Part 3 – Cooking

I started cooking on Monday morning. I got halfway through by 2 p.m. Before you freak out, there were extenuating circumstances. Okay, circumstance.

Party Boy worked from home because he had been sick on Sunday. His working from home means hours and hours on the phone. Which means that the house has to be pretty quiet. So I was able to run the mixer only when he wasn’t on the phone. And getting pots and pans and washing dishes. So, I had to go really, super slow. And stay as quiet as possible. So everything took way longer.

Happily, the instructions came to a good stopping place about halfway through the plan and I was able to stop and clean up and do some laundry before swim class.

Monday

French Dip Sandwiches – I substituted brisket that I had on hand for the roast. This is the first time I made a brisket in the crock pot, as we traditionally bake it slow and low for barbecue. I started it on Sunday night at about 8 p.m. set to low. It cooked for about 12 hours before I turned off the cooker and shredded the meat. We had these for dinner Monday. Notes: The brisket worked and I was glad to be able to use what I had on hand. We got 5 sandwiches and I froze enough for a second meal. Verdict – 5 stars fresh. Final verdict is out until we have some that were frozen.

Oatmeal Raspberry SconesI started by making the batter for these. It went fairly quickly, even though I had to run the mixer intermittently (in between phone calls). I had never made scones before, but these turned out really good.  Notes: Definitely want to use a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. I used parchment and it was super easy to get the scones off of the tray. I ate one fresh and was kind of disappointed that they weren’t sweeter. I let them cool completely on the racks and then divided them up into gallon freezer bags. They went in the freezer. Done. I had two for breakfast on Tuesday morning – amazing! They were just the right texture and sweetness to eat with my morning coffee. Funny how it makes a difference what you are expecting. Verdict: 5 stars. Definitely will make these again! Perfect for a light, quick breakfast.

Chicken Divan – I made up 4 – 8×8 trays of this meal while the scones were baking. Super fast and easy.  I just used the suggested aluminum trays and covered them with foil. Wrote the instructions right on the foil and stacked them neatly in the freezer. We’ll get 2 meals off of this. Verdict: Looks yummy and made up easy. The jury is out on the taste until we have it for dinner. I’ll include that in my review after eating for a month (or so).

Zesty Chicken Burritos – This was the most time-consuming to make mainly because they were all individually wrapped. Since I had just finished the makings for these at lunch time I went ahead and served these fresh for lunch. Everyone loved them, even Party Boy the Tex-Mex snob! Notes: I used only 6 cups of chicken instead of the recommended 8. Worked fine. Wound up with a total of 40 burritos. I used fajita sized tortillas and I really should have used burrito sized, but they still turned out good. I just couldn’t fold in the ends, which would have made a neater package. Assembling was time-consuming but went quicker once I set it up like an assembly line. Verdict: They were delicious fresh. The girls and I had them for lunch on Tuesday after they had been frozen. Totally yummy. It was also amazing to have something wrapped in individual serving size and ready to go for a quick lunch. The girls were able to make their own since they’re microwavable which was also nice. I definitely want to make these again.

Tuesday

Johnny Marzetti – This one was super easy. Probably do-able on a busy night without too much time, but still nice to have frozen and ready to go and save that much more time. Notes: Need two big pots for this one! One for the egg noodles and one for the ground beef mixture. Lordy, did it smell and look good! Verdict: Don’t know yet. We may have this one later this week for dinner. We’ll see. Definitely get you a verdict at the end of our month.

Italian Stuffed Peppers – This one was so super easy that I think the girls could have handled it on their own. They did help me by covering the stuffed peppers with Saran before loading them in the freezer for flash freezing. Notes: I eliminated the sun-dried tomatoes from this one and plan to put spaghetti sauce over them when we have these. Verdict: Unknown. I am curious to see how the kids receive these. They’re not super picky, but can sometimes be put off by green things. I am hoping that a green thing stuffed with rice and chicken and smothered in spaghetti sauce will win them over.

Homemade Pop Tarts – Saved these to make fresh on Friday morning. I really don’t think they’ll last long enough to freeze! Verdict: Have to share this next week!

Country Captain Chicken, Pot Roast, + Island Chicken – Super easy because it was just packing up all of the raw ingredients! Perfect! Verdict:The ingredients sound good and they cook up in the crock-pot, which I love. I’ll evaluate the taste and family’s reaction at the end of the month.

Overall – The worst part was all the chopping. After that was much easier. I am absolutely certain that it was a good idea to do all of the chopping and dicing the day before I started cooking. Next time I think I will try to go to the store on Friday afternoon and do the chopping Friday night. I’d like to get all the cooking done in one day (Saturday) instead of spreading it out. I’ll also be highlighting the recipes simple enough for the girls to tackle and let them have a greater role. I think they’ll like that!



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