Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Green Chef (01-06-16)

Green Chef is certified organic by CCOF.  From wild-caught salmon to GMO-free soybeans, the ingredients are fresh and sustainably sourced.  There are no synthetic pesticides, no genetically modified organisms, no artificial ingredients, no growth hormones or antibiotics.  With convenient, flexible delivery to your doorstep, you choose the delivery date, can skip at any time, packaged in an eco-friendly refrigerated container.

My husband and I love to cook our own homemade meals throughout the week, usually repeats... chili, spaghetti, soups, grilled meats and veggies.  But this enables us to take it a step further and make delicious dinners that we wouldn't think to just make on the fly.  With Green Chef, you can incorporate gourmet meals into your diet with minimal effort.

I didn't get the opportunity to choose my dishes.  There was some mix-up and I was not notified to make meal choices.  However, the dishes I was sent look satisfactory, so I'm not displeased.  I was happy to see ALL of the ingredients were organic.

The first meal I chose to create was the Paprika-Roasted Pork with Roasted Cauliflower and Tapenade-Dressed Pasta Salad. This was SO easy to make! Especially in terms of time management.

I started by boiling salted water and adding the farfalle.  Then in a bowl, I combined veggie oil, the paprika spice rub, salt and pepper.  I placed the pork in the mixture and tossed to evenly coat. Also during this time, I sauteed bite-sized pieces of cauliflower in veggie oil. After a couple minutes I incorporated the pre-portioned red onion and garlic.

I then scooted the vegetables to the sides of the pan and placed each piece of pork in the empty spaces with more veggie oil.  I seared for two minutes on both sides before moving the the 425 degree pre-heated oven, roasting for 8 minutes.  I also removed the al dente farfalle from the pot and drained under cold water.  I began the pasta salad with the noodles, bite-sized pieces of orange, chopped spinach, and tapenade vinaigrette, and refrigerated.

When the time was up on the pork, I removed it, let it rest a minute, and then sliced.  The vegetables in the pan were topped with the cheese, and plated with the pork and salad.

This was a surprisingly delicious.  I don't like pork, but this was juicy and spiced perfectly.  The cauliflower... oh, I don't have words.  The flavors were a perfect combination. Only downside, wish I had more!  I'm not at all a fan of fruit in salads, but his really worked with the oranges and the tapenade dressing balanced the citrus with the salt. I ended up eating the leftover salad as a midnight snack!

The second recipe I made was Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Lemon-Ricotta Pasta and Sauteed Chard. This was another easy-to-make meal.

First I cooked the spaghetti until it was al dente. Reserving a quarter cup of the broth, I set the pasta to the side. I pounded the chicken to 1-inch thickness. Separating the egg whites from the yolk and discarding the yolk, I whisked the whites until frothy. I dipped each piece of chicken in egg and then the walnut/parmesan cheese mixture. I placed the chicken breast on a foil-lined baking sheet and baked 25 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.

While the chicken was in the oven, I zested the lemon and combined with the ricotta cheese, salt and pepper. I coarsely chopped the tarragon, minced the shallots, and cut the chard into quarter inch ribbons.

Heating oil in a large saute pan, I cooked the chard, tarragon, shallot, salt and pepper for several minutes until the chard started to wilt and the shallots became opaque. I added the reserved pasta broth and the lemon ricotta mixture. After a couple minutes I incorporated the spaghetti.

I was supposed to squeeze the zested lemon over the pasta/chard when it was finished, but the zest had already more than flavored everything. I sliced the finished chicken and plated with the pasta/chard.

Okay, I had never had chard before. It was very similar to spinach. It tasted fantastic with the spaghetti and ricotta. The walnut/parmesan chicken was also DE-licious. Cooked and flavored perfectly. My only problem with this dish was that the protein and the side didn't really go together. Both had such strong, distinct personalities it was a little confusing for the taste buds. Otherwise, positively delectable.

The last recipe I made was Butternut Squash Chili.

My only experience with butternut squash was a bisque at a fancy restaurant and it was wonderful so I was looking forward to working with it.

I began by peeling and then grating the squash. In the process, I managed to grate my knuckles pretty good, so, ouch. What's nice about Green Chef's ingredients is that they are mostly pre-portioned so not much chopping. I cooked the provided onion in a saucepan with oil until opaque. Then I added the roasted red pepper/garlic mixture and the grated squash.

The recipe then called for half of the chili spice blend to be sprinkled on the veggies, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out where in the instructions I was supposed to use the remaining spice. So after taste testing a few times, I just poured all of it in. Then I put the chipotle tomato paste in and stirred.

I added the beans and fire-roasted tomato/green chiles to the pot. The recipe called for a can of water at this point, but I like my chili thick so I only put in a half can. I crumbled the vegetable bouillon and stirred. I added salt and pepper to taste.

While the soup simmered, I cut the tortillas into slices, tossed in oil, salted and peppered, and baked for 8 minutes. I assembled the meal by pouring the soup into a bowl, putting a little cheese and some tortilla strips on it, and topping it with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro.

Honestly, from the start I wasn't digging this dish. It had a cinnamon scent which I dislike in chili (after years of living in Cincinnati). I couldn't figure out where the taste was coming from... maybe the chili spice blend... no, because I tasted it before I added it. It couldn't be anything else because that scent had already made its appearance. I tried one of the bigger pieces of butternut squash, and voila! Strange, since I had enjoyed that bisque I mentioned earlier so much. The smell was off-putting the whole time I was cooking.

Once I plated everything and sat down to eat, bringing the soup to my nose made me a little apprehensive, but the taste was surprisingly... so-so. It was   not as bad as I expected. It still wasn't great. This wasn't a recipe I plan to recreate.

Plus, I already make a MEAN chili! It's not vegetarian. I suppose it could be organic depending on where you shop. It's spicy.

Green Chef usually costs around $11.99 per person for three meals, although they do offer vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free meals at different prices.  I received my first box four meals free, which is fairly common among these programs, so look for the deal.

There are three things I like about Green Chef over some other meal preparation delivery companies. First, all of the ingredients are organic... Wow. Second, most of the ingredients are already pre-portioned and packed so there's less chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, and grating finger knuckles. And finally, the instructions are so spot on and take little time. 

Everything considered, and despite my distaste for the butternut squash chili, I would definitely recommend Green Chef. 

Happy cooking!

1 comment:

  1. They're overpriced and misleading, only some items are organic.