We had our annual summer break last week, and summer decided to finally make its landing at the same time. Ten glorious days, nine of them sun-filled and balmy.
The last thing that I wanted to do was shop, and even more lastly, plan dinner. I figured that I’d just wing the week and if we ended up living off of PB&J – so be it. At least we would be fed.
Summertime is a huge hustle and bustle for us. We only get a few months (if we’re lucky) of nice weather, so dinners tend to be super fast and grilled. Because grilling just gives us a bit more time outside. And when it’s not raining – we’re outside.
Despite some of the negatives I saw with Hello Fresh after my first box, I kept my subscription, figuring I’d use it as a treat for us here and there. Birthdays, nights “out” (aka “in” because we’re boring and rarely go out), etc. Given how penny pinching I am since we live in such a high cost/low pay area, $60 for two people and three meals is a reach. While it may save some people money, I’ve learned over the years how to effectively cook healthy on a very, very tight budget.
So when I got the UPS Quantum notification a package was coming, I panicked. What had I forgotten that I ordered? Panicked even more when I saw on my email that Hello Fresh was sending me food. I thought I had gone in and skipped more weeks than I actually had, and it was too late to skip the coming meals.
But wait, there’s a silver lining to this. Remember me figuring I’d just make my family peanut butter and jelly for dinner vacation week?
Now, I didn’t have to.
Sure, the meals are a little more detailed than a good ole PB&J, but they’re a lot more nutritious. They’re pre-planned. And I didn’t have to drag myself and my son from our precious, beloved beach time to go into a frigid store to grab supplies.
A happy accident.
It was also Hello Fresh’s redemption. Two of the three meals didn’t take my entire kitchen to prep and 100 bowls, dishes, pots, pans and baking sheets. Two of the three also didn’t have me trying to juggle several tasks at once.
Given I was on vacation and I tend to turn my brain off? Added bonus.
So, what was in this go’s box?
Meal One: Herbed Sirloin Steak over Orzo Pasta Salad. I made this one the first night because it looked, according to the menu card, the least time consuming. Oops. This, like the meals from my first box, stacked up the dirty dishes, and had my four-days-into-vacation brain scattered trying to keep up the pace on all of the things I needed to do. Not to mention, it was terrible outside, so I couldn’t use the grill. I had to rely on cooking steak inside my double oven – in which I’m under the belief that both top and bottom are losing their heating elements. Despite all of that, the end product was delicious. I’m a big fan of pasta and mozzarella, so the orzo salad obviously was the best part *wink*wink*.
Meal Two: Sizzling Southwestern Chicken with a Sweet Potato, Bell Pepper, and Feta Jumble. Immediately, upon pulling out the bag of feta, I popped my head into the bathroom where my husband was giving our son a bath and asked “You a fan of the Feta?” He responded with a shrug and a “not really”, so in the trash the bag went. Beyond that, this is the first meal that felt more like cooking one of my own creations. There wasn’t a bunch of things I needed to be trying to do at the same time, I wasn’t watching four different timers. And even better, the jumble went on the same baking pan as the chicken. I will say, I was expecting the chicken to be a bit, um, spicier, than it actually was. It was mild, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. I did have to swap out my yellow pepper for a striped pepper I happened to have on hand. When I took the yellow pepper from the bag, the top and bottom was incredibly soft, so I tossed it in the quarry behind the house. Thankfully, I tend to buy my produce under-ripe, and the peppers I had bought the week before were just starting to ripen. Given the sweetness of the striped peppers, and the added sweetness I feel roasting brings to bell peppers specifically, it made the jumble a super tasty, sweet treat to compliment the mild spicy of the chicken.
Meal Three: Italian Meatloaf with Roasted Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a lover of the meated loaf. Just ask my mother. However, this is the second time “meatloaf” has come to me from Hello Fresh and I find myself shaking my head. This isn’t meat loaf, this is a fancy, bunless burger. (This is where I hashtag: not sorry) Another easy to keep track of, few dirty dishes meal. It also ended up, despite the lack of… meatloafiness, being my favorite of the three meals. It’s a simple meal with classic mashed potatoes that have just a hint of rosemary and garlic, and simple roasted green beans. Even the meatloaf itself is simple, and in a way classic. Shallot, garlic, and rosemary combined with meat in a breaded chicken broth. Nothing all that fancy, but when I bit into that first bite, those tastebuds of mine went insane. “This is really, really good!” I said, nodding in approval as I shoveled another, very hearty bite into my mouth. Because it was so simple and easy (despite the menu card making it appear to me the more time consuming of the three), there isn’t all that much else to say. Aside from, I can now say that I cooked with Christmas tree (aka Rosemary).
Wanna give Hello Fresh a go? Get $40 off of your first box by clicking here.