The average American household wastes between 30-40% of the food that it purchases, according to a study conducted by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Let’s say that your monthly food budget is $400. Wasting 30% of that would mean throwing out $120 each month, and that’s the low-end. Does that number scare you? Don’t worry, we can help.
Meal kits like Blue Apron cut down on food waste
It’s that simple! Blue Apron meal kits include everything you need to make a meal, and nothing that you don’t. That means no forgotten produce sadly wilting in the back of the fridge. Each Blue Apron dinner is also perfectly portioned for either 2 or 4 servings. So no more sniffing leftovers and guessing whether or not they’re still good. Boom. Food waste eliminated.
The best part? While you’re saving money, you can still try new things. Maybe you’ve never had Zaatar, or Calabrian chile, or Togarashi, but you’re eager to try. Buying a whole jar of a spice can be expensive, and most recipes only call for a teaspoon or two. Blue Apron sends you the exact amount of seasoning that you need. There’s no need to make that upfront investment, or to clutter your spice drawer with seasoning you might not use frequently.
If that’s not enough, think about your time. Time is money, and meal kits save you time. There’s the time you would spend meal planning, the time you would spend going to the grocery store, and the time that you would spend running back to the grocery store when you realize you’re actually out of eggs. Your time is valuable, and Blue Apron can help you reclaim a few precious hours.
The story doesn’t end here. In addition to saving money, a study from the University of Michigan showed that the food waste reduction and simplified last-mile emissions make Blue Apron a more sustainable option than a home-cooked meal from a traditional grocery store.
Who doesn’t want to try new things, save money, and help the planet? Accomplish all three by ordering a Blue Apron box here.
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.
The big game might look a little different this year, but the snacks will be better than ever.
We’ve teamed up with Stella Artois to create an elevated game-day menu inspired by your favorite stadium bites—because the day’s as much about sharing food and beer as it is about football. Order your Stella Stadium Bites by Blue Apron box and receive a complimentary gift of 4 Stella Artois chalices (ships separately, beer not included). Don’t forget to order your Stella Artois from Drizly ahead of the game (California residents order from Instacart here).
Tips for Hosting a Remote Football Party
If you look forward to hosting a party every year, here are some winning tips for connecting with friends virtually the day of the big game.
Show your team spirit
Decorate with a custom football-themed digital background. Make your own, or just right-click to download one of ours. Don’t forget to share a screenshot with us on social by using #blueapron.
Assemble your roster
Send online invites ahead of the game to make your get-together feel special. Create the digital event ahead of time and include a link in the invitation so everyone knows the game plan.
Cook with a friend
Call up a friend prior to kickoff to prepare your game-day menu together. Sometimes it’s easier to talk when your hands are busy, and you can help each other troubleshoot if needed.
Introduce the players on the plate
The most important question at every party: What’s on the menu? Have guests share their favorite items. You may pick up some recipe ideas—and it will give you a chance to show off your Stella Stadium Bites by Blue Apron spread.
Supplement the game’s halftime show with a few activities of your own. Coordinate a game, organize trivia, or surprise friends with a special guest. You can hire caricature artists online to draw you and your friends on the field.
Don’t forget to toast the game with Stella Artois
Pair your delicious bites with the ultimate game-day beer, Stella Artois.
Bonus points: As a gift with purchase, you’ll receive 4 classic Stella Artois chalices! Look for them to arrive separately from your Stella Stadium Bites. To get them in time for game day, order your box by 1/27. If ordered after 1/27, chalices may arrive after the game.
There’s nothing more welcoming than the smell of dinner cooking in your home. Unfortunately, after dinner is over, you might not enjoy the smell of a seared steak lingering in your living room. Luckily you have a few options when it comes to eliminating cooking odors. Stock up on scented candles and spice, check out our guide to getting rid of unwanted smells, and don’t let the fear of cooking odors keep you from cooking up the spicy dinner of your dreams.
Ways to Eliminate Cooking Odors
1. Light up your favorite candle
When it comes to scented candles, the options are endless. You can find wonderful options that will make your entire home smell like your favorite spice, citrus, or tree. This is one of the easiest ways to cover up cooking odors. If you’re looking for inspirations, Cupcakes and Cashmere lists their favorite wintry candles here.
2. Bake something
Throwing something sweet in the oven will cleanse the air of any lingering scents from dinner, and also provide you with a sugary treat. If you’re looking for something easy to bake, we recommend one of our five-ingredient sweets like molten chocolate cakes,pear crumble, or pumpkin custards.
3. Brew a spiced drink
Cinnamon is a natural odor eliminator. A vat of mulled wineor homemade hot toddies will fill the air with the aroma of warm spices, but these aren’t just for smelling! Be sure to ladle yourself a cup for a cozy after dinner drink.
4. Create a natural air freshener
If you place a couple of well-chosen ingredients like in a pot of water on the stove, you can create a natural air freshener to eliminate cooking odors. Just select a few of your favorite herbs, spices, or citrus fruits (tip: you can just use the peel), place them in a pot of water, and bring to a boil. The steam that drifts out of the pan will be deliciously fragrant. Check out a few of our favorite flavor combinations here.
5. Rig your fan
If you don’t let smells build up, you’ll have less work to do. Depending on the set-up of your kitchen and your oven fan, you can try setting a fan to blow air out of the window while you cook. Leave the breeze blowing a few minutes after you eat, then turn the fan around and blow fresh air back in.
The best part about cooking in your own kitchen? A delicious, homemade meal you can be proud of. The worst part? Now you’ve got to deal with a sink full of dirty dishes. And even if you swore you only took your eyes off that pan of searing steak for just one teeny tiny second, you could end up with scorched pans, caked-on foods, or a greasy mess at the end of your kitchen session. But that grease is no match for you, your soap, or your sponge. Here’s our tried-and-true guide to how to clean the bottoms of pots and pans, no matter how dirty.
Boiling Water Method
For scorched, blackened stainless steel pans and burnt on foods, turn up the heat. Add water to your pan and bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes (don’t worry about covering the dirty sides with water – the steam will take care of that). After the food loosens and easily comes off the pan, pour out the hot water and wipe any remaining food with the scrubby part of a sponge. For glass or metal baking dishes, add boiling water and let sit for several minutes before using the scrubby side of a sponge to easily wipe away any residue.
Hot Water Soak
A hot water soak can loosen baked, caked on food from dishes like cheesy lasagnas or rich chocolate brownies. Fill the dish with warm to hot water right away, covering the sides. Let soak for 15-20 minutes or until food loosens. Didn’t get around to soaking your dish the moment the food left the pan? That’s ok. Add hot water later and let soak overnight. Then, wash in the morning.
Baking Soda, Vinegar, & Lemon Juice
Head to your pantry to get your pots and pans extra clean and shiny. Baking soda, distilled white vinegar and fresh lemon juice are a triple cleansing threat. Add a dash of baking soda or vinegar during the boil method to help clean scorched saucepans. Soak pots, baking dishes or cookie sheets in hot to boiling water with baking soda and fresh lemon juice for an accelerated clean. Rub half a lemon around the bottom and sides of stainless steel cookware for extra shine; rinse and let air dry. Finally, a squirt of vinegar followed by a rinse of water is great for removing any residual odors.
For the really tough stuff, try adding a dash of store bought cleansing powders like Bon Ami, Zud or Bar Keepers Friend. Don’t feel like heading to the store? Use Alka-Seltzer (really)! To help loosen stuck on foods and lift stains, add hot water and a tab or two of Alka-Seltzer or other effervescent to your dish.
Cleaning Cast Iron Pans
Everyone wants to know: How do you actually clean cast iron? If there is one thing to remember, it’s to never use abrasive sponges! It will ruin the seasoning (the oil-treated surface that protects the pan and your food). Instead, rinse your cast iron with hot or boiling water. If there is still anything stuck to it, use kosher salt, warm water and a soft sponge to loosen residue and rinse again. After the dish is totally dry, run some vegetable oil in a thin layer onto the bottoms and sides to keep it lubricated and prevent rusting.
Wash wood by hand using regular dish detergent– don’t place in the dishwasher. If your wooden spoons have stains from a curry or tomato sauce, wash and let air dry in the sun to take out some of the smell and color.
Keep copper away from water and regular soap or else it will oxidize (turn your beautiful cookware green)! Instead, dip your copper in boiled water with a good amount of vinegar or use the vinegar-water solution to wipe the copper clean.
To prevent hard-to-clean dishes in the first place, keep your eye on the stove! Line pans with aluminum foil, parchment or wax paper or use a nonstick cooking spray for certain recipes to avoid the sticking of any food that will later burn to the dish. Watch the food in your pots and pans – make sure the temperature isn’t too high and stir occasionally to avoid future cleaning problems. And dry your food thoroughly before searing. Wet or even slightly damp proteins (think chicken, beef, etc.) will stick to your pan!
But if your chow does start to burn or appear to cake on, you can still save yourself from cleaning a mess. First, lower the heat and throw a little water onto your pot, pan or dish if you can. Then, make sure to stir and scrape down the sides of your pan or pot with a wooden spoon (especially when filled with stews, soups or sauces) or wipe any splatters on baking sheets or dishes that are going into the oven. Liquids or splatters will cook off and leave markings. The longer the markings stay on the side under heat means they will caramelize, brown, blacken and burn.
This year, let’s focus on New Year’s resolutions that celebrate the food we eat, instead of restricting it. Here are seven ideas for cooking resolutions that will help you love being in the kitchen.
Try a new ingredient
If you’re in a cooking rut after 2020’s extreme domesticity, that’s completely understandable. One of the best ways to shake things up is to try a new ingredient. Grab a fruit or vegetable that you don’t recognize or check out what’s offered at a local specialty grocery store. Once you have your new purchase at home, you’ll be inspired to search for new recipes that feature it.
Master a new kitchen skill
Are you afraid of cooking fish, or maybe of making pie? This is the year to hone a new skill. Use your imagination! You could work on something as simple as chopping an onion, or as complex as deboning a duck. Just consult a few YouTube tutorials and try it over and over again until you get it right.
Cook an entire cookbook
Much like an album, cookbooks have famous hit recipes that everyone knows, a few deep-cuts that only true fans love. If you want to take your kitchen knowledge to the next level, try grabbing your favorite cookbook and cooking through the entire thing, Julie & Julia style. You might be surprised by some of the gems that have been hiding in books you’ve owned for years.
Copy a restaurant meal
Does your favorite local haunt make the best beet dip? Do you feel the need to order Caesar salad every time that you see it on a menu? Now is the time to recreate that bliss in your own kitchen. Try a few different recipes at home to see which one you like best, and don’t be afraid to tweak the process! For extra credit, read up on the version at your favorite restaurant. Maybe it has been reviewed in a local paper, or maybe the menu will offer some hints about any unique ingredients that make it extra special.
Make your kitchen greener
There are a lot of things you can do to make your kitchen more sustainable. This year. consider composting or swapping in reusable napkins and towels for their paper counterparts.
Grow something flavorful
Growing your own produce will add an extra layer of connection to your meal. Add a few tomato or squash vines to your garden. If you don’t have outdoor space, a simple window sill will do. Mint is easy to grow in a pot and useful for drinks, dinners, salads, and more.
We love when our littlest sous chefs want to help out in the kitchen. Every dinner can be an opportunity to start teaching kids to cook, and to help them build skills that will last a lifetime. Of course, the kitchen can also be a dangerous place. If you’re wondering when to introduce a new kitchen skill to your kid, check out our guide to appropriate kitchen tasks for kids at every age.
How to cook with kids age 5-9
Rinse fruits and vegetables, by hand or in a colander
Tear lettuce or other greens for salads
Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk
How to cook with kids age 10-14
Make a salad dressing with a whisk
Stretch dough by hand or with a rolling pin
How to cook with kids age 14-18
Use zesters, graters, or peelers
Read and follow recipes
Use tongs to flip meat or veggies on a pan or grill
Basic knife skills, based on your comfort level
One job is good for kids of every age
Cleaning up! It’s never too early for everyone to help out wiping counters, rising bowls, and taking linens to the wash. The whole family is in it together.
You don’t need more than a handful of utensils to be a great cook. In fact, the more you cook the more you’ll realize that you turn to the same items again and again. Don’t be surprised if you develop a favorite wooden spoon or spatula. So where do we put those items that we love the most? We keep them in a bain marie.
One of the most important pieces of equipment in your kitchen is actually the container to hold those utensils that you’re constantly reaching for. Keeping items like serving forks, slotted spoons, ladles, tongs, and a microplane out on the countertop can save you time. No more searching through drawers for your spatula while your dinner languishes on the stove. Storing these utensils vertically means you can quickly see and grab them without rummaging around. With the right container, you can keep every single utensil you might need for a recipe right there at hand, organized but accessible.
A bain marie is technically part of a double boiler, but this tall thin pot is endlessly versatile. It’s stainless steel, inexpensive, and easy to clean. You can find one online or at a local restaurant supply store. Of course, you can pick any sort of container. A pretty ceramic vase or even or a nice-looking pitcher could work wonders. Be sure to look for something with a little heft to it, that will keep if from tipping over one it’s full of tools.
Think of the utensil cup as the culinary equivalent of your desk’s pencil holder and pick one that fits your style.
At its most basic, a kitchen does not need fancy appliances and shelves full of gadgets. In fact, there are only a few dozen essential pieces of equipment you need to cook great food at home. Follow along in our new series, Kitchen Toolbox, to find out what tools you should own and grab recommendations for our chef’s favorite brands, when applicable. And, watch our chef go through the whole Blue Apron toolbox in this video.
Let’s examine the promise of meal prep: if you spend time making several servings of food on a Sunday afternoon, your week will be better. You’ll have more free time to do the things you love, you’ll eat healthier meals, you’ll save money, and your hair will be shinier (no promises on that last one). It sounds like an obvious choice, but it can be a little intimidating. Sometimes cooking one meal can be a challenge. Taking on a whole week’s worth of food is downright daunting.
Like anything, if you arm yourself with knowledge and prepare ahead of time, it will go smoothly. Before you head into the kitchen, check out the tips below. You’ll thank yourself when you’re savoring healthy lunches all week long.
Choose your recipe wisely
There’s no one right way to eat, and there’s no one right way to meal prep. When you’re choosing a recipe, think about your daily schedule. Where do you want to change?
If you want to save money on lunch, maybe the best option is to make a huge batch of soup or stew, store it in the fridge, and eat a little bit each day. If you want to save time in the evening, but not eat the same thing every night, try simply cooking a week’s worth of protein in advance. That way you can pair it with different side dishes throughout the week.
Think about your tools
Your kitchen tools should work for you, not against you. When you’re preparing five meals in one day, there’s inevitably going to be a lot of chopping. If you’re serious about meal prep, consider investing in a few basic tools that will make that work easier. A chef’s knife, a cutting board, and good-tasting olive oil are must-haves.
Wait, I have to prep for meal prep? Yes. You do. Before you even get started, make sure you have all of the ingredients in the correct amounts. If you realize that you’re out of salt while you’re in the middle of cooking a week’s worth of rice, it will be a devastating emotional blow.
Work in stages
As always, make sure to read through your entire recipe before you get started. Look at the ingredient list and figure out what you can do before you even turn on the stove or oven. Mince anything that needs to be minced, peel anything that needs to be peeled, open your cans, and unwrap your meats. Once the heat is on, things become time sensitive. If your ingredients are ready to go, you won’t run the risk of burning the onions while you’re dicing garlic.
Choose the right containers
No matter what you make, you’ll be storing your prepped ingredients in the fridge over the course of the week. The choice of container makes a big difference. To prevent unwanted fridge flavors from seeping into your lovingly prepared lunches, you’ll want to use a non-porous glass container with a tightly sealed snap on top. That lid will also come in handy if you plan on taking food with you to work: it will also stop food from spilling all over your bag. Finally, choose rectangular containers over circular ones. Rectangles will fit snugly in your fridge without leaving any awkward gaps.
It’s ok to ask for help
Meal prep is supposed to be about enjoyment. By making meals ahead of time, you’re freeing up time to do things you love later. If you make yourself miserable in the process, you’re defeating the point. With that in mind: forgive yourself if things don’t go as planned. Even if you don’t finish 100% of what you set out to do, you’ve still set yourself up for success later on.
Blue Apron is here to make meal prep even easier. Our nationally available meal prep menu is designed so that you can cook once and eat all week. Each box will provide you with the ingredients to make a variety of flavorful meals with multiple servings each. Take them to work, reheat them at home—do what works for you.
This Mother’s Day, why not embrace your wholesome foodie lifestyle and bring mom a vegetable bouquet that’ll nourish her spirit and her body?
That’s right, instead of flowers, we’re bundling beautiful vegetables together to make bouquets. Though we love a beautiful floral bouquet, sometimes it’s depressing to throw out the wilted plants a week or so later. With vegetables, once you’ve enjoyed the bouquet, you can also use the product to cook up some tasty, healthful meals.
Making a Vegetable Bouquet
Here’s all you’ll need to get started: baking or butcher’s twine; brown kraft paper (maybe reused from some brown paper shopping bags); and an assortment of long, skinny vegetables in various colors (we used asparagus, lacinato kale, frisée, broccoli rabe, heirloom carrots with their tops on, beets, radishes, and rhubarb). If you’re feeling particularly thorough, you could also print some recipes cards for mom, so she can artfully use up the produce you’re gifting her.
Now, get crafty! Below are some of our favorite veggie bouquets for inspiration.
Frisée, Beets, Radishes, and Heirloom Carrots
Bouquet with Frisee, Radishes, and Kale Tied with Kitchen Twine
Vegetable Bouquet with Spinach, Asparagus, and Broccoli Rabe
Professional chefs are known for working neatly. But that doesn’t mean they skip the apron. In fact, you’ll rarely see a professional chef without one. Aprons not only protect your clothing, they also provide a place to stick a dish towel or wipe your hands. Here’s hot to tie an apron like a pro:
Steps for Tying an Apron
You’ll want to start with with a professional-style apron—we’re partial to our very own Blue Apron. It’s simple: there are no pockets, d-rings, or clasps.
Start off by tying the neck loop. Position the top of apron top 4 to 5 inches below your collar bone. You want it to cover most of your clothing, but not restrict your movement. Threading the loose strap, or “tape,” through the loop. Once you make sure it’s falling correctly, tie the loose end onto itself around the loop.
Check to see if the apron falls above or below your knees. If it’s above, tie the apron by crossing the ties in the back and wrapping them around your waist to make a knot in the front.
If the apron falls below your knees, you’ll want to make it a little shorter. To do this, grab the apron around the hips, and fold a big chunk up towards your waist. This will effectively hem the apron. Hold the fold right where it is, wrap the ties around your back, and tie the knot in the front, holding the fold in place.
Now that you know how to tie an apron, it’s time to get cooking! Browse here for dinner ideas, or get started with this classic Italian Bolognese.
You don’t need a block full of expensive knives to prepare dinner; you just need a few trusty favorites.
Knives see a lot of action. You use them every time you cook, and ideally they’ll last for years. That means it’s essential that you find a high-quality blade you enjoy using. If it’s also beautiful, that’s worth extra credit. Look for a knife with a stainless steel blade. Stainless steel will stay sharper longer, and generally be easier to maintain. Although there are many domestic options, Japan is known for forging exquisite knives. The blades are typically thinner than western-style knives, and are designed to be shockingly sharp.
Blue Apron knives are designed by chefs, with home cooks in mind. They are handmade in Japan alongside the experts at Togiharu. The makers of Togiharu use traditional techniques perfected over centuries, resulting in a knife that is sleek and elegant, but easy to use. The stainless steel blade is designed to be a part of your kitchen arsenal for decades.
These are the essential knives every home cook should have in their collection:
A chef’s knife is a true workhorse, and no kitchen is complete without it. The 8.2” blade means this knife is versatile for every day use, but formidable enough to break down a chicken. The handle is made from composite wood. This knife will make slicing, chopping, and carving a cinch. After use, hand wash and wipe dry to prevent rusting.
Delicate kitchen tasks may require a smaller blade. For hulling berries, supreming citrus, or seeding pepper, turn to this small and mighty petty knife. The 5.8” blade makes this option easy to maneuver.