A Different Kind of Takeout

If you’re a busy parent, especially if you hold down a job in addition to your parenting role, you know that it’s difficult to always plan and prepare a healthy meal.  This is why I regularly try to feature ideas for easy-to-prepare dinner ideas in my blog.  Weeknights can be especially tough with after school practices and rushing home from work.  It’s not surprising that many times it’s easier to grab the takeout menu and call in for a pizza or some other fast fix for dinner.  I’ve done it myself.
This is why I was intrigued when I discovered a number of services that provide weekly delivery directly to your home that actually teach you how to create healthy and delicious recipes yourself.  There are a number of delivery services available–Blue Apron, Marley Spoon, Fresh Direct, Hello Fresh and Plated are a few of the more popular.  The great thing is the fresh ingredients are delivered to your home each week, including everything you need to make a full dinner (and I mean everything!).  You are able to customize your plan to select what you want (I chose to do the menu for four), you can choose which menus are more to your liking (I prefer those that are vegetarian or with chicken and/or fish), and you can get it for two days a week or four (I chose two).  You select which day of the week you want your delivery to come and everything comes fresh and labeled.  The services may vary slightly, but you can skip weeks and end at any time.  I decided it was worth a try.
I’ve been using Blue Apron as my service for about three weeks and have been pleased.  I like the fact that the menus are heavy on veggies and the ingredients are fresh.  For my blog today, I’m featuring a menu item I prepared last week.  I had two entrée recipes and their ingredients delivered–Seared Salmon and Salsa Verde with Summer Vegetable and Quinoa Salad, and Pasta and Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Summer Squash and Red Leaf Lettuce Salad.

FP_072315_1_PanSearedSalmonwithSalsaVerde FP_072215_4_HeirloomSquash&TomatoWheeliesPasta
Photo courtesy of Blue Apron
Along with the fresh ingredients, I receive an 8 1/2 x 11 recipe sheet with detailed instructions on how to prepare the dish.  This includes color photos that would be very helpful for a novice cook.  In addition, each week the service sends an info sheet on one of the featured produce items.  Last week it was yellow squash.  The sheet contains information about the varieties, their origins, storage tips, and some fun facts.  It also provides information about the farm from which the service gets their squash.  It was nice to actually see the farm (and the farmer!) where the food was grown.

recipe card
As I mentioned earlier, the service ensures you have everything you need to make the recipes.  The only thing I’ve ever needed was a bit of oil to cook the veggies or fish.  Each time I receive a package, items are well labeled so it’s easy to sort through which item goes with what recipe.  I’ve had my daughter (who doesn’t cook), follow along and she’s been able to understand the directions with ease.

My pasta dish turned out perfectly (as you can see below) and I actually added a fresh tomato from my sister’s garden to the salad since I had it on hand.

pasta salad
While I won’t use this service every week, I like that I have the option for those extremely busy weeks instead of turning to the take out menu.  With each entrée coming in between 500 and 700 calories and each weighing heavy on the veggies, I know this is a much healthier option for my family.  Another bonus is that if I really like the recipe, I can recreate it myself any time in the future!  Cost?  The service is $69.99 for a family of 4 for 2 meals.  I’ve done the numbers for my family if we order out and this is in line with what we spend at our local take out restaurants ($35 per meal for all of us).  It’s also a nice way for someone who may not be so familiar with different kinds of vegetables to begin incorporating them into his/her diet.  One week they sent me purple potatoes as a side dish!
I hope I’ve given you another quick dinner option.  I’ll be back next week with ideas for taking breakfast foods you love and turning them into creations hearty enough for dinner.
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