So I'm not really a chef. Far from it. I am not a fan of cooking. I normally forget an ingredient (or two), can't chop things very well, and always worry about over-or-undercooking food. Up until 3 months ago, I wouldn't ever buy some kind of meat frozen because I didn't understand the timing of thawing something. I don't plan far enough ahead to know if I need to move meat from the freezer to the fridge 24 hours in advance. Thankfully, I've become a little more proactive, and this frozen foods thing isn't too bad after all.
Usually, I use a cookbook for 2 weeks, then it sits and collects dust. This one? It's ZOMG amazing. TONS of recipes, and even if I exclude the egg and beef ones, there is a lot that I can still eat. I started at the beginning, flagging recipes to try, and 20 pages in had to stop because I think I had 15 of them flagged – there was no point.
I chose my target items for this week: chicken stock, turkey chili, cauliflower mash, creamed spinach, sauteed apples, squash casserole, chicken scramble, fish tacos, and bacon wrapped dates. I made a huge effort to not forget any ingredients by creating a geeky spreadsheet with ingredients sorted by area of the store. Alas, I still forgot the cauliflower. Oh well.
First, I brought out my dusty rotisserie and made a chicken:
I just used some olive oil, course sea salt, and Trader Joe's Everyday Spice grinder. It turned out really good! I removed all the meat and put it in the refrigerator for the chicken scramble to make a little later. I then used the remains to make chicken stock, which I will freeze. No photo of the chicken stock because it just looks like yellow water. Smelled great though!
Next up was the sauteed apples. I love honeycrisp apples, so used 3 of them for it:
YUM. Threw this in the refrigerator and will eat it throughout the week with breakfast sausage (which I cooked right after this was done) or as a side with pork chops.
Last but not least were the bacon wrapped dates. I was glad to see my local conventional grocery store had dates available – thought I'd have to go to a natural foods store to get them.
These are a flavor explosion! The most time consuming part was getting the pit out of each date, but after that, it was really easy. Anything wrapped in (sugar free, nitrate free, center cut) bacon has to taste good, right?
I also sliced up some cantaloupe and watermelon for snacking during the week. The fish for the fish tacos has been thawing all day, but is still too frozen to make the insides of the fish tacos tonight. Also, I didn't get to the turkey chili, creamed spinach, or squash casserole, but I stil feel great about my progress today.