Meal Kit Hack: Plated’s Chicken Marsala/Madeira with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes + Recipe

Rating: 8/10

I had no reason whatsoever to make this meal kit hack other than the fact that I’m enjoying hacking meal kit recipes and blogging about it. Hey, we all have our weird hobbies.

I did, mind you, need to use the rest of the skinless/boneless chicken thighs my husband got me by mistake a few days ago (the first half I used to make this meal hack) and I love Chicken Marsala, but I could have gone with my usual recipe – which is absolutely delicious. Granted, Plated’s recipe for Chicken Marsala is almost exactly like my own (this one doesn’t use shallots, though) – which is probably why this recipe was absolutely delicious as well.

The recipe for the chicken, that is. I did not enjoy the fingerling potatoes at all. The Dijon taste was too weird. Maybe I put too much, I had to guess how much were in the “packets” and “containers” that went with the kits, but more likely it’s just not a good combination.

I did make a couple of changes to the chicken recipe, the main one was that I used Madeira instead of Marsala. I usually keep Marsala around, but apparently I had actually run out of it the last time I used it. Madeira has very similar notes to Marsala, and I figured it would produce similar results. It did! If anything, the Madeira was better than the Marsala (or maybe, this is just a better recipe than mine).

I ended up spending almost the same amount to make this dish than I would have spent buying the kit – $18.3 for me vs $24, if bought as a subscription, or $21.4, if bought at my local Safeway. As usual, I didn’t have to spend money in some ingredients that I already had at home, but had to buy larger quantities than needed of other ingredients. I think

Plated IngredientsMy IngredientsCost
9 oz cremini mushrooms8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms$3
8 oz fingerling potatoes20 oz fingerling potatoes
(used less)
$3
1/8 oz parsley1 Tbsp parsleyhome garden
1/8 oz rosemary2 tsp rosemaryhome garden
1 lemon1 lemon$1.10
2 boneless chicken breasts5 boneless chicken thighs$5.50
2 packets butter2 Tbsp butterpantry
1 container chicken stock1/2 tsp chicken stock concentratepantry
1 packets Dijon mustard2 Tbsp Dijon mustardpantry
1/4 cup flourflourpantry
1/2 cup Marsala1 cup Madeirapantry
2 Tbsp heavy cream1 qt heavy cream
(used less)
$5.70

My local Safeway carries this kit often, and I would consider buying it. My big hesitation is that it comes with chicken breasts, when I really prefer thighs so much more.

Chicken Madeira

  • 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Madeira
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Cover each chicken thigh with plastic wrap and then pound until thin. Place flour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste. Flour the chicken thighs and leave aside.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Using a slotted spoon remove mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

Add olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Carefully transfer the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook until done, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a clean plate and set aside.

Add the Madeira, chicken broth and reserved mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, parsley and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 minutes. Return chicken to the the skillet and cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 5 minutes.


Meal Kit Hack: EveryPlate Garlic-Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Root Veggies

Rating 7/10

I was planning to make a chicken stew tonight, but my husband bought skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of the chicken parts I’d asked him to get. So I was left with trying to figure out what to make for dinner with the ingredients I had at hand. I could have easily replicated a meal I’d made before, but I saw it as an opportunity to try something new. I looked through different meal kit company sites, but the only one that had a simple recipe I could make with the stuff I had at home was EveryPlate. Perhaps I should have started with them.

This recipe for Garlic-Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Root Veggies was uncomplicated, but I thought pretty good. My daughter, who didn’t want the rosemary-garlic topping found the chicken flavorless, but that’s to be expected. The rosemary-garlic topping was good, if not gourmet quality. I’m not sure I’d make this particular dish again, however.

I used chicken thighs rather than the chicken breasts that the kit would have used, both because that’s what I had at home and because I much prefer them. I didn’t have a carrot, a sweet potato or Yukon gold potatoes, so I substituted with the two large russet potatoes I had at home.

I made this meal for 3 people. EveryPlate does not have kits that feed three, but their kit for 2 would have cost $13 (including shipping). A kit for 3, if it existed, would have cost $18. I spent ~$7.50 making it for the three of us. Had I used a carrot and sweet potatoes, it might have cost a couple of dollars more. While I didn’t buy any ingredients to make this meal, I had bought some recently enough to qualify as not being in my pantry just waiting to be used.

EveryPlate IngredientsMy IngredientsCost
2 skinless boneless chicken breast fillets6 skinless boneless chicken thigh fillets$5.50
1 carrotommitted
2 sweet potatoesommitted
5 Yukon gold potatoes2 Russet potatoes$1
rosemaryrosemaryhomegrown
1 red onion1 red onion$1
2 garlic cloves4 garlic clovespantry
1 “unit” chicken stock concentrate1/2 tsp chicken stock concentratepantry


Review: Fontina-Smothered Chicken with Zucchini & Mashed Potatoes

Rating 6/10

This Blue Apron kit for Fontina-Smothered Chicken with Zucchini & Mashed Potatoes was an OK meal, but not at all exciting. Sure, I chose it specifically to eat with my picky younger daughter, so I bear the whole blame for it.

I’ve never had chicken with cheese before, and I was pleasantly surprised. Indeed, I made fish with a cream sauce and cheese a few days ago and that worked too! Cheese seems more flexible than I thought! The piquante peppers were a good choice.

The whole meal was very simple to put together. The chicken sprinkled with Italian seasoning and simply sauteed and then covered with cheese and the peppers for the last couple of minutes. I liked the flavor the seasoning gave the chicken. I did make a mistake and used the chicken breast for my last recipe and the chicken thighs for this one (I had assumed both packages had chicken breasts), but I’m not sure that made a difference. I did cook them for a shorter time as they were far thinner than the breast.

The zucchini was simply sauteed with garlic. I overcooked it some as I was dealing with the mashed potatoes and a stew I was making for my other daughter at the same time, but my daughter ate them. The mashed potatoes were pretty plain, but these ones at least had creme fraiche – a great improvement over the ones in the last kit that only had olive oil. Indeed, I didn’t even add the olive oil to these ones as it wasn’t a good flavor.

The ingredients were all there and all fine. All I had to provide was salt, pepper and olive oil.

I paid $12.50, or $6.25 per serving, for this kit with a sign-in promo. It was worth this but probably not the $20 regular price.


Review: Blue Apron’s Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with Mashed Potatoes & Creamy Mustard-Dressed Kale

Rating 8/10

I got this meal kit for to make for Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with Mashed Potatoes & Creamy Mustard-Dressed Kale for my non-vegan daughter and me, but I ended up eating it mostly by myself: my daughter ended up with other plans. No matter, I saved the chicken breast for her for tomorrow and I’ll make her some fresh mashed potatoes with potatoes I had at home.

This is a meal that is more like disparate components than one full meal. The components all work with each other, don’t get me wrong, but you could substitute any of them for something else and the meal would still work. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

The chicken schnitzel itself was good – but it wasn’t really a schnitzel. The breast pieces were skinless and boneless but they had not been flattened – nor were there any instructions to flatten them. Moreover the cooking times given were for a thick piece of breast. The chicken was fine, but it would have likely been juicier and more enjoyable if it’d been flattened first. The flavor was OK, but not extraordinary given that there was no seasoning beyond salt on the breading. Commenters suggest adding onion and garlic powder to the flour, I’d also add dried oregano or fresh chopped parsley to the egg.

UPDATE: It turns out that the schnitzel part was my fault. Blue Apron had sent me boneless chicken thighs for this recipe, and the chicken breasts for another one. I didn’t look closely and just assumed both were chicken breasts and ended up using the wrong cut.

The apple slaw that accompanied the chicken was also good, but it didn’t really improve the chicken substantially. I also ended up with way too much slaw.

The mashed potatoes, which are simply mixed with olive oil and salt, were below average. The olive oil flavor was too strong. My vegan daughter didn’t like them. Personally, I think the recipe should have had you mix half the ghee with olive oil to fry the schnitzel, and use the rest of the ghee with the mashed potatoes. Commenters also suggest adding a couple of crushed garlic cloves to the potatoes.

The real star of the meal was the kale, however. It was dressed with a “creamy mustard dressing” which is just Dijon mustard and mayo, mixed with honey and salt. It was delicious – I don’t even like kale but I ate the whole thing (my daughter didn’t want to even try it, and I figured it’ll be soggy tomorrow). I’ll definitely try this dressing on other stuff (recipe below).

All the ingredients for this kit were there and they were fresh. I love that Blue Apron includes ghee for cooking rather than relying of you having butter at home (as HelloFresh does). And I also loved the container for the egg.

The only mild inconveniences is that it’s winter, and I don’t keep my house particularly warm, so the honey was crystalized by the time I went to use it. The ghee was also pretty hard. Don’t refrigerate either when you get them – at least in winter.

The meal was all in all satisfying – though I did eat all the kale by myself. It was also relatively quick and easy to prepare. And it’s also easy to recreate at home with your own ingredients.

I paid $12.50, or $6.25 per serving, for this kit with a sign-in promo. It was worth this but probably not the $20 regular price.

Creamy Mustard-Dressed Kale

  • 2 oz kale or fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • salt to taste

If using Kale, remove central stem from kale leaves, then cut into strips.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, honey and mustard. Season. Add kale and mix well, using your hands to make sure all the leaves are coated.



Meal Kit Review: HelloFresh’ Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Garlic Herb Couscous and Lemony Roasted Carrots + Recipe

Rating: 7/10

Believe it or not, in my half century in this earth, I’d never had Parmessan chicken. Indeed, I’ve never though of cheese and chicken as two ingredients that belonged together. Still, this recipe for Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Garlic Herb Couscous and Lemony Roasted Carrots sounded like something my picky younger daughter would eat – after all, the chicken looks like a chicken milanesa, and she loves milanesas.

Once again, this was a pretty simple recipe to put together and it didn’t really have any exotic ingredients (Israeli couscous was exotic once upon a time, but it’s now easily available). You can make it with ingredients easily found at the supermarket. Still, the chicken was moist and tasty – the smokiness of the paprika really came through. I quite enjoyed it.

The couscous, however, lacked flavor. It would have been better if some of the Parmessan for the chicken (there was more than enough) was used for the couscous.

I don’t like carrots, but my husband – who ate mine – thought the lemony carrots were good. All you do is roast carrot sticks for 20 minutes, with a little olive oil and salt, and then sprinkle grated lemon zest and lemon juice on them. My daughter, who also tried them, wasn’t fond of them, however.

For some reason, the recipe for the chicken called to only bread it on one side. It didn’t say why, so I breaded it on both. It was a good call.

I cooked this kit the day after I got it, and all the ingredients were fresh and I felt of good quality.

I paid $14 for this meal after a discount or $7 per serving. I think that was an appropriate price for a home cooked meal, though obviously I could put it together for less than that if I bought the ingredients myself.

The recipe for the chicken is below. While it calls for 2 chicken breasts, there was enough breading for a third one. It serves two.

Crispy Parmesan Chicken

  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~6 oz each)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream

Preheat oven to 425F Line a baking sheet.

In a medium to large bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and paprika.

Dry chicken breasts with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush sour cream over both sides of the breasts. Transfer them one by one to the breadcrumbs bowl and press breading onto the chicken surface. Transfer them to the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.


Meal Kit Review: Hello Fresh’ Creamy Dill Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans + Recipe

Rating: 7/10

This week I went back to Hello Fresh, as I didn’t like the offerings of any of the services I hadn’t yet tried – and I was given a good deal ($20 off each of 4 boxes) for re-activating my account. I got just two meals (which frankly, works better for us, as I’m always rushing to cook all kits before they go bad) and tonight I made the first one for my daughter and I. It was pretty good.

This meal of Creamy Dill Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans was extremely simple: you cut and bake some potatoes, baked some green beans, sauteed some chicken and then made a quick sour cream-mustard-dill sauce. Still, it was a tasty and satisfying meal and I very much enjoyed the sauce (recipe below). My daughter didn’t have any sauce, but she liked the other elements.

There were some problems, however. The main one is that there wasn’t enough sauce. What they sent was barely enough for one serving (so it was fortunate my daughter didn’t want to try it). They need to double the ingredients for it. Secondly, the chicken breasts were too thin and they cooked in less than the 4-6 minutes per side that they recommended. Also, the portion size was a bit on the small size (or I was particularly hungry).

This is a very easy meal to put together on your own, however. I think I will add dill to the herbs I grow on my window to be able to easily make it again.

After the discount, I paid $14 for this kit or $7 per serving (regular price would have been $20/kit or $10/serving).

Creamy Dill Chicken

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (12 oz)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tsp chicken stock concentrate
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2 Tbsp water

Pat dry chicken breasts and season with salt & pepper. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add chicken breaths and cook until cooked through and golden, 3-6 minutes per side. Turn off heat, remove chicken and keep warm.

Add the sour cream, chicken stock concentrate, dill, mustard and water to the saute pan and mix well, scraping up the brown bits on the pan. Serve chicken with sauce.


Meal Kit Review: Blue Apron’s Oregano Chicken & Fresh Tomato Pan Sauce with Farro & Zucchini

Rating 7/10

Tonight’s Oregano Chicken & Fresh Tomato Pan Sauce with Farro & Zucchini meal was pretty good. Not good in the “oh my God, Blue Apron rocks” sense, but more in the “that was a satisfying dinner and I have nothing to complain about” way.

The star of the meal was the chicken – and given that the boneless filets were just sprinkled with salt and oregano and then sauteed on olive oil, I’m not sure I can give Blue Apron that much credit for it. Alas, the chicken was fresh and it had never occurred to me to cook chicken so simply, so they do get some kudos. I would definitely make it again, but with thighs, as the breasts were too dry.

The tomato/caper sauce was OK. It was only needed because chicken breast is so dry in general – it’d been superfluous and not missed if we’d had thighs. The farro with zucchini was actually quite tasty. Alas, I don’t like zucchini so I didn’t actually eat the vegetable, and there was far too much of it – but my zucchini-eating daughter liked it. The farro without the zucchini was good. Again, not in a mind blowing way.

The meal was quick to put together – I’m a slow cook and I don’t think it took me over 40 minutes, and there weren’t too many complicated steps. In all, I was happy to find how easy oregano chicken can be and that farro is another whole grain alternative to rice my family members will eat.


Chicken Genoa

I was thinking of cooking Genoese cuisine as part of my International food project, but I finally decided to get to it when I do Liguria.  However, I was in need of an easy recipe using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and this recipe for Chicken Genoa looked delicious.  Of course, I don’t really know if it is from Genoa, and I did change it a bit (used thighs instead of breasts, sherry instead of wine and fresh mushrooms instead of canned ones), but the results were wonderful. As in seriously addictive, will crave it sort of wonderful.

Perhaps the best part about the dish is just how perfectly moist the chicken thighs are.  I don’t think I’ve had better boneless thighs.  So please, follow the cooking method to the letter.

It also microwaves wonderfully

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sherry or white wine
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • olive oil
  • 8-12 oz Mozarella cheese, shredded

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Ready a 9″x 13″ glass baking dish or equivalent.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a frying pan.  Add the mushrooms and cook, tossing, for a minute or two.  Add the sherry, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium.  Cook until soft and wine is absorbed, stirring occasionally, around 5 minutes.  Let cool

Meanwhile, remove any surplus fat from the chicken thighs.  Mix the bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese.  Coat the chicken thighs with the egg and then with the bread crumbs.

Heat a thick layer of olive oil in a frying pan over high heat.  Add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides, about a minute per side. You may need to do this in batches.  Place the chicken thighs in the baking dish, careful to not overlap. Use more than one dish if necessary.  Top with the mozarella cheese (use as much as you like), and then with the sauteed mushrooms.

Cook for 30 minutes.

 


Chicken Marsala Redux

I’ve made this recipe for chicken marsala 3 or 4 times now, and I still can’t believe how incredibly delicious it is. It’s probably the best thing I’ve made. I have the link to the recipe at epicurious in another posting, but I’ve decided to post it here as well and link it from my favorite recipes page.

Today I forgot to salt the chicken – but the sauce was so rich in flavor that it didn’t really need it. I also accidentally added a half a cup of white wine, but that only meant I had to boil it a bit longer. I used dried sage, which I hadn’t used before, and I think it probably made it even better.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

1 small shallot, finely chopped
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz sliced mushrooms
a dash of dried sage
a dash of black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
flour
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup of water
1 3/4 tsp. Better than Bullion chicken base
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Marsala wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. lemon juice

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet and add shallot. Cook over moderate heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are golden and the liquid has evaporated, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Turn oven to 200F

Put flour in a shallow bowl. Put chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound until about 1/4″ thick. Dredge in flour. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee first batch of chicken on both sides until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side for chicken thighs. Place the chicken in a shallow pan in the oven. Dry the skillet with paper towels and add another Tbsp. of oil and butter. Melt and sautee the rest of the chicken. Put it in the oven.

Deglace the pan with the white wine. Add marsala wine, bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. Add water, chicken base, cream and mushrooms – boil, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, around 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. wine and a sprinkle of dried sage.
Serve sauce over chicken.