Review: Gobble’s Pan-Roasted Chicken with Polenta Cakes & Roasted Broccoli

Rating 8/10

I was not excited when I chose this meal – pan fried chicken? -, but I couldn’t find a third meal that appealed more to my taste. Boy, was I surprised when this ended up being delicious!

The meal included 2 chicken breasts, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and broccoli crows, as well as prepared shallot confit, wine sauce, herbed butter and two premade polenta cakes. Preparation consisted of cutting the veggies, sauteing the chicken, adding the veggies and the confit and then putting all of that in the oven. Meanwhile, I heated the polenta cakes on a pan. After the chicken and veggies were done, I was supposed to transfer them to a plate, and then make a sauce on the pan with the wine sauce, some water and the herbed butter.

While none of this was complicated, it took me 30 minutes from beginning to end, not the promised 15. I am a slow cook, however.

The chicken did not actually cook through in the given time, but the vegetables were ready, so I finished cooking it on the pan I used for the polenta.

The results were pretty delicious. I loved the polenta cakes and the wine sauce, as well as the mushrooms and tomatoes together (I hate broccoli, so I left all of that for my daughter and took her mushrooms, as she doesn’t like them). The chicken was the worse part – as usual for chicken breasts, it was dry. I so prefer chicken thighs!

I also took a point off because this dish required both the stove and the oven. I really don’t see why it couldn’t be cooked stovetop and save the gas and time required to pre-heat the oven, as well as avoiding the heat in the summer month.

I got this kit for free due to credits and a welcome back promo code. Use this referral link to get a free kit for 2 with your first box.


Note: if you use my referral link I *may* get some credits in return, if I happen to be subscribed to the meal kit service at the exact moment you use the code – which is unlikely.



Review: Gobble’s Blackened Top Sirlon Steaks with Mashed Potatoes & Baby Carrots

Rating 7/10

This was a perfectly acceptable, but unexciting dish. Of course, I should know better than order any kit featuring top sirloin, a cut that is neither tender nor tasty. The blackening spice helped, but still, I wasn’t thrilled. A NY strip, tri-tip or ranch steak seasoned with just salt is better.

This kit, as too many of Gobble’s, required that you start cooking the steak and carrots on the stove and then transfer them to the oven. This, to me, is an unnecessary step and a waste of gas. So after slicing the carrots and seasoning the beef, I cooked both on my iron skillet on the stove. Once the beef was done, I removed it and added a couple of tablespoons of water to the carrots, covered it and cooked for a few more minutes, until the carrots were softish.

The mashed potatoes only required mixing with a pre-mix of poblano peppers & corn and then warming up. As my daughter doesn’t like poblano peppers and I don’t like corns and the two were mixed together, I just skipped that. I did add the cheddar cheese afterwards. I found the cheesy potatoes pretty tasty, but my daughter didn’t like them.

All in all, I wouldn’t order this kit again.

I got this kit for free due to credits and a welcome back promo code. Use this referral link to get a free kit for 2 with your first box.


Note: if you use my referral link I *may* get some credits in return, if I happen to be subscribed to the meal kit service at the exact moment you use the code – which is unlikely.




Review: Gobble’s Greek Pita Wrap with Grilled Vegetables & Hummus

Rating 8/10

Processed with RNI Films

This kit came with already made hummus, tzatziki, olive tapenade and za’atar spice, as well as a zucchini, a yellow squash, 2 roma tomatoes, a slice of red onion, a small bag of arugula, pita bread and pita chips. Preparation consisted of slicing the squashes, quartering the tomato, sauteing them for about 8 minutes and then assembling the pitas. You then serve it with a side of pita chips and hummus. So a super quick meal to put together.

I didn’t use the tzatziki or tapenade, omitted the onion and substituted the arugula for some spring mix I had to accommodate my daughters’ preferences. I also added some cubed tofu to add protein to the dish.

In all, she was very happy with the results. She found it a very tasty meal. She particularly loved the pita bread. The problem is that the kit came with only two pita breads – so one per person. That was not enough for the amount of filling there was.

This is also a pretty simple meal to put together on your own, though I wouldn’t know where to buy the spongy pita bread they sent.

I got this kit for free due to credits and a welcome back promo code. Use this referral link to get a free kit for 2 with your first box.


Note: if you use my referral link I *may* get some credits in return, if I happen to be subscribed to the meal kit service at the exact moment you use the code – which is unlikely.


Review’s Thistle’s Korean Style Veggie & Rice Noodles and Togarashi Tofu

Rating 6/10

This was the dinner offering for Wednesday, this week, but my daughter was out that night so she took it to school this for lunch today. It looked like a salad to her, so she thought it was a lunch. That meant, she ate it cold.

She thought it was fine, but she did not like one of the herbs – probably the cilantro. It reminded her of a deconstructed spring roll (her words). She said she’d eat it again, but wasn’t enthusiastic about her.

Because she took it to school without my knowing it, I wasn’t able to photograph it.


My chicken has a blue spot

Yesterday I cut up some chicken and marinated it full fat yogurt and homemade tandoori massala. Today, when I went to cook it, I discovered that several pieces had bright aqua spots on them. Spots that I know for sure weren’t there when I cut the chicken up and put it to marinade.

What are they? One theory is that the garlic powder in the massala may have reacted with the yogurt to change colors. Garlic has been known to do that. Another, is that it’s “oxidation” or mold.

I’m posting this here in case it happens to someone else and they go around searching for answers in the internet. I may not have them, but at least they’ll know they are not alone.

BTW, I decided to cook the chicken and eat it. It’s been a few hours and so far, I haven’t dropped dead. I’ll update if I feel like I wish I was dead tonight or tomorrow.

Update: It’s now the next morning and I’ve felt no ill effects from making the chicken.

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about a week old, but still under the expiration date – it didn’t smell at all), a homemade tandoori masala made from ground coriander, cumin, garlic powder, ginger, cloves, mace, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom and nutmeg, and Mountain High original plain yogurt (which contains
Cultured Pasteurized Milk – cultured with
S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, B. bifidus, and L. casei -, Fruit Pectin, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3) . The leftover yogurt shows no discoloration.

Foster Farms says they’ve never seen anything like this.


Review: Freshly’s Low County Bowl

Rating 6/10

I got this meal for my husband. It consists of shrimp and
andouille sausage  with green beans and corn – and a side of roasted potatoes. My husband found it overall tasty, but he thought the shrimp were tasteless and soggy (a problem with all of Freshly’s meals).

The meal had 450 calories, 16 g fat (2.5 saturated), 47 g of carbs & 6g sugar. It had 34 g of protein.

I paid a little under $7 for each of these meals, with a special offer.


Meal Kit Review: Plated’s Argentine Beef Empanadas with Chimichurri and Monterey Jack

Rating 7/10

Plated's Argentine Beef Empanadas

I am Argentine and have made empanadas zillions of times, so I can tell you these are not traditional “Argentine beef empanadas.” Argentine empanadas don’t have jalapeño chili (I never even saw a jalapeño until I came to the US) or adobo seasoning. Most importantly, they are not eaten with chimichurri, a sauce which is reserved for asado. But my own empanada recipe has been bastardized enough that I can’t complain about lack of authenticity.

The fact is that these empanadas were pretty tasty. I did like the meat filling quite a bit and appreciated the light spiciness of the adobo filling. What I didn’t like were the shells. They were tough and thick and too crispy. My daughter and husband complained as well. The problem is that Plated sent empanada shells meant to be fried, not baked. I understand the confusion, nowhere on the package it says these are frying shells – though the one recipe it features, calls for the empanadas to be fried. And looking at the ingredients, which include sugar, confirms their intended use.

A second complaint is that Plated calls for the empanadas to be brushed with olive oil. I tried it on the one in the front, and it was a failure. Much better is brushing them with either milk or an eggwash and sprinkling sugar on them.

Finally, the chimichurri wasn’t really chimichurri. For one, it didn’t have oregano, an essential ingredient. But the real issue is that it didn’t go with the empanadas at all. Really, empanadas don’t need a dip or anything like that – they just need the right kind of shells.

On the plus side, while the meal kit was supposed to make 8 empanadas, there were enough ingredients to make 10, so it was enough for 3 of us.

I paid a tad over $13 for this kit, and I think it was well priced for that.


Meal Kit Review: Plated’s Persian Chicken with Carrots & Jeweled Rice

Rating 8/10

One of the things I like most about cooking from meal kits are the little things I learn that, despite cooking for the last 30 years of my life, I have not figured out on my own. Sometimes they are techniques, and sometimes they are simple recipes. This time, it was a bit of both. I have cooked rice before by sauteing an onion and then the raw rice before adding the water. But I was amazed at what adding just a stick of cinnamon does for rice. It really elevates it to another level. And simmering basmati rice for 10 minutes and then letting steam in its own heat for another 10, is a wonderful technique as well.

In all, this was another winning recipe by Plated. The chicken was good as were the carrots, and it all came well together. My picky 14-yo was happy.

I also loved how Plated sent me all the ingredients I needed, including the flour!

I paid a tad over $13 for this kit, with a welcome back promo, or about $7.65 per person,  which was quite fair for the quality of the food and the convenience.


Meal Kit Review: Plated’s Seared Steak with Goat Cheese Potatoes and Mushroom–White Wine Sauce

Rating 7/10

This was another winning dish by Plated. It’s getting marked down because while the potatoes and mushrooms were outstanding, the beef was a little tough and not particular flavorful. Top sirloin, IMHO, is a horrible cut and I wish Plated used ranch steak or flat iron steaks.

The potatoes, roasted in olive oil and then flavor with a mixture of goat cheese, butter and chives, were delicious. So were the mushrooms, which were sauteed on the beef juices and then enhanced with white wine, Dijon mustard and butter. I’m amazed that this recipe only had 660 calories (far less than the other kits I got this week).

I love that, unlike other meal kit services, Plated sends you butter rather than expecting you to have some at hand. And I loved that the Dijon mustard they sent was Grey Poupon. Most of the produce they sent was good and fresh, but the potatoes – which were larger than those pictured and therefore had to be sliced rather than halved – had some black areas in them which I had to cut around.

I paid a tad over $13 for this kit, with a welcome back promo, or about $7.65 per person. It was worth it.


New Cuisines Up: Honduras, Hakka, Hyderabad & Hmong

As I make my way cooking and eating food from “H” cuisines, I’ve “finished” four more:

Hakka

I made two very tasty chicken dishes and a vegan noodle dish.

Hmong

I did great with the meat dishes – the vegan dishes weren’t as good.

Honduras

Not my most successful cuisine, but I made steak, chicken & rice and coconut buns.

Hyderabad

This incursion into a regional Indian cuisine had me cooking chicken curries, a biryani and a dal.