Prep Once = Dinners for the Whole Week

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.

I’m all about Sunday food prep as a way to help our family eat healthy. If nutritious food is prepped and ready to go, we don’t have an excuse to order take-out or eat cereal (or ice cream) for dinner. And now that we have a toddler, we don’t have a ton of time to make elaborate meals, so when it comes to dinner, I like to have a game plan and most of the ingredients prepared. That way, dinner comes together quickly and we can enjoy dinnertime together as a family.

SAMSUNG CSC

Last week, I had the opportunity to work with Blue Apron again (love them), so I wanted to share how my usual meal prep fit in with using a meal delivery service. Spoiler: It made it even easier. If you’re unfamiliar with Blue Apron, here’s the deal”¦

Blue Apron delivers all the farm-fresh ingredients you need, right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions. There are no trips to the grocery store needed and no waste from unused ingredients. Basically, you order your meals online (there’s a huge selection and Blue Apron adds new recipes every week) and then they’re shipped for free right to your front door. (Your recipes are delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients will stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives.) You just need to cook them up, which, of course, is the best part!

Blue Apron offer two types of plans: The 2-Person Plan and Family Plan:

  • The 2-Person Plan will set you up with one delivery a week, each with three inventive meals for two. Each week, the culinary team creates six new recipes for this plan, and you will be sent a curated menu of three recipes based on your dietary preferences.
  • The Family Plan is perfect for feeding a family of four. With this plan you can opt to receive one or two deliveries per week, each delivery consisting of two meals to be served family-style.

There’s no commitment””you can skip or cancel the service at any time””and Blue Apron now ships to most of the country! And (this is really great) Blue Apron now has a Recycling Center!

SAMSUNG CSC

I know a number of you guys expressed concern about the amount of packaging that goes along with a Blue Apron shipment, but now there are two ways to recycle your packaging: Use the recycling locator to find recycling options in your community OR return 100% of your packaging for free to Blue Apron to recycle or reuse! And this so easy to do: You just request a return label and pick-up online. It really couldn’t be easier. Blue Apron has partnered with the USPS to use existing delivery routes, so there’s no additional carbon footprint to your return. How cool is that?

blue_apron_return_label

Ok, here we go. Let’s talk about prepping once to eat delicious meals all week!

MEALS + GROCERY LIST

Grocery shopping was such a breeze this week. The majority of what we needed was delivered right to our front door via Blue Apron, so I only had to buy our usual staples (bananas, eggs, milk) plus a few ingredients for dinner on the non-Blue Apron nights (chicken, lime, broccoli). Thanks to Blue Apron, I was in and out of the grocery store in no time, which is especially awesome with an active little guy in tow. (Toddler moms definitely know what I’m talking about!)

  • Spicy Korean Chicken Wings with Rice Cakes & Baby Bok Choy
  • Sumac-Spiced Steak & Honeynut Squash with Pickled Onion & Apple-Walnut Salad
  • Brie & Pear Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Brussels Sprout, Arugula & Hazelnut Salad
  • Chicken Ole with Brown Rice
  • Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Steamed Broccoli

GAME PLAN

While Quinn was napping on Sunday afternoon, I went to town in the kitchen, food prepping like a champ. Blue Apron’s meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less, but I wanted to make dinnertime even faster. Plus, I prepped a few things for breakfast to make our mornings at bit more streamlined. It took me about 2.5 hours to prep everything, but it was well worth it in the end. Dinnertime was easy-peasy this week!

SAMSUNG CSC

Top left to right: Sweet Potato Breakfast Potatoes, shredded Brussels sprouts, baked acorn squash, baked butternut squash, chicken wings, Bok Choy with rice cakes (Blue Apron recipe), Crock-Pot Pumpkin Steel-Cut Oatmeal, roasted garlic, sliced red onion, and Breakfast Potatoes with green bell pepper and onion.

OUR WEEK OF DINNERS

We had an epic week of meals… truly epic (I’d even call them gourmet), especially since they came together so quickly during the work week. I loved having that extra time to hang out and relax with my boys, especially when a glass of wine was involved! That said, here’s a recap of our dinners this week!

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings with Rice Cakes & Baby Bok Choy

I cooked this meal on Sunday afternoon while doing my food prep for the week. When dinnertime rolled around, I just reheated everything in the microwave. Dinner done. The wings were insanely easy to make, and I learned a new way to roast them that makes them taste even more delicious. (Just cook on 475 degrees F for 22-24 minutes, then brush on the glaze, and roast for another 6-8 minutes.) They turned out so well””sweet and savory with a spicy kick. On the side, we had some chewy Korean rice cakes (they reminded me of pasta) and baby Bok Choy. It was an all-around awesome meal, and I really loved how the wings turned out””so much, in fact, I put wings on our menu for next week!

SAMSUNG CSC

Brie & Pear Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Brussels Sprout, Arugula & Hazelnut Salad

Yum, yum, yum! So many of my favorite foods in one meal! Rich, creamy Brie with sweet, juicy pears? Sign me up! It was a fun twist on a classic grilled cheese sandwich. Mmm! I really loved this one and it came together in no time thanks to my Sunday prep.

_MG_6052 (1280x921)

I still needed to assemble and cook the sandwiches, which I suppose I could have done on Sunday, but I wanted them to taste as fresh as possible.

_MG_6059 (1280x853)

And, truthfully, it only took me about 5 minutes to layer the Brie, pear, and sage on the bread. It was quick!

_MG_6082 (1280x853)

Cooking the sandwiches took another 6-7 minutes, so I whipped up the salad while I waited.

_MG_6121 (1280x853)

It literally took me 30 seconds to make since I had already prepared the ingredients.

_MG_6098 (1280x853)

_MG_6117 (853x1280) (2)

Ta-da! Dinner is served! It seriously couldn’t have been easier!

_MG_6139 (1280x853)

I’m on a cheese kick lately, so I was eyeing the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Crispy Sage and the Smoky Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Fried Eggs & Butter Lettuce Salad for future meals. Both look incredible!

Sumac-Spiced Steak & Honeynut Squash with Pickled Onion & Apple-Walnut Salad

Another winning recipe! With this one, Blue Apron put a spin on the traditional steak dinner by serving it with roasted honeynut squash (a smaller, sweeter cousin of butternut squash), pickled onion, and a salad made from feta, apple, mint, and walnuts. At first, I thought the flavor combination was sort of strange, but it worked so well together. Seriously. Mal and I couldn’t stop raving about the complimentary flavors as we ate this meal.

SAMSUNG CSC

This meal required a tiny bit of work (cooking the steaks + making the apple salad), but it honestly took me 10 minutes or less to get everything together. (I made the salad while the steaks cooked.)

SAMSUNG CSC

Chicken Ole with Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli 

Mal’s Chicken Ole was crazy-easy to make. I had mixed up the marinade ahead of time, so all I had to do was put the chicken breasts in a baking pan and pour it over before popping it all in the oven to cook. A few minutes before it was finished cooking, I nuked the rice and broccoli in the microwave. Boom. Dinner done!

SAMSUNG CSC

Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Leftover Veggies

When the Chicken Ole was in the oven, I cooked a couple of extra breasts for chicken salad sandwiches the following night. We had some extra arugula salad and broccoli from our previous dinners, so I added those on the side. It wasn’t the most exciting dinner, but it was definitely a quick one!

Are you ready to try Blue Apron for yourself? Here’s a little incentive: The first 50 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here to sign up!

Question of the Day

What’s your biggest challenge at dinnertime?

27 Comments

  1. I absolutely love this idea!! Meal delivery services like this one are becoming increasingly popular in Europe, which I’m SO happy about! I don’t particularly love to cook, so I am definitely a huge fan of these! After I graduate I know I’ll be their #1 customer haha!

  2. My biggest challenge is starting late in the day! Guess this is par for the course with a toddler! I find myself in a hole when it comes to having everything I need to make what I want. Also since my husband gets home from work late most days, he’s usually eating the leftovers.

  3. I have not even read the whole post yet. I just kept scrolling down as the layout and look of it was intriguing. I think I read 1/4 of it and had to comment before finishing it. Food prep and meal planning is a huge tool to anyone’s success and you made it seem easy and healthy with this post along with Blue Apron as the champion. Thank you – I live in Canada and I have not looked at Blue Apron but if we don’t have access – this has inspired me to get off the gadgets and get cooking and planning for my success!!! Thank Tina always a pleasure reading your blog.

  4. I love how much better my week goes when I have meals planned! I’ve used a similar service to the Blue Apron called The Purple Carrot (www.thepurplecarrot.com), which just got Mark Bittman to start doing recipes for them! I loved their food – it’s plant-based and designed to be incredibly healthy. A fun option, especially with Bittman on board; he’s fantastic.

    I’ve also tried a service called Lighter, that does your meal planning for you, sends you all the recipes, and then arranges for the ingredients you need to be delivered using a local grocery delivery service. (www.lighterculture.com) They’re fantastic also, and you can pause the service any time, and tell them which foods you dislike to tailor the recipe to your family.

    I need to do better at keeping prepped snacks around – I love it when I have cut up carrots sitting in a container of cold water to stay crisp, or hummus and whole grain crackers on hand.

  5. Nothing to do with meal planning, but I love that sweater on you. Color is fabulous with your hair!

  6. My biggest challenge is meal planning for dinners. Even though I spend all my time helping other people figure out what to eat, I really have trouble thinking ahead when it comes to dinner. It’s something I’m really trying to work on, because you can only have so many rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, am I right?!

  7. My biggest challenge is finding the motivation to cook and clean up after working all day. I rarely get home before 7pm, so I NEED to prep ahead of time or else we just end up (1) eating eggs constantly or (2) eating out all the time.

  8. I’m only a sophomore in high school, but I love this company! I’m an RA so I eat all of my meals on campus and don’t have to prep anything. This freaks me out though for when I graduate and I am on my own. I think Blue Apron would actually be a great way for me to transition from having all of my meals taken care of to having to cook everything for myself! Left to my own devices, I eat ice cream and oatmeal. Both delicious, but not necessarily as nutritional as these meals. This would actually be so helpful for me!

    PS: LOVE that green sweater on you, Tina.

  9. iMy Ninya slowcooker is my best friend!! I throw in sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brown rice, oatmeal, soup!!! i just cook randomly and all of a sudden i have plenty of things to put a meal together. cooking up fish or a steak takes no time. Or bring home that roasted chicken. Best investment EVER

  10. My sister used to cook 3 different dishes from scratch every Sunday. She has five kids and used to freeze and portion things out so her kids could just warm things up when they came home from school and she was on the late shift. Lasagna, whole baked chicken and casseroles. Imagine all the prep in that! It took her all Sunday.
    She would have loved Blue Apron when her kids were little!

  11. That grilled cheese looks amazing!

    I tried Blue Apron one week and enjoyed it; definitely gave me some new ideas. I already cook dinner most nights but don’t do a lot of recipes- usually just a protein with a spice rub, grain, and roasted veggie with olive oil.

  12. I’ve heard of Blue Apron and I’ve been curious to try it. I am extremely busy lately, between work, school, and purchasing a new home. I fall into the routine of making quick meals, no prep. I’m just too exhausted to plan ahead and make a great meal. I feel like blue apron could really help. The price seems to be around what we currently spend on food.

  13. My biggest challenge for dinners is that I have two extremely busy teenagers who are involved in everything so we never get to have sit-down family dinners. 🙁 Haven’t exactly found the best way to fix this other than to buy a lot of frozen meals that everybody eats whenever they’re home … or lots of crockpot meals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest posts to your inbox!

    I respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.