Review: Hello Fresh’ Sirloin in a Mushroom Sauce + Recipe

Rating: 7/10

Hello Fresh seldom offers steak as part of their regular offerings. Instead, dishes with steak are usually considered “gourmet” and require an additional supplement. These are usually a very poor value, so I never ordered them. I did this time because when I added to my cart, HelloFresh showed that the 65% off discount that I had applied to the supplement as well. Alas, when I checked my account I realized that I was charged the full supplement price, which makes me feel defrauded. Still, it’s a lesson learned and in the future I just won’t order any meals that require paying a supplement.

This meal kit for Sirloin in a Mushroom Sauce with Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots was pretty good, if a little too much work. It basically had 5 components that had to be cooked separately: the steak, the mashed potatoes, the carrots, the onions and the mushroom sauce. I think one (the onions) could have been skipped without losing much beyond cooking time.

But all ingredients were very tasty and, in particular, the mushroom sauce was phenomenal, which helped elevate both the meat and the mashed potatoes. I’ve had similar mushroom sauces before, but I liked how simple and quick this one was (recipe below).

All the ingredients were included and they were mostly fresh (the carrots were a little wobbly) and good quality. The steaks were very, very thick but at least they were around the same thickness.

I paid a little over $20 for this meal kit, including the supplement, or about $10 per person.

Mushroom sauce

I recommend you double the sauce

  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 4 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. beef demi-glace
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat in a pan, preferably one you used to cook steak. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until softened – 2 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the demi-glace and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in the mustard. Simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in the remaining Tbsp. butter.


Review: Marley Spoon’s Glazed Steak with Farro & Bell Pepper Stir-Fry

Rating 7/10

Glazed Steak with Farro & Bell Pepper Stir-Fry

This was my second Marley Spoon’s dish and, most likely, my last one. It was perfectly fine as a dish, and I thought the presentation was quite attractive, but it wasn’t special enough to justify the issues I had with it.

First, the steak. It wasn’t particularly great quality – it was sirloin, after all -, and the two steaks were of significantly different thickness, which means that cooking them both together resulted in one more done than the other. While the tamari sauce (recipe below) added a very good flavor, the steaks were not particularly tender.

The farro/red pepper stir-fry was good – or would have been, had I not added the spinach. Once again, it provided an unappetizing bitter taste to the dish.

The portion was also on the small side – I was left hungry after eating it.

Even more vexing was the fact that the kit didn’t include all the ingredients I needed to make the meal. It asked that I provide my own balsamic vinegar. Fortunately, I had some – but the whole dish would have been a fail if I didn’t. To be fair, Marley Spoon did mention in the instructions online that dark balsamic vinegar was needed, but I shouldn’t have to look carefully at every recipe to see what ingredients I have to provide. They really should send everything you need other than oil, salt and pepper (other kits do).

In all, it was a nice meal but frustrating.

Tamari Glaze

  • 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Use to glaze meat or as a sauce.


Review: Plated’s Steak au Poivre with Crispy Fingerling Potatoes

Rating 8/10

Sometimes, often times, it’s in the sauce. Indeed, in this recipe of Steak au Poivre with Crispy Fingerling Potatoes, it was all the sauce.

The steak, sirloin, was fine but unexciting. The potatoes were blah – I mean, good, but just potatoes. But the sauce was very good and therefore, so was everything else.

The dish also included creamed kale. I wasn’t going to eat it, so I didn’t bother making it.

But this kit was another winner.

I paid around $16/$8 for this kit/per serving. Again, I thought it was worth it.

Sauce au Poivre

This sauce is to be served with steaks. I’ve doubled the quantities but it will probably still serve 2.

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard

Add olive oil to pan where steaks were cooked and heat over medium heat. Add peppercorns and shallot and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until the shallot starts to soften. Add wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, scrapping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and mustard, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds.


Meal Kit Hacks: HelloFresh Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce & Garlic Bok Choy + PB Sauce Recipe

Rating: 7.5/10

HelloFresh does not have many vegan meals, so I was happy to find this recipe for Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce & Garlic Bok Choy that I could hack for my vegan daughter.  While it wasn’t a complete dinner – we have yet to find a way to make tofu taste like anything but tofu, outside of deep frying it -, my daughter loved the peanut sauce and enjoyed the coconut rice, I’ll be making both of those again (see recipes below).   She hadn’t had bok choy before, and she won’t again – she found this vegetable utterly tasteless, even with the peanut sauce.  Fortunately, there was extra broccoli from our meal for her to eat.   Most importantly, she totally appreciated that I made her food.  Given that she’s the only vegan in the family, she often is on her own as far as cooking goes, so any time I cook for her it’s a treat.

Making this meal at home was rather cheap, as most of the ingredients are those you are likely to have in your pantry (peanut butter, rice, soy and hot sauce, sesame seeds), and those you don’t are cheap to buy.  In all, I spent under $6.50 in this meal for two people.  HelloFresh charges $20-$24 for the same food.

 

HelloFresh Ingredients My Ingredients Cost
1 block tofu 1 lb tofu $2
2 baby bok choy 2 baby bok choy $2.60
1 Tbsp sesame seeds 1 Tbsp sesame seeds pantry
2 Tbsp peanut butter 2 Tbsp peanut butter pantry
1 can Lite Coconut Milk 1 can Lite Coconut Milk $1.25
1 cup basmati rice 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice pantry
2 cloves garlic 2 cloves garlic pantry
1 lime 1 lime $0.50
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs $1 (for 8-cup ox)
1 tsp hot sauce 1 dash siracha pantry
2 Tbsp soy sauce 2 Tbsp soy sauce pantry

If you’d like to subscribe to HelloFresh use this link to save $40 off your first box, and I’ll get a $30 credit – which I probably won’t use as I’ll be unsubscribing form HelloFresh shortly to try a different company.

Coconut Jasmine Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 1 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • dash of salt

Rinse rice.  Put coconut milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add rice, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

Peanut Butter Sauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • a dash of hot sauce

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.


Meal Kit Review: HelloFresh Sweet ‘N’ Smoky Pork Chops with Apple Carrot Slaw, Mashed Potatoes, and Cherry Sauce Review

Sweet 'N' Smoky Pork Chops

Photo borrowed from Hello Fresh

Rating: 8/10

We are not pork eaters, both because commercial farming of pigs – fairly intelligent animals – is just brutal and because we don’t find pork particularly flavorful meat, but there weren’t many exciting menu choices in the week I chose to try Hello Fresh,  so we went for this meal kit.  We were pleasantly surprised.  While I was a bit disappointed on how small the boneless pork chops were – specially after I cut off the strip of fat on one side -, the cinnamon-paprika spice mix gave them a very nice flavor, in particular when topped with the cherry sauce.  I don’t like cherry, but loved this sauce and would think it’d go well with turkey as well.    The mashed potatoes could have been better – the kit included small potatoes that couldn’t really be peeled, and I prefer peeled potatoes in my mash.  The slaw was pretty good, but not earth shattering.

The meal was also fairly easy to make, the carrots come pre-shredded, which saves a lot of time.  The apple was fresh and delicious.  All the ingredients seemed to be high quality and the recipe was easy to make.

In all, this was a good dish.

I’m more likely to pay $12 for it than for the tacos I had before.

If you’d like to try Hello Fresh, you can use this link for $40 off your first box (it will also give me $30 towards a future delivery).

Cherry Sauce Recipe

enough for 2 chops

  • 1/8 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. cherry jam
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine in a microwave safe bowl the paprika, cinnamon, jam, water and vinegar.  Microwave on high for 45 seconds.  Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper.


Madeira Sauce Recipe – for roasts

Sometimes the best things are the simplest things, and this super quick and easy Madeira sauce just proves it.  I made it to serve with a ribeye roast, but it could go just as well with roasted lamb, pork or venison.  It has a wonderful nutty buttery flavor that really complemented the beef.  It’s great to soak with bread too.  Make the sauce in advance, and add the pan juices and heat right before serving.

  • 1/2 cup Madeira wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or a sprinkle of dry)
  • up to 1/4 cup pan juices
Combine the Madeira with the beef broth and the rosemary in a very small pot and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and reserve.  After your roast is done, add up to 1/4 cup of the pan juices.  Mix well while reheating and serve.
Based on B. Smith’s recipe at the Food Network.
Marga’s 2013 Xmas Eve Menu

Marga’s Best Recipes

Harissa Sauce

Harissa is an ubiquitous spice mix/sauce used by Berbers and Arabs alike throughout the Maghreb. It can be used as a condiment and a grilling sauce, and it’s often an ingredient in other dishes. There are many variations to this recipe, but this is a fairly typical one. If you don’t have caraway seeds around, many recipes omit it. The recipe below produces a very spicy sauce, for a less spicy one use milder or fewer chilies.

Ingredients

12 dried hot red chili peppers
1 large garlic clove (or 2-3 small ones)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Instructions

Remove the seeds from the chili peppers. Soak the peppers in water for ½ hour. Put all the ingredients in a blender or mini chopper and blend until smooth.


Pasta with meat sauce

This meat sauce is really easy to make, as it relies on store-bought sauce, but it’s absolutely delicious. I always get great raves from everyone when I make it.
For an even more delicious dish, sprinkle shredded cheese (mozarella, jack, provolone or a mixture of cheeses) over the hot pasta before serving the meat sauce.

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep skillet. When soft, add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the ground meat and brown. Add the spices and stir. Add the pasta sauce and the red wine, stir and cook until the meat is well cooked. Serve over any type of pasta.

Marga’s Best Recipes