Dinner is Shipped//The Busy Girl's Guide to Healthy Weeknight Meals

If your schedule is as jam-packed and hectic as mine, you know how hard it can be to keep all parts of your life feeling balanced. Doing well with your work, having a thriving social life, getting enough sleep, and staying healthy & fit—it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day! And especially with the time change. I am still having the hardest time getting up and motivated in the mornings. It's so hard to leave that nice cozy bed when it's still dark outside. I have just been struggling getting it all done, truth be told. The clock turns to 5 pm before I have even worked half way through my to-do list. 

But instead of giving up any of the things I absolutely adore (like cooking), I am a big fans of finding little life hacks that give me more time (time is money in my world) and simplify my schedule. And for me, time in my kitchen is absolute therapy. It keeps me calm and sane. The feeling is probably similar to that yoga moment on your mat...where you can just tune in and forget the world...that's what cooking does for me. I throw on a great playlist..typically Ella Fitzgerald or Ryan Adams and just get lost. 

The other day I got to talking to a good friend about how stressful it can be to think up healthy homemade meals and go to the grocery store after a long day of work each week. And then I find myself hitting the market while I am starving..well that's just a recipe for a major disaster. She told me about her favorite meal delivery service, Blue Apron and I seriously felt like she was giving me this sacred secret like a babysitter phone's number. (you know nobody really wants to share their babysitter in fear they may lose them) There was like a halo surrounding her and all of my problems were being solved in a moment's notice. Lin's son and wife also used Blue Apron  and I remember the love stories they shared about it. One plus they mentioned was that it helped them fix just enough for two people and not have any waste. That is huge for me and Lin. Plan as I try..it seems like I always have some things spoil in the fridge before I can even enjoy it and there is nothing more maddening then throwing food (money) away. Sigh. 

So guess what?!

And now I actually will have time to get myself a manicure !

And now I actually will have time to get myself a manicure !

I signed up ! I decided to allow someone to actually help me save time in my life!!! OMG!

I have been using Blue Apron  for a few weeks now and it is an absolute game changer in our lives. (I said our because the BF is loving it..he gets overwhelmed with a recipe easily and loves how simple this is) Each week we get a box of refrigerated, FRESH ingredients and recipe cards that map out exactly how to make a gourmet meal for two in about 40 minutes tops! Yes, 40 minutes. YOU GUYS!!! (They do make boxes for 4 people also so don't fret) I just love that they have literally saved me from taking the guesswork out of wondering down the grocery aisle aimlessly shopping, but it also helps us steer clear of getting lazy and making poor takeout choices. That has been a huge problem for our bank accounts and waistlines. Plus the way this amazing delivery service has helped us understand what two portions really are ! It's just a perfect date night at home for us. And it's been so nice having Lin prepare a few meals too really helping me out on days I work late or want to get a work-out session in. We have more time with our two dogs and they seem happier too. 

Creating space in your day is JUST the best feeling!

Our most recent box came with the most delish recipes including , mushroom & broccoli casserole with baked pastry, king pao broccoli with garlic chives & black rice noodles, and spinach & fresh mozzarella pizza with olives, bell pepper, and ricotta salata. ( I had customized my choices to be vegetarian this latest round but I love that you can have some control over the choices. For example you can omit red meat but add poultry and fish or vice versa)  So, so delicious. I was impressed with the quality and freshness of the seasonal ingredients. And I loved how organized everything was for each meal even making prep time so easy.  (sometimes the prepping of the meal can cause just as much anxiety as cooking it) And I decided to go ahead a share a recipe with you today! Ohhhh, lucky you! 

SPINACH & FRESH MOZZARELLA PIZZA RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb plain pizza dough
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 bunch oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3/4 lb spinach
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

KNICK KNACKS:

  • 1 shallot
  • 2 oz ricotta salata cheese
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 oz black cerignola olives

DIRECTIONS: (once you prepare all your ingredients)

Cook and drain the spinach---In a large nonstick pan heat two teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add 3/4 of the garlic, up to half the oregano and as much of the red pepper flakes as you'd like, depending on how spicy you'd like the dish to be. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Working in batches, add the spinach; season with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes per batch, or until wilted. Transfer to a strainer over a bowl. Using a spoon, press down on the cooked spinach to release as much liquid as possible.

Prepare the dough & assemble the pizza--Lightly oil a sheet pan. On a clean, dry surface, using your hands and a rolling pin (or a wine bottle), gently stretch and roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. (If the dough is resistant, let rest for 5 minutes.) Carefully transfer to the prepared sheet pan; rub the dough into the pan to coat the bottom in oil. Evenly top with drained spinach, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Evenly top with the pepper, olives, shallot and mozzarella cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Bake the pizza--bake at 475 for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and the crust is crispy. Remove from oven and let stand for at least 2 minutes. 

I always make Lin do this part! 

I always make Lin do this part! 

Make the sauce-- While the pizza bakes heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the remaining garlic; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to one minute, or until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally , 4 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving dish.

Finish & plate your dish-- Drizzle the pizza with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the ricotta salata cheese (crumbling before adding) and as much of the remaining oregano as you'd like. Divide 2/3 of the finished pizza between 2 dishes (you will have extra). Garnish the sauce with the parmesan cheese. Serve the pizza with the sauce and enjoy!

All the ingredients come perfectly portioned and packaged in the Blue Apron box, and the recipe cards give step-by-step instructions that are super simple. When I say simple..I mean simple. Anyone can do this including a teenager! PLUS every recipe is between 500-800 calories and is fun to cook. Dreams do come true...that calorie count is giving me all the heart eyes as I tend to watch those kinds of things. You get all the nutrition facts with each meal so you know exactly what you are preparing. Oh em geee..and they even give you recommended wine pairings for each meal too. I am just not sure how much simpler Blue Apron can make things for us!

Blue Apron  is perfect for beginner cooks or busy girls who just want to have their dinner ingredients delivered to their doorstep like the queens we are. So I really encourage you to give it a try… And the best news?! I have partnered with Blue Apron and you can receive $30 off your first week of food. That's three meals that you are essentially only paying $29.94 for. Say what?!!!

You are welcome loves!
 

Click here  to sign up for this fabulous deal now… Then, just sit back and let Blue Apron  do the grocery shopping for you. 

What recipes are you excited to cook at home this spring and summer?!

Let me know in the comments if you’re going to sign up for Blue Apron. Or, if you’ve already used it, let me know your experience! I always love hearing from you ! 

XOOXO and Happy Cooking !

XO
SAM

Next up...Mushroom & Broccoli Casserole !!