Week One of #Cook90

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Epicurious issued the #cook90 challenge to cook 3 meals a day for 30 days in January and I decided to accept. (Read: Why I’m Going to #cook90.)

7 days down. 23 to go.

I’m a Rock Star

Days 1 and 2 were a breeze. It was the holiday weekend. (No work!) Long naps for the kiddo provided lots of cooking and planning time for me. I wrote out menus and cooked SO MUCH to stock the freezer. By the end of Day 2, the week’s menu was taped to the fridge and lunch for Day 3 was packed. I was super motivated! This wasn’t going to be so tough after all.

And Then, Reality

Day 3 (Tuesday) was back to the office and it took until 11am for me to realize that I had absolutely NO idea what was on the menu for dinner that night. Which meant I had taken nothing out of the freezer that morning. Really? I had ALREADY screwed this up? *sigh* Arriving home at 5:30pm, the kiddo made a beeline for the fridge, tugging on the handle and requesting yogurt. The menu said salmon and mashed potatoes for dinner. Great. Both are frozen and only the potatoes can go from freezer to plate in 5-10 minutes. So it was mashed potatoes, frozen veggies and leftover chicken for the kiddo while I waited for the frozen salmon the thaw and bake. So hungry…

Must. Stay. Motivated.

I’m good at bringing my lunch to work, but that’s often not much more than grabbing a Lean Cuisine on the way out the door. At the end of Day 3, it’s time to make lunch for Day 4 and I’m remembering why I rely on that convenience. Why is this difficult?! Only because of #cook90 do I force myself to put together a home cooked lunch for the next day. I didn’t take on this challenge just to bail a few days in.

Better… Maybe…?

Meals for Days 4 (Wednesday) and 5 (Thursday) are drawn straight from my freezer supplies and I’m feeling good about spending so much of my previous weekend cooking. Shredded chicken combined with tomato rice and black beans to fill burritos that are consumed while putting away groceries. Tomato, veggie and meat sauce poured over pasta for a quick meal after a long and snowy evening commute. Way to go, me! But come post-dinner on Day 5 and suddenly I’m where I was two days earlier: needing to make lunch for the next day, and VERY tempted to say “screw it” and settle for a Lean Cuisine. I dig through the fridge and freezer, and combine some random leftovers into lunch. This suddenly seems a little easier than it did a couple days ago.

Hello Weekend!

One of my favorite slow cooker dishes is on Day 6’s dinner menu, so pot full of Thai Chicken was waiting for me at the end of the week. It made a ton, so I double up the rice I serve it over and package up half of each for the freezer. (Bonus!)

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It is now Day 7 (Saturday), which means time for another round of making food to freeze. Two hours in the kitchen this morning has resulted in 9 slices of quiche and 3 containers of cheddar broccoli rice going into the freezer. I also roasted two bulbs of garlic, which are now housed in a glass jar of olive oil in the pantry. There are no specific plans for that, but a bunch of roasted garlic isn’t going to go to waste in this house.

Onward to Week 2

The next 7 nights of dinners are planned and once again pinned to the fridge. For now, I’ll continue relying on my staple breakfast (baked oatmeal) and compiling leftovers for lunch, so I’m not writing out menus for those. My motivation has rebounded and fingers are crossed that it hangs around. So far I have had 21 meals – in a row – made by me, and I’m feeling pretty darn proud of that.

Recipes from this week:

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