To be completely honest, I have had a serious BLAST with this #EatFreshChallenge that I’ve been doing this month. Sure, I was only supposed to do it for two weeks, but instead I decided to do it for a whole month and I have LOVED IT. As I’ve mentioned before, I have loved to cook, I love to try out recipes, and I love to menu plan… but for months now I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in a rut of making the same old meals with the same old ingredients and I just felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere in my health, diet, etc. Our toaster recently went out so I had to pick one at Foodal.com, and found a great toaster stove top. I can pretty much boldly say that using the Cooking Planit app has completely, totally, and utterly changed the way I feed my family. I am in LOVE with this thing!
Let me take you through a quick rundown of the recipes I made last week… and then I’ll share a little of my thoughts overall about the program and the app and the whatnots.
On Tuesday I took a HUGE risk and I made short ribs for the first time. EVER. Holy cow was this a REALLY involved recipe and meal, but I ended up having a blast with it. It is not a meal for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. I loved the creamy polenta recipe that we’d had earlier in the month with our Polenta and Potatoes meal, so I looked forward to making that again. The creamy polenta is DELICIOUS. John thinks it kinda tastes like grits. I think I’d have to agree.
I created this meal using the “meal creator” function which allows you to pick and choose what you want included in your “meal” – I added braised short ribs, creamy polenta, and my favorite goat cheese tomato and arugula salad.
This salad is SO EASY to make and it is crazy delicious. It’s a new household favorite. I’ve made it like six times since we first tried it.
And voila!! The completed meal. You guys, I felt SO PROUD of myself when I made this. I felt like I TOTALLY conquered the kitchen and I felt like I totally could do ANYTHING after making this beast of a meal. And my husband John literally said it was one of the best meals he has EVER had. I was like… YES!!!!! WIN!
So. So. So. Good.
Then, I attempted to make penne pasta in a homemade creamy vodka sauce with a side of roasted broccoli. Well, just so y’all know… I don’t always have it together. This particular day I was dealing with a fussy baby who would not be put down and needed to be held every second of the day and, TOTALLY 100% my fault, I forgot the broccoli in the oven. Annnnd I burned it. It was REALLY roasted. Proof below:
Woops! Oh well, you can’t win them all.
BUT, I still made the creamy penne vodka pasta and that ended up being DELICIOUS and really, really, really easy. Lilly loved it. John loved it. Everyone wins.
I have also had a GREAT time playing with some of the ingredients in the Colavita pantry essentials basket that they sent me. I LOVE their olive oil, I LOVE the crushed tomatoes (I used those to make the pasta sauce), and their polenta was amazing. I can’t wait to try even MORE of the pantry essentials! (Don’t forget if you use the code EatFresh20, you get 20% off your order and free shipping if your order is over $99!)
For me, my favorite part of this challenge has been cooking with ingredients I’ve never thought to cook with before or have never even TRIED to cook with before. Short ribs? Polenta? Arugula? Goat Cheese? These are foods that just, honestly, aren’t on my “cooking” radar at home. I’ve bought more fresh vegetables and fresh meats in the last month than I have in probably a year. It’s been awesome!
I’ve learned new techniques like how to properly chop cilantro and fresh herbs… or how to cut an onion so you’re not totally crying all over the place, or how to dice carrots and celery.
My personal favorite Cooking Planit meal has been the goat cheese Alfredo, for sure!! That was amazing. John’s was definitely the short ribs. And Lilly? Well, she’ll eat almost anything I put in front of her.
I love that I was able to put in my dietary restrictions (I’m allergic to fish), and so every recipe I find or search for is a recipe that doesn’t include fish. You can also do the same for gluten free, dairy free, etc. It’s awesome!
So, going forward… what am I going to do? I can honestly say I’m a Cooking Planit devotee now! Will I use it for EVERY meal all month long like I did for this month? Certainly not. I love my recipes, I love coming up with recipes myself, I love the “old favorites” that I used to cook all the time… so I OF COURSE will still make those going forward. BUT, it won’t be the same old same old stuff all the time. I plan on incorporating a Cooking Planit meal into our menu plan AT LEAST once a week, but probably more like 2-3 times a week! I am excited to try even MORE recipes!
I have more recipes on the docket for this week and next week… and I can’t wait to try those. I’m trying a flank steak recipe this week that looks amazing!
Also, I’ll be announcing the winner of the #EatFreshChallenge contest later today! So keep an eye out for that here on this post and on social media!
Now what about you? Have you had a chance to check out Cooking Planit yet? Any fresh recipes you’ve tried lately?
Be sure to check out the other AWESOME bloggers that are participating in the #EatFreshChallenge!
*This post is in partnership with Cooking Planit. All opinions are 100% my own and I am giving you a raw, honest review of my experiences. Thanks for supporting the companies that help support me and my family!