Thursday, July 16, 2015

not your mom's mac and cheese

Summer time presents the biggest culinary challenge to me as a house wife whose residence is without central air conditioning. The amount of delicious, healthy, and creative meals that I can come up with without needing to use the oven and that aren't hot soups in the crock pot is very limited (hot soup + summer humidity = everyone's irritable at dinner). I'm well aware that this has way more to do with my deficiency in the areas of creativity and cooking than it does with the amount of recipes that are out there, but regardless, the arrival of my Blue Apron box (post sponsors!) on the doorstep the other day was all-too welcome.

Fresh, healthy ingredients plus delicious, creative recipes and instructions included with zero grocery store trips, and I get to take all the credit because I did the cooking.

This meal-- Summer Squash Cavatappi Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella and Chopped Salad-- was especially appreciated because, as I've mentioned, any variation in the arena of meatless meals in this home is absolutely nonexistent.

But not now!

I am a frequent mac-and-cheese-from-scratch-maker, but I have never incorporated beautiful balls of fresh mozzarella into any of my recipes, so this one put me entirely to shame.

The girls were begging for more and Mike had nothing but high praises. The chopped salad was so flavorful and a really great change from my usual go-to veggie side-- sauteed broccoli, always and forever.

I am also eager to try the Seared Salmon and Roasted Potatoes and the Fontina and Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, for our meatless meal nights.

Blue Apron highlights:
+ They offer a 2-Person Plan and a Family Plan- the family plan feeds a family of four, with the cost per person at around $8.74

+There is no commitment and you can always cancel the service at any time.

+ All the recipes are between 500-700 calories per person

+ Locally sourced suppliers of all the wonderfully farm fresh ingredients

+ They deliver in an impressive refrigerated box that would keep your food cold for quite a while if you're not there when it arrives.

And, since Blue Apron is a seriously generous bunch, they are offering the first 25 readers 2 meals of their first Blue Apron order for FREE, just click HERE!


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    2. (trying to comment again with some typos fixed :)
      Looks delish!
      We don't have central AC either and live in NJ where the humidity is oppressive. We cook almost exclusively on the grill all summer long -- I even bake on the grill!
      For meats & veggies, we are fans of grill baskets or cooking right on the grates. For smaller pieces that may fall through or for things like breaded chicken or pork cutlets, we use large cast iron skillets right on the grates & use the grill as a stove top. For baking, quick breads & muffins turn out great, also dropped cookies like chocolate chip cookies. I use stone ware loaf pans, muffin pans or cookie sheets. I turn a grill basket upside down on the grill, then place the stone ware on top of the upside down grill basket so the stone ware doesn't come in direct contact with the flames.
      Oh and pizza!! grilled pizza is the best. make your crust a little on the thick side, brush with olive oil, put it directly on the grates, let it brown, coat the uncooked side with olive oil, flip it, then put your toppings on the cooked side & let the cheese melt. :)

      1. I make my own pizza dough or go to the local pizza parlor & buy a ball of dough. I know that's a Jersey thing though. My dear husband is from Ann Arbor, MI and never heard of going into a pizza shop & asking to buy dough before he met me. Not to mention, we don't have chain pizza shops here, and so I don't know how it works in the rest of the country if you only have places like Domino's??
        If I have time, I make my own dough. The kids LOVE to roll out the pizza dough. It is always a huge hit.
        BUT I've also grilled pizza by "cheating" and using pre-made crusts. I personally like Trader Joe's. If you start with a pre-made crust, you are basically just using the grill as an oven to melt all the toppings :)

    3. I'm so glad you posted this! We have been eyeing Blue Apron for a while but at first they didn't service our area and then I read something online about a customer finding a slug in the bag with their fresh produce so I was kind of put off by that. Maybe I'll have to revisit the idea again soon!

    4. We can't Blue Apron due to a peanut allergy in the family, but have you heard of Stephanie O'Dea? A few years ago she made a New Year's resolution to make different recipe in her crockpot every day for a year, and blogged about it. Lots of recipes that aren't soup, even making granola and yogurt from scratch.