Meal Kit Review: HelloFresh Saucy Thyme Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans Amandine + Recipes

I, obviously, need a new camera – or something better than my I-pad, which always takes blurry pictures.  But I think even my out-of-focus picture of my thrown together Saucy Thyme Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans Amandine is more appealing than HelloFresh‘s:

Saucy Thyme Steak

This, indeed, is one of the problem with HelloFresh: their photos don’t make the food appear particularly enticing. To be honest, neither does the description of the dishes.  Most of them sound totally boring – and yet everything I’ve had from them (albeit, it was just four meal kits) has tasted good, if not great.

And this recipe has probably been the best of the bunch.  The “ranch” steak was good in itself, but the pan sauce was amazing – it made me a convert to demi-glace.  I’m not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes, but I liked them served in this manner and they were perfectly cooked (per the instructions), and not at all chalky, as they can get.  The combination with abundant thyme was also great.

And the green beans weren’t too shabby either. All in all, this meal was of the quality you’d expect at a nice restaurant (one in which they serve boring side dishes, as they do in my town).  Most amazingly, it wasn’t even part of HelloFresh’ “gourmet” offerings, so it was regular price ($22 to $24, depending on your plan).

All the ingredients in the kit arrived in good condition. I was a little surprised at just how much thyme there was, but it was all used.The recipe didn’t call for peeling the sweet potatoes, but I did anyway.  The only real issue is that one of the steaks was significantly thinner than the other, so it required less cooking.

The portions were good and we actually had leftover sweet potatoes/beans.

Making the meal was pretty straightforward, and the only thing I had to watch for was cooking each steak for a different amount of time given their relative thickness.

In all, if you have HelloFresh, I’d recommend this meal.  And if not, I’d recommend making it with your own ingredients.  You can sign up for HelloFresh using my referral link and get $40 off your first week, which is a very good deal.

Au Jus

Make this recipe on the pan where you’ve pan-grilled or broiled steak,with the pan juices are your base.

  • 1 Tbsp demi-glace
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper

Place pan with pan juices over medium-high heat and add the demi-glace and water, crapping the bits of browned meat from the pan.  Simmer until slight thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Turn heat off and mix in the butter.  Taste and season as needed.

Roasted Thyme  Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 small or 1 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Peel and cube the sweet potatoes into 1/2″ cubes.  place on one layer on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with thyme and salt and pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove to serving plate, sprinkle almonds on top and serve.

Make the green beans amandine by following the recipe for the sweet potatoes above, don’t use thyme and cook for 15 minutes only. 


Meal Kit Hack: HelloFresh Balsamic Rosemary Steak with Garlic Herb Toasts and a Roasted Pear Salad on the Cheap + Salad Recipe

 

 

Today I ended up with some extra top sirloin.  This meant I had to figure out what to do with it and I had so much fun making hacking the Plated recipe for French onion soup burgers, that I decided to hack something from Hello Fresh this time, as I’ve started trying their kits. I decided on this recipe for “Balsamic Rosemary Skirt Steak with Garlic Herb Toasts and a Roasted Pear Salad” because I had most of the ingredients at home and it was one of their “premium” recipes, which cost an additional $12 per 2-person meal.  There is no way that I’m going to spend $36 on a meal for two without leftovers that I have to cook myself, unless a rack of lamb or some prime beef is involved, so I can only try these recipes by making them with my own ingredients.

Once again, I shopped at my neighborhood grocery store so I had to make some drastic substitutions:

Hello Fresh Recipe My Version My cost
1 pear 1 bag Bosc pears $3
1 demi-baguette 1 loaf sourdough bread $2
2 shallots 1 large shallot Pantry
1/4 oz rosemary 2 tsp chopped rosemary homegrown
2 Tbsp. garlic herbed butter 4 Tbsp. garlic herbed butter pantry/homemade
12 oz skirt steak 12 oz top sirloin $6.50
3 tsp balsamic vinegar 3 tsp red wine vinegar pantry
chicken demi glace 1 tsp. beef base pantry
2 oz arugula 2 oz mixed greens leftover
2 oz Ricotta salata  4 oz blueberry goat cheese  $3

 

In all, I spent $15.50 on the meal, less than half of what I would have spent if I’d bought the kit.  I was lucky that all the substitutions worked great.  Bosc pears are actually preferable for baking as they keep their shape.  Sourdough bread (which I’d bought the day before and not used) is tastier than the plain baguettes and the croutons came out great.   While I, myself, prefer skirt take, the top sirloin worked just as well and it was more tender than skirt steak would have been.  And the blueberry goat cheese on the salad (for which I used the mixed greens I bought for my last hacked recipe) was a revelation.   I did have to make the herbed butter myself, but it wasn’t too hard.  I simply chopped a few fresh herbs I had around the house (rosemary from the side yard, basil and some of the living herbs thyme I bought for my last recipe) in addition to a couple garlic cloves and mixed it with softened butter.

The overall meal was very good, and I loved that it had three elements: steak with a sauce, a grown up salad and herbed garlic bread – but it was a pretty laborious meal to make for that reason.  Still, we both enjoyed the steak and the sauce certainly added flavor to a cut that I think usually needs it (as opposed to NY steak or rib eye which just need salt to be great).  The herbed garlic bread was quite good and I very much enjoyed the salad.  The blueberry goat cheese, in particular, was a revelation.  I’d never had thought of putting it on salad otherwise, but it worked perfectly well.

But hacking this meal also had me make a mistake: instead of using balsamic vinegar, which I did have in my pantry, I just used regular red wine vinegar for both the steak and the salad.  If I had been using Hello Fresh’s own ingredients I wouldn’t have been able to make the mistake.  I’m sure the balsamic vinegar would have improved the flavor of both.

Below is my recipe for the salad.  If you want to try this kit without having to make it yourself,  you can use this link to get $40 off your delivery of Hello Fresh (it’s a referral link that will also give me credit towards a future purchase).

Roasted Pear Salad with Blueberry Goat Cheese

  • 2 Bosc pears
  • 1/3 French or sourdough baguette or 1/4 bread loaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz mixed greens, washed and dried
  • 2 tsp red or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz blueberry goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.

Cut off ends from the pears, cut them in half and core them; then cut the pairs into 1/2″ wedges.

Cube the bread into 1/2″ cubes.

Place pears on one side of the prepared baking sheet and bread cubes in the other.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until the bread is toasted, about 8 minutes.  Remove the bread cubes to a salad bowl.  Turn the pear slices and continue cooking until soft, about 10 more minutes.  Remove from the oven.

Add the mixed greens to the bowl with the croutons.  Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Toss.  Top with pears and crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Serve.

 


Steak Diane Recipe

After 12 years (yes, 12 years), I have finally arrived at the “Fs” in my international cooking project.  And, of course, that means I must cook classic French food.  Finding classic French recipes is not as easy as it sounds – I have already explored several French regional cuisines and I don’t like repeating dishes.

I was happy when I came upon a recipe for steak Diane.  I don’t know why I immediately assumed it was a classic French recipe.  Maybe it was the name? The ingredients?  Though, as my 10-year-old daughter pointed out after a couple of bites, this dish is very close to the beef Stroganoff I’d cooked earlier in the week.  In any case, I made it, we enjoyed it, and it wasn’t until I started writing the recipe up that I took a look at its origins – only to find out that it’s an American invention.

Never mind, it was pretty easy to make and the kids enjoyed lighting the pan on fire.  Indeed, it lit on its own: the instructions said to tilt the pan away from you and light the alcohol with a match, but when I tilted it, I splashed some liquid on the burner (I have a gas stove) and suddenly the pan was ablaze.

The recipe I used came from the great Emeril Lagasse.  The key to making this dish is having each component ready and easily accessible from the stove top. I used tri-tip as it was 1/3 the price of tenderloin, but it was too tough for this cooking method (it was better on the Stroganoff, as it was thinly sliced for that recipe). I’d like to try it with tenderloin, though sirloin might be an alternative.  Instead of the “reduced veal stock” the recipe asked for, I used a combination of water/whine and stock concentrate. If you still want to have the flavor of veal, but don’t want to make the stock yourself, Cook’s Delight has a veal base. Finally, “someone” dropped my dish with the chopped parsley/green onions on the floor so I wasn’t able to serve them on the steak.  Still, it was delicious.

Steak Diane

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp. beef base (such as Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 lb beef tenderloin medallions
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped shallots
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 8 – 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green onions or chives
  • 2 tsp. minced Italian parsley

Instructions

Place the water, red wine and beef base in a small cooking pot. Cook over medium heat until the base dissolves completely, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in the saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown on one side for 45 seconds. Turn and cook for 30 seconds. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional two minutes. Remove the steak to a warm platter and cover with foil. Continue cooking the mushrooms until soft, a couple of more minutes.

Add the cognac and lit the pan on fire. Keep on the stove until the flame burns out and then add the cream and the mustard. Mix well and cook for one minute. Add the beef stock and cook for another minute. Add the Worcestershire sauce and mix. Return the medallions and the accumulated juices to the pan and turn to coat.

Before serving, sprinkle with the green onions and parsley.


Steak w/ cognac sauce

I made this recipe a few days ago to go with some leftover top sirloin I had. While I’m usually the type of person who does not like sauces with my red meat – I’d never dream of using anything besides salt with a NY steak or a ribeye – I don’t find top sirloin to be that tasty by itself. This sauce was quick to make and delicious. As usual, I got the recipe at epicurious.com

My main adaptation was using “Better than Bouillon” bases and reducing the amount of water. You can use broth cubes/granules in the same proportions. This sauce is enough for two steaks plus whatever starch you are serving with them.

    -2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    -2 shallots, chopped
    -1 tsp. brown sugar
    -3/4 cup water
    -1 tsp. Chicken broth base
    -1/2 tsp. Beef broth base
    -1/2 cup Cognac or Brandy
    -1/4 cup whipping cream
    -2 steaks
    -salt & pepper

Sauté shallots until tender on 1 Tbsp of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add the broths, the broth bases and the cognac. Mix well and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Mix in the whipping cream and set aside.

Sprinkle steaks with salt. Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter on a heavy skillet or frying pan. Add the steaks and cook over medium-heat, about 4 minutes per side. Remove. Add the sauce to the skillet and warm up, scrapping any browned bits. Season with salt and pepper.

Marga’s Best Recipes