Marley Spoon: Braised Mustard Chicken & Turkey Meatballs + $30 Off

To kick off another Foodie Friday, I’ve got another Marley Spoon review. If you’d like to try out this weekly meal subscription service for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.
My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.

Braised Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Whole Wheat Orzo
Download the recipe here.
I love mustard and Brussel Sprouts plus this recipe was from Martha Stewart’s new Vegetables cookbook, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
chicken-recipe
Our Fresh Ingredients…
chicken-ingredients
We start by prepping our vegetables and preheating the oven.
chopped-for-chicken
Next, we season our chicken with salt and pepper, heat some oil in an oven proof skillet and brown our chicken.
searing-chicken-1 searing-chicken-2
The chicken gets transferred to a plate and we pour off all but 2 Tablespoons of the drippings into a small bowl and reserve them.  Then, we add the shallots and Brussels sprouts and cook those.
cooking-vegetables
Next we prepare the braising liquid buy adding Dijon to the skillet and cooking.  Then we add vinegar and ½ cup of water, while we scrap up the brown bits.  The chicken gets return to the skillet, skin-side up along with any juices.  We bring the ingredients to a simmer, then transfer to the oven and braise the chicken thighs until they are cooked through.
braised-chicken
orzo
Next we cook the orzo and mix it with 2 teaspoons of the reserved drippings.
To finish we remove the skillet form the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate.  Sour cream gets added to the vegetables, and then they are seasoned with salt and pepper.
chicken-veggies finished-veggies
Our finished product:
ms-braised-mustard-chicken
Taste: Like
I liked the flavors in this dish and I thought it had a nice balance of vegetables, carbs and protein.  For me it was just a little fussy for a weeknight, since the dish needs to sit in the oven for 20-25 minutes which doesn’t include all your chopping, browning and so on.  I’d love to see a spin on these flavors that maybe uses a different technique then braising and boneless chicken.  Perhaps something like a warm orzo salad with Brussels, chicken breast and the shallots?
Portion Size: Adequate
Good for Entertaining?: Not really.  Bone-in thighs are too fussy for most gatherings and this isn’t fancy enough for a dinner party.

Turkey Meatballs & Mushrooms with Polenta and Spinach
Download the recipe here.
I love mushrooms and I’d never paired meatballs with Polenta before.
meatball-recipe
More fresh ingredients:
meatball-ingredients
We prep our ingredients and then sauté our aromatics (onions, garlic & oregano).  We divide the onion mixture between two medium bowls and wipe out the skillet.  We also whisk our turkey broth packet with  cup of warm water to dissolve it.
meatball-prep sauteeing-onions whisking-turkey-broth
Now it’s time to make our balls.  We add turkey, salt and pepper to one of our onion bowls along with ½ the Parmesan and mix until evenly combined.  It said we were supposed to get 16 balls.  I got 12.  (Honestly, I feel like if you divided the meat up into 16 balls, they would be as tiny as Donald Trump’s hands).
raw-balls balls-cooking browned-balls
Next we brown the meatballs on all sides; then transfer them to a plate.
sautee-mushroomscook-without-greens cook-with-greens
After that, the mushrooms get browned. Then, we add meatballs, turkey broth, the second batch of onions and bring that to a simmer.  This cooks until the meatballs are cooked through.  Then the spinach gets added until it’s wilted.

Meanwhile, we cook our Polenta.
polenta
Our completed dish:
marley-spoon-turkey-meatballs-mushrooms
Taste: Meh
This recipe was far too fussy for the flavors it offered.  And who wants to roll out over a dozen meatballs on a weeknight? It certainly wasn’t a bad recipe, but just not worth the effort involved.  I would have changed this into a turkey meatloaf and then just served the veggies and Polenta as sides.  Just cutting out the rolling and browning of the meatballs, would have saved so much time.

As a funny anecdote, Polenta seems to pop up in lots of fancy restaurants and recipes.  As an Italian kid, I grew up with it and it’s considered poor people food. I guess it’s how back in the day, in New England, they used to serve lobster to prisoners.  I wonder if we can trick rich people into paying a ton for Chef Boyardee?
Portion Size: Excellent
Good for Entertaining?: No. Not flavorful or interesting enough.  There are a lot better meatball recipes out there.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Okay
Both recipes were fine flavor-wise, but I just didn’t think they were easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner.  On the plus side, I thought they were healthy and very nutritionally balanced.  I tend to expect more exciting flavors from a meal subscription service, otherwise I can just come up with my own recipes or search through the 20,000 pins on my Pinterest boards.  And for the record, if they want me to do something like roll 16 meatballs; I expect those meatballs to taste amazing.  Like so amazing, word of my balls will spread across the internet and they will get their own trendy twitter hashtag and they will top all the Buzzfeed lists about bucket-list foods.  People will come from Australia and Mogadishu and Cleveland, just to get a taste of my balls. (Okay, that sounded really, really wrong, but you get what I’m saying). So basically my message to Marley Spoon is – less work, more flavor.

Have you tried any food subscriptions?
If so did they ever leave out any important ingredients?

THE BACKSTORY
Marley Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Once upon a time, long, long ago, Lisa attended Syracuse University where she studied singing in a giant castle surrounded by ice and snow. After she earned her music degree, she headed to the island of Manhattan, down to the West Village, to a place called the New School. There, she earned another degree in the great art of writing stories for children. She currently works on that same island, in the dungeon of an old building, making up stories while she sorts through endless stacks of papers, just dreaming of working somewhere with windows. She is currently working on several novels and hopes to write her way to that aforementioned windowed place. Her first book, “The Ice Maiden’s Tale,” a fairy tale adventure was released on May 30, 2017 and is up for sale on Amazon. In the meantime, she keeps herself occupied by obsessing over subscription boxes and home renovations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s