This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.
Every year around this time I find myself making the declaration that I am going to be healthier in the new year. Whether it is losing weight, exercising more, meditating, getting more sleep, I am always striving to be better. Like most people, I have resolved to eat healthier meals, only to find myself eating half a box of Wheat Thins for dinner on January 6th. Cooking healthy meals is time consuming and it’s hard to plan everything you’re going to need ahead of time. Meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron can help you stay on track by delivering fresh ingredients and delicious recipes to your door. It saves you time on grocery shopping and makes prepping and planning easy. I was fortunate to be able to try three different meals from Blue Apron: Sautéed Beef and Potato Latkes, Harissa Chicken Skewers, and Spicy Shrimp and Bucatini Pasta.
The first recipe I tried, Sautéed Beef & Potato Latkes with Roasted Beet and Carrots, was a delicious and hearty meal. This was Eastern European comfort food perfect for a cold winter night. The beef was tender and flavorful and the potato latkes were such a nice change of pace from mashed or baked potatoes. The sweet carrots and beets rounded out the meal perfectly, and I was glad to be reminded that roasting beets isn’t all that hard and so worth any effort. Of the three meals I tried, this one required the most prep and cooking time—about 45 minutes to an hour from start to finish—but it was also my favorite, so it was worth the wait!
The Harissa Chicken Skewers with Khorasan Wheat and Persimmon Salad was the type of recipe I would never think to try but it ended up being really tasty. I never use harissa paste, but it gave the chicken a nice spicy kick. The khorasan wheat berries and persimmon salad was hearty and had that satisfying, grounding effect that grain dishes have. This one took about 35-40 minutes from start to finish and while I did enjoy it, I don’t think it will make the regular rotation.
The Spicy Shrimp and Bucatini Pasta was a simple and classic dish that I would definitely make again. Similar to scampi, it was garlicky, buttery, and fresh with a squeeze of lemon. It was so tasty I was tempted to eat both servings myself. This one was so simple to prepare, too—only 15-20 minutes tops. It would be a great meal to make after a long day at work.
After 3 nights of meals from Blue Apron, I’d have to say my experience was very positive. The delivery arrived on time in a box tucked neatly with ice packs to keep everything cool. All the ingredients were present and packed in individual bags and containers. The meat was vacuum sealed and tasted fresh. The produce was ripe and unbruised.
I liked how all the spices were pre measured, which made prep extremely easy. It also gave me the opportunity to try some new spices that I may never have purchased at the store.
They have plans for different sized households with pricing starting at $8.74 per serving. The pricing is fair since the ingredients are high quality, but it’s obviously more expensive than buying your own ingredients at the store. I see Blue Apron as a great, healthier alternative for couples or families who rely on take-out often, or as a helpful meal kit on the days you’re too busy to shop and prep. And it can absolutely be used as a great tool to help with New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier.
DEAL FOR YOU!
Spicy Shrimp and Bucatini Pasta
- 10 Ounces Shrimp
- 1/3 Pound Bucatini Pasta
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Scallions
- 1 Bunch Kale
- 1 Lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- ¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Prep the ingredients: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Peel and mince the garlic. Remove and discard the kale stems; finely chop the leaves. Quarter and deseed the lemon.
- Cook the kale: In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the white bottoms of the scallions and half the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Add ¼ cup of water; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until the kale has wilted and the water has cooked off. Turn off the heat and stir in the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Transfer to a bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Wipe out the pan.
- Cook the pasta: While the kale cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.
- Start the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned shrimp in a single, even layer and cook 1 to 2 minutes on the first side, or until lightly browned.
- Flip the shrimp. To the pan, add the butter, cooked kale, remaining garlic and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the shrimp are cooked through.
- Add the cooked pasta and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan. Cook, stirring vigorously to coat the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes, or until well combined and heated through. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished shrimp and pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the green tops of the scallions and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side, if you’d like. Enjoy!