Monday, May 3, 2010

The Cooking Project that Destroyed My Kitchen

We completed the cooking phase last night of our Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week project last night, and I lived to blog about it. Barely.

First of all, let me tell you that it took time. Lots of time. The article specifically says you can do all this, "In less time than it takes to watch Dirty Dancing." Now, I'm not sure how long it takes you to watch Dirty Dancing, but this cooking thing took us over 3 1/2 hours last night. Us, as in two of us working together. I cannot imagine how long it would have taken one person to do this alone, but I'm guessing it's about as long as it would take to watch Dirty Dancing, then watch all the special features, including watching the movie a second time with the director's commentary turned on.

We were exhausted and starving by the time we finished. And it ceased being a fun activity for us to enjoy as a couple by about the end of hour 2. That was about the time I became incredibly confused and stressed from following directions such as, "While the loaves bake, prepare the sauce for the enchiladas, then begin the Thai Soup, then recite the entire Gettysburg Address while standing on your head."

My other complaints: We ended up with way too much of many of the "building blocks." You start out the adventure by making four different concoctions that then go into the various recipes. One of them called for three large onions, and five cloves of garlic, which are chopped and sauteed in a little oil. Then each recipe calls for a varying amount of this "onion garlic mixture." As I chopped and chopped and chopped (and cried and watered and teared) I kept thinking, "This is a lot of onions." And it was. As in we ended up not using about 1/3 of it. Same with the broccoli/red pepper mixture. So, if you decide to try this at home, my advice is don't make as much as they say. Or, do what we did, and freeze the leftovers in appropriate stir-fry fixin' proportions.

And this "building block" concept is one other concern of mine. If you don't like any one of these mixtures, you're out of luck, because these things in varying combinations make up all five recipes. So, if you're not an onion eater (which I'm not so much), you may end up not liking anything you've fixed all week.

My final complaint is that by the time we finished, I swear to you, every single pot, pan, bowl, measuring device, knife, spoon, cutting board, and Tupperware dish we own was dirty and scattered about my kitchen. Many of them were actually washed multiple times and used again and again. I don't handle mess well. And believe me, this was A MESS.

When we finally finished the last recipe at midnight (okay, it was only 9:30) we decided to sit down and eat the first meal, which was Adobo-Glazed Mini Turkey Loaves. They were okay. That's about the best I can say for them. The sauce was HOT. We like spicy food, so it was okay, but I'm warning any faint of tongue in the audience, HOT. We made some instant mashed potatoes to eat with them, so that may have cut down on the healthy quotient, but it also balanced out the hotness, and seemed to make more of a "meal" than just a mini meatloaf.

I'll keep you posted throughout the week as to how we like the other four recipes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish cleaning up the kitchen. Ugh.


meleemistress said...

I think this is one of those things that just takes a little more practice. Any chance it was actually slowed down by having a second person? Were you always waiting for the other person to finish using the knife/mixing bowl/etc?

Another option is to cook a big pot of something like chili or lentil soup and then freeze portions. You won't have every single meal for the week at first, but if you do something large every Sunday for a few weeks, your freezer will be well stocked and you'll always always *always* have a good meal option.

Deanna said...

This sounds like a lot of work for not that great of benefit. I've found that if I use my steamer for fresh veggies every night and then grill chicken, steak or fish, I'm a whole lot happier and healthier than a bunch of fancy cooking. Oh, and I throw soup in the mix often. I'm a soupaholic!

Looking forward to hear how you like the rest of the meals.


Karen said...

Now, see...since it's just me, I'd probably cook up two meals on Sunday and then just eat leftovers all week.