My actual hands-on cooking time yesterday was about 4 hours. And truly, the meal kits are actually great budget savers. Most of my spendiness yesterday was stuff unrelated to the meals themselves. I've had some friends ask how long it takes to do the meal kits (because we all know you can't do 20 of them in 2.5 hours like the author claims, unless you have 8 hands or a whole LOT of help). I really do think the time investment is worth it - all told, it usually takes me about 8 hours of work to get 20-25 meals ready. From that point, any of the meals can be prepared (say on a weeknight after work) in 30 minutes or less, generally including cooking time. That kind of timeframe makes weeknight dinner doable for us, and I love that we're eating super yummy meals, whose ingredients I know, and that don't leave me washing dishes at 9:30.
Now, bear in mind - I am doing these alone, as hubby's not big on kitchen time. So if you have any kind of help at all, even if it's just helping you bag meals and label them, you'd be able to move a lot faster than I do. And the other thing is, I just don't rush. I don't enjoy cooking if I rush through it like I'm on a schedule, so I tend to take my time, take breaks, etc. And sometimes I clean up a little as I go, which can also add time. But mostly, the dishes all go into the dishwasher, and that part is definitely hubby's responsibility :-)
So, for yesterday's roundup, I completed these:
(1) Pepper Steak
(2) Caribbean Steak
(3) Chicken Broccoli Braid (x2)
(4) Honey Apple Pork Tenderloin (x2)
(5) Meat Loaf (x2)
(6) Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce
(7) Grilled Apricot BBQ Chicken
(8) Atkins Park Pork Tenderloin
(9) ** See update below
We had the third (remaining portion) Chicken Broccoli Braid recipe for dinner last night, and I was reminded why I love that dish. I first learned of it at a Pampered Chef party about ten years ago, and it is still one of my favorite recipes. To make a freezer kit out of it , I just mix up all the ingredients (except the rolls), and freeze. To use, thaw overnight and then bake as directed. Ummy Yummy!
Meanwhile, in the interest of "keepin' it real," as PW would say, here's the scene about halfway through yesterday's adventures:
Believe it or not, it's a lot easier to clean up than it looks like. It's truly ordered chaos, and it's actually kind of fun if
Everyone have a blessed Sunday!
** Update: I've now finished the remaining recipes I wanted to freeze, except one that I'll put together tonight as I'm making dinner. The additional recipes are:
(1) Lemon Chicken Scallopine
(2) Stuffed Chicken Breasts
(3) Garlic Lime Chicken
(4) Chicken and Artichoke Calzones
So now, with yesterday's meals, since some of these recipes make multiple batches, we have a total of 25 dinners in the freezer. That's a whole month of no major cooking. More, if we eat out occasionally, etc. Another thing I love about these meals is they free me up to focus on other recipes we've been wanting to try, but haven't because I've been overwhelmed with cooking every night. Things like trying out new drink, or side dish, or salad recipes. Or (let's be honest here) dessert. Wahoo!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and please pray that my power does not go out! ;-)