Dining In and Staying On Budget.

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.  Thanks for continuing to support Daily Garnish!

We are over halfway through the month, and still crushing our new budgeting goals.  I am proud to report that we have not going out to eat ONCE this month!  And honestly?  We didn’t really even notice.  It probably helps that the weather has either been dreary or freezing, so it’s not like we are passing by sunny restaurant patios all day long. 

But even beyond eating out at restaurants, we had fallen into a pattern of ordering takeout at least 1-2 nights a week, many times out of sheer laziness. We’ve also been paying much more attention to what’s in our fridge, and choosing things that are close to expiration, or polishing off those last bites of leftovers so we are reducing a lot of waste.

And since we’ve been doing a lot of home cooking, this week we were really excited to get a delivery from Blue Apron

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Cooking seven nights a week means that we exhaust our favorite meals more quickly, and I was so excited to see the big tan and blue big arrive just as I’d run out of creative meal ideas. 

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I’ve been partnering with Blue Apron for a while now, so many of you already know the drill.  But for those who haven’t tried it – here are the details:

  • Blue Apron allows you to cook delicious, chef-designed recipes at home, with all the farm-fresh ingredients you need delivered right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions.

  • Blue Apron is working to develop a sustainable food system and use high quality ingredients. Check out their mission page here.

  • There are two types of plans available, the 2-Person Plan and Family Plan, and you can customize your plan to meet your personal dietary restrictions (we do the vegetarian box!)

  • There’s no commitment – you can skip or cancel the service at any time!

(And if you want to try Blue Apron yourself, don’t miss a sweet discount at the bottom of the post!)

After a few weeks of roasted veggies, sautéed tofu, and stir-fry meals, I was so excited to pull out the menu cards and make some more composed dishes.  I chose this stromboli first on a day when Casey and I had both had particularly hard workouts, and we were starving.  This looked like the perfect dinner.

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Casey took the kids up to bed, and I stayed downstairs and got to prepping.  I had never made a stromboli before so I was excited to learn to make something new. 

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I noticed that since we last did Blue Apron there is a new little nutrition facts cards – a nice touch, and much easier to see all the details than when it was much smaller on the recipe card. 

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I made all the filling – a yummy mix of mozarrella and ricotta cheese, fresh chopped spinach and mushrooms, and red pepper flakes. 

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And then I spread the dough and wrapped it all up!  I had NO idea what I was doing, but I followed the pictures on the recipe card and it came out pretty well. 

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And after a bit of baking – just long enough for me to sneak upstairs and kiss the kids goodnight and change into sweatpants – dinner was ready!

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Not gonna lie – I felt proud that I’d made something that felt so fancy, even though it was just glorified pizza.  It was a treat!

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There was a homemade marinara dipping sauce too, which was absolutely delicious.  I put a little bit on my fork with each bite. 

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The final product was seriously tasty, and we both inhaled it in front of the Bachelor on the couch.  This season is such a mess but also SO GOOD!

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We made our second meal the following night, and I new instantly which recipe I wanted to make.  There is a restaurant here in Seattle (Joule, for my local friends) who has this sticky rice cake dish that is absolutely mind-blowing.  I’ve had it at least ten times, and it never gets old.  Something about those Korean rice cakes is so unlike anything I’ve ever had before, and I couldn’t wait to cook them myself at home!

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Plus any time you add an egg to something I am on board.  All set up and ready to cook!

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I need to go look for these at our local Asian market – I’m sure they have them!

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Heaven in a bowl – seriously.  The rice cakes were perfect and chewy, there was a delicious black bean sesame sauce with the perfect amount of spice, and my 6-minute eggs ended up just right. 

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So much yum. 

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This was my favorite meal of the week!  We will definitely look for some of the specialty ingredients so we can make something similar again soon.

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And last but not least, it was quesadillas on Sunday night!  I was really excited about this one because it was my night off from cooking – Casey made it for us while I handled the bedtime stories. 

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I got the kids into bed and came down to find this waiting for me!  And while the quesadillas looked all sorts of delicious in their own, I was actually really excited about the salad.  He did a quick pickle on some shallots and also added avocado, and those two things together were seriously tasty. 

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Eaten on the couch in front of MMA Fight Night, because apparently that is something we watch now.  Casey does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and really likes watching MMA, and now with so many amazing female athletes in the mix too, he’s gotten me into it.  Not something I ever thought I’d watch, but it’s surprisingly entertaining and interesting. 

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I really liked that this week’s Blue Apron box had a mix of cultural recipes – Italian, Korean, and Mexican – definitely made our weekly meals a lot more interesting!  And at $10 per person for each meal, it was still far less expensive than restaurants or takeout, while also feeling more special than another night of soup or chili. 

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Thanks again to Blue Apron for the delicious meals this week!  If you haven’t tried Blue Apron yourself yet – I have a deal for you!  The first 25 readers to order will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron delivery!

Happy Thursday, friends!  I’ll be back tomorrow with the weekly update!