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.