The Box Meal Plan
This weekend's recipes all focus on minimizing the number of ingredients while making dishes that can be stand-alone or pair with other parts of your meal. They're great ways to start practicing for your New Year's resolutions, so what are you waiting for!
Roasted Grape Tomatoes are a wonderful and super easy mini-meal, but we love them as a starter for a dinner party. They're wonderful on their own via toothpicks or on top of some goat cheese crostinis!
Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat, since we don't really need you to make your own bagels (you could pick some up at the market though...). Kale Cream Cheese is a great excuse for more cream cheese, and this super simple recipe would work great with any of your preferred greens. We recommend sturdier leaves for the textural satisfaction, but some dill or cilantro never goes amiss!
This recipe for Pickled Cabbage Salad is a little heavy on the number of ingredients, but we'll allow it, since really there are two recipes here: the salad and the brine. This dish occupies a unique not-quite-salad, not-quite-slaw position in our hearts and stomachs, and we love it for it. The light acidic taste and crunchy texture makes it a satisfying experience solo, or as a side to a marinated protein.
Potato skins are traditionally a "loaded" type of food, but these Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips showcase a health(ier) option for snacking this holiday. Just try keeping them from running out (spoiler alert: you can't).
The recipes for this week's Box are ones that play well with others - even themselves! Leftovers that transform into new dishes are a few of our favorite things, especially when before and afters taste (and look) amazing.
Tomatoes in December are a wonderful perk of the New Orleans region growing season. A Cherry Tomato Salad is a refreshing combination of classic flavors, and it makes a perfect side or healthy meal of its own. It also lends itself to great leftover inspirations like omelets, sandwiches, or bruschetta (hint hint).
Tatsoi is also called "Rosette Bok Choi," which is fitting, as it shares rounded, dark leaves, and the softly textured stems you might know from bok choi. Tatsoi tends to have longer, narrower stems, with greater leaf-to-stem ratio, but it works amazingly well for a quick saute. Sauteed Tatsoi with Soy Sauce and Sesame Seeds is a quick easy dish that can stand alone or makes an accommodating side for a heartier protein.
Cherry Tomato Bruschetta is a beautiful appetizer or snack, especially with the gold and black cherry tomatoes we have in this week! Need a Saints-friendly snack that is actually good for you? Use new tomatoes for a brighter experience, but leftovers from the tomato and feta salad is perfect for a marinated flavor!
And the counterpoint to the traditional tomato bruschetta, Crostini with Wilted Greens and Cheese, is a nice way to make more of a meal out of what is often an appetizer. These bites have a little substance to them, and depending on how you prepare the greens, they can really highlight different flavors and textures. The sauteed tatsoi above can have great crunch, if you used the stems, but also a somewhat creamy texture compared to a crinklier kale.
With another hearty holiday season bearing down upon us, we want to take advantage of this in between time to eat some healthy dishes and try out new recipes that might make the cut for the winter solstice this year.
Broccoli is often a fan favorite when it comes to veggies: the stem is just a little to the sweet side, the florets are nutrient-rich and delicious, and it looks like tiny trees! Quick Pickled Broccoli is a nice snack, and we especially like putting it on some crostini with chevre for an easy nibble for gatherings. If you've enjoyed kohlrabi lately, this is another great option for those bulbs!
Sauces, as we all know, are a very important part of food. A lot of breakfast recipes, eggs especially, call for hollandaise sauce, a delicious and ever-so-decadent creation. Wonderful as it is, sometimes an edgier, less creamy preparation is appropriate, and we find that's a great time for this Kumquat Poppyseed Dressing. It's emulsified, so it captures creaminess without actual cream, and the sweet and sour zing from the kumquats makes any breakfast (or lunch or dinner) choices more exciting.
Beetroot Soup is a stunning dish: the vibrant color of the beets make for a beautiful autumnal or winter presentation. This recipe calls for feta and herbs to garnish, and we like to add some baked chips made from the beet greens on top as well!
Like many greens, kale is rich in nutrients that bodies need, especially during times of stress. Holidays are wonderful, but hosting or guesting can be its own burden, so in this in-between-time, a Massaged Kale Salad is a great way to get your body's balance back. Kale can be a heartier green than many more typical salads call for, so be sure to massage your dressing with a little salt into the leaves and let them sit for a bit: they'll wilt a little and be nice and tender, all without cooking!
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, often full of great family and food, but it's hard to deny the allure of leftovers. Let she who has never cooked an extra 8 pounds of turkey on purpose cast the first stone. Today, we pay tribute to the amazing innovations of Thanksgiving leftovers, so turkey features heavily: vegetarians be warned.
If you haven't tossed it yet (please tell us you haven't tossed it yet), your turkey carcass (or bones if you went for pieces over a whole bird) will make some of the best Turkey Stock ever. This stuff will see you through soups and sauces and reductions aplenty, and it's a great start for many recipes for the upcoming holidays, too. No slow cooker? No problem: stock is great to do on the stove top too, you'll just need to keep a bit closer eye on it. If you're looking for veggie options, we recommend mushroom discards (like shiitake stems) for a rich flavor along with the onion, carrot, and celery that usually show up in stocks.
Stuffing (or dressing) is always a table favorite, whether you go simple (bread, onions, leeks, butter) or complex (sausage, oysters, potato). It stands to reason that Stuffing Waffles would be a perfect morning-after breakfast, since they accommodate hungry or hungover tummies. Plus, this is a great vehicle for more gravy, but you can also go "traditional" with some sweet jams (cranberry?) or syrups!
Post Thanksgiving, there are often many activities to be had, shopping or otherwise. Sometimes that means a quick lunch is needed, but no one wants to come down from the food high of Thanksgiving to anything less than stellar. Thanksgiving Quesadillas are a wonderful solution that come together in minutes and highlight stars of the show. If you are feeding vegetarians, go ahead and swap out Brussels sprouts, kale, or stuffing (yes, bread in tortillas) in place of turkey, but please leave the cranberry!
The Thanksgiving Sandwich is surely the ancestor of the aforementioned quesadillas, and it sets quite the bar. This panini version steps its game up with cheese and bacon, but there is nothing wrong with keeping is "simple:" bread+mayo+stuffing+mashed potatoes+cranberry sauce+turkey+bread. You can add lettuce if you must.
It's the final countdown! We're so excited for the main event, but let's not forget to keep our nutrition up in the lead up, without loosing our sanity.
Watermelon Radish Chips are a a treat and beautiful to boot. They make a great healthy snack for anytime, and a lovely dish to put out and keep mouths busy before the feast! This recipe suggests deep frying them, but if you are looking for healthier or less messy options, try baking them instead!
Since you are no doubt drowning in sweet potatoes, a Breakfast Stuffed Potato is an easy way to make your way through them while still getting in a healthy meal!
Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole is a Thanksgiving tradition on many tables, and this version keeps rich flavor but replaces the decadent marshmallows with a crunchy maple pecan crumble.
A Spinach Satsuma Salad is a bright side for your spread, and it takes very little work. Sliced citrus are a beautiful burst of color and the salad is a light counterpoint to any heavier dishes.
The countdown begins! T-gives in t minus one week, so get your saucepans and spatulas ready. This week we're stocking you up on some sides, especially vegetarian options.
Look, turkey, stuffing (or dressing), potatoes - they're all great. But do you know what unifies your plate? Gravy. Gravy makes everything better, but too often our herbivore friends miss out. This Mushroom Gravy is a great solution full of hearty savory flavor, so everyone can win.
Kale salad is a great easy item to pair against a bigger meal, because the kale can hold its own against whatever else your plate has, especially compared to lighter lettuces. Kale and Citrus Salad is practically self dressing, and the brightness of the citrus elevates the greens to balance out denser dishes.
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes are a fun, flexible recipe, and the best part? They can be made ahead of time and heated up for the big day, which means less last minute crises for you on Thursday! Especially with the combination of orange sweet potatoes and the white-fleshed Japanese sweet potatoes, these make a beautiful addition to the table.
If you are unfamiliar, poutine is a magical dish that traditionally consists of french fries with gravy and melted cheese curds (we know). This Thanksgiving Poutine is a great rendition and since you'll already have most of the elements on hand, it makes itself!
These are all ideas for great Thanksgiving (or any holiday or big meal day) sides, but they work well for regular life too.
Pate can be a real treat, but it can also be intimidating to try to make at home, and of course it won't fly with your vegetarian guests (or self). This Mushroom Pate is a wonderful spread option for your crostinis (or spoon) to keep mouths busy until the main event. We love this recipe's flexibility for ingredients (use the type of mushrooms, herbs, and vinegar that you prefer), and it's also nice to pick your consistency: super smooth or with bigger bites of mushrooms.
We've tried a few options for green tomatoes so far, other than their most famous (or infamous) incarnation of fried. A Green Tomato Jam is a great way to preserve their flavor and bring it into breakfast or appetizers or as a condiment on your heartier meats or roast veggies.
Roasted Sweet Potato Spears are always a popular hit, and using the exciting Japanese sweet potatoes from this week's Box is a fun visual twist on expectations. The white flesh doesn't look too far off from a typical fry, but the red skin provides a fun pop of color (and a bit of warning that this isn't your usual spud). We like this recipe's combination of spices on the sweet potato, so feel free to salt and savory to your own taste.
Looking for more gratin options? Well who doesn't need more recipes to cover in cream and cheese. If you want to craft a local meal, try Mirliton Gratin: the herbs, cheese, and garlic play nicely off the so-called pear squash without overwhelming it too badly. This is a good alternative to traditional potato recipes that can get a little heavy and starchy.
Continuing our love affair with Thanksgiving, we wanted to share some opportunities to use Box items from this week's selection, but in recipes that can be easily adapted depending on what you have on hand or what's in season.
The presence of cranberry sauce is an acknowledged must for any self-respecting Thanksgiving spread. A fairly well-known take on the homemade version incorporates orange juice and zest, but we insist that you try a more personalized Satsuma Cranberry Sauce this year. This one also uses maple syrup instead of refined sugar: the flavor doesn't come through too strongly, thanks to the very assertive cranberries. We'll also point out that if you are committed, you can swap in some honey syrup if you want to keep it more local.
We've loved sharing plenty of recipes to use all that homemade pumpkin (or winter squash) puree you made, and a Pumpkin Cinnamon Cornbread is no exception. This blend of sweet and savory experiences is a great side for the main event, but it's also a delight the morning after (or the mornings of the two weeks before).
Green beans as a Thanksgiving side are a tale as old as time, but instead of slathering them in canned soup and fried onions (no hate for either, here), blanch them real quick and toss them in with a citrusy saute of aromatics and satsuma zest for a Citrus Green Beans side that is healthier and will leave more room in your tummy for important things like potatoes.
The eternal dressing vs. stuffing debate reignites this holiday season, but don't worry, we'll taste test them all for you. This Mushroom, Herb, and Pecan Stuffing (their word, not ours) is a hearty option that is easy enough to make vegetarian, if you happen to have some at your table this year. Nuts are also a great way for non-bird-eaters to up their healthy protein intake for the night!
Gobble gobble! We have a few delicious turkeys available to pre-order in the market, so we are well on our way to being your complete Thanksgiving solution! Here are some more ideas to try out as individual dishes or to incorporate into Turkey day itself!
Though this recipe calls them "cookies," let's all be honest and acknowledge them for what they are: Pumpkin Pie Bites. If you are bakingly inclined, this dough recipe is a solid, simple option, but if not, there is no shame in using pre-made dough! The important thing is getting sweet pumpkin filling into your mouth via the flakiest option available. (Yes, this is our second hand-pie recipe in one week. So?)
This week is the first time we've been able to offer mirlitons in the Box, so we don't want to miss out on a chance to share an easy recipe with you. Depending on your preparation, mirlitons can have a very mild flavor, often compared to pears. This is a great light component to add, and it means you can take advantage of its great texture without overwhelming less rich dishes. We like julienning mirliton and bell peppers for a Breakfast Stir Fry. This quick savory breakfast is satisfying without being too time consuming or heavy, and it benefits greatly from your favorite preparation of egg!
Green tomatoes practically mean "fried green tomatoes" these days, but if you want a bit more of an edge, try making some Refrigerator Pickled Green Tomatoes. These are a wonderful addition plate accessory, and they can carry a BLT on their own, or make a great lunch out of some crusty bread and a light aioli.
Colcannon is traditionally a St. Patrick's Day dish, but we wanted to remind you that it could also be a wonderful mashed potato replacement (or companion!) for Thanksgiving. This recipe is dairy free, so you're more than welcome to swap back in regular butter and milk, but we love the addition of kale to the usual green cabbage.
We're excited to start thinking about holiday meals (even more than we have been already), so you'll start seeing more of those popping up here. We'll try to feature recipes that might be a few steps outside your typical mashed potatoes and stuffing, so we hope you have multiple parties this year!
We've featured a toasted pecan recipe before, but in the holiday lead up, this Five-Minute Candied Pecan recipe is too good to pass up. These are delicious to snack on year round, and they make a great addition to fall holiday desserts: either as a crunchy pie topping, or a last minute addition to ice cream (which will totally look like a prepared dessert). As a bonus, they look gorgeous, so pack some in a mason jar (who doesn't love mason jars these days) and presto: instant gift!
This seems less seasonal, but we wanted to get you a solid breakfast idea with this Box, and don't worry: we'll be playing with incorporating grits into more typical Thanksgiving dishes soon enough. This simple dish combines some great breakfast staples, so it's hard to go wrong with Spinach, Grits, and an Egg. As usual, you can mix it up with some arugula thrown in with your spinach, if you like a little bite with your breakfast, or add some diced green tomatoes into your grits.
Slightly more on topic for reinvented sides, try Parmesan Sweet Potato Stacks. These delicate piles of thinly sliced sweet potato are a fun spin on a classic presence on the holiday spread. Using muffin tins to keep your stacks vertical is just good sense!
Hand pies have always been a fall favorite: not only are they delicious, they are also a delightful pocket of warmth as the weather cools down. Green Tomato Hand Pies are a fun twist on our typical fried slices. The flaky pastry brings some of the buttery crunch of the breading, while the filling is a totally different experience! This recipe is for sweet hand pies, but we like to make two batches, so that some are ready to go for dinner!