Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dashing Dishes - Two Years and Counting

Interestingly my old Dashing Dishes reviews seem to get the most hits of anything I blog about, so I thought it was time for an update, as it's been two years this month since we starting doing Dashing Dishes. My last post about it was in August 2011, so it's been a while!

For a brief re-cap, Dashing Dishes is a sort of cooking club where you go once a month a make a bunch of meals to freeze. I really couldn't live without it! Trevor and I have it down to a science - we can go there, make our meals, and be home again with them in the freezer in about 45 minutes. It helps that we live about 90 seconds away from the community centre where they meet, but still...

My absolute all time favourite dish is the Kauai Mango Chicken Wraps. The wraps are stuffed with a chicken, coconut, and raisin mixture in a mango curry sauce. I LOVE THEM! My next favourite is Oyster Beef with rice noodles. I've become a sucker for pretty much anything with curry or oyster sauce. We also love Sweet Chili Chicken, and Pork Spareribs, which are done in a BBQ sauce in the crockpot. Another favourite are the Beef Dippers - the beef stews in the crockpot all day,  then you serve it on buns with au jus for dipping. Yum!

I print out each month's order and post it on the fridge, and then I assign each dish a number of stars. Most of them get three or four, which means they're good, but I don't rave about them like I do the dishes in the previous paragraph. If a dish gets one or two, we won't order it again, and there was actually one month when two dishes got Xs instead of any stars. That was unusual, because generally at most there's only one we don't like. But it turns out in this particular month we had ordered something we had given a bad score before - Rustic Tarragon & Tomato Roasted Pork Chops - and I'd forgotten about that. The other X was Greek Pasta which wasn't at all nice, either.

Sometimes I'll slightly alter the directions, or add my own twist. We really enjoy the Chicken Parmigiana, but I find it not saucy enough, so I add a can of diced tomatoes. The Lemon and Garlic Greek Chicken stir fry was fine, but not very exciting, so I served it on pitas, which was quite good. Recently I had ordered two of the Marinated Flank Steak, but we found it kind of dry. So when I got to the second one, I diced it up and made a quasi-Stroganoff with peas and mushrooms and sherry, over bow tie pasta, and it was delicious. Trevor just took the last container of it from the freezer and for lunch today.

A surprise favourite was the Asian Peanut Noodles. I ordered it because it sounded interesting, and when we got to the assembly station and I saw that it included peanut butter, I was a bit taken aback. But was it ever tasty! That was about six months ago now, and I'm drooling a little just thinking about it. :)

A couple of less than impressive dishes were the Black Bean Quesadillas with Sweet Chili Sauce and the Tomato Pesto Fish Dinner. Black beans and sweet chili sauce was just a strange flavour combination that didn't work for us. And recalling my previous dislike of pesto, we left the pesto out of the fish dinner, but then it was dry and sort of bland, so that was really my own fault. :)

I still can't recommend Dashing Dishes highly enough - it saves so much time, and money we would have spent on eating out, and it still feels enough like home cooking to satisfy me, especially when I freestyle with what we ordered. Their setup is efficient and their staff are great. Check out their website and see if they have a location near you! (And no, I'm not being paid by them... :)

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