When it’s hot, we tend to avoid our ovens. When there’s a chill in the air, they can be our best friends. Making something in the oven warms you up twice: first when the hot oven literally warms your home, and second when you sink your teeth into a hot baked good. If there’s still a trace of winter lingering in your home, just flip on your oven and try one of our most popular dessert recipes. Yes, this counts as multitasking.
These gooey apple pie bars are full of warming spices like cinnamon. They’re perfect for a cozy Sunday in. We used Granny Smith and Fuji apples, but this will work with your favorite baking variety as well.
Don’t let the seasonal controversy turn you off: pumpkin spice is a classic blend. The most classic version is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but there are hundreds of variations. These well-spiced snickerdoodles bring a little something extra to the party.
This is the platonic ideal of a birthday cake. It’s moist, with a delicate crumb, and it’s not too sweet, which means you’ll have no trouble going back for that second slice. Don’t forget the sprinkles!
If you’re looking for something to pull together in a pinch, these simple cookies will do the trick. They’re just five ingredients, making them the perfect simple baking project for when you need a quick dessert fix.
Simply put: a natural sweetener is a sweetener that is derived from nature. There are natural sugars found in trees, fruit, seeds, and nuts. Natural sweeteners usually contain some beneficial compounds, such as vitamins and minerals, but they’re still sugar. That means that your body can process them quickly, causing energy spikes and dips, and that they should be consumed in moderation to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
That being said, using a natural sweetener in a recipe is a great way to round out a dish. Unlike granulated sugar, many of these sweeteners bring in additional flavors outside of pure sweetness. A touch of honey or a dash of maple syrup can bring softness and complexity to your dinner or dessert.
Our Favorite Natural Sweeteners
Honey is a natural sweetener produced by our friends, the bees. This golden syrup brings beautiful floral flavors to the table along with sweetness. It’s a perfect complement to nutty flavors (peanut butter and honey anyone?), and also work well in a variety of savory foods. Try using it as an alternative sweetener in your coffee, or make your own honey mustard for a sweet and spicy chicken dinner.
Date syrup is a natural sweetener derived from dates. This amazing ingredient is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. In addition to sweetness, the dates provide a delicious dried fruit flavor reminiscent of raisins or fruit leather. Date syrup is great mixed with lemon and tahini to make a sweet and nutty sauce to drizzle over vegetables or a protein. We’ll even use date syrup while making pickled red onion.This sweetener can add complexity to any quick pickle.
Maple syrup is produced by concentrating the sap harvested from maple trees. This syrup has a deep, rich flavor. You probably already know that it’s delicious on pancakes, but its usefulness doesn’t stop there. Maple syrup is great in smoothies and in savory dishes like these roasted carrots.
Dried fruits are a way to add a little pop of sweetness to a dish. We love working with dried dates, apricots, currants and figs. Dried fruits bring a delicious concentrated sweetness to a dish, and add some nice texture as well. Try adding chopped dried fruits to salads, couscous, and pan sauces.
Ready to get cooking? Look for dishes with natural sweeteners coming up on the Blue Apron menu.
Let’s face it: we’ve been at home for a long time. If you happen to live with your romantic partner, it’s possible that things are getting … a little less romantic than usual. It might feel like a pointless amount of work, but we promise that putting in the effort to get dressed and create a romantic date night at home will help lift your spirits.
Relationships are personal and unique. No two are exactly the same, but all relationships should have an element of mutual respect. Taking the time to create a special evening together is an easy way to make your partner feel respected and special. Of course, this is about everyone, so split up the work and make sure each partner feels like they’re getting special treatment.
A date at home doesn’t have to be a lot of work to feel special. Here are some tips from the Blue Apron Team that will help you turn up romance and have fun doing it.
Easy Date Night Ideas
Light a candle during dinner! Come on, this is romance 101. Just make sure it’s not scented. The aromas from the candle can distract from the aromas in the food.
Take time to set the table and create ambiance. We all love to eat takeout on the couch sometimes, but for a romantic night at home, you’ve got to bust out the real silverware. Lay out whatever you have that makes sitting down and eating feel elevated. Think placemats, silverware, napkins, your favorite plates, fancy glassware, etc.
Dress up (or at least put your ‘fancy’ sweatpants on)! Treat your at home date like you would a special night out. Once dinner is done being prepped––finishing in the oven, or warming on a heating tray––pop away from the kitchen to do a quick change. It helps shift your mindset and separate the (work)day and the cooking experience from the lovely shared meal together.
Turn up the music. Set up a playlist beforehand with some of your favorite songs. It’s a great way to set the tone you want for your evening. If you’re cooking a specific type of cuisine, it’s also really fun to put on some music to go with that. Some bistro music or classic Italian tunes will really transport you. and make the whole experience more enjoyable. Dance breaks (preferably at a hands-off cooking moment) highly recommended.
Don’t sign up to cook a stressful meal. Look for dishes that can be made (at least partially) ahead of time, or focus on things that can be served at room temperature. If you choose a dish that you can handle comfortably it will give you and your partner flexibility to enjoy the evening. Being stressed out is not a good look!
Choose the recipe and read it together in advance. Life is full of surprises, but the cooking process doesn’t have to be. If you read the entire recipe in advance, you can be sure that you know where all your tools are and you won’t be caught off guard by any long resting periods hiding the middle of the recipes. This is also a good time for you and your partner to divide up the tasks. One person can cook the protein while the other preps the sauce, or you can divide tasks by course.
OR Let a chef choose dinner for you! Not to brag, but Blue Apron meal kits are delicious. If you order a meal from Blue Apron, you and your partner can work with clear instructions to create a chef-designed meal without the stress of finding a recipe or going to the grocery store. If you feel like flexing your creative muscles, you can fill out the menu with your favorite dessert.
Lay on the compliments. It’s date night! Nothing is overcooked or underseasoned, because everything is cooked with love. Leave your Top Chef judging jargon at the door and focus on the good things in life: romance and second helpings.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just celebrating each other, a date night at home can only make things better. Here’s a bonus tip: don’t forget the wine.
Update 8/26/2020: We have successfully completed our onion recall and are not sourcing onions from Thomson International until FDA completes the investigation. We will resume shipping onions from suppliers that are not impacted by this recall for menus beginning 8/31/2020.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control have issued a food safety alert regarding onions produced by Thomson International, Inc. based in Bakersfield, California due to potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria. Since the investigation by FDA is still on-going, we have removed all onions from our upcoming menus and swapped them for shallots, or other ingredients, until we determine that the onion supply is safe. Although we have not received any reports of illness linked to this outbreak, impacted customers have been notified via email. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to support at email@example.com
Plastic bags? Pizza boxes? Bubble wrap? Sometimes figuring out how to properly recycle can be as much work as meal planning. Resources like Earth911 and How2Recycle® make it easier, but it can still be confusing. Here’s a breakdown of how to read a How2Recycle label, and how to find the best spot near you for recycling some of those trickier items.
How2Recycle is a standardized method of labelling that aims to make recycling instructions as clear as possible. Check your cupboards and you’ll find their instructions on everything from pasta boxes to chocolate bars. There are four key sections that will give you information about how you recycle your item, detailed below.
For specialty items, the How2Recycle label may indicate that you need to locate a drop-off site. If that’s the case, Earth911 is the easiest way to find the location nearest you. Not all recycling centers have the exact same capabilities. Some process only aluminum and rigid plastic, while others are able to treat complex items like laminated plastics bags and textiles.
To make recycling the contents of your Blue Apron box even easier, we’ve created a smart guide that can locate the recycling centers nearest you. To view your downloadable guide, click the button below. Just use your phone to scan the QR code next to each item, and follow the instructions to find local sites for every type of recyclable packaging that Blue Apron sends.
The bowl that gets our attention during the Big Game is the guacamole bowl. And the spicy cheddar dip bowl. And the salsa bowl. Closely followed by the chip bowl (psst, it’s really easy to make your own). Don’t get us wrong, we’re watching the game, the halftime show, and the commercials, but we always have our eye on the snacks.
And we’ve realized that while we’re watching the action on the field, we’re playing a bit of our own game off the field – a game of hogging the best eats. How do you win at chips and dip? You come with a strategy. You come hungry, you choose your seat based on proximity to the guac, and you know the rules.
Want to get a head start on this year’s “bowl” game? Make your favorite dips for your viewing party with these quick recipes:
Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Dip
INGREDIENTS Pretzel Bites:
1 1/4-oz package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4-teaspoons)
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
To make the pretzel bites: In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1 cup warm water, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon salt until the dough is soft and not sticky (you may need to add the remaining ½ cup flour). Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Fill a large saucepan with 7 cups of water and the baking soda; heat to boiling on high. Meanwhile, punch down the dough and turn it onto a work surface. Separate the dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a rope about 1/2-inch thick. Using a knife, cut the rope into 1/2-inch to 1-inch lengths.
Carefully drop 3 to 4 of the dough pieces into the boiling water and boil for about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dough pieces and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.
To make the spicy cheddar dip: In a medium saucepan, heat the butter on medium until melted. Add the flour and cook, whisking occasionally 1 to 2 minutes, or until the flour is golden brown and fragrant. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring frequently to break up any clumps. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until all the clumps have disappeared and the mixture has thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, hot sauce and cayenne until smooth. Serve warm with the baked pretzel bites.
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a peeler, remove the green rind of the limes, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 3 teaspoons of zest. Quarter the limes. Remove and discard the papery skins of the tomatillos; medium dice the tomatillos. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Peel and small dice the onion.
In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the tomatillos and season with salt and pepper. Cook, smashing the tomatillos with a spoon, 10-12 minutes, or until thickened and saucy. Remove from heat. Add the lime zest, ¾ of the cilantro and the juice of all 8 lime wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining cilantro.
1 large red onion
1 bunch cilantro
6 garlic cloves
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Pit, peel and medium dice the avocados. Small dice the tomatoes. Peel and small dice the onion. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Peel and mince the garlic. Halve the limes; squeeze the juice into a large bowl. Remove and discard the ribs and seeds of the jalapeños; small dice the jalapeños. Thoroughly wash your hands immediately after handling the jalapeños.
To the bowl of lime juice, add the avocados, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and garlic. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Wash and dry the cilantro; roughly chop the leaves and stems. Quarter the limes. Pit, peel and medium dice the avocados; toss with the juice of 3 lime wedges to prevent browning. Small dice the pineapple.
In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, avocados, cilantro, the juice of the remaining lime wedges and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
A gooey yolk adds the right about of gooey richness to just about any meal. Best of all, it does so without making that meal unhealthful at all! That’s a win.
We love how a soft-boiled egg makes our ribollita just about the most delicious thing you could dig into on a winter’s day. But how do you get the egg just right–a cooked white and gooey yolk? The trick, friends, is in the timing. Watch how we soft boil our eggs in the video below, and stay tuned for a delicious idea for serving at the end.
When we brainstorm dinners you can make in 35 minutes or so, our thoughts often turn to the stir fry. In this traditional form of quick cooking, flavor develops as ingredients take a quick turn being cooked in a hot pan. Just like the inhabitants of Thailand, Vietnam, and parts of China, we could eat some sort of stir fry for practically every meal. The flavor variations are infinite, from shrimp fried rice to curry noodles with pork. Yet it’s our latest creation, these Roadside Noodles with Bell Pepper, Tomato & Broccoli Rabe, that we want to tell you about today.
As with many stir fries, here we start with the aromatics, sautéing ginger, garlic, and lemongrass first. Not long after, we add onion and stir fry that with a freshly slivered red pepper (which, awesomely, is in season right now and therefore boasting extraordinary flavor). From there, we add as many vegetables as we can pack in, like tomatoes and broccoli rabe, and we finish off with some herbs, too.
We call them roadside noodles because they’re quite similar to the noodles that you’ll find served from a roadside stand almost anywhere in Southeast Asia.
If you’re inspired by our vegetarian stir fry situation, then it’s easy enough to follow the formula on a non-Blue Apron night. Set a pan over high heat – a skillet works just as well as a wok. Simply chop up garlic and ginger. Cook that in some oil, then add onions and any vegetables you like. Throw in cooked noodles–either rice noodles or wontons noodles, as we use here. Make a sauce by stirring together soy sauce and mirin (or sub in white wine), plus a little bit of sugar. Garnish with herbs or some peanuts. And that’s dinner!
You can get the full recipe for Roadside Noodles over in our cookbook here.
We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is peppers! You can see the other bloggers’ delicious sweet pea creations by following the links below.
Each week, we’ll round up posts, videos, and even playlists to entertain you while you cook, and provide conversation fodder for tonight’s Blue Apron dinner. Today we’re planning for this weekend’s summery sandwiches and luxurious free time for getting busy in the kitchen:
How Convenient Food Packaging Makes Eating Well Easy – Medium
How having food packaged in the right proportions makes eating well much easier. Moe Arora says he’s more likely to eat those carrots when he’s know exactly how and when they should appear in his dinner. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Each week, we’ll round up posts, videos, and even playlists to entertain you while you cook, and provide conversation fodder for tonight’s Blue Apron dinner. Here’s what we’re reading and watching today:
Ramp Pizza – SmittenKitchen
A recipe for a weekend baking project that starts with a trip to the market to buy ramps, one of spring’s most beloved vegetables (which subscribers will get to try next week). Deb makes homemade pizza dough, tops it with sauce, cheese, and these lovely wild leek.
Interview with David Rockwell – The New Potato
The New Potato’s interview of the master of restaurant design, David Rockwell, explores how the look of a restuarant can tell a story, why dining is like going to the theater, and what it was like to bring restaurant design principles to…an airport terminal.
Genius Ice Cream Sandwich Shortcut – BuzzFeedFood
How to make a perfect ice cream sandwich using nothing but a knife, two cookies, and a pint of ice cream. Seriously this tip is going to make summer weekends about ten times better. Let us know if you try it!
Dinner Party Ice Breakers – TheKitchn
Ways to start conversations at cocktail and dinner parties without reverting to the essential, “So, what do you do?” Some of our favorite suggestions include: doing the Harlem Shake, asking what animal you’d most like to be, and inquiring whether your conversation partner is a native Pittsburgher.
6 Ways Dining at Restaurants Causes Overeating – Summer Tomato
A totally sensible list that details how going to a restaurant can derail your attempts to eat mindfully and well. We’d like to add a seventh point to the list: make dinner at home!