Weeknight Dinner: Blue Apron's Chile-Blackened Cod & Red Rice Salad with Avocado, Grapefruit, and Epazote


Hey guys — I'm starting a new column on my blog called "Weeknight Dinner", where, once a month, I'll share the meals I make for myself that AREN'T desserts or a baked good of some kind. The rules are the following: each weeknight recipe has to be prepared in 40 minutes or less with minimal prep work beforehand. And, to stay true to the spirit of simplicity of these dinners, photos of the meal are taken and edited by cell phone only (!!!), with little styling or extra propping. The first "Weeknight Dinner" post is sponsored by Blue Apron.

One of the questions I get asked most often is what I eat besides desserts. What do I do for breakfasts, lunches, or dinners?

Well, with so much sugar and fancy baking in my life, I like to keep the rest of my meals pretty simple. And when I mean simple, I mean simple — I have a handful of recipes that I rotate through throughout the week, and each of them usually takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and consists mainly of some kind of protein and whatever vegetable is in season.

And while my diet is pretty good for, you know, balancing out all the sugar and desserts in my life, my routine gets old fast. To switch things up, I decided to try Blue Apron. Blue Apron is a delivery service that sends you a recipe complete with farm-fresh ingredients to allow you to create delicious, chef-designed meals at home.

The first meal that I tried was a recipe for pan-fried, spice-rubbed cod with a red rice, pickled onions, avocado, and grapefruit salad topped with fresh epazote:



I was immediately impressed with the quality and freshness of the ingredients. According to Blue Apron, all their ingredients are sourced from small, quality suppliers and local artisans. Each box came with all the ingredients in exactly the right proportions, which I really appreciated. It can be really hard to shop for just two people, and Erlend and I sometimes find ourselves with way more ingredients than we can finish. To complete the package, each meal has its own recipe card complete with step-by-step pictures of the cooking process:


And although I'm a pretty adventurous eater and baker, I'm actually a bit of of a boring cook. You can select your dietary restrictions at Blue Apron, but since I don't have any, Blue Apron sent me a recipe for a chicken dish, this cod dish, and lamb meatballs. I make chicken dishes for myself on an almost daily basis, but cod and lamb are definitely meats that I rarely cook with. I was a bit panicked at first, but I also appreciated that Blue Apron allowed me to try recipes that I normally wouldn't have tried for myself. Blue Apron constantly adds new recipes to their already pretty extensive selection of recipes also changes every week, so I imagine that a subscription would really allow me to expand my repertoire. Clicking through Blue Apron's recipe archive, for instance, I've already spotted a couple of recipes that look freaking amazing, like this beef dukbokki with sugar snap peas or these roasted Japanese sweet potatoes.

But let's not forget about my original dinner, the chile-blackened cod. How did it taste?


It was delicious. I really couldn't believe that I had made this meal myself, with such little effort and in just 30 minutes. And I didn't even have to leave my house! It really seemed like something I would ordinarily at a nice restaurant on a date night out with Erlend.

As a special treat for my readers, I'm offering a discount that will allow the first 50 readers to get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just use the link below to take advantage of this offer:

Some additional notes:
  • To see the full recipe for the chile-blackened cod and red rice salad, check out the recipe card and with step-by-step picture instructions from Blue Apron

  • If you're worried about the logistics of having ingredients like fresh vegetables and herbs and raw meat delivered to your home while you're not there, don't! One of the other things that really impressed me about Blue Apron was that the ingredients came in a refrigerated, ice-packed insulated box that kept things from spoiling. Although the box was delivered during the midday, when I came home from work at around 5:30pm, everything was still cold and fresh. You can also choose the days you want your meal delivered.

27 comments

  1. As much as I love seeing what people are baking, I also really love seeing how people (and particularly those people who do a lot of baking) actually eat so I really like the idea of this new series and especially the rules you've given yourself. I can't wait to get lots of dinner inspiration from you!

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  2. I'm with Kathryn... and I live on my own, so it gives me some inspiration to make a meal that I don't have to eat for days after ha! x

    www.chevronsandeclairs.com

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  3. I've always been so curious about Blue Apron. As someone who has a tendency to just throw things together, I wonder how I would do with following the recipe. That cod looks amazing!

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  4. Oh I'm so excited for this series!! Robert and I tried out Blue Apron once with a coupon from a friend, and we were definitely impressed. I think they can be a great option for people looking to get more comfortable in the kitchen but don't feel like they have time for shopping and thinking about everything. I also LOVE that you're doing these posts all with the iPhone. What are you using to edit? They look awesome!

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  5. I'm in the same boat when it comes to dinners! I usually just roast some cauliflower or make mac n cheese or sometimes it's just toast… But I've been trying to make, you know, actual meals for dinner and I'm actually surprised with how easy it is! The only problem is that because I live alone, the leftovers last for several days. So in addition to the leftover cake in my fridge, I also have leftover falafel, leftover tabbouleh, leftover tortilla dough, leftover pickled cabbage, and several tiny bunches of herbs. First world problems though, eh!

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  6. Thanks Kathryn! Don't expect too much though — my weeknight dinners tend to be pretty sparse, consisting mostly of obligatory protein, veggies, and grains. Definitely not as indulgent as the desserts!

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  7. Yes! It can be really hard to cook when you're just by yourself. I feel your pain!

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  8. Did you get a discount from the link above? I'm so curious to see what you think of it, especially since you're such a big cook. I really hope you're able to give it a try!

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  9. Hi Sara, I use a combo of both VSCO and Afterlight. Afterlight can be a little overwhelming though since it has a ton of filters and tools you can use. It definitely allows for more control though!

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  10. Yeah, it's really hard cooking for just 1 person — when I lived alone, I would usually end up eating the same thing for 5 days straight. Most recipes online/in cookbooks just don't scale down at all. Have you seen America's Test Kitchen's "Cooking for Two" cookbook though? They have great recipes that are meant for just 2 people; I've been making a ton of recipes from there. As someone cooking for yourself, you could probably make a dish last for dinner then lunch the next day, without having to eat the same thing over and over again!

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  11. Nice addition to the blog, Michelle! I tried Blue Apron a few months ago. I was also pretty impressed by the quality of the produce, given that it is shipped to you! And the meal was pretty tasty!

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  12. This looks divine! I took a look at the Blue Apron recipe for the dukbokki (it was the Korean in me, couldn't resist!) and it looks amazing too - I love how you're going to be posting some savory foods! Super excited. Beautiful first dish for your new series Michelle!

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  13. Brooke @ Chocolate + MarrowApril 27, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    I really like this, Michelle! I'm always wondering what my favorite baking bloggers eat...mostly because I don't know how y'all prepare so many amazing sweets and still stay so healthy! (haha Kudos on that!!)

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  14. That sounds perfect for me! And I'll be honest, I eat enough for two people on a regular basis. Thanks!

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  15. Totally! It's a big time saver in the kitchen, that's for sure.

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  16. Thanks so much Erica! The dinners are definitely not going to be as indulgent as the desserts, but it sounds like people are curious about the diets of dessert bloggers. Let me expose the secrets ;-)

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  17. Here's the secret: lots of exercise, a boring diet. Truth. lol ;-)

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  18. These photographs are incredible, Michelle... I can't believe you shot them with just a cell phone!
    Blue Apron sounds like a fantastic service. I'm more of a baker than a cook, as well, so most of my meals tend to come out of a box (yikes). I really could use something like this. :D

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  19. what a great new series, absolutely love it!! and we actually never have seen red rice before, looks great! x

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  20. Thank you Abby! I hope you get the chance to try them!

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  21. Red rice is wonderful — much more texturally interesting than white rice, and far healthier. Have you also seen black rice? It's also great.

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  22. I tried Blue Apron once and thought it was tasty. I was surprised at how much time/effort it took for some of the recipes though- one recipe had me making chicken pot pie with homemade crust, and that easily took three people an hour of active prep to make.

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  23. Yeah! To be honest, I was surprised at how long the recipes took too. I think they're targeting folks who like to eat healthy and cook, but aren't good planners/don't have time to go to the store?

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  24. I totally can relate to being a boring cook sometimes. I feel so whimsical when I'm baking, but when it comes to cooking I always just want to grab the nearest meat and vegetables and call it a day. This program sounds cool though!! Also, I'm v impressed with your iphone photography skills, darling!

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  25. So this is weeknight dinner series is THE BEST. And I love that you're kicking it off with Blue Aprons. My aunty just did a few months with them when she retired and LOVED it. She said she isn't very handy in the kitchen and totally picked up some vital skills. Love what they're doing. Also, the rules for this series are MEGA too because I totally get wrapped up in hours and hours of cooking and hours and even DAYS of baking and should be setting some daily guidelines for myself too.

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  26. I love this idea! Often our weeknight meals are just a rotation of the same stuff. I'm always curious what people eat on a regular oil' day. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

    I've been thinking of trying blue apron, even though I cook almost every night, I think it would be a good way for Sean to learn how to cook some meals without getting too stressed about it. I'm totally going to take advantage of the offer!

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