Every January, home cooks around the world give themselves a challenge: cook three meals a day, every day, for the entire month. It's not always easy, but with these recipes, journals, meal plans, and tips, it's never really that hard.
What is #Cook90?
From Epicurious: The #cook90 challenge is simple: Cook three meals a day, every day, for a whole month. But the real challenge is getting prepped and organized to tackle four weeks of cooking.
#cook90 week 4
Week four started terrible. I didn’t go grocery shopping on Saturday like I’d planned. This led to another week of cooking and shopping on the same day – terrible idea. Regardless of that, I created a menu and shopped. As I’ve gotten closer to the end of the challenge, I have learned that some of the staples I need I already have on hand which is great. I only spent $68 for groceries this week!
Initially, I planned to cook Korean Beef bowls and Chicken Burrito bowls for lunch (I already had the ground meat for the beef bowls). I ended up cooking the chicken burrito bowls but had to throw away the meat for the Korean Beef Bowls because I let it sit too long. I learned a couple of things from this: Freeze food if not cooked within 1 day(!) and Leftovers are my friend.
I ended up actually eating the leftover Chicken Parmesan with fresh pasta for lunch this week. I consider this a win, because I repurposed leftovers really quickly without stressing myself out. Dinners were a simple affair – I made barbecued chicken with mac & cheese again but this time I tried a new macaroni and cheese recipe that my husband hated. I also made steak but it was terrible (not my fault). We ran out of barbecue chicken by Thursday, which is when I made skillet lasagna (pretty tasty).
All in all, I want to say that week four was probably the least stressful week? I’m not sure, but it feels that way right now on Wednesday. On Monday I made four lunches and dinner for that day (steak), and I made barbecue chicken. I didn’t have supplies to make Korean Beef bowls so we had leftover Parmesan Chicken and pasta for lunch. Breakfast has been a very simple affair for me, I’ve been eating oatmeal at work (with brown sugar, cranberries, a little butter, and cinnamon). In the microwave – Ha! Hubby has been eating oatmeal as well this week (eating it at home before leaving for work).
Chicken Burrito Bowl
Leftover Chicken Parmesan with Pasta
BBQ chicken thighs with Corn on the cob and Smokey Bacon Mac & cheese
Steak w/baked potatoes and broccoli
Things I learned in total
Try not to let your mean plan overwhelm your cooking time and your fridge space!
I do feel that the #coook90 challenge has been good for me. I cooked a lot more than I typically do – which, in some aspects, can be very stressful. I have learned that Tupperware is key as well as grocery shopping regularly. Every week I needed to
ransack clean out the refrigerator to salvage as many pieces of Tupperware as possible. Every week I needed to go to the grocery store with a predetermined list of things to buy. I needed to do this, because otherwise it would’ve been a complete catastrophe. Every week I would sit down and decide what I was making that week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From those menus, I created my shopping lists and tried to go shopping the day before a large cooking day. I say “tried” because there were several weeks when that did not happen. I also learned that cooking can be less complicated than I usually make it. I’m big on using recipes but I didn’t use very many new recipes. I think during the entire challenge I tried maybe five new recipes? Three different new lunch recipes and one new mac & cheese recipe but other than that I stuck to what I knew.
I was very surprised that the challenge to helped me have a better idea of what was in my refrigerator – how it could be repurposed quickly and on the fly versus allowing leftovers to go bad. When hubby told me he wanted a large weekend breakfast, I was able to quickly in my head go through what I had available and come up with something right away. Normally, this would include me getting up going to the kitchen and looking in the refrigerator before making that kind of decision.
And I’m not gonna lie, I loved being able to have my lunch already ready. Just grabbing something already made and go really was the highlight of my every week.