Food Meal kits Reviews

Review :: Home Chef’s Crispy Prosciutto and Pesto Penne with Tomatoes and Parmesan

A couple of nights ago I made the Crispy Prosciutto and Pesto Penne with Tomatoes and Parmesan dish from Home Chef.

This is one of their “15 Minute Meal Kit” options. This is perfect for nights when we have something to do in the evening and don’t want to order out. I’m talking about Zoom Happy Hour nights, yes I am.

This was super easy and quick. The onions were pre-cut and the sauce pre-made. I just had to cut the tomatoes and prosciutto.

Crispy Prosciutto and Pesto Penne
Prepping for Crispy Prosciutto and Pesto Penne

Leave it to me, to even have trouble with that.  I started to cut it up not realizing that there were plastic sheets between all the slices of meat. Oopsie. It took me awhile to pull all those slices apart and remove the plastic. But I’m happy to report that I got all of them and neither of us ate any plastic.

This dish was delicious. It’s so decadent that I assumed it was at least 800 calories, but it’s just over 600 so that’s not so bad. If I do this again I’ll make a salad to go along with it.

Crispy Prosciutto and Pesto Penne
Crispy Prosciutto and Pesto Penne

I also wish I’d taken a photo before putting the Parm on it, everything with Parm on it looks the same. But trust me, it was pretty!

Here’s the recipe! – Not that you can make it at home iwhtout a pre-made sauce….

Click here to get Home Chef meals, $35 off.

Drinks Reviews

Shaker and Spoon Box 4 – Rye

Hi everyone!

Looks like I forgot to post about the January Gin box. Oopsie! Well, it was good, I’ll do that another time. But I was really excited about this Rye box. 

Shaker and Spoon - Rye Box
Shaker and Spoon – Rye Box 2021

The first drink we made was the Creole Sling. This drink was am-AHHHH-zing (sorry I’ve been re-watching “Happy Endings”). The coffee flavor is quite strong, but I love that! We actually made these again a few nights later and made a video, which you’ll see below.

Shaker and Spoon - Creole Sling
Shaker and Spoon – Creole Sling

Next up was the Homestead Old Fashioned.

Shaker and Spoon - Homestead Old Fashioned
Shaker and Spoon – Homestead Old Fashioned

We were excited to try this one, being a fan of Old Fashioneds. That spelling always seems wrong, what is the plural form of “Old Fashioned”? We had a great debate about this at my last job. One bar owner insisted it was “Old Fashions” because he said the drink was and “Old Fashion”. That’s not correct. Grammerly wants to correct it to “Fashioners” but that’s not right either.  Yes, I know I could change the sentence to read: “being a fan of the Old Fashioned…” but what’s the fun in that?!

Maybe there’s no plural form because you should only drink one! Naw, that can’t be it.

If you know the definitive answer, comment below!

Anyway, we love this drink in general and this recipe is really good. It included something called Winter Spice Syrup and I don’t know what is in it, but it’s magical. My only note on it is that the drink is very syrupy. It felt thick to drink but was much better after some of the ice melted. So I’d serve this with crushed ice so that it melts faster.

Shaker and Spoon - Homestead Old Fashioned
Shaker and Spoon – Homestead Old Fashioned

The next one we tried was the Baklawa Sour. This one was….not a hit. As soon as I brought the glass up to my mouth I smelled something horrid.  Like something fermented. But I thought, maybe my palate is just not used to whatever flavor this is and I took a sip. I almost gagged. Greg also took a sip and had the same reaction.


I thought my egg whites had turned even though it was a freshly opened carton and was not expired. So we dumped the drinks and moved onto something else.

I made two videos, one of me making it and one of us tasting it. But my “this is disgusting” face is pretty ugly so I’m not showing it.  I didn’t even take a still photo of the finished drink! But here’s a screenshot.

Shaker and Spoon - Baklawa Sour
Shaker and Spoon – Baklawa Sour

Fast forward a few days and we thought we’d try the Baklawa Sour again with fresh egg whites. This time it would be great! We were sure!! We were dead wrong. It was hideous.

Down the sink again. Now we’ve wasted 8 ounces of good (expensive) rye.  2 ounces per drink x 4 drinks.  Not happy about that.

This time I knew the egg whites were fine, so I started looking at the other ingredients. I smelled the Baklawa Syrup and determined this was the culprit. It had the same nasty smell that the finished drink did. 

I have no idea what Baklawa Syrup is supposed to look or smell like so if this is right, I guess I just hate it.

I’ve contacted Shaker and Spoon and let them know that I might have gotten a tainted bottle. 

They have replied that they think the syrup got unsealed in the shipping. So they’re sending me new syrup and the bitters! So when I get those I’ll remake this and report back!

The GOOD news is that after that horrid experience, we went back to the Creole Sling and savored that one!! 

Here’s me making it and totally having amnesia on how to use a strainer. I still laugh my ass off when I watch this.

I will continue to make this drink! I really enjoyed it.

Shaker and Spoon - Creole Sling
Shaker and Spoon – Creole Sling

Want to try Shake and Spoon? Click here.

Food Recipes Tried

2021 Project :: March Green Curry Soup

I decided that I would like to create a little project for the new year. I decided that I would make one dish from each issue of Bon Appetit, starting January 2021.

So, the one I chose from the March issue of Bon Appetit Magazine is Green Curry Lentil Soup (page 46). I chose it because I had all the ingredients and had just gotten some new green lentils from Imperfect Foods. I also had some sweet potatoes that were starting to mock me because I let them sit on the counter for too long.

set up for Green Curry Lentil Soup

The only thing I did differently is that I cooked it in the Instant Pot. This was a super easy and pretty quick dish to make. It involved a bunch of chopping, but you could certainly buy onions, garlic, and ginger prechopped to make this even easier and quicker.

set up for Green Curry Lentil Soup
Chopped stuff for Green Curry Lentil Soup

I actually measured the green curry paste and holy Jebus was it HOT! I love spice but this was off the charts. It was still delicious, but yowza!

This is the curry paste I used:

mae ploy green curry paste

I would make this again and the Instant Pot worked well.  Here’s the recipe.

Green Curry Lentil Soup
Green Curry Lentil Soup

Green Curry Lentil Soup
Green Curry Lentil Soup

When you get your April issue, let me know what I should make for April!

January’s project meal

February’s project meal 

The lentils, sweet potatoes, lime, and garlic were all from Imperfect Foods. Use my link and get $10 off your first box. Full disclosure, I get $10 too.

Food Recipes Tried

Creamy Mushroom Risotto

Last week I made the Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Garlic and Crispy Sage. This is from the cookbook Passion: My Journey Through Food by Jules Meyer. Full disclosure; I know Jules. She’s my cousin. We grew up almost like sisters.

She released this book last year and it’s really beautiful.

You can buy it here

Here’s the recipe on her blog.

I love mushrooms, garlic and risotto so I was pretty sure I’d love this.

I made a few changes (shocker) out of necessity.

Firstly, I didn’t have fresh sage. I know, it’s an integral part of the dish, but I didn’t have it, and Greg and I were both in COVID quarantine* and weren’t able to leave the house to get sage. I wasn’t about to put in an Amazon Fresh order for only a bunch of sage and then wait a day. I wanted this NOW!

So, I used fresh thyme and rosemary. It was still amazing, but I do recommend using sage if at all possible. Because crispy sage is so delicious.

The only other thing I did differently is I didn’t use that much cream. Mostly because I was panicking about the butter and cream already in there. I think I used about a cup.

Oh and I didn’t have regular button mushrooms so I used two packages of bellas.

As you know, risotto is busy work. You have to stand there stirring for ages. But it’s so worth it. With the roasted garlic and the mushrooms, it’s heavenly.

mushrooms and garlic
Mushrooms and garlic for the Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Garlic and Crispy Sage

I wanted to eat the whole pan, but I only ate ¼ of it. I don’t even want to know if I had more than one serving.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Garlic and Crispy Sage

Greg who is a caveman and can’t have a meal without meat, added some sautéed chicken thighs to his.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Garlic and Crispy Sage
with chicken thighs

Leftovers were reheated the next day for lunch. Then the following day, I reheated the risotto and plopped an egg on it for breakfast. Amazing! (sorry I didn’t take a pic.)

Try this one, and let me know what you think.

Or get her cookbook and try any other wonderful recipe!

You can buy it here:

*we don’t have COVID, we had just gotten tested (negative) and needed to quarantine because we were both having medical procedures at the end of the week.



Meal kits Reviews

Review: Gobble

My first shipment of Gobble came in mid-February. The three meals I got were:

  • Wagyu Beef Swiss Cheeseburger with Mushrooms & Truffle Aioli
  • Pan-Roasted Barramundi with Yukon Potatoes and Lemon Caper Sauce
  • Chicken Au Poivre with Demi-Glace & Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I would give them all 4 out of 5 stars. I guess my favorite was the chicken. The Coriander and Black Pepper spice that you put on the chicken was amazing.

Chicken Au Poivre
Chicken Au Poivre with Demi-Glace & Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

It’s the only one that I didn’t have an issue with, however small. What I didn’t like:

The burgers were delicious, but suuuuuper greasy! My stomach hurt the rest of the evening.

Wagyu Beef Swiss Cheeseburger with Mushrooms & Truffle Aioli
Wagyu Beef Swiss Cheeseburger with Mushrooms & Truffle Aioli

The fish was good, but I got really sick of the fish flavor about halfway through. It wasn’t fishy though, thank goodness. Maybe I just don’t love barramundi. This is the first time I’d had it.

Pan-Roasted Barramundi with Yukon Potatoes and Lemon Caper Sauce
Pan-Roasted Barramundi with Yukon Potatoes and Lemon Caper Sauce

But the main reason I don’t give these full stars is this:

  • There’s really not much cooking involved. Even the potatoes came precooked, in a pouch. There’s no chopping either. It’s basically like warming up restaurant meals. They’re delicious, but they’re not cooking.
  • Some of the dishes require you to use a microwave. I don’t have a microwave in the kitchen I cook these in.
  • Some use a lot of dishes, for there being so little actual cooking involved.
  • While they give you a “recipe” card, it’s nearly impossible to remake these recipes without ordering the kit from them again because some ‘ingredients” are actually precooked foods. Such as a pouch of mashed potatoes, or a pouch of beurre blanc. You can make your own, but it likely won’t taste the same.

If you are a foodie/chef type these probably aren’t for you. Unless you want to have a few nights where you don’t have to think about anything and can throw something together quickly and easily (this is the camp I fit into).

If you are someone who loves to eat interesting meals, can boil water and sauté, but doesn’t love chopping and prepping, this is for you.

I’m ordering a second week coming up soon so I’ll be interested to see how those come packaged and what is involved, I’ll report back!

Want to try it yourself?

Friends and family who signup using this link get 2 meals for two for $18

We are a participant in the Gobble Associates program an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to However, I do pay (full price) for the meals I get and cook.

Food Recipes Tried

Dinner :: Buttermilk Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken


We made this as a Sunday Dinner.  This is from Gina over at Skinnytaste, so we knew it would be good! But, we had a little trouble cooking:

I did this in my regular oven on the Air-Fry mode because my Instant Pot (with air-fryer lid) isn’t large enough for this chicken.

After it cooking for 25 minutes on each side, the breast was still raw. I’m not sure how this is possible. It came from the store refrigerated (not frozen), it sat in our refrigerator for 2 or 3 days before we marinated it. Then it sat in the marinate for a day, and out on the counter for an hour before cooking. So I’d be really surprised if it was still frozen.

After the air-frying, we put it back in on bake for another 10 minutes. I was afraid the dark meat would be overdone. So we carved it up, served the dark meat and the breasts went into the microwave to finish. Not the way I would have preferred to cook it, but it worked.

Air Fryer Buttermilk Chicken

And holy cats was it delicious!! Only buttermilk and salt and pepper and it was amazing. I served it with baked potatoes (with sour cream, butter and green onions) and Brussels Sprouts. The chicken may appear burned but it is not! The Brussels on the other hand were inedible.

Air Fryer Buttermilk Chicken

After eating and carving all the meat off the bones, the bones went into the instant pot with the potato skins and some seasoning and we made a nice broth.

Day two, the leftover chicken was used both as an addition to an otherwise vegetarian ravioli dish, as a main course (with gravy made from the broth) and then day 3 as a topper for salad. It remained moist (yeah, I said it) and flavorful. I don’t know if I’ll ever NOT marinate in buttermilk again.

Highly recommended. Just be sure you have a meat thermometer and be sure the breast is done.

We have this one, but it appears to be out of stock.

This one looks close to it.

Try this and let me know what you think!
Skinnytaste Recipe:

Recipes Tried

2021 Project :: January Broccoli Soup

Last month I decided that I would like to create a little project for the new year. I decided that I would make one dish from each issue of Bon Appetit, starting January 2021.

Click here for last month’s project. 

So the one I chose from the February issue of Bon Appetit was the Broccoli Soup With Turmeric, Peanuts, and Crispy Shallots

I was taken by that beautiful photo! Kudos to the photographer and food stylists.

One of the “rules” of this project was that I really wanted to follow the recipe exactly and that I would not substitute any ingredients.

This is harder for me than I thought it would be. Not because I can’t follow directions, but because I just don’t always have everything on hand (or I don’t want to buy a bunch of something and waste the rest).

The first issue is that this recipe was for 4 servings and I was making this for myself (the husband doesn’t like soup or vegetarian dishes so this was a nope on both aspects).

So I scaled the recipe in half.

Then I realized I didn’t have serrano, but it did say “or other green chile” and I did have jalapeno so I used that and I think that’s acceptable.

I didn’t have a big Yukon gold potato and even if I did I probably wouldn’t use it because what am I doing to do with half a potato, since I’m halfing the recipe? So I used a bunch of small potatoes.

The only other change I made was that I didn’t have cilantro or mint for a garnish.

Here’s my set up:

Ingredients for Broccoli Soup

So the changes I made were really miniscule and I think would be allowed by the recipe author. Right? Please?

Oh and because I was making this in the bar kitchen, I didn’t have a large soup pot so I made it in the instant pot, but I didn’t pressure cook it. I just used it on Sauté Mode.

Ingredients for Ingredients for Broccoli Soup

This was putzy to be sure, but pretty easy to make. It was sort of a lot of chopping, but I don’t mind chopping. As long as I have a good knife.

Before blending Ingredients for Broccoli Soup
Before blending

I used the immersion blender, right in the pot instead of a blender.

after blending Broccoli Soup
after blending

The part where I almost said “F this” and did it my own way was at the very beginning. The recipe says to cook the shallots, peanut and turmeric in the oil, separate them (drain the shallots and keep the oil). Then for reasons I can’t fathom, it says to mix them back together.

Well, that’s just ridiculous. So I compromised. I made the oil as told, then I separated them, but I kept them separate (don’t tell me how to live my life!) I’m glad I did. Because of that oil? It was amazing!! I would make that again and use it to drizzle over everything!


I’m not sure why the recipe doesn’t say to just cook the vegetables (step 3) in the oil you just made. It says to use regular oil. Why?

How did I do?


The end result was a good soup. Good, not fantastic. I happily ate my lunch, I also added a slice of toasted bread (we call that toast, Amy). But I never ate the leftovers. I planned to, but each time I saw it in the fridge I went, “ehhhh…” and chose something else. So I guess I didn’t like it that much.

Final result

But it sure is pretty!

Food Meal kits Reviews

Review :: Spinach Ravioli from Home Chef

Recipe: Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan

This is one of those easy ones where you just mix and put in the provided tray and pop in the oven.

ingredients for Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan
Ingredients for Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan

It comes with a plastic tray. Which would be fine in the microwave, but it said that I was supposed to cook it in that tray, in the oven! Plastic, in the oven?! I got too nervous to use it in the oven, so I used my own ovenware.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan from the oven
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan from the oven

This had great flavor, but I would prepare it differently. The sauce didn’t really come together, nor was there enough of it. Also, the ravioli didn’t get cooked through, it was still pretty chewy.

I had ordered my Home Chef this particular week with 4 servings per meal instead of 2 because my husband is always still hungry after we eat our two servings. But instead of giving me double portions of everything, they just gave me two bags of each meal. So, I ended up making each meal twice instead of making the 4 servings.

Therefore, I had a choice to make it a different way. A few days later, I did it this way:

I used the instant pot, only because I was working in the bar kitchen and didn’t have a large pot down there and was too lazy to go upstairs and get one.

So, I heated the pot on sauté and added the sauce ingredients whisking to make the sure the cream cheese was really mixed into the sauce. I also added about ½ cup water since I wanted the pasta to cook all the way through.

After adding the ravioli, I set the Instant Pot on high for just 1 minute, but just as it came to pressure I got the dreaded “burn notice”! So I just let it bubble on sauté.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan from the Instant Pot
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan from the Instant Pot

The pasta still didn’t get done enough, but the sauce was good. One of the raviolis stuck to the bottom of the pot and got destroyed, so it sort of became part of the sauce.

I don’t know if I’d get this again. It would be easy enough to make it again on my own if I had a good meat sauce. But it would probably be a lot better in the microwave.

Have you tried this one? What was your experience?

Here’s their recipe.

Experiments Food Recipes Tried

Dinner :: Chef John’s Salisbury Steak

One night when my husband and I were watching TV a conversation came up on Salisbury Steak. I think he said he didn’t like it, and I said I loved it and would make a good one for him to prove it.

However, my bravado wrote a check that my skills couldn’t cash. My favorite Salisbury Steak is this one.

Swansons TV dinner from the 70s

Those silky potatoes and that chocolate cake was sooo good, even when it burned a little. But the steaks were so tasty and that gravy!? *Swoon*

Also, I used to work at a place that provided lunch for staff and their Salisbury Steak was the BOMB! They didn’t make it in house, it was from a food service company. So it was like school lunch, but better.

[Update] I just found out that the food we were served at work was…..{drum roll please…} STOUFFERS!! ]

So I did some digging and I already had a few Salisbury recipes in my cookbook (I use CopyMeThat). The one that had the most stars (given by me) was the one from Home Chef. Here’s how it came out when I made it then:

HomeChef Salisbury Steak
Home Chef Salisbury Steak

The sauce looks too creamy and light colored for what I wanted.

So, I kept looking. When I Googled it, I realized that Chef John from Food Wishes had a recipe. So I watched the video again and decided to use this one.

Mushrooms and onions sauteing

I did make the meat ahead and let it rest in the refrigerator, as suggested. What I didn’t love is the ketchup. Something in it felt not quite right and I think it’s the ketchup. He does say in the video that his recipe is more like meatloaf and I guess I don’t really like that aspect. If I want meatloaf I’ll just make that.

Salisbury Steak
Finished Salisbury Steak

This was good, but I think the Home Chef one was better.  Note, there are 2 HC Salisbury recipes, one is “steak” and the other one is meatballs. I liked them both and rated them both 4 stars, but they are different.

Maybe I have to take things from all three of these recipes and make one of my own with them as guides.

What’s your favorite recipe for Salisbury Steak?

Salisbury Steak
Bonus photo, Salisbury Steak

The beef, mushrooms, and beans were from Imperfect Foods. Use my link and get $10 off your first box. (Full disclosure, I get $10 off too.)

Food Recipes Tried

2021 Project :: January Tofu with Rice and Miso-Maple Dressing

Tofu with Rice and Miso-Maple Dressing

I decided that I would like to create a little project for the new year. I decided that I would make one dish from each issue of Bon Appetit, starting January 2021.

I decided this around January 25th, 2021. Because apparently I thrive on self-imposed deadlines.

So I grabbed the January issue of Bon Appetit and looked at each recipe to see which one I would make. First of all, that issue doesn’t have very many recipes. It’s all story. Which is cool, cool stories….but I needed recipes to choose from!

Part of the parameters of this are that I will FOLLOW the recipe exactly or as best I can. So I had to pick something that I already had all the ingredients for on hand.

I’m not kidding when I say the ONLY recipe in this issue that met those criteria is this one.

Tofu with Rice and Miso-Maple Dressing

Good thing I like tofu!

The marinade for the tofu was delicious, and as it turns out, it also basically the dressing (minus the cornstarch).

Ingredients on the counter

I loved the fresh flavors of this. I followed the directions nearly exactly (the only thing I didn’t do is grate the garlic because I couldn’t find the grater. I just chopped it really fine).

Finished dish

The only things I would change are…

  • It says to use one clove garlic. Usually I think, “aww, cute!” and then double it (at least). So, I did use two cloves of garlic and dare I say…it was too much. Since it’s raw it was really strong. I recommend sticking with one clove.
  • The recipe doesn’t say to do this, but I think they did do it, judging by their photo. I would toss the tofu in the dressing before putting it on the rice. Then drizzle the leftover dressing on the whole thing. The tofu was a tad dry coming straight out of the oven and I think it would have been better if it were tossed in the dressing. But you still need dressing to go over the rice and veggies.

I’ll make this again. It reminded me of the Yum Yum Rice Bowls from World Street Kitchen!

Close up finished dish

The carrots were from Imperfect Foods. Use my link and get $10 off your first box. (Full disclosure, I get $10 off too.)