hour for chicken and potatoes! This meal should have definitely been a weekend meal as opposed to an after work meal. Lesson learned! Anywho, here is what my delicious Potatoes from Heaven meal looked like.

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Piiiiiiizza! 🤗

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IMG_7779.JPGOn the menu today? Burrata Pizza Margherita! Translation: fancy Italian cheese pizza with pesto!

Again, I have been sooooo excited to make this pizza. The suggested prep and cook time was 25-35 minutes. It took me 28 from start to finish. Not too shabby! The cook and prep time linger together because while I prepped one part another part was cooking.

I say “cooking” lightly. It’s really just making tomato sauce and then warming everything up in the oven. But, y’all! I made tomato sauce from scratch! Soooo yummy and sooooo easy! I have a little bit left over that was suggested to use as dipping sauce. Um, negative. I will use the leftovers to make spaghetti for lunch one day next week. Look at my pretty sauce!

IMG_7778.JPGNow, on to what my Pizza looked like. I should have read the directions thoroughly. Apparently I was supposed to cook directly on the oven rack and use the baking pan to catch the drippings. Oops. So, my pizza wasn’t as crispy as it would have been and my sauce became a little watery. Still soooo good! I served it up with a simple spinach side salad with a white balsamic vingarette I made. The meal even came with a packet of sugar in the raw to use for the dressing. So cute! Here is the final product:

IMG_7777I made that!!! So good and easy! I will definitely make it again when the pizza craving hits. Next time, though, I’ll hit it up on my George Foreman grill instead of in the oven. Can’t wait for leftovers of this yumminess!

Home Chef is Here

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My second box service arrived today! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this box because I’ve heard really good things about Home Chef from my friends. I chose the 1-2 person box with two meals. This service gives you more flexibility with meal choices than Blue Apron. You can select your specific diet (gluten free, vegetarian, low cal, etc.) but then you still get the choice to choose what meals you like from that set plan. There’s also a fruit basket and smoothie option you can add. I’d rather eat my calories than drink them, so the smoothie option is out for me. The fruit basket might be worth looking at one day—you know, when you need a gift for somebody. 😁

IMG_7772.JPGSo, what’s inside the box? On this week’s menu, I chose a vegetarian pizza option and a chicken and potato dish. I LOOOOOOOVE pizza, so I have been looking forward to this meal since I selected it! Also, you can never go wrong with chicken and potatoes. Here’s a peek as to what’s inside the box:

 

IMG_7773.JPGThoughts? I like how everything is packaged for the meal you need. The only thing packaged separately was the chicken for safety reasons. I didn’t see any directions for how to store the food. Blue Apron had a note on EVERY PIECE OF PACKAGING that said whether or not it needed to be refrigerated. So, I just used common sense and put it all in the fridge. Better safe than sorry!

Check back in later because I know I will be making this pizza later today. I’ll probably make the chicken dish tomorrow as a nice Sunday treat. The leftovers will be taken to lunch for my first day back after spring break. That delicious treat will help me make it through what I know will be a loooooong, loooooong Monday.

 

Side note: This box did arrive one day late. I was a little bummed knowing I’d have to wait an extra day to get the box, but Home Chef sent me an email early yesterday apologizing for the delay. So, I can live with it being late since I was told about it early enough to make other plans for dinner last night.

Pan Seared Chicken with Lentils…Maybe

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My last meal from Blue Apron was Pan Seared Chicken with French Lentils. Here is what the recipe card looked like: IMG_7726The picture looked really yummy. People’s preparations online also looked great. But I’ll be honest…I just wasn’t feeling it when it came time to make it.

According to Blue Apron, the food in your kit (including meat) will last in the fridge about 5 days. I’m very nervous about meat being in the fridge that long, so I decided to cook it yesterday even though I wasn’t very hungry due to a late lunch. When I took the chicken out, it was still icy from the box. That made me much less nervous. So, I decided to pan sear the chicken with the garlic and scallions. Already, I had deviated from the recipe. The recipe says to start cooking the lentils first because they take 25-30 minutes. I just wasn’t interested in eating the lentils in 80 degree weather. That seems more like a winter side dish to me. So, I skipped that step and went straight to cooking the chicken. Here is a snapshot of the cooked chicken.

IMG_7720So I laughed a little because the recipe card said that these plump chicken breasts would cook on 5-6 minutes on each side. Yeah right! Hello, salmonella!

So here is where I abandoned shop and made my own recipe. By day four, my arugula was less than fresh. I also didn’t enjoy eating raw radishes the other day, so I didn’t even bother chopping them today. Instead, I took the chicken and arugula and combined them with some delicious artisan bread, mozzarella, and tomatoes to make a panini. Here is what the messy end product looked like:

IMG_7725.JPGIs it what the recipe called for? No. Is is what the fancy Blue Apron chefs had in mind? Probably not. Was it delicious and satisfying? Yes! Even Sassy gobbled up some of the leftover chicken and eyed my panini the whole time I was eating it.

So, maybe I failed at the Blue Apron challenge on this meal. Yet, having freedom in the kitchen and making something that you know will be delicious is much more important than following a recipe card. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a warm gooey grilled cheese sandwich?