Back in our early days of parenthood, when I was too exhausted to make decisions of any sort, Spence and I subscribed to a meal kit delivery service.
I looooved it. And I mean loved. Gone were the nightly “what’s for dinner?” debates. The angst over what to cook, when to shop, and basically how to live with a newborn was all very foreign (and overwhelming to me). Using one of those “five free meals!”-type promotions, we opted for Blue Apron. Our box came on Mondays. The recipes were fantastic and I loved the cute, perfectly-portioned meats and “knick-knacks” like red wine vinegar. I especially loved that we could make restaurant-quality meals at home … with a newborn.
If that sounds like marketing, well — it’s kinda hard to turn off, given my day job and all. It also happens to be entirely true!
As our family grew and we began getting more than a few hours of sleep, I couldn’t justify the cost anymore. That’s around the time I discovered The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook, a/k/a my cooking bible. The moment we experience an unexpected windfall, though, I will sprint back to Blue Apron … mark my words.
In the meantime? We’ll settle for eBay.
For roughly $3, my husband recently purchased a big lot of Blue Apron recipe cards from another home chef. These babies are full-size, full-color with step-by-step instructions. I kept the recipe sheets from all of our favorite recipes, so it’s easy to replicate the dishes again and again — unless they call for a tough-to-find ingredient (it happens, though not often).
Anyway. I’m in danger of turning into this meme.
Here’s a delicious summertime dinner (or lunch!) that turned out pretty as a picture. The original rendition from Blue Apron calls for fresh ingredients we didn’t have on hand, so I substituted with canned and frozen varieties … and the result was still fantastic. This is my wild-eyed, busy parent version.
It’s fresh. It’s flavorful. It’s fast, because it’s shrimp … and gnocchi, which literally cook in minutes. The description below seems long, but it is not complicated. You’re basically cooking the ingredients in batches and layering them together to create one balanced, tastebud-satisfying dish.
Dig in. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Shrimp & Gnocchi with Corn,
Basil, and Blistered Tomatoes
1 lb. frozen shrimp, thawed
16 oz. package potato gnocchi
10 oz. cherry tomatoes, any color
2 cloves garlic, minced or diced
2 scallions, sliced
1 can (16 oz.) corn kernels, drained
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Parmesan, to taste
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. In a large pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil on medium-high and add the tomatoes. Without stirring, cook the tomatoes until browned and blistered (about 3-4 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened. Transfer to a bowl.
In the same pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil on medium-high. Add the scallions and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened (about 1-2 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan of cooked corn along with the garlic and red pepper flakes to your preference. Cook on medium-high, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Turn off the heat.
As the shrimp are cooking, boil the gnocchi. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until the gnocchi float to the top of the pot. Reserve 1/3 cup of the gnocchi cooking water, then drain thoroughly.
Transfer the gnocchi to the shrimp mixture. Return the blistered tomatoes to the pan. Add the butter and fresh basil, along with a few tablespoons of the gnocchi cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously for 1-2 minutes, until the gnocchi are coated in the butter sauce. (Add additional cooking water a few tablespoons at a time if your sauce seems dry.) Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkling of parmesan cheese (optional), plus more of the fresh basil (not optional — just delicious). Enjoy!