Two Saturdays ago, I posted my 5-day meal plan. I did pretty good on it, too! We actually ate 4 out of the 5 meals on the list, only skipping the “giant salads.” However, I took salads to work for lunch a couple of times, which used up all the lettuce for dinner salads. We had plenty of leftovers for dinner on Friday, which was good, because I’m usually very tempted to order pizza or go out to eat on Fridays, and we’re saving our remaining date money to go to Iron Man this Friday.
Two Sundays ago was a great day. Actually, Dexter got called by work a bunch and some parts of it were really cranky and stressful. But, God is good, and those parts eventually worked themselves out, and the day seemed to stretch on forever. It stretched out long enough to do a whole bunch of meal prep that made cooking dinner during the week a breeze! And, get this–my kitchen was clean at the end of the day, and I kept my house reasonably clean all week. It really was a week of miracles.
My Sunday Prep Work:
- I soaked the navy beans for my baked beans all day and cooked them all night.
- I soaked black beans for the black bean hummus and cooked them all day Monday. I didn’t wash the crockpot in between.
- I also mixed up all the sauce ingredients for the baked beans on Sunday so I could dump the sauce and the beans in the crockpot and let them simmer all day whenever we decided to eat them.
- I made the filling for the cabbage rolls, formed it into oblong balls, and froze them for later in the week.
- I made enough dough for two pizzas, rolled them out, baked them for 5 minutes on a pizza stone, cooled, wrapped, and froze them for later in the week.
All the prep work I did on Sunday was for things I’d never made before or for things I was trying out a new way. I had cooked dried beans in the crockpot before, but never for baked beans or black bean hummus. I also changed my pizza dough recipe by adding some whole wheat flour, and I’d never tried parbaking them before. The baked bean and cabbage roll recipes were completely new to me.
As much as I LOVED my strategic prep work, my meals, I have to say, were mediocre. Below are the our reviews of the new recipes I tried.
- Baked Beans: I changed this recipe by cooking the beans in the crockpot instead of in the oven. I had to leave the crocpot on all day because my smaller crockpot doesn’t auto-flip to warm. I added an extra cup of water, but I don’t think I needed to. Cooking less would have been better, but I had a surprisingly small amount of burning. I don’t really like baked beans in the first place, but I especially didn’t like these. They were very tomato-y, and I didn’t like the molasses flavor. Smitten Kitchen usually specifies unsulphered (not blackstrap) molasses in her baking recipes. I used blackstrap in this recipe. I wonder if it has a flavor I don’t like. Dexter wasn’t a big fan of this either, and he loves baked beans. I think with a little flavor tweaking, this could be good.
- Pizza on parbaked frozen crust: This worked surprisingly well. I didn’t thaw the crusts, but topped them with sauce, veggies, and cheese. I made the crust too thin on one, and used too much cheese which spilled grease on the stone which soaked into the crust, so it was hard to tell the exact quality of the crust under the pizza. The outer crust was really good. I plan to try this out making complete frozen pizzas soon.
- Vegan Cabbage Rolls: I was impressed with the meatloaf-like filling of the cabbage rolls. It was very moist and flavorful. The cabbage rolls were really hard to assemble. I would definitely use a different technique next time. As a result, some of the rolls were wrapped with a lot of pieces, or really thick, stemmy pieces, which made them hard to eat. They were healthy and tasted alright, but they were hard to make and I got tired of eating them really fast. I might make these again, but maybe in smaller batches and as a hearty side-dish so I wouldn’t be stuck eating so many for so long. You can also make cabbage rolls in the crockpot.
- Vegetarian Goulash: This was the surprise winner as far as taste! I didn’t feel like it was too healthy since the macaroni was very visible (at least it was whole wheat!), and eating fake hamburger isn’t my favorite thing, but it really tasted good. It tasted good even though I forgot to buy diced tomatoes and decided not to buy the boullion. Dexter said, “This is nothing like my mom’s, but it’s really good. It’s like goulash if Olive Garden had goulash.”