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As a third-generation grocer and active member of a very large Italian family that loves to eat, the irony that I am an absolutely terrible cook is not lost on me. Watching me in the kitchen is essentially like watching a baby deer learn to walk. My family traditionally has Sunday dinners where all members gather to celebrate birthdays, catch up on the happenings of the week, and above all else feast upon delicious flavors.

My sole responsibility and contribution has always been helping to fill the glasses with ice and water. There was a time that I got a little I promotion to helping with the garlic bread. I was thrilled and all I could think was “so long water pitcher and ice maker, nice knowing you.” It was my time to shine. Well in the famous words of Julia Robert’s character Vivian from Pretty Woman, “big mistake, HUGE!” Needless to say, I am officially and most likely permanently back in my role of water girl, most likely until forever. You win some, you lose some.

So, obviously it is clear that I am no expert chef, but really just a girl trying to not mess up the simple art of boiling water, I have enlisted myself to test our merchandise each month. We promote our best sellers and new items monthly on our website and I am excited to give them a whirl to (hopefully, successfully…fingers crossed) prove that anyone can make a great dish especially when using the freshest and tastiest products in town. First up…our Market Meals at the new Blue Valley Market. Go big or go home right?

So what is a Market Meal? So glad you asked — a Market Meal is a prepackaged kit filled with all the yummy ingredients you need to make a meal for two to enjoy. There are a variety of options to choose from like honey dijon glazed salmon, marinated flank steak, and Caribbean shrimp tacos. For this first round of “Testing the Merchandise,” I drafted my Aunt Joyce, first generation grocer and Sunday dinner chicken  provider, to assist me. After much deliberation we selected the Chicken Piccata meal. And so the cooking adventure began…

Testing the Merchandise: Chicken Piccata Market Meal Summary

Things Learned: I learned a lot. Like: when you boil water it’s always a good idea to turn on the stove; garlic cloves have skin that needs to be peeled before use (who knew?); it’s best to just take one step at a time; follow the recipe if you are new; cooking can be equally therapeutic and overwhelming; it is important to remain stay calm, and always have all hands-on deck (especially when you have three things on the stove simultaneously); it actually is super fun to cook with others; a messy kitchen and dirty apron reflect hard work and good cooking; and doing dishes isn’t the most entertaining, but just add music and it becomes a whole new silly chore!

Most likely majority of you reading this must think I have lived under a rock my entire life or wonder what I typically eat since I don’t know anything about anything. Well to answer that question, I habitually go for the prepared foods, healthy frozen meals, salad bar, or I dine out. They are all fast, easy, and pretty much a mindless decision. I won’t lie to you, I will still absolutely continue to steer toward those selections. However, I really do think that now I will also find myself steering towards the grocery aisles to find ingredients that will create a delightful dish. Of course, I will be also now be grabbing a Market Meals that already have those ingredients ready and waiting when I don’t have a new recipe to try. So much fun to look forward to! Stay tuned.

Rating the Overall Experience: 10/10! Super fun, super convenient, not a lot of prep time, and delicious flavors to devour. Only negative was doing dishes!

Merchandise Score: 10/10! At first glance of the ingredients I wasn’t sure if Chicken Piccata was going to be something I raved about. Sometimes first impressions are so wrong because I absolutely LOVED it, as did Aunt Joyce. We highly recommend it to anyone. Absolutely a new favorite!

Additional Feedback or Recommendations: One thing that we noticed was that there was only one piece of chicken to be divided up between the two consumers. While the portions were incredibly generous and left enough food to use for lunch the next day, we did feel like each person should be given their own piece of chicken. Happy to report our feedback was received and the Market Meal ingredients have been updated.


Feeling Accomplished,

Kyli Cosentino-Maddox