#cook30 – Complete(ish)

In week three of #cook30 we did not grocery shop or meal plan. I ate tacos out with friends on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday we spend three hours at Ikea and had dinner there as well. We did manage to have enough greens on hand to make some salads and enough pantry ingredients to manage some tacos and pasta, but it wasn’t the most productive cooking week.

In week four we decided to try something new. Being a consumer of podcasts, I’ve heard dozens of Blue Apron ads. I’m not prepared to order the box yet (I have concerns about cost, packaging waste, and the fact that I love grocery stores & grocery shopping that are all factors for me), but we decided to try some of their recipes, which they post on their website.

They’re really what I was looking for in recipes all month – new (to me) ingredients used in interesting ways, with multi-layered components combined into dishes I might not have eaten in the past, and certainly wouldn’t have ordered at a restaurant. Usually a main and a side, which is how I like to eat – I much prefer it to one-dish meals.

I’ve always described myself as a picky eater – to be fair to myself, I love almost all vegetables and always have, so that’s been sortof a saving grace. But I am weirdly selective about the meat I eat (poultry, ground beef, bacon…occasionally other pork – mostly if it’s schnitzel) – I don’t adhere to any specific rules, but I am not the best at branching out. And I have tended, in the past, to not order a whole dish because of one ingredient I don’t like. Raisins, cranberries, capers, walnuts, olives, cooked beans, and ginger are all ingredients I’ve only learned to like in the last two-ish years. And a big part of that is through trying them in my cooking. I’m likely to order “safely” at restaraunts – when spending $10 or more on a meal I want to get something I know I’ll love – but it’s safer at home, where there’s pasta in the pantry if I screw it up. So I’ve been learning to like things, which is a theme I want to continue.

So we picked out some recipes, did a weekly shop at the Asian Food Center closest to us (where we also indulged in Ritter Sport chocolate and some taro wafer cookies), and came home with a slew of new ingredients and set about making an absolutely excellent soy glazed chicken with cashew & broccoli fried rice.

Highly recommend. We’ve since tried a few other recipes that week and in the week since, and they’ve all been pretty good. I think we’ll keep getting recipe inspiration for now. Our weekly shop for week 4 was about $100, with a bunch of new ingredients and several treats (can’t resist the Ritter Sport knusperflakes), but since we hadn’t gone at all in week 3 our budget remained pretty steady. We spent around $200 for the month for meals for two. It’s still a considerably large budget for food for a month, but I think it’s serving us well, especially since we stocked our pantry and fridge with a bunch of new ingredients this month. This also included our breakfast and lunch groceries – I usually take leftovers or something like cheese and crackers.

In any case, I’m deeming #cook30 a success – if not a literal one, then because we did cook some neat stuff and I got to analyze my food choices more than I usually do.

And here’s (almost) everything I ate for dinner in March.

Day 1: Tahini-dressed courgette & grean bean salad.
Day 2: Ribollita and peasant bread.
Day 3: Pasta & salads.
Day 4: Fried eggs, bacon, and avocado toast (breakfast. Cheese Wizards for dinner!)
Day 5: Vegetable soup & Anna’s kale, chickpea, golden raisin salad.
Day 6: Tuna melts
Day 7: Beef & tomato pasta soup
Day 8: (Fake) chicken nuggets & salad
Day 9: New potato & boiled egg salad.
Day 10: Veggie lentil chili
Day 11: ??
Day 12: Homemade pasta & bolognese
Day 13: (Fake) chicken nuggets & salad.
Day 14: Pad thai
Day 15: Pasta with peas & homemade alfredo, salads.
Day 16: Grilled cheese, tater tots, salads.
Day 17: Wine & cheese at Wilson’s party
Day 18: Salads with homemade crutons.
Day 19: (Fake) chicken nuggets, tater tots, and salads.
Day 20: Beef tacos
Day 21: Tacos at Earl’s.
Day 22: Ikea!
Day 23: Stovetop popcorn
Day 24: Pasta & meatballs
Day 25: Bagel & cream cheese
Day 26: Sweet soy chicken with broccoli & cashew fried rice
Day 27: Sweet potato & kale hash with baked eggs & ricotta toasts
Day 28: Roasted sweet potatoes & fried egg over couscous & greens
Day 29: Pork chops & miso butter with bok choy and marinated apple
Day 30: Pasta

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