Friday, February 24, 2017: Chocolate Chip Biscuits
Feb 25th, 2017 by Katekoster

Hi, we have been skiing this week in Utah so we haven’t been doing anything too fancy. We did come up with a new delicious invention: Chocolate Chip Biscuits.  Basically you take your normal biscuit recipe and add chocolate chips. Then you bake as normal and enjoy. For a reall special treat, serve them with maple syrup.


PS: we came up with this because we were having a hard time making pancakes in our rental kitchen. It had NO non stick pans and only one small metal saucepan…so we were having to make our chocolate chip pancakes one at a time…here’s the only pan we had:


Friday, February 17, 2017: Dinner No. 78: Skirt Steak, Oven-Roasted Potato Chips, Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Bok Choy
Feb 24th, 2017 by Katekoster

We decided to mix one of our new favorites (skirt steak) with something completely new: whole roasted cauliflower.  To be honest we really made the cauliflower for mom…we aren’t converts yet. But it was fun and easy to make. We also made homemade roasted potato chips and sautéed bok choy.

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Skirt Steak:

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For the skirt steak, we made a simple spice rub, let marinade, and then seared at high heat and cut against the grain.

Potato chips:

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These chips are super tasty – and also super easy! All you have to do is chop them up, drizzle some olive oil on it, and add salt & pepper. After that, toss ’em in the oven and enjoy. I (Alex) thought the potatoes were delicious.


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Cauliflower is just as simple as chips – if not more. The only necessary steps are to cut off the stem and drizzle with olive oil, salt, & pepper. Despite the alike simplicity, the chips were better (for us at least). The only problems were that the cauliflower took a while to cook (1 hour) and the inside of the cauliflower wasn’t crispy, not cooked all the way. Probably better to chop it up into smaller pieces and roast in oven–then more of the cauliflower gets crispy.

Bok Choy:

We cooked the bok choy in soy sauce and diced garlic, along with olive oil. Overall, I(Max) thought it was pretty good for a veggie, although I’m not sure my sister feels the same way.


Hello Fresh! vs. Blue Apron Round 2 (February 6-10, 2017)
Feb 11th, 2017 by Katekoster

We decided to give Blue Apron another chance to face off against Hello Fresh (since Hello Fresh won by forfeit last time, due to Blue Apron’s delivery problems).   So we cooked two meals from Blue Apron: 1) Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry and 2) Pimento Cheeseburgers; and two meals from Hello Fresh: 1) Mustard-Breaded Chicken Thighs with Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes and 2) Melty Burrito Bake with Baby Gem Chopped Salad.

We will describe each meal and then give you our overall decision at the end of the post (don’t skip ahead! you’ll miss all the juicy details).  Also, just to be fair, both meal kits were well-packed, with no damage and no missing items.  Recipes were easy to follow and photos great for both companies.  Advice to both: put 3 holes in the left side of your recipe page, then eager users like us can easily put them in a binder.  (Our mom has a 3-hole puncher, but she’s nerdy, so we are sure not everyone does).  You could even send a free Blue Apron or Hello Fresh binder to users who purchase a certain # of meals…)

Blue Apron’s Cashew Chicken Stir Fry (Alex)


This dish is super good, super fast and definitely something we wouldn’tcook normally, so this dish brough us out of our comfort zone but was still a delicious meal.  There was a lot of flavor without that much work.

Step 1: cook rice

Step 2: cook the veggies (celery,ginger, cabbage, and bottoms of scallions)

Step 3: toss chicken in cornstrarch and saute in olive oil

Step 4: add the vegetables to the chicken and add the rest of the ingredients.

Step 5: Plate chicken with the rice and mandarins.

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Our only two negatives: could’ve use more vegetables and we didn’t like the idea of cooking the mandarins.  (The recipe called to toss them in the pan at the end, with the chicken, with the heat off but the heat would still cook them a little.–which just seemed wierd.)  We decided to use them as a garnish and that worked really well.


compared to:

Hello Fresh Mustard-Breaded Chicken Thights with Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes (Alex)


Overall this was a good meal but definitelly not outside our comfort zone — this something very similar to what we make ususally.  Also using sweet potatoes wasn’t best choice.  The recipe called for cooking 4 of them.  Probably better to have 2 normal potatoes and 2 sweet potatoes.  Not everyone loves sweet potatoes. very good.

Step 1: Trim and halve brussels sprouts, roast with olive oil

Step 2: Bread chicken (recipe called for mustard dipping, we also made a few without mustard…just dipping in olive oil and then breading

Step 3: bake chicken in 425 degree oven (little too hot…we turned it down to avoid burning bread crumbs)

Step 4: Microwave Potato for 10 minutes

Step 5:  Plate chicken, potato and brussels sprouts; add sour cream to potato if desired.

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So our thoughts on this was that the recipe wasn’t very original. Also using sweet potatoes wasn’t best choice for a family meal.  The recipe called for cooking 4 of them.  Probably better to have 2 normal potatoes and 2 sweet potatoes.  Not everyone loves sweet potatoes. The recipe also calls for cutting brussel sprouts in 1/2 before roasting them.  Depending on the size of the brussel sprouts, its really better to cut them in quarters (unless they are really small)–that way lots of leaves fall off and get really crispy.  Finally the recommended cooking time for the chicken was off.  It said 15-20 minutes at 425.  And then broil.  After 10 minutes at 425, the breading was getting very brown so we felt we had to turn down the heat to avoid buring the breadcrums.  We turned it down to 375 but then the cooking time was over 30 minutes.  We didn’t broil them because breadcrumbs already too dark.


Hello Fresh’s Melty Buritto Bake (Max)

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This dish was said to take only thrity minutes but it actually took an hour. It was a lot more work than we thought. That being said, the end result was delicous and gave us a new way of making burritos.

Step 1: Chop tomatoes, lettuce, onions and mash beans (this took a long time)

Step 2: Sautee ground beef in olive oil, remove from pan

Step 3: Cook onions in pan, add spices, add tomatoes (remove 1/4 cup tomato sauce)

Step 4: Add beans and beef to pan

Step 5: Put burritos together: put beef mix in each tortilla, roll up, place in pan, cover with reserved tomato mix, and sprinke cheese on top. Bake about 5 minutes. (NOTE: not enough cheese provided, espeically if its called Melty burrito bake)

Step 6: Plate with salad, sour cream dip, etc.


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We love this meal. The meat was great quality and the salad veggies were fresh and delicious. Our only two negatives was that this took longer than the 35 minutes listed to cook.  We spent a lot of time chopping and then cooking stuff separately.  Also, there definitely wasn’t enough cheese. We had to add our own grated cheese to put on top.  Never skimp on cheese.

Overall Grade: A-

compared to: 

Blue Apron’s Pimento Cheeseburgers (Max)

This was probably our least favorite meal. We expect Blue Apron and Hello Fresh to introduce us to new, exotic foods, so the simplicity of a burger was disapointing.  I mean almost everyone, even the worst cook, knows how to make a burger.  And from a family meal perspective: just go with regular oven fries. Home made potato fries are just so good.  And somebody will definitely be disappointed to get carrot fries instead.

Anyway, here are the steps:

Step 1: Peel and cut carrots and parsnips (needed more parsnips or white potatoes)

Step 2: Mix grated cheese with pimento peppers and may to make a cheese spread

Step 3: Form and cook burgers

Step 4: Assemble burgers (toast buns, put cheese* on buns, ad burgers) and plate with veggies.

*we really didn’t like the pimento cheese spread…we substituted mozarella cheese.  Mom & Dad ate the pimento cheese spread and EVEN THEY didn’t love it.

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So one of the big problems with this meal we found was too many carrots, not enough parsnips.  Luckily we had a whole cauliflower so we roasted that with olive oil and salt and pepper.

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So here are the negatives. As we said, this was a pretty INSIDE the box recipe (as opposed to Blue Apron’s usual OUTSIDE the box recipes)  We could have made a burger without Blue Apron, and ours would probably have been more interesting (like a lamb burger with goat cheese and olive tapenade.).  Also as usual with Blue Apron, we couldn’t seem to find enough vegetables in the dish so we add our own cauliflower to roast. Finally, if you are going to make burger and fries, at least some of them should have been potatoes.  That being said the carrots and parsnips were tasty and sweet. I, not being a  total veggie guy, wolfed down several servings of them. I think kids hesitant to the thought of eating veggetables would enjoy these (but they would love a few home made potato fries too).  Also note on the pimento cheese spread: sorry tasted like what I think cheeze whiz would tastes like

Grade:  B –

Final Score???

So overall Blue Apron and Hello Fresh were pretty equal (on the chicken dishes, Blue Apron won A- to B and on the beef dishes, Hello Fresh won A- to B-).  That being said when we look at everything as a whole, we honestly liked the two Hello Fresh meals a bit more than the two Blue Apron meals.  So we declare Hello Fresh the winner by the closets of margins. 

Saturday, February 4, 2016: Nutella-Banana Filled Pancakes!
Feb 6th, 2017 by Katekoster

This morning I (Max) decided to make pancakes stuffed with nutella and bananas.  I had seen a video demonstrating how to make it, and they looked delicious.  First you make a circle of nutella on a baking sheet and put a slice of bananna on top.  You let the freeze for 20-30 minutes while you make the pancake battter.  When the nutella is pretty solid, you start making the pancakes.  You pour batter on to the pan and put the frozen circle of nutella in the middle, then you cover with more batter and cook.  It’s a little trickier than usual to flip (becaues the pancakes are thicker) so use two spatulas.  No matter what the results are delicious.

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Note: next time we make these I am going to make the nutella circles bigger and thinner.  That way you will get nutella in every bite of the pancake!

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