Tag Archives: #cook90

Week Four of #Cook90… and DONE!

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.) But now it’s the end of the month. Which means, I did it!


img_9032Post-dinner on January 31 and that’s a wrap! I’d love to claim “where did the month go?” but I can’t. This challenge was surprisingly difficult. I even missed some of those pre-made foods – after all, they’re tasty! And I buy them because there are some things that I just don’t want to make myself. (Bring on the Trader Joe’s potstickers!)

Lessons Learned

So what did cooking and Instagram-ing so many meals in one month teach me?

  1. Weekend prep is KEY. There is no getting around it. Coming home on a weeknight knowing there’s roasted veggies, washed and chopped lettuce, and cooked chicken in the fridge, makes dinner seem less daunting. Pasta, sandwiches, wraps, and tacos can all the made from those ingredients in less time than it would take me to decide where to call for takeout.
  2. Meal planning is a must. To keep from getting bored with everything I’ve cooked on the weekend, a meal plan with pre-determined variations is necessary. It also helps in dealing with the inevitable leftovers.
  3. The freezer is my friend. Much of my weekend meal prep goes into Ziploc bags and into the freezer so I can easily thaw sauces and sides in minutes. This has helped keep the variety up and the leftovers to a minimum.
  4. A lot of people like pictures of food. I am still surprised when complete strangers leave encouraging comments on my Instagram posts. It’s oddly motivating and definitely appreciated.

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Goal Reached

When I started this challenge, the goal was to get back to truly enjoying cooking. Last weekend, after sampling some fresh-from-the-oven blueberry banana bread I declared out loud “I love cooking.” It was completely spontaneous, and definitely told me that this little experiment has been a good one.


Now comes the really hard part – keeping it up. At least in some capacity. While I have no doubt that some pre-made food will sneak back into rotation, my new goal will be to keep up some version of the weekend prep and planning for as long as possible. Who knows, maybe I just spent 30 days creating a new habit!

Recipes from this week:

Week Three of #Cook90

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.)

22 days down. 8 to go.

Cooking Ahead Wins Big

This week saw big shifts in schedules for us as husband’s work had him gone several nights and I began taking an online class two nights a week. Everything we’re eating on the nights I have class comes straight from the freezer supply of pre-cooked-by-me dinners, giving me lots of motivation to keep up the weekend prep cooking.

Eat and Repeat

In trying not to constantly repeat dinners, I’m noticing meal planning getting progressively harder as we move through the month. Apparently we’re creatures of habit when it comes to eating. But I’m also dipping hard into our freezer stockpile, which lends itself to repeats. But meatballs can be turned into lots of things and we love burritos, so maybe repeats are OK.

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A Cooking Challenge

img_8873One of my favorite people recently began an autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet to help ease some of her symptoms. It’s super restrictive, but I’m determined to make it as painless as possible for her. So this weekend I cooked her an AIP-friendly lunch. There was no sugar, wheat, dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts or additives to be found. I enjoyed the creative challenge of creating a menu that was healthy, delicious and met AIP diet standards. We dined on sage and garlic rubbed pork, sweet potato and apple puree, and salad with avocado and a ginger-basil vinaigrette. Italian sodas made with a blueberry vanilla reduction, and mango banana granita for dessert rounded out our meal.

Onward to Week 4

After conquering the first week of eating a home cooked dinner before night classes, I feel confident we can do it again. I’m heading into the last stretch of this challenge, and if I’ve made it this far, I can do another week. Right…?

Recipes from this week:

Week Two of #Cook90

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.)

14 days down. 16 to go.


img_8711Day 8 (Sunday) was a birthday celebration, so a special dessert was in order. Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes are quick to put together, and use ingredients that are always in my pantry. Easy! Turns out, not so much when the cake sticks to the ramekin and the whole thing turns into a puddle of lava before you can get it out of the dish. #fail. Oh well. It tasted delicious, even if it wasn’t pretty.

Buying Ingredients

For the second week in a row, I’ve noticed #cook90 leading to a change in my grocery shopping. Instead of coming home with mostly pre-made food, I bought mostly ingredients, including two bags full of produce. In our world, this is a big deal. Pretty sure there was a week in December when the only produce that made it into our house was a bag of apples, and those were turned into pie…

Bonus Prep Day

On Day 12 (Thursday) we woke up to find our world coated in ice and just about every area school closed. For my office, it meant a work from home day. So I used the day to cook up two big pans of roasted veggies since I could get emails and other work done while the oven did the cooking. Those veggies are now getting tossed over salad greens, folded into tortillas or topped with eggs.

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The Freezer is my Friend

While cooking this week didn’t feel any easier than last – especially when it came to my motivation – I was reminded almost every day that weekend prep to fill the freezer is the only way I’m going to make it through the #cook90 challenge. Cooking prep for this weekend includes: another chicken in the slow cooker, a carrot/parsnip mash (so I can attempt to get more veggies in the kiddo), re-stocking the baked oatmeal supply, and a huge batch of waffles.

Onward to Week 3

The upcoming week is going to get tough with some major schedule shifts on the horizon. Hopefully #cook90 will keep me focused on cooking at home instead of resorting to pizza or takeout. Fingers crossed!

Recipes from this week:

Recipe: Cheddar and Broccoli Rice

Thick, creamy cheese sauce and broccoli turn rice into the ultimate comfort food.


1 Tbsp butter
3 c cooked rice
3 oz cream cheese (regular or low fat)
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c chopped, steamed broccoli
1 c milk, divided
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add rice, stirring gently to combine.

Cut the cream cheese into large cubes and add to the rice along with ½ cup of milk.

Stir until cream cheese is melted and incorporated into the rice.

Add cheddar cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt pepper and remaining ½ cup of milk.

Stir until cheese is melted and everything is combined.

Fold in broccoli.

Serve immediately.

Krab Quiche

Growing up, Krab Quiche was a spring staple in our house. I didn’t appreciate as a kid, but as an adult, I crave it every year. Using flaky imitation crab meat gives the quiche a great texture and flavor while keeping it budget friendly. It’s also a fantastic recipe for those with shellfish allergies since it contains no actual crab.

Ingredients for Krab Quiche

1 cup milk
4 eggs
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
8 oz Swiss cheese, shredded
1 pkg Imitation crab, drained and chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 small bunch of green onions, sliced
1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook onion for 2-3 minutes until it’s softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk and seasoning together. Stir cooked onion, cheese and imitation crab into egg mixture.

Stirring up ingredients

Pour into pie shell.

Quiche ready for the oven.

Bake for 35-40 mins or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slice and serve.

Krab Quiche

Tips on Krab Quiche

  • You can use any type of onions in this recipe. Just be sure to slice them thin and cook until translucent before adding to the quiche.
  • Any type of dairy milk will work here – Nonfat, 2%, Whole – Your choice.
  • The imitation crab gives this quiche a lot of texture. You can use lump crab meat in this dish if you choose, but it will change the texture and taste of the final dish.

Drink Pairing

Blackberry Vanilla Martini

Enjoy your slice of quiche with a sweet and tart blackberry vanilla martini.

Print the Recipe

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Krab Quiche

Krab Quiche

  • Author: MittenGirl
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Growing up, Krab Quiche was a spring staple in our house. Using imitation crab meat creates a great texture and flavor in the dish while keeping it budget friendly.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 8 oz Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1 pkg Imitation crab, drained and chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small bunch green onion, sliced
  • 1 unbaked pie shell


Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat.

Add onion and cook until onion has softened.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk and seasoning together.

Stir cooked onion, cheese and imitation crab into egg mixture.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 40-50 mins or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slice and serve.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: krab, imitation crab meat, onions, quiche, eggs, pie, dinner, easy meals, egg pie, crab quiche,

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Krab Quiche

Week One of #Cook90

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!)


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:

Why I’m Going to #Cook90

I like to cook. And I’m pretty good at it. But for the past year (and then some) everything else has been getting in the way. New baby, new job, too tired – the excuses are easy to find. However, that new baby is now a toddler who’s eating table food and wants dinner the minute we walk in the door.

Once in awhile I manage to get dinner on the table quickly during the week – at which point I feel like Super Woman – but most nights that doesn’t happen. And so we end up grabbing pizza or quickly combining pasta with marinara sauce, which is resulting in a waistline I don’t like and leftovers I don’t want to eat.

Enter #cook90. Getting back to truly enjoying cooking is a goal for 2017. From the editors at Epicurious, #cook90 challenges you to make 3 home-cooked meals a day, every day, for the month of January. For me this means getting serious about meal planning, weekend meal prep, and not defaulting to Lean Cuisines for lunch.

Getting dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less during the week will only happen if I plan and prep each weekend, so I’ve spent several hours during the holiday weekend doing exactly that. My freezer now contains: tomato and meat sauce, mac and cheese with veggies, black beans with tomato rice, meatballs, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, and chocolate chip cookies. I also made a block of garlic butter to help make garlic bread that much faster to put together. Everything is portioned to be part of a meal – not the entire meal – so I can mix/match with various meats, veggies, breads and other groceries depending on my mood.

Want to join #cook90? Sign up! Want to see what’s cooking? Follow #cook90 on Instagram. If you want to see how I’m doing with my cooking goals? Join me on Instagram or follow this blog.

Happy cooking! 🙂

UPDATES: How’d I Do?