dinners

Sun Basket Week 1

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we tried the “Imperfect Produce” weekly box subscription. We tried it for a little over a month and I ended up cancelling it. I didn’t like that I felt so much pressure to use up the produce quickly because it was often on the verge of going bad.

A few years ago, Michael and I tried Blue Apron a few times and we really liked it. We liked the recipes we tried but in the end, the cost was a factor for me so we didn’t continue it. Since then, I’ve been seeing the “meal services” options get a lot better. Now there are ones that are diet-specific, which is cool. I decided to give Sun Basket a try because I liked that we had the option of doing gluten-free or Paleo diets.

I signed up with a discount code for the first week. I downloaded the app, which is nice and very easy to use. A bonus with the app: you can choose your three meals for a month out. I already have the next month of weekly deliveries all planned out.

When I tried to decide which meals to pick, I chose this way:

  1. An ingredient that is something we haven’t tried or something that isn’t “Common” on my grocery list.
  2. A recipe that is simple but is a little more interesting than a dish we could come up with ourselves (for example, I saw a few “bean and rice bowl” meal options and I skipped those because that’s not very creative and that’s something we can do on our own.)
  3. Gluten-free/Paleo/Low Carb option.

Week One

The first meal we made from the box was a Moroccan dish: Moroccan lamb merguez patties with warm carrot salad

630 calories,  Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free

I’m not sure how long it actually took to make because I did a bunch of prep and then a little while later Michael made the lamb patties and started cooking. But it felt like a fairly easy recipe to make.

The verdict: delicious! We were both really happy with it. The arugula salad with raisins, chopped almonds and tahini dressing felt light and healthy. I loved the roasted carrots, so did Michael and he’s not a fan of roasted veggies. The lamb patties were good, too.

It was a great dinner for a first time out.

Next up:

The second meal was salmon with broccoli:  Roasted salmon and broccoli with almond-date tapenade

470 calories, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Lean & Clean, Mediterranean, Diabetes-Friendly

This was a good dinner for a busy weeknight meal. It was pretty quick and easy to make. It wasn’t all that different than our typical dinner (we do salmon and broccoli all the time) but it was nice trying it with toppings!

The date-almond-dill-mint tapanade was really good! It was not something I would have thought to put with salmon but it had a nice flavor and a different texture that went well with the dinner.

The harissa sauce was interesting. It wasn’t spicy–it was kinda smoky? Overall it was a good meal but not super impressive, basically because we do salmon and broccoli once a week. 😉

The glass of rose went nicely with dinner, though!

Lastly: Superfast Southeast Asian chicken salad with sesame-lime dressing

490 calories, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Lean & Clean, Diabetes-Friendly

This was another easy and quick recipe. I prepped the salad and everything and then Michael cooked the chicken while I put Logan to bed and read him stories. The meal was good and low in calories. My opinion was that it wasn’t anything special. It’s not that far off from meals we make on our own (we do a lot of salads like this) but I did like the unique flavors (the toasted sesame oil dressing with apricots and cashews).

Michael liked the meal but thought it would be better with seared ahi tuna. We could easily make it on our own and try that.

The first week of meals was overall pretty good. The lamb dish was my favorite. We are going to keep trying Sun Basket to see how it goes but I am also on the fence about doing it long term because it IS rather spendy. Stayed tuned!

What’s cool is that in the box they send a recipe book of all that week’s meal options so you can make some of the other recipes on your own if you want. I marked a few of them to try.

I have a discount code, if you want to use it!

Clean Out The Pantry

Recently we decided to give the “Imperfect Produce” service a try. The first box we got was really good, except for the lettuce. The second box had good stuff in it, too, but some of the stuff was on the verge of going bad–so that was a big disappointment. Overall, I wasn’t super happy with it because it felt like pressure to use the produce quickly before it went bad. I don’t mind “ugly” produce (like a weird shape or smaller than normal, etc) but I didn’t want almost too-ripe stuff. It didn’t seem like I was saving any money, either.

So it was a short-lived experiment. But the good news? We got random produce that I normally wouldn’t buy in the store and got to experiment a little bit. For example, we made a fennel salad that was really good.

We used this recipe, Fennel and Endive Salad, as an idea and instead of endive, used kale. I liked the flavor and crunch of the raw fennel. The salad went with a simple skillet dinner. We had carrots and celery, onions and mushrooms to use up so we cooked them in the skillet with chicken and then used a Tikka Masala “simmer sauce” packet I got at the store.

Dinner was pretty good and fairly easy. We’ve been trying to also work through the pantry and use up stuff that’s been in there too long. The simmer sauce packet was one of them. (I have another one for pad thai that I am thinking I will use with carrot or zoodle noodles!).

The reason to “eat through the pantry” was twofold. I was tired of buying stuff each week when we had things in the pantry and it was overflowing. We just needed to be better about eating stuff I buy!

Another “pantry meal” was stuffed peppers. I had a can of “fiesta” corn (corn with red and green peppers) and taco seasoning so I made some ground turkey taco meat and then stuffed the peppers from the imperfect produce box.

Then I topped it with cheese and baked it for 30 minutes.

The flavor was really good. We had salad with it. It was a tasty and filling dinner.

It was also nice to be creative and have something different.

So looking through the pantry now, I see a lot of things that I need to be creative with! Cans of black beans, polenta, cans of Rotel diced tomatoes, lots of refried beans…I’m seeing some bean enchiladas in our future!

What are some of your favorite “clean out the pantry” meals?