After a hectic Thanksgiving week of many late nights catching up with family and old friends, we were ready for a stay-home-wearing-hoodies-on-Sunday-night type of date night, so the kits seemed like a nice low-stress option. These dinner kits contain almost everything you need for dinner; you just buy the chicken (or other meat or non-meat of your choosing) and any other additions you'd like to make, follow the directions, and voila! Dinner! (You'll also need water and vegetable oil.) The Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken kit appealed to me more than the Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken and Pasta, so that's what we used for dinner.
Spoiler alert: Date night also included Adult Chocolate Milk and alcoholic whipped cream. More on those after the main course!
The contents of the Wanchai Ferry dinner kit:
|Orange sauce, rice, hot peppers, and seasoned cornstarch (not pictured)|
Those are ghost chili pepper flakes. Yep.
I like to keep stocked up on ghost chili supplies, which I order from this site. These flakes definitely added some heat, but it wasn't overwhelming.
We followed the super-easy instructions on the box, which helpfully includes some suggested variations.
The box promises that dinner will be ready in "about 30 minutes", and it was. We served it with a side salad:
Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. Dinner-in-a-box seemed a bit like cheating, and I doubted it would taste good...but it was actually pretty decent. I mean, it's really not much different from using a store-bought sauce, which I do all the time. It's certainly a few big steps above frozen dinner because we bought and cooked the chicken; it wasn't pre-cooked and included in the kit. The weakest link was probably the rice. It wasn't bad, but it had a minute rice texture; it didn't seem very high quality.
These boxes are helpful if you don't want to think too much about putting a meal together. Orange chicken? Ok, all we need is the chicken. And maybe some veggies. The sauce, seasoned cornstarch, rice, and hot peppers are ready to go. Pretty convenient.
We used half of the Visa gift card to buy a Gewürztraminer; we thought the sharpness of the wine would match nicely with the spiciness of the meal, and it did.
I also decided that it was finally time to break out the tea set my parents gave me for my birthday back in June. It's a Japanese cast iron set from Teavana.
We drank green tea from Tea Zone, a spectacular shop near Porter Square in Somerville. If you like tea, you should definitely go here.
Since it was date night, dessert was a must. We had some leftover apple empanadas that Joel's brother, Dan, had made for Thanksgiving. (When Dan's not busy as a musician, he's making empanadas with his girlfriend, Clara. Check out their website and recent feature on Mo Rocca's show on the Cooking Channel, food(ography).)
We spent the second half of the gift card on alcoholic whipped cream, which we served with the empanadas.
Delicious. And strong.
Finally, we curled up on the couch to watch Dexter, and we had an after dinner drink of Adult Chocolate Milk, which we would have topped with more whipped cream, but our can was a dud and we couldn't get anything else out of it. (It turns out that the liquor store sent back the whole case; it's not usually so hard to get out of the can.)
|Adult chocolate milk with little bits of alcoholic whipped cream fail.|
I'd say it was a pretty successful date night: good food, some time to relax, an assortment of alcoholic drinks and food, Dexter...fun times.
Want to win the same prize pack and have your own date night? Leave a comment here about your favorite stay-at-home date night, either one that's already happened or one that you'd like to make happen. Enter by Friday, December 10th, at 7pm. I'll choose the winner by a random drawing. This prize is provided by Wanchai Ferry and Macaroni Grill through MyBlogSpark.
Disclosure: As noted above, I received this prize pack (two dinner kits and a Visa gift card) at no charge through Macaroni Grill and Wanchai Ferry via MyBlogSpark. The gift card covered a bottle of wine and a bottle of alcoholic whipped cream. I bought all other items (chicken, baby corn, ghost chili products, Adult Chocolate Milk) at regular price. Since I'm not backed by the budget of a publication, I do on occasion accept free food, product samples, and services. This is always noted in the blog post. When I receive free food, product samples, or services, I am under no obligation to write a positive review - or any review. Regardless of cost, everything written here represents my full and honest opinion.