I Learned to Make Fondue!

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Well, sort of. I ordered another Home Chef box. Let it be known if it isn’t obvious, Home Chef is my favorite of the three delivery meal services that I tried. The recipes are quick and easy. Plus, everything is prepackaged in one large ziplock bag so you can easily grab your ingredients for each meal.

Back to the fondue. I made the Swiss Fondue Burger with Onion Jam. The Swiss Fondue was made by heating shredded Swiss and heavy cream together. Easy Peasy, but holy cow! So delicious. The Onion Jam was a bit misleading. It really was just sautéed onions. Maybe I missed a step? It definitely needed something to make it “jammy.” The recipe came with potatoes to make parsley fries. I used the potatoes and made some oven roasted Parmesan potato wedges instead. The end result? Something so delicious that I gobbled it up faster than any other meal I’ve made. I’ll add this recipe to my repertoire.

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Goodbye, Hello Fresh

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Life has been busy, so I haven’t been able to cook in the past few weeks. When I did manage to squeeze in a meal from these boxed meal adventures, I definitely haven’t been able to blog about it. So, let’s catch up on my other meals from Hello Fresh.

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This meal was the Pistachio Encrusted Chicken. I wanted to love it. I really did. But, I didn’t. To make the pistachios adhere to the chicken, I had to use my most hated food item: mustard. I just now realized I probably could have used honey and would have like it a million times better. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20. The side salad/salsa that I made was very good! It consisted of cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, and lime. It was very tasty, and I would make that again. Next meal…

IMG_8113.JPGThis next meal is a pineapple porkchop with jasmine rice and sugar snap peas. I was kind of surprised to get a Dole fruit cup of pineapple for this dish. Fresh pineapple would have been so much better. The porkchop didn’t have much flavor. I marinated it with lime and pineapple juice. Again, hindsight tells me that honey would have ramped up the taste. The rice was yummy! I wouldn’t mind eating it again.

My last two meals from Hello Fresh did not turn out well. I had a steak dish that I overcooked. I was sad about it. I also hated the polenta that came with it. I don’t blame Hello Fresh for these choices. I knew I didn’t like polenta, but the picture was so enticing.

I had one more dish that didn’t make it. I went out of town, and the produce went bad. Thank goodness I put the steak in the freezer before I left!

My verdict for Hello Fresh? I didn’t LURVE it. The ingredients weren’t as fresh as my produce from Home Chef. The recipes also weren’t as easy as Home Chef. I even liked Blue Apron better. I temporarily cancelled my Hello Fresh, but they called and offered me $20 off another box. So, I’m going to give them one more chance at a reduced discount price. Watch out for that blog in June.

Breakfast by 7:15

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IMG_7994.JPGMy Hello Fresh box arrived on Tuesday. Life has been so busy this week that I just now got around to having time to make a meal. Since my second Hello Fresh box will arrive this Tuesday, I figured I better get on the ball! So, since sweet Sassafras woke me up at 6:00, I finally crawled out of bed and began making breakfast at 6:40.

IMG_8046With Hello Fresh, there is always a breakfast choice. I LURVE breakfast, so I was down for that. This meal took about 30 minutes to make. I popped the bacon (yum!) in the oven and started washing, peeling, and dicing the veggies. I also made a pot of coffee to help make the process easier at this time of day. The meal itself was easy to make, but the homemade hashbrowns took forever to cook. The potato seemed very gluey and didn’t get as crispy as I wanted, but it was cooked all the way through. The potato hash had onions, poblano pepper, and jalapeño pepper in it. Since I’m a wimp, I removed all the seeds, but it still packed a punch! Very yummy.

I modified the recipe some because I didn’t want to make salsa. I added the tomatoes on top as a fresh element. I also made scrambled eggs to put in the quesadilla because what is breakfast without eggs? Also, Sassy loves scrambled eggs,and she dwarves a treat. I also skipped the avocado to save for a meal later this week. Here is the final product:

 

There’s the Beef!

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I just wanted to share my delicious steak and cheese sandwich. Since it doesn’t have the ingredients to a classic philly, I shall refrain from calling it that. I sautéed some shallots and baby portobello mushrooms in olive oil. Once they were cooked, I added my leftover steak and balsamic vinegar. Already the kitchen smelled so good! I took this delicious concoction and piled it on a French baguette. I topped it with Swiss cheese and broiled it in the oven. So yummy! I added a simple side salad of bib lettuce and tomatoes to give it a beautiful touch of color. I used olive oil and balsamic to dress my salad. Soooo delicious! Reminds me of summer.

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Where’s the Beef?

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So, the verdict’s in: I like Home Chef much better than Blue Apron. Now, Blue Apron is nice, and it really tests your chef skills. Home Chef is just more friendly for the average cook. Everything is packaged together for the meal, so when it’s time to cook, you just grab your bag of ingredients, recipe, and meat. Then you’re set to cook!

I’ve also found that I can stretch out my ingredients to make more meals since I’m just cooking for myself. The other day, I really wanted a burger. I knew I had some leftover shallots and arugula in my fridge. Plus, I had a bottle of balsamic vinegar I omitted from a recipe. So, I bought hamburger meat, Swiss cheese, mushrooms, and buns to create this masterpiece. I used some leftover potatoes from Easter to make the roasted Parmesan potato wedges. Soooo delicious and super easy! While I’m not a mayo person, this needed a condiment, so I added a tiny bit of mayo to make it not so dry. Here’s a pic of the final result:

IMG_7910Now, not every recipe is a home run! The latest recipe I tried just yesterday was Seared Sirloin with Twice Baked Potatoes. I didn’t time this recipe because I wanted to bake my potatoes instead of softening them in the microwave like suggested. So, I probably spent a good hour working on these potatoes. They came out quite tasty, but they would have benefited from more sour cream and butter. I even added some milk to the potato mixture before I put them in the potato skins to make sure the mixture wouldn’t be too dry. The end result? Very tasty potatoes. As for the steak? I should have gone with my gut and grilled it on my George Foreman grill instead of pan-searing it. Since I only like medium well to well done steak, it took FOREVER to cook! I even had to finish it on the George Foreman after all. It tasted good, but since it was a sirloin, it wasn’t anything fancy. I plan on using the leftover steak to make a Philly cheese steak sandwich. I may even use the second steak to create a salad. Here is what my completed dish looks like:

IMG_7955.JPGSorry for the incredibly messy plate! I was just over it with how long it was taking to cook my steak. Also, I know all you red meat fanatica are dying with how cooked my steak turned out. I just can’t eat it if I see any blood!

My next dish will be a pork tenderloin with fig jam and Brussel sprouts. Pretty excited to get my hands on that recipe!

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.