Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day | July

Foodie Pen Pal July

Today is Foodie Pen Pal reveal day and I’m so excited to share the many wonderful things I received this month from Melanie. Not familiar with Foodie Pen Pals? Check it out here.

  • Earth’s Best Quinoa: This sesame street meal is packed with veggies and make for an easy to make side dish or lunch on the go. This was the perfect meal to bring to work and was ready in 60 seconds!
  • Bumble Bee Light Tuna: Tuna is another staple in my pantry due to its long shelf life and versatility. My favorite meal to make is a classic tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread: tuna, light mayo, chopped celery, tomatoes, salt, pepper and a dash of curry powder.
  • Pereg Quinoa: This southern style quinoa was so easy to make and includes a delicious blend of smoked paprika, tomatoes, red bell peppers and tons of flavorful spices! The quinoa only took about 10 minutes and it was the perfect complement to my baked chicken breast and green beans.

Foodie Pen Pal July

  • Bag of dried black beans: Black beans are a staple in Melanie’s home so she sent over a generous bag in this months package. Black beans are great because they store well and are easy to rehydrate. Just throw them in boiling water for a few minutes, remove them from the stove and let stand for about an hour. Check out my Black Bean + Corn Summer Salad recipe for Meatless Monday!
  • PopChips: Sean and I love to go camping and one of our favorite things to bring with us are BBQ and Sea Salt & Vinegar chips. PopChips are never fried or baked – they are popped – and are oh, so delicious.
  • Better Oats Hot Cereal: This was a fantastic on-the-go way to start my morning. Dark Chocolate instant oatmeal by better oats is naturally flavored and is made with real chocolate morsels. Yum.
  • Tea & Emergen-C: For those who know me, know about my recent tea addiction.  I’m so thankful that Melanie sent over some more tea for my collection. I love the Numi Organic Jasmine Green Tea (which was featured on one of my past FTC post’s) and the Stash peppermint tea (great on a cold morning.) She also threw in some packets of Emergen-C which are always a must-have.

Foodie Pen Pal July

  • Sweet Treats: On a recent family trip to Canada, Melanie picked me up some goodies! Nestle Aero candy bar, Smarties and coffee crisp (love these!) She also picked me up some Kinder surprise eggs. These treats blend both milk and white chocolate and hold a very special prize in the middle – great for kids!
  • Starbucks Via Ready Brew: I’m usually in the office between 6am – 8am and sometimes do not have time to make coffee. This Italian Dark Roast ready brew is perfect on-the-go.
  • Silicone spatula: What a sweet surprise!



The Lean Green Bean

Now for those of you who are new to this and interested in joining, here is what Foodie Penpals is all about:
  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

Click here to learn more or to sign up!

Plated | Simplicity Delivered



If you are like me, there are days that I don’t have time to pick up fresh ingredients after work and still get home in time to make a decent meal. A few weeks ago I discovered Plated – a service where chef-inspired recipes and fresh ingredients are delivered right to your door. So, how does this service work?

Image Credit: Plated

Image Credit: Plated

Browse & Choose Your Recipe:

Each week a new menu is posted online with a variety of recipes (4 meat & fish and 3 vegetarian options). You start by picking out your meal, selecting how many servings (2, 4, 6) and then add it to you cart! Simple as that.

Select Your Delivery Date:

Plated delivers to roughly 80% of the U.S. Click here to see if they deliver to your neighborhood! Orders are shipped from three major hubs (SF, NY & Chi-Town) and all packages are insulated with Mylar liners year-round to keep food fresh during the delivery process.

Get Ready To Enjoy Your Recipe:

All of the ingredients you need arrive fresh to your door along with step-by-step recipe cards & pre-measured ingredients.

Plated Box


To get started I ordered the Chicken Fricassee with Gnocchi and Artichokes and the Spicy Soy Poached Pollack with Vermicelli Noodles recipe on Thursday and on Friday I received all of my ingredients so I was set for this weekends dinner. As I mentioned earlier, everything came pre-measured – so all I needed were the basics: Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper. Instructions were easy to follow and everything tasted delicious (I noticed that both dishes needed a bit more seasoning so I adjusted according to my taste).

PLated Ingredients


Interested in checking out PLATED? Click here to sign up and use coupon code SHARKTANK to receive four plates for free – just pay shipping and handling. Hurry up though, coupon code is good only to the first 500 people. Have you used Plated? Share with us in the comments below.

Want to make these recipes at home? Click on the recipe below for a downloadable step-by-step ingredient list and directions:

Cheers! Crystal

Roasted Butternut Squash, Garlic & Rosemary Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

The fall season calls for deliciously irresistible winter squash and butternut squash is one of my all-time favorites. Last night I had the opportunity to hang out with Chef Don Garrett from Wine Country Artisans Catering who made an AMAZING homemade butternut squash ravioli. These raviolis were hands down the BEST butternut squash raviolis I’ve ever tasted (perhaps we will have a blog post soon and Don will share with us his recipe!) Nevertheless, as I was eating his leftovers this afternoon for lunch, I got inspired to whip up something tonight for dinner that incorporated this wonderful autumn squash. In the past, I’ve made butternut squash soup, roasted squash with thyme and butternut squash risotto… hmmmm, I have lasagna pasta sheets – let’s make lasagna! I haven’t made lasagna in a long, long time so this was the perfect dish to make. Not only is this dish comforting — a perfect pair to the cooler weather — but it’s easy to make.

Prepping Lasagna

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • No-boil lasagna pasta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Butternut Sqash Lasagna

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss fresh butternut squash pieces with olive oil and lightly season with salt. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir butternut squash and roast for another 10 – 15, until tender and golden.

While squash is roasting, melt butter in a large saucepans. Add garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant (1 minute). Stir in flour and cook roux, stirring for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add milk, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook and stir frequently until thickened yet smooth – about 5 – 8 minutes. Stir in roasted squash.

Butter a casserole dish and pour some sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Begin layering the lasagna pasta sheets. Spread the sauce on top of the noodles and sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering noodles, adding the sauce and finishing with Parmesan cheese. Pour heavy whipping cream over the top of the entire dish and sprinkle a little more cheese. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Allow dish to cool for about 5 minutes. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Serves 4 – 6.

Wine Pairing? Try pairing this decadent dish with a rich & buttery Chardonnay. Do you have a personal favorite? Share with us in the comments below or on twitter!

Enjoy! ~Crystal

What are your favorite fall dishes? Share with us on Twitter @ApronsStilettos