Marley Spoon: Sesame Shrimp with Ramen & Sage Pancetta Chicken Plus $30 Coupon Code

It’s time again for me to pretend I’m a food blogger and review my weekly Marley Spoon, Food Subscription. If you’d like to try it out yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.
My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.

Skewered Sesame Shrimp with Ramen & Wilted Spinach
Shrimp Recipe

Marley Spoon delivers great fish and I love Asian flavors so I thought I’d give this a shot.
Our usual fresh ingredients:
Shrimp Ingredients
So you have to marinate the shrimp skewers, cover them in sesame seeds, then cook them in a skillet.
Uncooked Shrimp Shrimp Cooking
Then in another pan you cook the ramen. Then you wipe out your shrimp pan to wilt some spinach.
Ramen
When you finish, you end up with this:
Skewered Sesame Shrimp with Ramen & Wilted Spinach
Taste: Good
The taste on this was decent but the recipe seemed unnecessarily convoluted. The sesame seeds are fussy to coat the shrimp with and I can’t see why it wouldn’t be easier to just toast the seeds then sprinkle them on the finished skewers. Having two pans (one that you have to wipe out) for what is essentially a simple ramen dish seems excessive to me. I think marinating and roasting the shrimp in the oven and then making the remaining portion in one pot would have been easier. Also, the spinach portion on this was way small. I know it shrinks down but the dish really needed a bit more.
Portion Size: Ample, except for the Spinach
Good for Entertaining?: No. The flavors didn’t wow me and the prep is too fussy for the finished product.

Sage and Pancetta Chicken with Farro & Spinach
Chicken Recipe
I’m always up for new chicken dishes and I’d never tried Farro before so I gave this a shot.
More fresh ingredients:
Chicken Ingredients
Raw Chicken
Houston, we have problem. So I’m supposed to get two nice, easy to cook portions of chicken. What I get instead is one chicken breast that I now have to cut up to properly that will give me two even portions that are able to be topped with Pancetta. Cue my unhappy face.

Now, if I had to dice this up it would be no problem, but I’m not great at cutting up chicken and making it pretty and this has small bits hanging off and a decent amount of fat. When I’m done, I end up one normal serving and a medium size one and then two little extra bits. Sigh.
Uncooked Chicken Cooked Chicken
This recipe calls for making garlic sage oil, cooking farro and adding baby spinach, then topping with our “crispy sage and garlic”.

When I’m done, I have this:
Sage & Pancetta Chicken with Farro & Spinach
Taste: Nothing to write home about
Portion Size: Problematic
I didn’t really get much flavor from the garlic sage oil and topping it didn’t do much for the dish. It’s just an extra unnecessary step. I contacted Marley Spoon about the error with my meat and they gave me a credit for half the cost of the box, but still pointed out I go the same amount of chicken, just in one breast instead of two. Apparently Marley Spoon expects me to be a better cook than I am, but sadly, my knife skills are not up to par. I really enjoyed the farro and I find that I like it much, much better than quinoa. I’ll definitely be trying out some other salads and recipes that feature it.
Good for Entertaining?: Nope. Not interesting enough.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Underwheming
Both these dishes were fine, but the flavors weren’t amazing and both had what I feel are overly fussy and unnecessary steps. Despite getting the wrong cut of chicken, I did enjoy trying out the farro so I still got a good experience out of this box.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY

Marley Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Chicken with Miso-Tahini Sauce & Seared Strip Steak Plus $30 Coupon Code

For Throw Back Thursday, I’m going back to one of my February Marley Spoon boxes. Marley Spoon is a weekly food subscription service and if you’d like to give it a try for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.

Marley Spoon sent me more free stuff. Some more Valentine’s day chocolate and a free bag!
Freebies
Freebies are always fun!

Chicken Miso Recipe
Chicken with Miso-Tahini Sauce Carrots and Potatoes

Chicken is a staple in my household and this had ingredients I thought my boyfriend would enjoy as well.

Our usual fresh ingredients:
Chicken Miso Ingredients

Cooked Chicken Vegetables
The chicken sears in a pan while the veggies roast in the oven. Then you throw the browned chicken in with the roasted veggies and finish them in the oven for a few minutes.

While they cook, you make the miso tahini sauce.
Sauce

You slice your chicken, add it and your veggies to a platter, top with some sauce and sprinkle with a bit of parsley.
Then you have this:
Chicken with Miso-Tahini Sauce Carrrots and Potatoes
Taste: Love!
This was easy and super tasty, even my boyfriend who isn’t always into some of Marley’s recipes, really liked this one. The sauce has a strong flavor but it works with the other ingredients and the chicken was really fresh.
Portion Size: Ample
Good for Entertaining?: Yes. I thought the flavors on this were great and could work with a lot of different cuisines. I’d probably start with a baked goat cheese dip topped with apricots, walnuts and honey with pita for dipping. Along with the chicken dish, I’d serve a marinated seafood salad and dessert would be raspberry lemon bars. For a cocktail I’d serve a drink I stole from PF Chang’s which is just iced black tea with Mango rum and a touch of lemon juice.

Seared Strip Card
Seared Strip Steak with Brussels Sprouts and Celery Root Purée

I love the quality of meat from Marley spoon and I’d never cooked Celery Root so I thought I’d give this a try.

More fresh ingredients:
Seared Steak Ingredients
Brussels sprouts get roasted in the oven, while the celery root gets cooked in a saucepan with milk and rosemary. I had worried the rosemary seemed a bit much, but I was willing to go on trust.
Celery Cooking Cooked Brussels
Meanwhile we sear the steak and sauté some shallots.
Cooking Steak Onions
I removed the celery root and puréed it in a blender since the last time I used the stick version there was a lot of collateral damage.
In the end we have a lovely well balanced meal:
Seared Strip Steak with Brussels Sprouts & Celery Root Puree
Taste: So Close & yet so far
Portion Size: Ample
The steak was lovely and the celery root came out with an amazing texture, but there was one huge problem. The puree tasted like eating a Christmas tree. The rosemary was so overwhelming that it rendered the dish inedible.  My boyfriend asked “Who would do this?”  I have no idea who thought it was a good idea but it ruined what could have been an amazing dish.
Good for Entertaining?: Only with tweaking. I’d obviously omit the rosemary from the Celery root puree. For an appetizer, I’d keep things light with a roasted shrimp cocktail. (I’m partial to this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.) I’d add some goat cheese stuffed mushrooms as an additional side and serve a pinot noir for an alcoholic drink. Dessert would be something chocolate, probably a Chocolate sour cream bundt cake.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Like!
The only flaw with this box was the rosemary in the puree. Without that, I would have had two amazing dishes. The brown miso in the chicken dish and the celery root in the steak recipe, were new ingredients for me and probably ones I wouldn’t have picked out on my own. I love that I got to try them out and learn how to incorporate them into dishes.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
Marley’s Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Teriyaki Chicken Wings & Short Rib Chili Plus $30 Coupon Code

Today we have another episode of Mondays with Marley, where I attempt to become a food blogger. Marley Spoon, is a weekly food subscription service and if you’d like to give it a try for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.

Marley Spoon was nice enough to send me free chocolate for Valentine’s Day! Why does food always taste better when it’s free?
TrufflesChili Recipe
Short Rib Chili and Chips with Red Onion and Sour Cream

I chose this because I’d been craving chili and I’d never made one using short rib before. The recipe also looked like it didn’t take too much time (or too many pots).

Our usual fresh ingredients:
Chili Ingredients
We do some chopping:
Chopped
We cook the meat, then add the beans, and then the liquids.
Meat & Beans Liquids
They simmer.
We have reserved red onions, sour cream and chips for toppings.
Toppings
And then you have this:
Short Rib Chili
Taste: Hit!
This had great flavor even though it only simmered for a small amount of time. Since I hate cumin, I omitted that ingredient and the chili still tasted great. The recipe didn’t require too much fuss or for me to do a ton of dishes. This one was definitely a winner.
Portion Size: Generous
Good for Entertaining?: Yes, for a casual kind of game day get together. I’d swap out the chips for shredded cheese, and instead turn the chips into an appetizer with some spinach dip. For a side with the chili, I’d make some cornbread and a fresh green salad. Dessert would be some walnut brownies. Drinks would be beer and hard cider (since I personally, am not a beer aficionado).

Chicken Wing Recipe
Teriyaki Chicken Wings and Wedge Salad

I chose this because who can say no to chicken wings?
More fresh ingredients:
Chicken Wing Ingredients
These wings require quite a bit of cooking.
First you roast them in the oven and while they cook you prepare the glaze.
Raw Wings Cooked Wings
Glaze
Then you mix them up with the glaze and roast them again.
Glaze Before Glaze After
The side dish is a wedge salad that has a simple dressing and is topped with scallions.
Dressing
When we are done, we have a ginormous amount of lettuce along with our chicken wings.
Teriyaki Chicken Wings
Taste: Like
Portion Size: Generous
The flavors on this dish were great. The glaze and salad dressing were tasty, but my issue is with the wedge salad. To quote my boyfriend, “How do you eat this?” The head of lettuce was huge and it was so awkward to eat. Just converting the “wedge salad” into a chopped salad would have improved this dish incredibly. I ended up doing just that and eating it as a side for a couple of meals.
Good for Entertaining?: The wings as an appetizer rather than a meal. I would gladly serve a chopped version of the salad as a side to a different menu.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
Even though the wedge salad was a bit impractical, the flavors on both meals were great and the portions were quite ample. Both recipes were straightforward and didn’t require tons of prep or a million pots and pans. I’d really love to see more recipes like the chili that pretty much all happen in one pot.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
Marley’s Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice
COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Broccoli Pesto Cavatappi & Roasted Chicken and Beets Plus $30 Coupon Code

Today we have another episode of Mondays with Marley, where I put on my food blogger hat for you all. Marley Spoon, is a weekly food subscription service and if you’d like to give it a try for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.

Broccoli Pesto Cavatappi with Pumpkin Seeds & Cannellini Beans
Broccoli Pesto

I chose this because I’m not crazy about traditional pesto (the basil is a bit much for me) and thought a version with Broccoli and pumpkin seeds sounded great.

Our usual fresh ingredients:
Pesto Ingredients
This recipe called for a blender. You roast the broccoli and toast the pumpkin seeds.
Pasta Blender Pesto in Blender
You cook the pasta and throw in the drained beans at the end. You make a pesto with garlic, herbs, pumpkin seeds, half the broccoli, olive oil, pasta water and salt.

You mix it all up…
Mixing it Up
And then you have this:
Broccoli Pesto Cavatappi with Pumpkin Seeds & Cannellini Beans
Taste: Bad News, friends, Bad News
I wanted to this to be good, but it was not. It was so heavy and I couldn’t make a dent in a bowl of it. A few forkfuls was more than enough. My boyfriend didn’t care for it either and most of it ended up in the trash. I feel like if we omitted the beans entirely and thinned out the pesto more it could be better, but as it, it’s just no Bueno.
Portion Size: Generous
Good for Entertaining?: Nope. Not with friends, not with thieves, not with Walking Dead zombies. No one. Never. NOPE.

Roasted Chicken and Beets with Horseradish Yogurt & Croutons
Roasted Chicken & Beets
I chose this because I really liked the flavors of the recipe.

More fresh ingredients:
Chicken Ingredients
This recipe calls for us to use the beet greens and roast the beets.
Beets
We salt and pepper the chicken and brown it in a skillet.
Seasoned Chicken Cooking Chicken
Afterwards, we add it to our sheet pan of beets to cook.

Then we make croutons that we also add to the at same sheet pan.
Croutons
We mix up some the horseradish sauce and cook the greens in a skillet for a couple minutes and now we have all our pieces.
Yogurt SauceGreens
This recipe called for me to create a platter by layering the items. First the yogurt sauce, then the greens, then beets, chicken and croutons.
Roasted Chicken and Beets with Horseradish Yogurt & Croutons
Portion Size: Generous
The flavors on this were great and I though the recipe itself was really straightforward. I loved the yogurt horseradish sauce and I think it would be amazing with beef or lamb. It’s just Greek yogurt with horseradish mixed in – so super easy and healthy too. The chicken was really flavorful and I think that’s a testament to the quality of meat Marley Spoon supplies.
Good for Entertaining?: Yes!
Rather than layering this as instructed, I’d serve it on a large rectangle platter in rows (so a line of roasted chicken, then beets, then greens, and lastly sauce.). I’d also serve a family style pasta dish alongside, most likely the Whole Wheat Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts and Ricotta Salata from Alice Waters’ cookbook Chez Panisse Vegetables. It’s tasty, easy and has flavors that would complement the chicken dish. For a starter I’d keep it simple with an anti-pasta platter with cheese, meat and marinated veggies plus some crusty bread. For a drink, I’d probably buck tradition and go with a red wine to match all the earthy flavors. Dessert would be a rustic tart – maybe plum, apple or pear.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Like
Even though I hated the Broccoli Pesto recipe, I appreciated the creativity of the dish. I think with some tweaking the recipe could work. I also liked that this batch of recipes was a lot easier than some of the previous ones I received. The chicken was super tasty and I discovered an easy flavorful sauce that I can use with other dishes.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY

Marley Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Thanksgiving Dinner & Quinoa Salad Plus $30 Coupon Code

So today’s episode of Mondays with Marley Spoon, is a bit of a throwback. With all the holiday fuss and flurry of boxes I still have a few recipes from last year.  When Marley Spoon offered a Thanksgiving meal back in November, I couldn’t resist trying it out.   (If you’d like to try this meal subscription service for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.)

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals.

Thanksgiving Dinner with Turkey, Stuffing Squash & Mashed Potatoes
Thanksgiving Dinner

I chose this because I thought a mini Thanksgiving dinner sounded like a lot of fun.
Along with this meal, Marley sent some really cute little paper napkin rings you could punch out. (I passed those along to my niece).

So we have a lot of ingredients this time…and a lot of steps.
Thanksgiving Ingredients
The big hurdle is the Acorn Squash. The recipe asks us to chop it in half, roast it, then create a stuffing, then stuff it, then cook it again. You need like a hatchet to bust into one of these things. I did manage to chop it without losing a digit, but I didn’t quite get it even which is problematic for roasting.
Squash Roasted Squash Stuffing
The rest of the recipe was pretty straight forward and included roasted turkey tenderloin, mashed potatoes and gravy.
Thanksgiving Plate
Taste: Like
I’ve never made turkey tenderloin before, and I found it to be tasty and easy to cook, so it’s definitely something I will look for again. Unfortunately, the most labor intensive item, the acorn squash, wasn’t quite so great. The stuffing was really bland and I think I would have preferred them roasted with a bit of maple syrup and butter instead. The mashed potatoes tasted fine, but there’s a reason people make a giant vat of them, because it takes almost as long to make a big pot as it does a little one. And how about sending us two big potatoes instead of a bunch of little ones? They are no bueno to peel.  I also found the gravy didn’t make quite as much as I wanted.  I ended up using some extra chicken stock I had in the fridge in order to stretch it out a bit more.
Portion Size: Generous, except for the gravy.
Good for Entertaining?: Yes, with some changes.
I loved the idea of making turkey tenderloin for guests and mashed potatoes are always a win. Instead of the stuffed acorn squash, I’d probably opt for a different acorn squash type dish – maybe a stuffing with acorn squash chopped inside it. I’d add on a mushroom gravy with lots of sautéed mushrooms. I’d serve white wine to drink and a pumpkin tiramisu for dessert.

Quinoa and Beet Salad with Apples, Arugula, and Hazelnuts
Quinoa Salad
I chose this because I hadn’t tried Quinoa and apparently it’s like some type of magic food (after Kale and Coconut oil).
Our ingredients:
Quinoa Ingredients
This was another fussy recipe with lots of steps. You toast hazelnuts, you roast beets, you cook quinoa, you shave cheese. There’s a lot of stuff going on.
Nuts Beets
In the end though you end up with a pretty salad.
Quinoa Salad Finished
Taste: Okay
I made this to take to my sister’s for Thanksgiving dinner. My contributions included a ridiculous amount of cornbread (thanks to Sylvia’s 1980s soul food cookbook) and a chocolate fudge cake with a chocolate turkey on top (as requested by my very particular niece). I figured  a salad would be nice to cut through all the carbs and sugar. I really liked the flavors in this – particularly the beets paired with the apples, but I did not care for the texture of the quinoa. Something about it just doesn’t work for me. I also don’t really like couscous and I feel like from a texture standpoint these are similar.
Portion Size: Very Generous!  Way more than two portions.
Good for Entertaining?: Not for me.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Like, but wish there was less fuss
I love that Marley Spoon adjusts recipes to match the holidays and features seasonal ingredients. I thought most of the flavors were really nice, but I wish these recipes were a lot less fussy. I feel like I could have made a huge Thanksgiving Dinner in the time it took me to make two plates (with no leftovers).  And isn’t half the fun of cooking a crazy Thanksgiving dinner in eating leftovers for a few days?

Marley Spoon has some fun game and Valentine’s day themed recipes coming up so be sure to check back to see how those turn out.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY

Marley’s Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice
COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Potato Soup & Lamb Flatbreads Plus $30 Coupon Code

I’ve been trying out a subscription to Marley Spoon, a weekly meal delivery service.  I’ve been saving up some of my posts to share, so be ready for some food blogging fun.
(If you’d like to try it out for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.)

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals.  Marley Spoon sends them well packed in a big, insulated box.

Potato Soup with Kielbasa and Kale
Potato Soup

I chose this because I typically really enjoy potato soup.

Soup IngredientsImmersion Blender
I get the usual fresh ingredients and this recipe calls for me to use my immersion blender.

I opt to leave out the fennel seed (because I hate them with a fiery passion) and to cut down on some of the vinegar because I find Marley Spoon recipes to be way heavy on vinegar.

Soup ChoppedOnions Sausage
I chop up all the ingredients, sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper and then add in the potatoes. The instructions say to puree half, with either an immersion blender or in a regular blender. The immersion blender was the clearly the wrong choice because there was just enough liquid in there to repeatedly splash all over me. And in my defense the picture on the damn recipe card shows someone using an immersion blender so it’s not like I misinterpreted. After a few burns, I added in the sausage and kale.

Potato Soup with Kielbasa and Kale
Taste:
Okay
All I could really taste was the red pepper flakes and I thought they overpowered the dish. Unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of the kielbasa. I wish the recipe called for searing the kielbasa first as I think that would have improved it’s flavor.
Portion Size: Generous. There was well over two servings here.
Good for Entertaining?: Nope
It’s just not interesting or compelling enough to serve guests.

Lamb Flatbreads with Feta, Yogurt & Mint
Lamb Flatbread
I adore Lamb Gyros and this seemed to be a variation on them.
Lamb Ingredients
The same deal here, lots of high quality, well packaged items.

Bread Ground Lamb Lamb on Bread
This recipe was one of the easiest Marley Spoon ones I’ve done. You pretty much just mix up the meat with seasonings (I omitted cumin because I hate it even more than fennel seeds) and then spread it on pitas coated with olive oil.
You make a yogurt sauce and a salad and after you’ve cooked your flatbreads you top them with feta, salad and your yogurt dressing.
Sauce Salad
I really wish all Marley Spoon recipes were this easy.

Flatbread & Salad Lamb Flatbreads with Feta, Yogurt & Mint
Taste:
Hit!
The flavors on this were great. They were exactly like a gyro and the only problem I had with the recipe at all was that it called for way more olive oil then you need. It asks you to coat the pitas with oil, top with the meat and then drizzle with olive oil and bake. The lamb has enough fat in it that it doesn’t need all that excess oil. I ended up blotting the hell out of my flatbreads. I’d easily make this again but omit any extra oil.
Portion Size: Two filling portions
Good for Entertaining?: Yes!
For this one I’d opt to make this flatbread with a shrimp orzo salad recipe I have and a warm goat cheese dip. For drinks I’d do some type of refreshing cucumber cocktail and dessert would be lemon tart.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
Even though I didn’t love the soup, both recipes were really easy to make and had generous portions. I’d really love to see more Marley spoon recipes like these.

I’ve got lots more recipes coming (including their Thanksgiving menu) so be sure to come back and see how my food blogging skills hold up.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
Marley’s Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Chicken & Dumplings & Spicy Shrimp Tacos Plus a $30 Coupon Code

It’s that time again where I pretend I’m a food blogger and review my weekly meal delivery service,  Marley Spoon.  (If you’re interested in trying out this sub for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.)

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals.
Chicken & Dumplings Recipe
Chicken and Dumplings with Carrots and Fresh Thyme

I chose this because chicken and dumplings sounded like amazing comfort food.
Chicken & Dumplings Ingredients
The ingredients were all fresh including the chicken.
I got to chopping.
Chopped Chicken
First, I cooked the chicken then I began with the veggies and added on the liquids.
Cooking Chicken Cooking Veggies
Then I cooked the biscuit mix on top.
Chicken & Dumplings in Pot
And I end up with a warm bowl of soup.
Chicken & Dumplings
Taste: To quote Tiffany, “Could’ve been so beautiful..could’ve been so right..”
Portion Size: Generous
Good for Entertaining?: No, it’s not interesting or flavorful enough.
I liked how this dish was prepared in one pot, but unfortunately it just didn’t have enough herbs and seasonings. I also wanted it to be creamier. It almost reminded me of a matzo ball soup and I was craving  more of a  cream of chicken. But I could definitely see it becoming a standout dish by just a bit of tweaking.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos Recipe
Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Radishes, Cucumber and Chile

I chose this because love shrimp and this dish sounded quick and easy.
Shrimp Taco Ingredients
As usual the shrimp was high quality.   Marley Spoon lists the chile in this dish as optional, so I left it out. I actually really enjoy spicy foods but I hate eating raw chiles. I feel like it overwhelms my taste buds and then I can’t taste any other components of a dish.

First you marinate the shrimp.
Marinating Shrimp
Then you make a little salad and heat up the tortillas.
Salad
After you cook the shrimp, you take them, salad and herbs and pile them onto the tortillas.
Taco Construction Cooked Shrimp
Then Voila! Fancy Pants Shrimp Tacos:
Shrimp Tacos
Taste: Fresh and Appealing
I really loved the flavor on these shrimp, although my boyfriend complained that the smell of the fish sauce was horrendous. (And when I say “complained” I mean kept shouting “What the hell is that stench!  Open a window!”). The fish sauce odor as it cooked did not translate at all to the taste of the tacos (thank god).
Portion Size: Needs a solid side dish
The salad it comes with is crispy and light, but is mostly used to top the tacos. I felt this recipe was a bit stingy in that it lacked a solid side dish. I think a more robust salad or some coconut rice would have helped.
Good for Entertaining?: Yes.
The recipe is pretty quick and easy to make and has a lot of nice flavors. I’d serve this with a rice dish – probably my go to Spanish style red beans and rice with chorizo, and Mojitos as a cocktail. For an appetizer I’d serve  tortilla chips with a salsa or guacamole for dipping. Dessert would have a tropical component – I’m thinking a coconut cream pie or a pineapple upside down cake.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Like
As seems to be the norm for my “Cooking with Marley” sessions, I learned a valuable lesson – fish sauce is not half as bad as it smells. In addition, I feel like I could easily tweak each of these recipes to make them really great. What I liked most about this week was that both of these recipes were on the easier side. They didn’t use a ton of kitchen tools or bowls and had a straightforward prep. It was nice to not have to pound cutlets or create a “breading station”.

I opted to try out Marley Spoon’s Thanksgiving meal so be sure to come back and watch how I struggle with cutting an acorn squash.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
Marley’s Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Week of November 13th 2015 & $30 Coupon Code

I’ve been trying out a subscription to Marley’s Spoon, a weekly meal delivery service so my cooking chops (pun intended) will be tested from time to time. (I was hooked so I decided to try out a subscription. If you’re interested in trying out this sub for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals, which costs $48.
Greek Chicken Burger
Greek Chicken Burger with Tzatziki Salad

I chose this because who could resist itty bitty pretzel rolls? Can you? I don’t think so.
Burger Meat & Bag Ingredients
As usual the meat came well sealed and looking super fresh. A paper bag held all the other items except feta, which of course I didn’t realize was missing until I went to make this recipe and couldn’t find it. The lone feta tiny feta bag was left behind in the insulated packaging. And so our Greek Chicken Burger was going to be Feta-less. I’d failed this food test before I even started.

Our itty bitty chicken burgers go into the pan to cook.
Burgers in Pan
The Tzatziki salad is super easy to make and gets served on top and alongside the chicken sliders.
Cucumber Salad

Greek Chicken Burger with Tzatziki Salad
Taste:
Hit!
Despite the sad loss of the Feta, these burgers and salad were still really tasty. The only annoying part of this recipe was making the tiny patties. As cute as these pretzel rolls are, I really wish we’d gotten some big ones instead and made two regular sized burgers. I also would have liked an additional side dish or more than just the salad, which was a bit light to serve with the sliders.
Portion Size: A bit on the small side. The tiny burgers and light salad weren’t as filling as I’d hoped.
Good for Entertaining?: Absolutely!
I’ve made a similar salad for Greek dinners before and these sliders can easily be transformed into Greek Chicken meatballs or larger sized burgers. For entertaining, I’d serve these as larger burgers, with the tzatziki salad and some Greek oven fries. I have a super simple recipe I copied off of a Greek restaurant I love. You slice potatoes in thin rounds, coat in a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper and a generous amount of oregano, then roast in the oven until crispy.  For a starter I’d go with some type of grilled seafood with Mediterranean flavors, dessert would be a yogurt poundcake with a lemon glaze and for a drink, I’d serve a white sangria.

Pork Schnitzel
Pork Schnitzel with Warm Cabbage & Potato Salad

I let my boyfriend chose the second recipe and he went with the Schnitzel, as men so often do.
Pork & Bag Pork Ingredients
The same deal here, lots of well packaged items and this time I managed not to lose any.

This recipe required a “breading station” and for me once again to take out a meat mallet and pound the pork, but first I needed to wrap it in plastic.
(This entire recipe is just one giant euphemism, isn’t it?)
Breading StationCutlet Smashing

Now we’ve got to make the side dish so a pound of tiny little potatoes go into the pot. (Marley Spoon certainly loves tiny little food).
They get finished in the pan. For full disclosure, I did make the executive decision to omit some of the vinegar. I find a lot of Marley Spoon recipes are very heavy on vinegar and I think it takes away from the other flavors.
Boiling Potatoes Salad in PanSalad in Bowl
I take my breaded, pounded pork and throw it into a pan.
Breaded Cutlets
Somehow, I end up with a surprisingly fancy pants looking plate.
Pork Shnitzel with Warm Cabbage & Potato Salad
Taste: Like
Maybe I’m just a chicken girl, (did anyone else hear the tune “You’re not a man, you’re a chicken boo”, in their heads? Just me?), but I think I would have preferred it instead. The pork tasted good, but the breading did seem to come off a little too easily. (Did I screw up my breading station? The horror!) The salad was fine, if uninspired. I do think this recipe really needed a fresh element to brighten it up. Maybe a fresh salad and roasted potatoes instead of the warm potato salad.
Portion Size: Quite Ample.   The side in particular made a ton.
Good for Entertaining?: I’d skip this one.
The recipe is a little too fussy for guests and most of the folks I know would probably prefer a different meat in this style of preparation.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
I really enjoyed the Greek Chicken sliders and picked up a great recipe to use in the future. The Pork Schnitzel was a little time consuming to make, but it tasted just good and was a fine recipe for a weekend.  I like that Marley Spoon forces me to try new recipes and make things more complicated than eggs or pasta during the week.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY

Marley’s Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice
COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Week of November 6th 2015 & $30 Coupon Code

After trying out a free box from Marley’s Spoon, I was hooked so I opted for my own subscription. I used the awesome coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off and chose to have 2 recipes (with 2 servings each) per week. This made my intro box only $18.

I chose my recipes for the week and my delivery day (options are Tuesday or Friday) then prayed I wouldn’t be an embarrassment as a food blogger.

A large, well insulated box arrived with all the necessary ingredients.

Chicken Recipe Card
Oven Skillet Herbed Chicken with Couscous and Escarole

I chose this dish because chicken is always a hit in my household.

The meat came well sealed and looking super fresh and a paper bag held all the other items.
Raw Chicken Chicken Bag Chicken Bag Ingredients
Now my big beef with Marley Spoon is that you have to do stuff like rinse and dry lettuce. I feel like that should be something included with the cost of the box. It’s time consuming and annoying which is why I like to buy my lettuce already washed and bagged. Time is money, people and I don’t want to spend mine cleaning leaves.

Aside from the leaf washing, there was only one other annoying part to this recipe – pulling thyme leaves off stems. Maybe I’m just not Zen enough but trying to get those tiny leaves off the branches makes me want to hulk smash something.
Thyme
The escarole goes in a separate tray in the oven along with a skillet of raw chicken and onions.
Raw Chicken Skillet
When it comes out, we add couscous and voila! We’re done.
Finished Skillet Cooked Escarole
Oven Skillet Chicken
Taste: Bland and sour
Despite the picture where the chicken looks a bit pink, it was cooked all the way through. Unfortunately the chicken never got brown and crispy. I followed all the directions including the salt and pepper seasoning but the chicken was super bland. The couscous had a really vinegary flavor and I wasn’t a fan of that combination with onions. I think the recipe would have been much better served with rice and with braising the chicken. I’m not a huge fan of escarole but it was inoffensive. Not great, but not terrible either.
Portion Size: More than enough couscous, but here were four chicken thighs, but two were on the small side. If you’re doing two chicken thighs per person, they should each be a decent size.
Good for Entertaining?: Not unless you want to punish your guests.

Steak Recipe
Espresso-Rubbed Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

This recipe sounded amazing that I had to pick it.

The steak looked like it was high quality and everything was nicely packaged.
Steak Ingredients
This recipe was pretty straightforward and the rub on the steak smelled amazing.
Steak with Rub
You roast the potatoes and brussels sprouts then mix them with lemon juice and parsley.
Parsley & Lemon Potatoes
The steak looked great in the pan and I think I did a decent job of slicing it.
Steak in Pan Sliced Steak
The finished product:
Espresso Rubbed Steak
Taste: Ah-may-zing
This recipe was absolutely delicious. The steak and veggies were all excellent quality and the rub was nice and spicy without being too hot. The only small issue I have was that I found the lemon juice too be too much for the potato and brussels. It also took away some of the crispiness on the potatoes. I’d probably just use the lemon zest and skip adding the lemon juice.
Portion Size: Quite Ample. Two very generous portions.
Good for Entertaining?: Absolutely. Easy, delicious and looks impressive.
In fact, I can definitely see myself using the side dish with other recipes and the steak rub is tasty and only uses a few ingredients.  If I was hosting  I’d serve a Pinot Noir to drink and have a a green salad with blue cheese, walnuts, apples and a vinaigrette as a starter. I’d end with a chocolate dessert, most likely this amazing Chocolate Beet Cake from Martha Stewart. (I typically skip the candied beet garnish and opt for fresh raspberries instead.)

OVERALL
Verdict:
Like!
Even though I hated the herbed chicken, it was fun to try out recipes I might otherwise skip. And I really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with quality fresh ingredients (that I didn’t have to buy myself). I loved the steak dish and I feel like with each of these boxes I pick up a cool cooking technique or hint so for me it’s like food + a mini cooking lesson.

Have you ever tried a fresh meal subscription service? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY

Marley’s Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Marley’ Spoon delivers to the mid Atlantic and New England regions: most of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice
COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

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