Category Archives: Reviews

Pan-seared salmon – Sun Basket Review 1

Pan-seared salmon with orange-jicama salad – Sun Basket Review #1

I think I might like this food delivery thing and now that I have tried Blue Apron, it’s time to try another service.  This is my first experience with Sun Basket, a food delivery service.  

Here’s a recap of the details of my Sun Basket plan:

Plan Type – 2 person (classic) – I chose the Paleo plan.
Recipes/Meals – 3 per week
Cost – $68.94 including shipping, plus any applicable taxes
*I had a $35 promo offer so I only paid $33.94. 

$5.65 per person/ per meal. Not too shabby!

I placed the order on: Janury 28 and 10 days later, I received my food on February 7.

That’s my plan recap now it’s time to get to cookin’!

In case this is the first review of mine you are reading, take note that I am NOT a cook and I am not paid to do this review. 

For my first recipe, I tried pan-seared salmon with orange-jicama salad. 

But first, let’s look at how the contents arrived! Each bag contains all the contents you need for each recipe.  The shrimp and salmon were underneath a piece of cardboard used to separate them from the rest of the food.

Sun Basket Box
The Sun Basket box arrives!

My first thought was that the insulation was going to take up a lot of space in the garbage bag (yes, things like this keep me awake at night), but Sun Basket sends you these little stickers to make your life easier when it comes to discarded the packaging material. 

Recycle sticker

Nifty recycle stickers

Subtle Differences Between Blue Apron and Sun Basket 

Next, the recipe cards which give a brief description of the recipe, the time it takes to prepare, calories, serving sizes and links to view the recipes on line and links to videos. I also received a little information sheet on  how to handle herbs. 

I noticed that there are a few differences between the Blue Apron cards and Sun Basket. For Blue Apron, they do provide nutritional information but not on each recipe card where Sun Basket provides all the nutritional information on the card.  I also didn’t know that Blue Apron provides how-to videos until I happen to be checking out there site after I cooked. Sun Basket provides those links directly on each recipe card. 

Also, what I found helpful was that Sun Basket tells you which tools you will need. However, for you wine lovers, Blue Apron provides a wine suggestion with your meal. I prefer margaritas or mojitos. 

Ready to cook!

Here is my bag of goodies:

Sun Basket Package

My first Sun Basket contents: Salmon, cauliflower, organge, lime, cilantro, mint leaves (not for Mojitos), jicama, scallions, fried shallots and sumac. Sumac. WTF is sumac? Never heard of it until this recipe and I LOVE it. 

My ingredients

The recipe told me to chop up the cauliflower into corn-kernel sized pieces. I think I got pretty close. It was kinda easy since the florets sort of crumble apart.  I chopped them up a bit more after I took this picture. 

Chopped Cauliflower
Corn-kernel sized pieces of cauliflower.

I threw the chopped up cauliflower into the pan and mixed them with the fried shallots.  This smelled SO good! I wasn’t familiar with sumac, I do know what shallots are. 

Cauliflower and fried shallots
Cooking it up!

Chopping up the mint was my favorite part because it smelled really good. I almost stopped cooking and used the mint to make a mojito…but I practiced some self-control and continued cooking. 

Mint Leaves
Mint leaves for the food, not for mojitos.

Is this mint fresh?  I couldn’t really tell. It smelled sooooo good!

Chopped up jicama. Sort of. I haven’t had jicama in a long time…very good stuff. 

Jicama chunks for the orange-jicama salad

The limes made my think of the mojitos again and margaritas. 

Fresh limes
Limes – not for margaritas.

Next came the scallions, chopped cilantro and the orange. I mixed all those for the orange-jicama salad.  I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of the orange by itself. It was a fairly handsome orange. 


After the salad is already and sprinkled with SUMAC, it’s time to cook the salmon. 

Cooking salmon
To deskin or not to deskin…

I am always afraid to cook salmon because I never know if I have cooked it enough. 

Here is the pan searing moment of my salmon. 

I didn’t burn it!

I’m done! I regret that I didn’t take a final picture but I was so freakin hungry. 

First Impressions


This meal was so delicious and I was able to get 3 servings from this 2-serving meal plan. Next time I make this dish, I am definitely going to double-up because every LOVED it.  By the way, this recipe took 40 minutes to prepare and cook which matched the time estimate of 30-40 minutes on the card. 

I discovered that I love sumac very much. The orange-jicama salad goes very well with the salmon. 

Clean-Up Score: 

  • 1 sink full of dishes
  • One messy stove top because I splashed oil all over it while cooking the salmon

And now for the finale – clean up! Ignore the paint brushes. I do art with them. I promise you that they are not used for cooking. 

The clean-up factor. This is important.So far, this pan-seared salmon with orange-jicama salad from Sun Basket is my favorite!

Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti – Blue Apron Review 2

Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti with Broccoli & Meyer Lemon – Blue Apron Review

This is my third Blue Apron recipe but out of the three I have cooked so far, the Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti with Broccoli & Meyer Lemon recipe has been my favorite and easiest! If you want to check out my first experience with Blue Apron,  read my first review.  In case you missed it, I don’t get paid to write these reviews.

In fact, I am a terrible cook and I find pleasure in terrifying my family. The look on their faces when I am in the kitchen – priceless. 

Now for the review…

Here’s my recap again on the details of the Blue Apron plan I picked:

Plan Type – 2 person
Recipes/Meals – 3 per week
Cost – $59.94 including shipping, plus any applicable taxes
*I had a $30 promo offer so I only paid $29.94. Hells yeah.
That’s $4.99 per person for 3 meals! My girlfriend and I can easily spend $59.94 on a meal with alcohol so this is a great savings for us and even without the promotional offer, you’re still only paying $10 bucks.
I placed the order on: Janury 28 and 8 days later, I received my food on February 5.

Introducing the ingredients…

Spaghetti, shrimp,  broccoli, Meyer lemon, garlic, butter, quark, crushed red pepper flakes.

I chopped up the broccoli and because I was so excited (and hungry) to start, I forgot to include the shrimp and the Meyer lemon in my pic below. 

*The quantity of the spaghetti didn’t seem to be a lot, but it’s definitely more than enough for 2 people. 

And geez – now that I am looking at the picture, I forgot the garlic, too. 

Ingredients for Blue Apron

So SUPER simple, except when it asked me to remove the yellow rind of the lemon but to avoid the pith. I am not sure what the pith is… the “pith of hell”? What would happen if I didn’t avoid the pith? 

The recipe did suggest the use of a zester, but I don’t have a zester. 

This was my attempt at zesting and avoiding the dark pith of hell.  

My poor lemon….my MEYER lemon looks butchered. 

Meyer Lemon
My attempt to create zest.

I have heard of Meyer lemons before but thought it was a name brand like “Dole”, but it’s not. There are some differences between regular lemons and Meyer lemons. Check out this link if you want the whole skinny.  Apparently, they are seasonal and only available between December through May. I’m glad it’s February, otherwise I might have never had the opportunity to meet and butcher a Meyer lemon and the pith of hell. 

After I got done zesting up the Meyer lemon, I started to get the water boiling for the spaghetti and roasted up the garlic, some of the red pepper flakes and then added in the broccoli and shrimp.

The recipe says to cook the shrimp 2 to 3 minutes or until opaque and cooked through.

I wasn’t sure what they meant because the raw shrimp looked opaque to me, but I might have to look the word up.  Because I know for sure…that they are raw and I think they want this shrimp COOKED.

Raw Shrimp
Opaque, but raw shrimp.

I didn’t want to be held responsible for any type of shrimp related death or illness,  so I was sure to cook them until they were pink. 

And dammit….I just looked up the word “opaque”.  I’ve been wrong all my life.  I’ve always thought it was  the same as “translucent”. 

Opaque – adjective
1. not transparent or translucent; impenetrable to light; not allowing light to pass through.
Hot, steamy, opaque shrimp below.  I deserve the piths of hell. 
Opaque Shrimp
Opaque Shrimp

While all the cooking was happening, the spaghetti was in the background boiling away.  A few times, I stopped to check it and really wanted to throw it on the ceiling to see if it was done.

We used to do that in college to see if the spaghetti was cooked. If you throw the spaghetti (not all of it) and it stuck to the ceiling, it meant that it was done.

This wasn’t my idea, but I went along with it. By the time the year ended, we had to scrape a lot of spaghetti off the ceiling.  

After I was sure that the shrimp was OPAQUE and the MEYER lemon zest and juice was added, I added the quark cheese and the cooked spaghetti. 

(I don’t really want to get into “quark” cheese).

Here is  my final Blue Apron Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti with Broccoli and Meyer Lemon. 

Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti
Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti with Broccoli & Meyer Lemon – My final product


The verdict

Loved it! I didn’t take note of the time it took to prep and eat, but was less than 1 hour.  Amanda wasn’t around to eat it for dinner, but she took it to work with her the next day for lunch. 

No one died or got sick. 

Clean-Up Score: 

  • 1/2 sink full of dishes
  • No messy counter tops
Clean Up
Clean up time!


“Day After” Rating –  Amanda “really liked it”. This is a good thing. 

I think next time I cook this, I will NOT put lemon or Meyer lemon zest in it.  I don’t think I zested it correctly because it was way too bitter. 

Thanks for reading! 🙂


Sunchoke & Egg Noodle Casserole – Blue Apron Review 1

Sunchoke & Egg Noodle Casserole – Blue Apron Review

Ok, soooo I decided to try out some meal delivery things since I sorta like to cook, but I really hate grocery shopping. Not to mention, I’m an “Instacart” whore and I often find myself spending an hour or so finding a recipe and then matching up my list with those necessary items. Now it’s time to see if I can graduate to a meal delivery plan to see if this might save a bit of precious time.
Somehow, I managed to get a few promotional offers from various meal delivery plans so enticing me with some free stuff is usually a good way to convince me to try your brand.

For my first experience, I chose Blue Apron.  I’ll spare you the boring details on how to get started, but let’s just say it’s easy to set up. It asks the regular questions such as dietary restrictions and all that fun stuff. 

Here’s a recap:
Plan Type – 2 person
Recipes/Meals – 3 per week
Cost – $59.94 including shipping, plus any applicable taxes
*I had a $30 promo offer so I only paid $29.94. Hells yeah.
That’s $4.99 per person for 3 meals! My girlfriend and I can easily spend $59.94 on a meal with alcohol so this is a great savings for us and even without the promotional offer, you’re still only paying $10 bucks.
I placed the order on: Janury 28 and 8 days later, I received my food on February 5.

I thought maybe I would have to be home to receive the food, but they delivered it to the Luxor system which handles the apartment’s incoming packages – which is awesome because the delivery date was a Sunday and I hate seeing strangers on a Sunday which is a big reason why I don’t attend church. 

Let’s get started, but first:

  • Do not judge me on my choice of knife,
  • No one was hurt and not once did I use a curse, cuss or swear word
  • I didn’t drink alcohol during the time I cooked but I thought about it for a second
  • No smoke alarms went off

About 1:50pm -ish, I get the text notifying me that I have received a Luxor package. 

I brush my teeth (you just never know especially when  there are famous people living in your building) and head on down to pick up my box.  I carry the heavy thing back to my apartment, because I am super athletic. 

Everything seems to be fresh and it contains everything I need for the 3 Blue Apron recipes:

  • Sunchoke Egg Noodle Casserole with Kale and Mornay Sauce
  • Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti wtih Broccoli & Meyer Lemon
  • Cheesy Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
Blue Apron Contents
Blue Apron Contents

My first thought was…what the hell is a sunchoke? I anxiously needed to know so I decided that this would be the first recipe I try. After putting the other food away, I kept out the ingredients for the Sunchoke & Egg Noodle Casserole

Here they are, minus the lemon – because I didn’t pay attention. Everything has a label and the recipe card shows you exactly what you need so you really can’t mess this up. 

Blue Apron Food Contents
Neatly packaged food contents.

The first portion of the recipe tells you to prep all the ingredients, preheat your oven and to “peel your sunchokes; quarter lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise” which this means absolutely nothing to me.

But at least I finally get to touch the sunchoke which looks like a oddly shaped piece of ginger. 

I peeled them.

Sunchoke aka Jerusalem artichoke
Sunchoke aka Jerusalem artichoke

Then I “thinly” sliced them.

Sliced sunchokes
My verison of thinly sliced

I resisted the urge to taste one because I wasn’t sure what would happen. 

Suddenly,  I was distracted by the next set of instructions which said to remove the kale stems which I really wasn’t sure what part of the kale was a stem. No – seriously. I remember decorating the salad bar at Golden Corral with this stuff and now suddenly you can eat it?

I also I didn’t know that Blue Apron has some videos to help you with your recipes. I discovered these after the fact and I also saw the information about the “Featured Ingredient” which are…..SUNCHOKES! They are a member of the daisy family (I am not a member of the daisy family). 

I did my best when it came to remove the stems from the kale. 

I guess it’s the WHOLE stem you remove?

Then I “roughly” chopped the kale – which means I tore it up with my hands and used the knife a couple of times which I have thought about doing this to a person once or twice, but never did. 

Roughly chopped kale
Roughly chopped kale

By now, my salted water was boiling so I added the egg noodles. 

Boiling Egg Noodles
Boiling Egg Noodles

So far, so good. Then I went back to doing some other stuff that I don’t remember. 

Ok now I remember. 

I am on “step 3” of my recipe which says to cook the kale, shallots and SUNCHOKES! 

I cooked the kale until it was “slightly wilted” and I think I did okay. 

Here is the before picture:

Before they were wilted.
Before they were wilted.

Notice the wilt:

Wilted Kale
Wilted Kale

Now, onto making the Mornay sauce. 

While the kale is wilting and cooking with the SUNCHOKES and shallots, you get to open up your “knick knacks” (notice I did not say “knickers”) which contains the smaller ingredients that you need for your recipes. I think “knick knacks” sounds very cute…

Here are the Blue Apron knick knacks – minus the shallots because those are already cut and wilting with the kale. 

Knick Knacks - Blue Apron
Knick Knacks – Blue Apron

I whisked up the spices and flour and slowly added the milk. Almost all of it.  I decided to keep some of it and drink it, but only after I crushed the carton with my bare hands.  

I am so strong, I crushed the milk carton.

I didn’t have a cheese grater, so I improvised. 

Grated Cheese
My version of grated cheese.

I added ALL of the knick knack stuff, but maybe I was supposed to measure it?

I probably should have read the entire recipe in advance, but my Mornay sauce looked pretty close to the picture on the recipe card. Score!

Mornay Sauce
My Mornay Sauce

I wanted to taste it at this point, but I didn’t. 

Next step was to assemble it all. 

Pre Mixed Egg Noodles
Pre Mixed Egg Noodles

And of course, mix it. 

By now, I am hungry and I really want to know what sunchokes taste like. 

Mixed Egg Noodles with Mornay Sauce
Mixed Egg Noodles with Mornay Sauce

And then I bake it just like the recipe told me.  While it’s baking, I take note of the clean-up I have to do, which isn’t too bad. 

Clean-Up Score: 

  • 1 sink full of dishes
  • Semi-messy counter tops
Clean Up
Clean Up

I also found a great use out of the cardboard that comes with the packaging:

Use of Cardboard
Utensil Holder

And the insulated bag also used as a trash bag:

Garbage Bag
Insulated Garbage Bag

Okay – time is UP and now here is the finished product!

Sunchoke &  Egg Noodle Casserole with Kale and Mornay Sauce

Mixed Up Noodles
Mixed Up Noodles

First Impressions?

Didn’t like it. Bland. 

It didn’t really have a lot of flavor so what I may do is perhaps add garlic, a protein such as tuna fish or chicken and maybe lemon – but not the one in the picture above. A different one.  

Was it easy to cook and prepare? Yes, although read all instructions first. I messed a few things that I don’t want to admit. 

Sunchokes? Anti-climatic  climactic. 

I started the cooking at about 2:00pm and finished about 2:50pm which is close to the prep and cook times on the recipe card. 

Overall, I enjoyed cooking this Blue Apron recipe and even after we each had a serving, there is still plenty left-over for lunch.

After some more salt, I did like it more, but I like everything better with salt. 

I’ll let you know how the other recipes turn out! 

Update 2/6/17: 

“Day After” Rating –  This tastes much better the next day.