Recap: Goodfood #27

goodfood

Welcome to the next recap of Goodfood for last week’s box! One repeat and a few that sounded pretty good. Bowls usually are surprisimg winners, burgers always have a nice twist and well, sometimes meatballs and couscous are the simple combo that we need.

Grilled Tofu Dragon Bowls
with multicolored carrots, snow peas & red rice

grilled tofu dragon bowl

Tofu isn’t our cooking specialty so a lot of it is either at my mom’s or when we get a Goodfood box. My husband isn’t a huge fan of it either. We ended up getting this because we have loves past meals in bowls. Granted, usually it is something I have generally tried before and this one, I haven’t. However, the tofu and the red rice is super nice. The sauce here is amazing. My only issue was the raw veggies which I went ahead to cook because I had a part of it raw and honestly didn’t enjoy it at all. I’ve always liked my vegetables cooked so that is honestly a personal preference.

Chicken Yakitori
with roasted carrots, chinese broccoli & miso butter

Chicken Yakitori

The repeat here is this chicken yakitori which still remains as delicious as what I remember. On top of that, I always forget to do it for the Battle of Ingredients but the recipe calls for roasting chinese broccoli in the oven and the leaves turns out like making kale chips. It comes out some delicious flavors and its mostly seasons with salt and pepper which is all very awesome. Plus, Jasmine rice is my favorite variety of rice so everything here really justifies why I like this meal a lot and enjoy making it also.

Paprika-Garlic Chicken Sandwiches on Pretzel Buns
with horseradish mayonnaise & green salad

paprika-garlic chicken sandwich

The husband took care of this meal and the next. Its been a crazy week for us so these meals had a lot of it just being myself eating it and him only tasting it. I’m not going to lie that I ended up skipping most of the salad because of the horseradish. They gave a warning of the spiciness of it and washing hands afterwards. Luckily, my husband put together only a little bit of horseradish so it worked really well without burning my mouth. The chicken spicing with the paprika and garlic is really delicious. I’m adding this recipe to my chicken burgers ideas whenever we ever think about it and want to change up from beef.

Pork Meatballs & Roasted Vegetables
with wild jungle peanuts & lemon balm couscous

pork meatballs & roasted vegetables

Finally, we wrap up with the pork meatballs and roasted vegetables on couscous. I have to say that the entire meal here is pretty well balanced. The tomatoes add a more acidic taste as tomatoes usually do with their more sour flavor but it works to give a lot of balance with the other vegetables added in here. The highlight here is the wild jungle peanuts which are specially picked from some region (Amazon, maybe? I can’t remember…) but taste pretty much like a peanut. The couscous is my issue as I had to pick out  the lemon balm because it was just too much in it and was so strong. Other than that, this was a pretty decent meal. I just need to remember to cut the onions into smaller pieces so the meatballs don’t have such coarse onions, making it stand out a ton. However, the spices are quite delish.

Overall, this was a pretty decent box. I liked everything fairly well. There were some issues here and there that makes me say that I love it with the obvious exception of the Chicken Yakitori. One more box next week and then we made the decision to drop the meal boxes to monthly basis for a while so we clear up some of our frozen meats in the freezer and eat some garden veggies from our garden and my mom’s garden, which she’s been sharing with us.

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Restaurant: Congee Queen (Thornhill, Ontario, Canada)

I always talk about Asian cuisine after going to Toronto. Its usually the closest place with good Chinese cuisine in particular since to be honest, Montreal has a lot of great restaurants but Chinese cuisine itself is a bit lacking. Its why I tend to avoid it whenever given the option. Sad, because I do truly love Chinese food. I mean, its not hard to imagine seeing as I am Chinese and my mom makes about the best Chinese food in town or its my best friend who also is a master in the kitchen.

Not surprising that the rare time that we all end up in Toronto for a wedding, we meet up for a dinner the night before to hang out. We never do double dates much seeing as we all have funky work schedules and commitments so this was a great time to catch up and have fun.

We lived at the Courtyard Marriott in Thornhill and right next door was the flagship store of Congee Queen. Let’s check it out!

Congee Queen

Congee Queen

Dinner Selections

Congee Queen

Crab Meat & Vegetarian Shark Fin served with Conpoy Rice in Chicken Broth

My best friend was the one who ordered this meal. She wanted to give this a try mostly for the vegetarian shark fin. It actually had a really  nice flavor. The textures are all there and the chicken broth was nice. I was originally worried that it would be too strong like on the salty side as broth sometimes tends to be, but it wasn’t like that.

Congee Queen

General Tao Chicken Rice

My husband mostly focused on eating this meal. General Tao is very much non-traditional Chinese food however, I don’t usually fuss over these things. My husband thought it was good although he did end up not eating all the huge pieces of chili peppers because those were really intense.

Congee Queen

Snow Pea Leaves with King Mushroom

One of my choices for the evening was this snow pea tips with oyster mushrooms. I think my description is the correct one but the one in the description is the one that is shown on the menu in case you ever want to get it at this restaurant. The season for snow pea tips is a little bit past so it was expected that they were more old in texture so it was more stiff and chewy. The mushrooms are always a nice alternative. I actually eat more of these types of mushrooms in Goodfood boxes and I really like them a lot. This veggie plate is a win. If we had it back in April when the snow pea tips were in season, then it would have been perfect.

Congee Queen

Pork Rib with Onion on Sizzling Hot Plate

The second dish that I picked was pork ribs. This is a pretty traditional dish at least for myself when we went to Chinese restaurants when I was younger. I don’t go to Chinese restaurants as much mostly because Montreal cuisine isn’t great but Toronto is a different story so I was excited to see how they would prepare this. This one was okay. I think we all agreed that it tasted okay but it was nothing too fancy and felt a little overpriced.

Congee Queen

Fried Eggplant, Minced Pork with Spicy Sauce

My best friend’s second choice was this dish which is an uber traditional Chinese dish. I was pretty full so I didn’t eat a whole lot of this one but it was fairly good. I’m not a huge eggplant eater but I do appreciate its health properties so I try to eat it more often and learn to appreciate it. This one was slightly spicy also.

Congee Queen had some pretty delicious meal. It does some cool dishes and sometime switches up some traditional meals to something of of a fusion of sorts. I do think that for the experience, it is a little bit more pricier than I would want to pay. I don’t mind so much paying for good food if there is something original but for the portion size and the price of some of the very common dishes, it definitely felt not exactly equal. Luckily, I am visiting and I don’t like Montreal chinese food so I didn’t mind it so much.

With that said, I am aware that for a congee restaurant, I didn’t have congee. We did have dinner but next time, if I was going for brunch or lunch, then that would absolutely make an appearance. Suffice to say, despite little things, Congee Queen is a place that I would go again when I head down to Toronto again.

Recap: Goodfood #21

goodfood

Welcome to the next Goodfood recap. Its a rare occurrance that we don’t spread out our orders more but this menu, despite some repeats had some of our fave things and other recipes that I was interested in learning as well.

Lets check it out!

Fennel Crusted Salmon Bucatini with Baby Spinach

salmon bucatini

I can’t say that I’m a pasta expert so I don’t really know the difference other than the fact that it looks like thicker spaghetti. However, we don’t eat fish a lot so we chose this one. This meal was both easy to do and pretty delicious. Fennel powder is less overpowering than actual fennel so the crust around the salmon worked well with the bucatini.

Vietnamese “Com-Bo” with Cucumber, Carrots & Thai Basil

vietnamese com-bo

I can’t say I’m a particular expert at Vietnamese food either so I never knew about what Com-Bo was before this. I’ve had the Banh Mi and the Rice Vermicelli and the Pho but no idea what this is but I can tell you that its super tasty if this is any true reflection of it. However, you will notice that cucumbers are non-existent here. They were forgotten from my meal kit. However, when I contacted customer service about it, they were very quick to resolve the problem and reimbursed the price of a meal. I was very pleased with the service. Back to the meal itself, it was a really nice simple one. It was quick to make, except the chopping the carrots part. If I had to prepare the cucumbers too, then it would definitely have gone over the time they had asked for. However, the rice worked with the sauce and crisp-tender carrots added a nice contrast to the beef strips. It just came together really nicely.  This is so simple that I actually would cook this on a regular basis.

Pork Burgers with Sauteed Mushrooms, Swiss Cheese and Chive Mayo

pork burgers

As usual, burgers are my husband’s tasks. Its nice since I got to keep going with some of the garden work while he put this together. We weren’t quite sure whether we had it before but I’m fairly positive that we’ve talked about it before. Still, chive mayo is yummy. The pork burger spices are delicious. Its an awesome summer meal. I’d absolutely use pork patties more.

Peanut Butter Dumplings with Sesame Green Beans

peanut butter dumplings

Our vegetarian meal of the box and also one of my fave meals that we’ve had before are these peanut butter dumplings. They are absolutely fantastic. Its not too hard to make and the sauce is so delicious. Last time, I talked about us ending up just pan frying it on all sides or asking my husband to at least. However, this time, I followed the instructions and cooked it the way it was supposed to be cooked to see the difference and honestly, I have to say that we’re a little split. My husband liked it both ways but enjoyed the pan fried on all sides and I also liked both but thought this version  was a little better. I’ve been having a massive dumplings craving so I’m just happy these were part of this box. 🙂

Overall, a very awesome box! All the recipes delivered in my opinion.
The peanut butter dumplings are repeats before they are my fave, as well as the pork burgers.
For the new ones, I do prefer the Com-bo more than pasta, but I’ve also liked Asian food over Italian food.

Recap: Goodfood #19

Goodfood

Welcome back to another recap for Goodfood!

We’ve been ordering these boxes at quite regular intervals. Its nice to see that this time’s menu actually reflects quite a bit on the warmer weather and gives us a very nice summer vibe. These recipes are on the more time-consuming side though as they estimate approximately 40-45 minutes for each of these and we usually always surpass that time.

Let’s just get right into it.

Enchiladas Verdes with Zucchini, Rice & Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

enchiladas verdes enchiladas verdes

I haven’t had enchiladas for pretty much as long as my lactose-intolerance relapsed back in 2008 or something. I still remembering loving them whenever we went to Mexican restaurants with my friends back in college. This one is a little different as its our vegetarian meal of the box. I don’t usually start with the vegetarian meal however, I was tight on time and this was the easier one to put together. It also had an ingredient that I’ve never used before: Tomatillo. A fun little one to put together. There is a decent amount of chopping but putting it together was quite fun. It yielded 6 enchiladas so we made them in two separate oven pans. Mine excluded all dairy products, which means no sour cream mix for the rice and not cotija cheese on top. My husbands had everything as it should be. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this recipe but it turned out to be quite tasty. Not too crazy about the tomatillo salsa but the wrap itself (which is what it is without the Mexican parts was really fresh and delicious.

Mojito Chicken with Crispy Rice & Chayote-Mango Salad

mojito chicken

One of the more unique recipe ideas from Goodfood has to go to transforming mojito to clash with a chicken dish. I get the concept behind it but I wasn’t quite sold. It didn’t help that they gave a mango that was over-ripe for a crunchy salad texture. It was mushy and in the end, I actually put it aside from just eating by itself. At the same time, I’ve had a traumatizing chayote cutting experience last year so I had my husband do that part since apparently my hands (and it happens to a lot of people) react to the chayote when you cut it and it dried out my skin and I just start peeling so its best to use gloves when you cut them as precaution. And they suggested to not cook it, which I didn’t like the idea of seeing as my hands didn’t like it, imagine my mouth, right? So we ended up grilling it a little so changed the recipe up for ourselves. I like chayote when its done good and it was pretty good, the crispy rice had a good idea but not sure in execution it worked as well and the best part did go to the chicken itself as it got infused with various mojito-ish flavors and the spices worked well. A little disappointing but it had some good elements and cool ideas.

Miso Butter Pork with Red Rice & Yu Choy

miso butter pork

And we present to you the highlight of the box and also my experiemental choice which turned out to have some really nice trick up their sleeves. Miso in anything usually is a really salty idea. So I went light on the salt and pepper in general for this one. If I remember correctly, the rice had garlic and then had mirin and sesame oil added to it afterwards which adds a lot of nice flavors to it. There was some cool marinated apples on the top also with mirin and vinegar and sesame oil (maybe). Which made everything very marinated and helps that the pork was only cooked with salt and pepper and not some special spice. The Miso Butter element was really just the sauce that was poured over it. I could definitely have lowered the salt a little bit more however, it still was really delicious. I only ever use mirin when I get these boxes and I’m not sure using sesame oil on rice is a good long-term eating habit plan but every once in a while, its a pretty nice touch.

BBQ Pork Burgers with Crispy Onions & Garlic-Butter Corn

bbq pork burger

Onto my husband’s time in the kitchen as he makes delicious burgers. He took over while I did gardening so I actually have no idea how any of this recipe works. I can tell you that this burger buns were better than the last one we had. The patty was also quite delicious. The garlic-butter corn was really good also. Crispy onions do add a nice little bite to the burger as well. This one was a pretty decent success. We don’t eat pork burgers a lot, mostly because I never think about ground pork but its a nice change from beef. Our second fave of the box for sure!

That’s it for this Goodfood recap!
Next one is the 20th recap and while I debated to stop doing it, I have so much fun sharing these cooking experiences.

Any of these recipes appeal to you?

Goodfood Recap#16

Goodfood

Last week’s Goodfood box was quite a few cool menus and the first time we went with a repeat. We actually love the menu so much that we forgot to take the picture again before chomping it all down. Either way, we took the picture from the last time we cooked  the meal. We will talk more about it.

Let’s check out last week’s meals!

Marinated Salmon & Noodle Stir-fry
with Yuzu Sauce, Baby Bok Choy & Snow Peas

Marinated Salmon

We always opt for fish dishes when we can since fish in general is so expensive to buy. This one turned it pretty well. Its a stir-fry so already guaranteed to be pretty simple to put together. The preparation wasn’t too long either and it was just a bit stir together in the pan when all the elements were done. We always love the added sesame seeds to a dish. It adds a nice little bit texture to the dish. I can’t say I love this recipe but it definitely wins on being easy to put together. Its always great to learn what ingredients to put together a nice little stir-fry and this one is a solid choice (especially since there was recently a sale on salmon and we have some frozen and to be eaten soon).

Ancho Chicken Taco
with Beet-Cabbage Slaw & Toasted Pepitas

ancho chicken tacos

My husband apparently doesn’t know how to put together a taco and assembled a quesadilla resemblance thing here and ate it like a sandwich. I only took a bite from this meal since I had some other food that I needed to eat but from the bite, its a pretty decent meal even if its not wrapped into a taco style. Its fairly simple to put in and didn’t take too much time. I’m not sure about the ancho part of the thing though but thats just my personal preference. My husband absolutely loved it.

Grilled Ratatouille Sandwich
with Sundried Tomato Hummus

ratatouille sandwich

The repeat meal of our box goes to this fantastically delicious vegetarian sandwich called the Grilled Ratatouille Sandwich. Its packed with flavors from the sweet peppers to the tangy cherry tomatoes and then rounded off with a sundried tomato hummus. Its really a lovely sandwich. The last time was actually my husband who put together a lot of it and this time, I took my shot at it until I went to toast the buns and then burnt them a little. Still, its one that I’d definitely make again. Its truly fantastically delicious!

Peanut Butter Dumplings
with Sesame Green Beans

peanut butter dumplings

The recipe says that I wasn’t supposed to fold the dumplings this way but this is the way I know how to fold them since I was little so I kept to my own methods. My husband did the cooking and didn’t read the instructions very well for the dumplings so ended up pan-frying all sides when it was supposed to fry at the bottom then steam in the pan to cook the dumpling wrapper. Either way, it still tasted really great. Other than the vegetarian filling taste really awesome, the peanut butter sauce was super delicious. We actually loved it so much that we kept the leftover and cooked some veggies with it the next day and it turned out really well since the peanut butter dissolves pretty much but the taste retains itself. I loved this one a lot.

Overall, this box turned out very good. Two vegetarian meals and both of them were my faves in this box.

Dinner: One Pan Chicken & Veggies

My baking and foods section is now primarily dominated by Battle of Ingredients and Goodfood recaps and that is generally the moments in life I try new things. But, this past weekend was my husband’s birthday so since we’ve had a lot of expenses (and I did buy him more than usual Boxing Day hauls), I took it simple and took care of all the cooking this weekend. We did have some other experiences where we had to finish up leftovers from the week and went out with friends, but I ended up trying out three new recipes and this first one was a simple and efficient dinner meal: One Pan Chicken & Veggies.

One Pan Chicken & Veggies

One Pan Chicken and Veggies

Original recipe used as guidance via Pinterest: https://natashaskitchen.com/2015/11/23/one-pan-chicken-and-vegetables-recipe/

Ingredients

3 pieces boneless chicken thighs, sliced in thirds
1 tsp Piri Piri spices
1.5 lbs baby potatoes, halved
1 lb Nantes carrots, halved lengthwise
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt and pepper

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix the chicken thighs with the piri piri spices. Cover and put in the fridge to marinate while preparing the vegetables.
  3. Take a large cookie sheet and line with aluminum foil (or parchment paper and if you don’t mind the mix, you can just grease the pan with oil). Combine veggies in a medium (or large) bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss. You can also toss in the lined cookie sheet with your hands, its your preference and saves on an extra bowl to wash. Pour the veggies into the cookie sheet, parting them in half so the middle third of the pan is reserved for the chicken.
  4. Take the chicken from out of the fridge and place it down the center of the cookie sheet in the reserved place mentioned before.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, then take it out to turn the veggies and the chicken and put back for another 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure your chicken is cooked through, to be sure the internal temperature should reach 165F and juices run clear.

We definitely changed up the recipe from the original quite a bit. I needed a recipe really to figure out around what temperature to bake the whole pan at and for how long. Chicken is one of the meats you can’t eat raw so that was pretty important. This is a very simple meal and you can switch the spices around to what you like and use whatever veggies you like. In my opinion, potatoes and carrots are pretty tough to cook through so other veggies should turn it decent. We also make zucchini in a pan on the side as well since we needed to it those. It saves on dishes and is a simple preparation and cooking method which leaves time to take care of the dishes you worked with during the time (unless you have a dishwasher) and do other things during the wait time. I don’t think its necessary to turn the veggies and the chicken but I wanted to make sure that it would cook well on both sides. The chicken turns out very tender and not dry at all. I honestly improv-ed a lot of the dish so the spices and S&P quantity in the ingredient list might be a little off.

Have you tried One-Pan meals?
What do you like to cook?

Recap: Goodfood #15

Time for another Goodfood recap!

As I struggled with a few things last week, my husband was a major champ and came home from work and still helped me out with cooking the meal. Bad time management on my part due to little bit a temporary dose of depression and some stuff on my mind. Luckily, we did get through the week and the meals all turned out really well. A little mixed bag for this box.

Let’s check it out!

Haddock with Chermoula Mejadra & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

goodfood

First up is this lovely haddock. We are a big fan of trying out new types of fishes. I believe another box at haddock and we liked it. To be honest, we were slightly skeptical with this one but it was an absolute pleasant surprise. The rice was spiced wonderfully and there was a lot so we ended up making a fried rice with it for lunch. We learned how to make crispy onions in the pan and it turned out really delicious. My husband loves the smell of onion so he was elated. Not a whole lot of preparation and the first part is multitaskable which is always important. The final product was pretty delicious.

Spiced Maple-Lime Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Blistered Green Beans

goodfood

The highlight ingredient of this box to discover was maple butter which is in this menu. If you have gone to a sugar shack and had that dining experience, you come to expect these bold sweet flavors on anything with maple. In this one, it was a nice subtle flavor that complemented the chicken really well. The mashed sweet potato was tasty to balance out the meal and the green beans gave it a lovely veggie crunch. This one was one of our faves in this box for sure!

Szechuan Eggplant & Tofu with Jasmine Rice

goodfood

This was our vegetarian pick of the week and also the Chinese dish. Its a tad spicy but the chili did have its seed taken out so automatically that helps a ton. My husband isn’t a big fan of tofu or eggplant. This one uses a firmer tofu and fries it so it had a lovely taste and texture. This dish came together much better than I expected and other than eating it all in one go felt like my mouth was on fire (just because I don’t eat spicy stuff a lot), this one is was pretty good.

Ground Beef Pizza with Crispy Kale

goodfood

Finally, we ended with the ground beef pizza. This one did get a advisory recall on the beef afterwards but we cook our beef well done all the time and nothing happened for us. This pizza though is the highlight of the box. We loved every element of it from the simple tomato sauce to the nicely seasoned ground beef onto a crispy kale to top it off. It was awesome. My husband had it with the cheese and my side was without and we both loved it the same.

Overall, this box was great. We were hesitant about the recipes we chose but they all turned out to be pleasant surprises. Our favorite was absolutely the ground beef pizza however, that maple butter was delicious with the chicken and the sweet potatoes. I’m definitely going to make more mashed sweet potatoes from now on.