Pop-Up Pantry Brings Restaurant-Quality Dinners To Your Home

A few weeks ago Pop-Up Pantry reached out to see if I’d like to try some of their chef-prepared gourmet dinners.

Up until that email, I’d never heard of Pop-Up Pantry, but I was very much intrigued…. Certainly they can’t be talking frozen TV dinners, right? I’ve never seen that in the frozen food isle at our local grocery store.

Turns out they weren’t, and they’re nothing like a TV dinner.

Pop-Up Pantry describes their dining experience like this:

“Pop-Up Pantry delivers 3-course restaurant-quality dinners crafted by top chefs to your door – for the price of takeout.”

And really it’s a simple process to pick your meal and try it out. Once you’re on the Pop-Up Pantry website you get to choose between 20 or so different menus, all crafted by real chefs, and SOME of those chefs you may recognize from FOX’s MasterChef television show.

Skimming the options, I couldn’t help but pick out one of “have to try everywhere I go” meals: Shrimp and Grits.

Pop-Up Pantry’s Shrimp and Grits with Five Pepper Relish comes complete with everything to make that meal, plus an appetizer (Spinach and Artichoke Dip with a baguette) and dessert (Pear Almond Tartlette).

PopUp Pantry Meals
And the prep couldn’t be easier – a little time boiling the packets in water, a few minutes of warming in the oven. Done.

PopUp Pantry Meals

Having said that, I’ll do things a little differently with my next dinner (I also ordered the Lemongrass Salmon Wrapped in Banana Leaf, with Tom Kha Soup (lime-coconut) and Mango Coconut Rice Pudding).

This time I prepared everything while it was frozen, which, by the way, is perfectly acceptable according to the easy-to-follow instructions included in the package. However, after following the suggested cooking times I found things to still be…a little too cold on the inside. So, next time either I’ll boil longer or I’ll thaw things first. One or the other.

It ended up okay – after putting each of our servings together, I nuked them in the {gasp!} microwave for about 30 seconds and they heated through perfectly.

PopUp Pantry Shrimp and Grits

A brief word of warning: The Shrimp and Grits is very, very spicy. This isn’t really a criticism, as there many people who prefer more than a little spice in their meals. But I had a hard time enjoying the meal because my mouth was stinging so badly. And my husband, the man who adds Texas Pete® hot sauce to just about everything? He agreed.

Despite the fire, I could still taste the savory layers of flavor built into this southern favorite, and they were good. Better than take-out, for sure. The shrimp were a little overdone, but didn’t bother me, and I suspect the extra time in the microwave may have been the culprit.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the salmon turns out! And I may or may not be more excited to taste the Mango Coconut Rice Pudding….

Disclosure: Pop-Up Pantry gave me two complete meals at no charge, but all opinions are very much my own.


15 Minutes To Simply Stated Shrimp Pasta

I never tire of meals that can be thrown together in less than 20 minutes, especially when they involve pasta, seafood, and garlic.

Shrimp, garlic, pasta…15 MINUTES, PEOPLE! Why wouldn’t you try it?

Okay, you! {points finger} You, with the seafood allergy! Keep reading….

A seasoned and seared chicken breast would be the perfect substitute. OR, maybe a marinated and grilled portobello mushroom. Point is, there are endless ways to make this awesomely simple weeknight dish.

Simply Stated Shrimp Pasta

1/2 box linguine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bag frozen raw extra-large shrimp, thawed
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley or freshly chopped Italian parsley
2 green onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter

Fill a large pot with salted water 3/4 full, and set to boil over high heat. Add the linguine, stir, reduce heat to medium/high and continue at a rolling boil for 8 minutes (about 2 minutes less than the package says).

Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a large skillet and preheat over medium/high heat for a couple minutes. Sprinkle salt, pepper and parsley on one side of the shrimp.

Add the shrimp, seasoned side down, into the hot skillet. Sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper, and let cook for 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp, cook for an additional 2 minutes, and then remove from the pan – they’ll finish cooking at the end.

Add the green onions and garlic to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Pour the chicken broth into the skillet, and bring to a hard simmer, taking care to scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Once the pasta has reached 8 minutes, use tongs to transfer it to the skillet. Don’t worry about draining the pasta; allowing some of the pasta water to marry with the broth mixture in the skillet will help your simple sauce thicken a little.

Add the shrimp back into the skillet, throw in the butter and continue cooking for 2 more minutes, using the tongs to toss occasionally.

Serve hot with a side of crusty bread. Makes enough for 2 or 3, with extra for lunch the next day.

Simple Grilled Chili Shrimp Soft Tacos

I’ve mentioned my love of frozen raw shrimp before. Purchase them on sale (usually buy one/get one), use what you need, keep the rest frozen for a future meal!


Need dinner in less than 30 minutes? Who doesn’t. Here’s one of my go-to meals that start with those shrimp:


Grilled Chili Shrimp Soft Tacos


{Print this recipe}

Prep: 5 minutes | Cook: 10 minutes | Serves: 2-4

24 large shrimp (thawed, peeled & tails removed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 flour tortillas
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup seasoned rice*
1 14.5 ounce can refried beans, warmed
1/4 cup sour cream


Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and place in oven at 325 degrees to warm while you make the rest of the meal.


Warm a grill pan with olive oil (or a large skillet) over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle one side of the shrimp with chili powder, salt and pepper. Place the shrimp seasoned-side down in the grill pan and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, squirt with lemon juice, and then flip. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.


Build the tacos with shrimp, beans, rice, cheese, tomato, onion and sour cream. Serve hot!


Makes 6 soft tacos.
*Seasoned rice in our house includes parsley or cilantro, garlic salt, pepper – add while fluffing the rice after it’s cooked.

Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya

shrimp and sausage jambalaya

Always one for a good slow cooker recipe, but quick to get tired of chili, beef stew, or a roast, I wanted something different one holiday when I was hosting a family gathering. I stumbled upon a recipe for gumbo that led me to another recipe for jambalaya, which ended up morphing into my own recipe for jambalaya. Which is absolutely delicious, and super easy to throw together.

Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 28oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 14.5oz cans chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1lb Italian sausage
  • 1lb large frozen raw shrimp (thawed), de-tailed and peeled
  • ⅔ cup uncooked white rice
  1. Cook the Italian sausage in a skillet on the stove according to package directions*. Remove from heat.
  2. In a slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, dried parsley, bay leaves, onion, green pepper, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Cut your Italian sausage into ¼″ slices and add to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Set the slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
  3. With 45 minutes remaining, add the rice, stirring to combine. Cover and let cook for another 40 minutes. When there’s only five minutes left, add the shrimp.
  4. The jambalaya is ready to serve when the shrimp have turned pink, about 5 minutes. Makes six bowls, or eight mugs. Goes great with a crusty baguette, and the longer it sits the better this jambalaya gets!

*Smoked sausage is a good alternative, and requires even less prep since you don’t have to cook it before putting it in the slow cooker.

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