Tag Archives: roasted chicken

In or Out of the Box?

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Enclosure for our first batch of Blue Apron meals

While I’m peering into a box of Blue Apron meals, Andy is focused on thinking inside AND outside of the box in Andy’s Corner.

There’s been lots of discussion amongst family and friends about the merits of food delivery services such as Blue Apron. Because Andy and I are always ready to have a few nights without thinking about meal-planning, we jumped at the chance to have three nights of Blue Apron meals. Not only is it fun to see how others are eating, but we really wanted to test it. How delicious are the meals? How clever and compact is the packaging? How time consuming are they to prepare? How appropriate for just one person? How healthy?

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Travis & Hannah’s Blue Apron meal in Brooklyn

Between our Brooklyn kiddos, Travis and Hannah, and us we can report on about 9 Blue Apron meals, and our experiences have been pretty positive – almost everything was tasty; the packaging, though still big and heavy is not as environmentally unfriendly as it originally was; everything looks beautiful and fresh; and I would guess the meals, which include ample vegetarian options, are healthier than what many folks eat.

Travis, our son, who did all the Blue Apron meal-fixing at their place, found that their explicit instructions, including videos, made the meal prep do-able for a even a novice cook.  Now Travis is ready to branch out on his own.  I liked having new meals to try – a pleasant change from our normal dining routine (or shall I say rut? Remember to visit Andy’s Corner).  Plus, the cost seems relatively reasonable; as of November 2017 it was about $10 per meal per person.

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Another Blue Apron meal from Travis & Hannah

As we piled bags from the grocery store into our car the other day, knowing that a high percent would go to waste before we used it up (think wilted parsley, floppy carrots, moldy cheese, stale bread), not having extra seemed like maybe a bright idea.  Plus, without grocery-shopping, we’d have had an extra hour or two to garden or read or bicycle or be annoyed with our two cats or play with Oakley, our Aussie.

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Not only do we get annoyed with our two cats, OnoMoore (on the right) doesn’t tolerate much from ChocoLatte (on the left) .  Oakley, the Aussie, puts up with both of them.

Speaking of Oakley, when Andy was at the dog park with Oakley, he met a Blue Apron fan who says it’s perfect for a single person, because each meal will be enough for two dinners (a footnote: the smallest Blue Apron order you can make will be for 3 different meals, each enough for 2 people – all delivered in one box).

WAIT – am I trying to talk you out of doing it all yourself?  Am I going over to the dark side? Am I being two-faced (no political commentary intended)?   Am I getting paid by Blue Apron for my kind remarks? (Dream on!)

Here’s the downside to BA, as we see it: an ordering system that can result in unexpected meals, if you didn’t “cancel” for a given week; a heavy delivery box with components that need to be cleaned and returned, if you want to really recycle; an occasional missed delivery or missed ingredient; no left-overs – unless you’re cooking for one, and a prep time that might be longer than you want for the easiest of meals.

We still plan to enjoy Blue Apron’s meal delivery now and then – we’ve got another go-around scheduled for this week, but on a regular basis, we generally aim to SIMPLIFY our own meals.  Simple ingredients, simple prep, simple meal, simple clean-up, and simply wonderful left-overs.

Here are a few recipes that I’d would like to propose as an alternative to Blue Apron. There’s not lots of chopping and dicing, not lots of pans or bowls to clean, not lots of shopping for rarely-used ingredients and the meals are quickly prepared.   Plus, you can enjoy the leftovers.  Speaking of leftovers, this very week The Washington Post published an article on how fewer leftovers are being consumed – and why that’s a bad situation.  Read it in Food for Thought.

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MF Chicken


We looked and looked for “higher welfare chicken” for this blog recipe.  Oh, how we love the Brits and their expressions!  And, after finishing a few test recipes, Andy was busily scrubbing the dirty roasting pan when lights flashed.  Scrubbies!  Read Andy’s Corner for more.  And Annatto seeds are a pain to find and grind up to use in a Mexican rub.  But you don’t need to do that.  Use achiote paste; delicious, easy, and available.

It all began about 5 years ago. Our SF Familia, Joe & Sara, were talking about their love of El Pollo Loco, back in its good old early days, the 1980s. Andy and I recalled the mandatory visits we’d make to the one in Chino, CA every time we visited Andy’s folks. We’d pick up a spit-roasted chicken, delicious pinto beans, and slaw, bring it back to the house and 3 generations were all well-fed and content.

So we couldn’t have been more pleased to hear that Joe & Sara were thinking of doing an updated version of that concept in SF. But we were perplexed by the name they chose: MF Chicken. I assumed “Mexican Fighting Chicken,” thus tying the name into their Mexican-themed restaurant, Tacolicious. We do, after all, have a family history of fighting chickens (see the photo below of Andy’s dad, circa 1935, Norco, CA). I even went so far as to buy 2 lovely little wire Mexican-made fighting chickens – one for J&S and one for us – to commemorate the name (see photo above).
Gus with rooster

Andy, who always sees things in a happier light than I do,  thought MF Chicken meant “Mom’s Finest Chicken.” Or maybe “My Favorite Chicken.”

Long story short: MF Chicken, whatever that means, is finally coming to fruition, but as a delivery-based option for you lucky SF-ers, not a restaurant.MFChickenBag

Because the recipe for MF Chicken is known only to a few special souls, plus includes brining, a dry rub, and a rotisserie, I decided to make my own version of a Mexican achiote-based roasted chicken, since there’s no spit-roaster in our house – and probably not in yours either.  And I wanted it to be really really simple. Continue reading

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