Friday, April 20, 2012

Cook Once, Eat All Week–Recipe Review

After boasting about my kitchen adventures and fully stocked fridge, I thought it only fair that I give full disclosure how each of the recipes turned out after a week of eating.

First I have to say that I think cooking them all and putting them in the fridge sort of backfired.  I thought it would make it easier for Matt to come home from working his 3-11pm shifts and have a plethora of choices for dinners instead of having only one or two things ready and then freezing the rest to prepare as the week went on.  You know how sometimes when you’re standing in the cereal aisle with too many choices all you do is reach for the ol’ stand by of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and call it a day?

No, really, we actually both ate cereal for dinner at least once by the end of the week because we were just so over all the choices.  Note to self: too many choices all at once is not a good thing.  I think it would have worked better to have one or two options ready at a time, use those up and move to the next.  Live and learn.

But more importantly, how did they taste?

Spicy Thai Shrimp Soup


Seriously, that is an unattractive looking bowl of soup.  It looks lumpy and weird colored.

Fortunately, it was delicious.  The texture was perfect and the shrimp and sweet potatoes flavors were awesome together.  I could leave the peas out next time because that threw things off for me.  The only bad thing I’d say about this soup is that after 2 days, it freaked me out to reheat something with fish in it… so it never made it past day 2.  But, on days 1 and 2 it was delicious.  (So again, maybe not cooking all at once – this is probably the dish I would start with.)

Mini Meatloaves


The hands down favorite dish for flavor and reheat ease.  I took these for lunch and Matt ate them at night.  This would be an easy dish to recreate and freeze or to tailor by adding in other veggies or using other ground meats.  This was my favorite of all the recipes and I think it was Matt’s favorite too.  (It’d be a good dish to make for a new mom or someone who is sick too, because you can just reheat a few at a time.)

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie


Again, this is a really ugly dish.  I’ve never made any type of Shepherd’s Pie before and I don’t really know what’s supposed to be happening here – meat with potatoes on top I guess?  Well, fortunately it turned out that this tasted really good too – it was kind of like Thanksgiving dinner all stirred up together.  If you could get past how weird looking it was, it was quite good.  I took it to lunch for 3 days in a row but I don’t think Matt ate any.  Possibly because I ate it all.



“Why did the enchiladas have broccoli in them?” 

This is the question Matt texted me after eating this, and listen Self Magazine, why did the enchiladas have broccoli in them?  This dish was not a household favorite.  In fact, I threw more than half of it.  (Yup, sad story.)   I don’t really like enchiladas but Matt usually does, so I figured he’d eat them.  He wasn’t a huge fan of these.  But, I think you could keep them in this rotation if you left the broccoli out (which means cooking it separate from the red peppers or leaving the red peppers out too) and I’d probably add some shredded chicken to it (easily added by poaching and shredding while others cook.)

Vegetable & Chickpea Ragout with Penne


“It was like vegetable soup pasta sauce.”

Again, review from the peanut gallery.  And I had to agree.  This one I’ll chalk up to operator error – I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because I thought we’d rather have a saucier pasta sauce.  Maybe the actual recipe is delicious but my version of it?  Eh, not so much.  I ended up tossing the pasta sauce half way through the week, pouring the penne into a casserole dish and added a can of boring old Ragu and a few spoonful's of Ricotta cheese, sprinkling with mozzarella and turning it into baked ziti…. to which the peanut gallery proclaimed, “Now, this is the kind of Italian I can get on board with.”  So, we salvaged that one.

Some hits, some misses and some learning experiences.  I do intend to try and do this a little more often because it was great to have an entire week without any weeknight cooking duties yet still have homemade meals available.  I don’t know if I’ll revisit this rotation for awhile, simply because there were so many other recipe collections I found like when I was searching.  Let me know if you try this one set of recipes (or any other one) – I’ll be curious to know how other people fare with them!

1 comment:

Cubalz said...

I made this cook ahead menu several weeks ago too. I am baking the shepherds pie tonight & hope we like it as much as you did. Actually, I loved the chickpea penne ragout, as did my vegetarian co-worker who I gifted with a serving. I didn't care for the shrimp soup which I found to be very bland, possibly becuz i'm a fan of spicy Thai foods & this was neither spicy nor very Thai-like in flavor. I can't remember the enchiladas so they must not have been very note-worthy. The mini meatloafs were ok. By the end of the week, I was getting tired of the taste of chipotle peppers since it was in just about everything.

If you like make-ahead menus..i highly recommend visiting . There's even 5 & 10 day min menus for those who might be just starting out or maybe overwhelmed with too much on-hand food like yourself.