easy 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!

Recipe Round Up

I’ve tried some new recipes lately. I wanted to share a few of them with you guys because they were good ones! If you are looking for a quick and easy dinner recipe, this post is for you.

5 Ingredient Salsa Verde Beef Tacos

I am a sucker for “5 ingredients or less” recipes but often times they are disappointing. This one was not disappointing in any way. It was actually one of my favorite new recipes. It was simple, it was easy, it was fast AND it was delicious. The salsa verde made the beef flavorful in a subtle, different way. The best part? I go 4 servings out of this recipe and that made it around 260 calories.  Add 100 calories for a tortilla, throw in some raw spinach and avocado and you’ve got a fantastic dinner for less than 500 calories and it’s filling, too. This recipe will become a staple in our house I think.

 

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chops

I like that pork chops are low in calories. Sadly, they are also often very bland. If we make pork chops I prefer to try recipes that have some gravy or sauce to kind of freshen it up and make it a little more savory.

gravy
This recipe was super easy and fairly quick. I had all the ingredients on hand and I am happy with how it turned out. While the pork chops were cooking I baked some sweet potatoes as a side and made a salad. The recipe was simple but I thought it tasted good. It made boring pork chops a little more interesting. I would definitely make this recipe again but I think I would add some fresh tarragon or rosemary to the cream of mushroom mixture. Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything!

Cranberry Chicken

I recently bought a cookbook of all crockpot recipes (recently meaning this summer). I’ve been dying to try some of them but just haven’t gotten around to it until now.  I had all the ingredients on hand for this one except for the quick-cooking tapioca. It’s something I’d never heard of before or used but looking into it I guess it’s used for thickening stews and sauces. When I didn’t have this I went to the handy-dandy Google and found that flour or cornstarch worked just as well. So I used flour instead. I WILL be buying some of the tapioca soon, though, because a lot of the recipes in this book call for it and I want to give it a try.

Crockpot Cranberry Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 330

From: Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Slowcooker book

Ingredients

  • 2.5 - 3 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks, skinned
  • 1 16 ounce can whole cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry onion soup mix
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 3 cups hot cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the cranberry sauce, dry soup mix and tapioca.
  3. Pour over the chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 5-6 hours, or on high heat 2.5-3 hours.
  5. Serve over hot cooked rice.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=44798

When the chicken was close to being done, I cooked some rice in my rice cooker that I got at Trader Joe’s. It was a basmati and wild rice mixture with herbs in it. I was excited to try it!

The chicken I used was boneless, skinless chicken breasts and it worked well, perhaps not as the recipe intended, but it still worked. The chicken breasts fell apart and I shredded the chicken a bit, then mixed it around in the sauce. I liked the chicken shredded like this. It soaked up all the saucy goodness. I had a few nibbles as it was finishing up and it was delicious!

photo

Dinner was finally ready and it was by far, one of my favorite crockpot recipes I’ve done in a long time. The chicken was perfect, not dried out at all, and the cranberry sauce was sweet but not too sweet. It was just perfect. I also loved the Trader Joe’s rice. this dinner was fantastic! Give this recipe a try.