Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Busy Writer Mom solution: The Fresh 20

I've been looking for a way to cook my family fresh, healthy dinners. I don't have a lot of free time, I go to the food store once a week (sometimes less often) and the meals need to be suitable for my entire family (aged 2 years - adult). I don't mind making slight modifications - like say, leaving pepper off something my younger child will be eating. I have at least a dozen cookbooks. With the exception of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, most have been opened and used less than 5 times each.

Enter the Fresh 20.

I read an article in Shape Magazine introducing the Fresh 20. What drew my attention was the shopping list. It was succinct and were ingredient I like and have used before. I don't make recipes that require a small amount of a rare / difficult to find ingredient because I end up spending too much money on it and then I (1.) don't enjoy it or (2.) it spoils.

What I liked about the Fresh 20:
- easy to follow instructions
- meals were planned for me. I knew what I was making for dinner each night. No last minute scrambling.
- food smelled good when cooking (enticed the family to the dinner table) and tasted great.
- the food was fresh. I felt like I was putting a healthy meal on the table for my family
- the variety was good. I didn't feel like we were eating the same thing every day.
- the "pantry" items were items I had on stock.
- Only 5 nights a week? Some families might have had leftovers or choose to eat out the other two nights of the week. We had enough ingredients to repeat and cobble together 2 more meals from what I'd purchased.

What I didn't like:
- the meals took longer to prepare than the recipe stated by 5-15 minutes. Part of this could be constant multitasking and the interruptions that are part of my life.
- one of the meals left me a little hungry (Mediterranean Lettuce Cups with Mint Yogurt Dressing). Easily solved by supplementing with more veggies and carrots I had in the refrigerator. When I make this week's food again, I will likely make chicken along with the lettuce cups.

Totally SOLD on the Fresh 20.

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