Recipe: Crispy Catfish & Freekeh. So good! And healthy too.

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.

I’m curious. How often do you try new recipes for dinner? And related, how often do you try new ingredients, or new cooking techniques? At our house, when left to our own devices, we end up cooking from our standard set of family favorites that we’ve gathered over the last 20 years. That’s not a bad thing. We like those recipes — they’re favorites for a reason, and they’ve become comfort food to my kids.

Recipe: Crispy Catfish & Freekeh. So good! And healthy too.Recipe: Crispy Catfish & Freekeh. Have you tried freekeh? It's a grain.

But I have to say, one of the very best things about becoming Blue Apron customers, is that we’ve tried so many new foods and new meals over the last year — ingredients that it might never have occurred to us to try! And we’ve found meals that have become new favorites! There’s something about making new foods that brings a bit of adventure to an otherwise average day.

Earlier this month, our Blue Apron delivery included a recipe for Crispy Catfish and Freekeh. Well, it turns out I had no idea what freekeh was. (A vegetable? A sauce? Neither. It’s a grain!). And I confess, I’d never prepared catfish —I’m not sure if I’d ever even eaten catfish. To be clear, I really like fish, and we prepare it often, but for whatever reason, catfish hadn’t ever made our shopping list. So we were looking forward to trying these new-to-us foods.

Conclusion? We devoured every last mouthful!

Is that corn hand shucked?Prepping corn for a Crispy Catfish & Freekeh recipe. So good! And healthy too.

For those of you who are new here, I’ve been working with Blue Apron over the last year, and each quarter, I’ve shared a little update on our experience with their service. Blue Apron makes it easy for anyone to create chef-designed meals at home. They deliver all the (farm fresh!) ingredients you need, in exactly the right proportions, right to your home. Which means you don’t have to think up a meal plan, and you don’t have to hunt down ingredients at the grocery store, and you’re not left with any unused ingredients that you inevitably throw out the next time go through the pantry.

They offer two types of meal plans. The 2-Person plan means you’ll get a weekly delivery with three meals for two. With the Family Plan, you can choose one or two deliveries per week, and each delivery has two meals to serve family-style. Everything arrives in a refrigerated box, so if you’re not home when the package arrives, no worries — the food will stay fresh. They ship (free!) to most of the country and there is no commitment — you can skip a week or cancel at any time.

At our house, we’ve found that a delivery once or twice a month, on our busiest weeks, is perfect. If you’ve been wanting to give it a try, I have a handy discount code you can use. The first 50 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here.

Chopping Tomatoes for a Crispy Catfish & Freekeh recipe.Chopping Ingredients for Crispy Catfish & Freekeh. So good! And healthy too.

Like I mentioned, I’ve been working with Blue Apron for a year, but even when I’m not officially working with them, I’m a customer. Ben Blair and I were discussing the aspects that make us such big fans of their service and we concluded it was a few specific things:

1) Not having to make dinner decisions once in awhile is such a relief. As every parent knows, dinnertime is relentless, and coming up with meals that your kids will love, and that are healthy, and that encourage the kids to expand their palette, and that use quality ingredients — well, that feels really hard sometimes. For us, getting a break in the decision-making is like the best thing ever. It’s a mental break, and also a big time-saver — it saves us planning time, and it saves us errand time.

Recipe: Crispy Catfish & Freekeh. So good! And healthy too.The yummiest Blue Apron recipe!

2) Blue Apron meals typically involve chopping and ingredient prep and often a new-to-us cooking technique. We love working on these meals as a family! The kids can each take a job, and we all learn something new together. Yes, we also work together on our non-Blue Apron meals as well, but it feels different when it’s Blue Apron. It’s something about getting the instructions from a third party, instead of having us as parents directing the kids. With Blue Apron, we’re all equals, we’re all learning the recipe together. Does that make sense?

3) We love how often we try new food thanks to Blue Apron! Of course, nothing is stopping us from trying new foods on our own, but as I mentioned at the top of the post, it’s so easy to default to familiar foods. Even at restaurants, we’re all likely to order the usual favorites. Using Blue Apron is a really good way to get our family out of a cooking and eating rut. And it’s been interesting, because when the kids help, they are much more likely to enjoy the new foods — I think they feel ownership of them since they were the ones to chop them up. : ) And I think they trust Blue Apron now. They’ve tried enough Blue Apron meals that they know they’re going to enjoy the food.

Tomatoes and Corn - a recipe from Blue ApronRecipe: Crispy Catfish & Freekeh. So good! And healthy too.

I know the service isn’t a perfect fit for everyone, but for us it’s pretty darn ideal. First time Blue Apron users? Remember, you can get two free meals on your first Blue Apron order! Just click here.

What’s your strategy for trying new foods? Are you someone who loves to try new recipes? Or are you more likely to stick with tried and true favorites? When you’re at restaurant, do you make a point of trying something unusual, or do you look for familiar. Also, please tell me I’m not the only one who hadn’t heard of freekeh. Hah!

P.S. — Blue Apron recipes are available to everyone! You don’t have to order the meal to get the recipes. The week of the catfish was an especially good week. The whole family raved about all 3 meals! If you want to try them, they get big thumbs up from the Blairs: Crispy Catfish & Freekeh, Thai Chicken Burgers, and Seared Steaks.