Chop to it! Win Quick Healthy Dinners with ChopBox

Have you heard the news that Americans can’t/don’t cook?  As a country, we spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking.  Cooking, however, allows us to have more control over what we put in our bodies than eating takeout or processed pre-cooked foods.  So if you can’t cook (yet) or feel like you are too busy, healthy meal delivery services can dissolve both of these problems while being affordable.

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ChopBox is a Chicago based company that provides:
  • Family friendly dinner kits for 4.  Price per person is around $10 a person, less than you usually spend at many healthy fast restaurants.
  • Pre-portioned meals changed weekly to add variety. They do the shopping and portioning. You cook and enjoy!
  • Delivers the recipes and ingredients directly to your house so you can get your chef on.  Unlike other meal delivery service, you can either try ChopBox once OR sign-up for weekly meal service.

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Now We’re Cookin’

We were given 2 meals to sample in exchange for an unbiased review:
  • Tofu Stir Fry with rice noodles and veggies
    • Bright colorful vegetables and perfect amount of tangy sauce.
    • Delicious, filling, and we had more than enough for 4 people.  YAY healthy leftovers!

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  • Raspberry Pecan Crusted Chicken with sauteed asparagus and jasmine rice
    • Crunchy dark green asparagus, spicy sweet raspberry sauce and juicy pecan crusted baked chicken…yum!
    • Recipe cards are colorful with easy step-by-step instructions.
    • (Tip: Make sure you read carefully.  Kate missed the fact that egg white was pre-portioned and included, thus she needlessly cracked two eggs and wasted them.  Umm and she overcooked the jasmine rice so try not to multi-task).

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  • Both recipes were ones that Kate hadn’t made on her own so you get guidance and encouragement to try new foods.

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To the Chopping Block

  • The weekly menu options are a bit more limited than other meal services we have seen and/or tried with slim to no vegetarian options.  ChopBox is willing to work with you on any allergy or diet requests, however, so put your foodie desires out there.
  • If you are an experienced chef, you may want to add your own flava’ to spice it up to your taste.
  • If you don’t cook AT ALL, please note that you will need some basic ingredients like salt, pepper, olive oil, and pans to make these meals work.
  • You may have to chop ingredients 😉 for some recipes so we hope you have some decent knives.  The chicken dish actually required very minimal prep (no chopping) compared to the tofu.

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Wanna skip the line tonight?

  • Enter here to WIN your own ChopBox and feel like the next Master Chef.
  • Giveaway runs from July 11th-July 18th.
  • You must live in the following states to win and delivered: Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana.
  • Ready to roll with a ChopBox?  Sign up here!

 

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Healthy Fast Food: Green Bean Chicago

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It’s not often that healthy and fast food share the same title but magic is possible.  Behold, we hath found a restaurant that aims to do both (oh and its yummy, princes and princesses).  We know there’s a few chain healthy alternatives in Chicago but none are 100% gluten free, GMO free and free of common allergins (no nuts, coconut or chickpeas) like the new Green Bean Chicago.

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It’s not often that you learn about the passion behind the restaurant you are eating in either.  Owners, Executive Chef Mike Watson, Aaron Bush and investor and dietary manager Srinivas Ravanam partnered on this daunting culinary adventure for many reasons. Mike thinks about the health of his children and how fast food often targets them.  Aaron works in the health and wellness industry across the state and sees how limited healthy food availability affect people throughout Illinois.  Both wanted an affordable fast healthy option for working families.  Both strive for a healthier tastier lifestyle for themselves.

We received free samples of their menu for review.

Menu Highlites:

Pick Your Protein: Chicken, Portabella Mushrooms (vegetarian) or Steak

Wrap it up: Choose a gluten free wrap, gluten free panini, or keep it simple with a salad

What’s Your Flavor? Choose Asian, Caesar, Caprese, Griller, Greek or Spanish style toppings

What we ate:

Gluten free Mushroom Griller Panini – pineapple, asparagus, mixed greens and spicy mango sauce

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Gluten free Chicken Caprese Panini – mozzarella, basil, tomatos, red onion with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

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Gluten Free Mushroom Caesar Wrap – croutons, parmesan, romaine and caesar dressing

Sides – Sweet Potato Fries, Tempura Green Beans, Black Bean Hummus

Dessert! – Gluten Free Caramel Cupcake with Italian Salted Caramel Gelato

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Loving the light life:

All meals (entree, a side and a drink) are balanced to run around 500-600 calories. There is NO soda at Green Bean but instead homemade stone fruit waters are provided for the combos.  Price point runs about the same as a Panera, Chipotle or chain greasy fast food meal, around $8-$9 for a meal.

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Who needs gluten?

Kate is sensitive to gluten and has tried gluten free wraps and breads before. Some good (Udis), some not so good (some kinda yucky wrap).  Chef Mike’s personal gluten free bread and wrap recipes (a mix of tapioca and rice flour with extra love) don’t seem “gluten free”.  Both were hearty and satisfying.

Take us to flavor town!

Monica noted the sweet potato fries were delightfully crispy.  Chef Mike explained they are made fresh 4-5 times a day…no preservatives here peeps.   She also adored the salted caramel melty creamy gelato.  Kate was stuffed to the brim by her chicken caprese panini and, although she doesn’t normally get the feels for mushrooms, these ones were garlicky, juicy and free of that sometimes unpleasantly earthy flava flav.  No complaints at the taste office here.

Final Tasting Notes:

We highly recommend Green Bean.  It’s health conscious, allergy friendly, and you get your monies worth.  Fun Foodie Fact: You can get breakfast or lunch/dinner ANY time (for you brunch cravers).  It’s also awesome if you have a social group with dietary needs.  You can bring your diabetic dad, celiac sister-in-law, and nut allergic nephew all to the same place!  Green Bean is expanding to Schaumburg (yaya suburbanites!) and plans to franchise in future locations.  So lighten up and head to Green Bean when you’re in the mood for a healthy and quick meal!

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