How Sun Basket & Postmates Saved Weeknights

Commuting, daycare pick up, dinner and bedtime for a squirmy toddler was making it hard to feed ourselves before 9 p.m. on weeknights. So we did what every parent quickly learns to do – bring in reinforcements!

After trying Blue Apron and Sun Basket this spring, I ended up going with Sun Basket because they focus on regionally sourced, seasonal ingredients and have a Paleo option.

It worked out well for several months; Emmett would go to bed and I would unwind in the kitchen. It was a win-win to fuel my joy of cooking and our desire to eat healthy, while preserving some of the energy that goes into finding recipes and getting groceries accordingly.

The only challenge was that as Emmett’s bedtime crept later this summer, we found it harder to get dinner on the “table” (aka our couch, in front of Netflix or HBO’s latest) and get ourselves to bed at a reasonable hour – a necessity when your toddler wakes up anywhere between 5:30-6:30 a.m.

It was David’s idea to start ordering Postmates deliveries using some healthy dishes he stumbled upon during the workweek in our neighborhood. Enter Tri-tip with broccoli, Greek souvlaki, and other meat & veggie combos from local restaurants.

Now, we’re typically able to conjure one home-cooked meal per week (our go-to taco salad or burritos). The other nights, we lean heavily on Postmates to keep our sanity, make the most of our evenings with Emmett, and get a little couch-time after he goes to bed.

I’ve temporarily paused Sunbasket because the three recipes per week option was a little too much for us to handle. But, I hear they’re coming out with a two recipe plan, which I can get on board with!

What do you do to make it through the week?

P.S. If you want to try Postmates, use code 44MG to get free delivery. And here’s my 3 free meal discount on Sun Basket: http://sunbasket.com/3free/Amy57124.

 

 

Thyme-Saving Turkey Meatballs

With a limited window of time to make dinner and workout, I whipped together this super quick meal: oven-roasted squash and zucchini paired with homemade turkey meatballs.

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Preheat oven to about 400 degrees and then prep the veggies:

Toss two sliced summer squash and two zucchini with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme in an oven-safe casserole dish.

Next, prep the meatballs:

Mix 1 lb ground turkey with a generous scoop of almond meal, a scoop of unsweetened and shredded coconut, 1 egg, salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme. Scoop 1/4-cup or smaller spoonfuls into a buttered casserole dish.

Bake both dishes for about 30 minutes, or until veggies are tender and meatballs are cooked through.

More thyme for you!

Broth-Braised Crock Pot Pork and Noodles

New year, new kitchen quandaries! Rather than freezing four separate containers of homemade crab stock, I used it to make a healthy Ramen/Pho-like pulled pork and soba noodles dish. We even had leftover pulled pork at the end of it.

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Pulled Pork: place all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6 hours.

3 cups broth or stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pork tenderloin

Noodles: once pork is ready, cook noodles of choice separately in their own pot using additional broth. Add kale or other greens once noodles are near al dente.

Serve pork on top of noodles and add condiments of choice. David had his with a little Sriracha sauce.

Short Ribs that Forgive

Forgot to pull out the crock pot? Even without a grill, these ribs won’t rub you the wrong way. In fact, the rub is what makes these speedy, BBQ-like short ribs meat-and-potatoes-guy approved.

The technique and an expanded ingredient list comes from Better Homes & Gardens, but I took many shortcuts for the sake of getting dinner ready in less than two hours, which is the minimum for most short rib recipes. Who has time for wood chips? Here’s my Cliff Notes version:

In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Place short ribs (optional but recommended: trim fat first) in a casserole dish and rub with the mixture.

Bake covered in foil at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, then brown on both sides on a grill pan before serving.

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Grill Me: Calling for Meat Recipes

My meat-cooking skills are in a rut. We’ve endured endless pork tenderloins, ground turkey tacos and crockpot experiments. It’s time for a change!

With the arrival of a new grill in the coming weeks, I’ll finally be able to try out BBQ tips and tricks. But in the meantime, I need help! Please share your favorite meats, cuts and recipes. I’ll test out and blog the best of ’em!

Ribs @ Tank House

Thai Peanut Crock-Pot Pork and Coconut Milk-Steamed Potatoes

Tonight’s dinner was a Thai spin on slow cooked meat and potatoes, minus the caloric unknowns of takeout. Even with my simplified and somewhat clumsy hybrid of Domestic Superhero’s Crock Pot Thai Peanut Pork and Eats Well with Others’ Coconut Potato Curry, the crock pot generated heavenly smells all afternoon, and the potatoes turned out oh so tender.

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Here’s what to do:

In the crock pot, place a pork tenderloin followed by a jar or so (drained) of roasted red (bell) peppers, 1/2 cup of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Sprinkle 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of peanut butter around the liquid. Set the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.

Midway through, turn loins over and distribute peppers over the top to keep meat moist.

Towards the end of the cooking time, shred meat in the pot and let it cook in its own juices until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, drizzle about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium to low heat. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cumin, followed by 1/2 cup soaked and chopped cashews, and stir to coat. (Keep heat low so cashews don’t burn.) Add about 1 pound red potatoes and toss to coat. Next, add a mixture of 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp tomato paste, followed by a can of lite coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 bag of frozen peas.

Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender; turn potatoes from time to time. (If needed, add almond milk to bring the liquid level to the mid point of the potatoes.)

Serve shredded pork in a bowl with the potatoes, peas and coconut milk broth. Enjoy the clearing of your sinuses!

Put an Egg on It: Pulled Pork Hash

Inspired by Pinterest browsing and brunch menus, I decided to try making an egg, pulled pork and veggie hash for dinner. The result was a satisfying and protein-packed meal that would be suitable for any time of day.

First prepare a batch of pulled pork. If you want to keep it super simple, just simmer a pork tenderloin in broth or water for a couple of hours on low, until desired tenderness.

Then, sauté shredded pork with olive oil, garlic, frozen peas and spinach. Crack some eggs over the top; cover and cook on low until set.

For extra omegas, serve with fresh avocado.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork & Quinoa

Part two of this week’s pre-made meal makeover was pulled pork in the crockpot, served twice (and counting!) with quinoa and veggies. It started with my recipe for taco-ready crock pot pulled pork, which basically consists of a pork tenderloin, a large can of diced tomatoes, frozen corn and taco seasoning in the crock pot.

I served mine two ways with quinoa as a base: accompanied by spinach and tomatoes on the first night…

On the second night, I melted a slice of pepper jack cheese over quinoa in the microwave, then topped it with leftover pork and sliced avocado…

And there is still plenty of leftover pork!

Quinoa Lasagna

I’m on a mission to morph my beloved casserole-dish meals, which have supplied dinner on many consecutive weeknights, into healthier versions.

So tonight I borrowed techniques from two favorites: “hamburger sour cream” casserole and ground turkey lasagna with yogurt bechamel. Quinoa replaced lasagna noodles, which actually cuts down on quite a bit of cooking time beyond the obvious health benefits.

First, brown 1+ pound of ground turkey and then add a large can of diced or crushed tomatoes and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according to the package. Then, mix 1-2 cups of goat/coconut milk yogurt with freshly minced basil or chopped green onions. Stir into the quinoa.

Layer meat sauce followed by quinoa mixture in a casserole dish, and repeat. Optional: sprinkle top layer with shredded Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and allow top layer to get that nice golden color. Remove and serve.

Red, White and Chicken Apple

The same one-pan dinner I turn to on weeknights when I need to squeeze in a workout, can also be used for summer gatherings. While it bakes, you get a half hour or so of freedom from the kitchen to enjoy the festivities.

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Simply toss potato wedges, roasted red peppers (sliced into strips) and chicken apple sausage (cut into slices) in an oven-safe casserole dish with olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes; cover with foil towards the end if the potatoes aren’t tender enough.

Bonus: only one dish and cutting board to clean!

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