Friday, August 17, 2012

5 Dinners 1 Hour Review - part one

On Plum District, I ran across 5 Dinners 1 Hour. It's a subscription meal planning service like many others but the unique aspect is the idea of assembling 5 dinners in one hour of kitchen time. Your goal is to refridgerate the assembled meals until cooking. Some of the meals will allow you to freeze them as well. I was intrigued, particularly because I feel crunched for time in the afternoons and would love to have meal prep done ahead of time. I was also interested to see if I could modify the meals so that I could eat with my family rather than cooking separately all the time. So I requested the free sample menu. Now Michelle does not provide the cost breakdown for her meals but she does provide the shopping list, assembly directions, and cooking directions. Let's look at the meals:

The first meal I cooked was the Monte Cristo Sandwiches. Since I had just returned from the grocery store and needed a meal, this one was perfect. Now the recipe calls for a baking mix, but I know some of my healthy-eating friends will be able to concoct their own substitute. What you're going for is a biscuit dough to layer on bottom and top. The middle layer is deli ham and turkey with swiss cheese. This meal was an enormous hit with my family. My kids and my husband LOVED it. I think it would also be easy to double or triple and use as a potluck dish. I served it with fresh strawberries as recommended. This meal was impossible to convert for me as I'm eating none of the ingredients these days. I did eat the fruit.

The second meal we ate was Crispy Pork Chops. The recipe calls for Dijon mustard which we don't usually use in our house. So instead I flavored the panko bread crumbs with mustard powder, since that is a common substitution I've seen. I also added black pepper and salt. It was an easy meal to cook; the cooking time was perfect, and the kids ate up. I changed the breading for my pork chop to coconut flour and spiced it up with greater amounts of mustard, pepper, and salt. Jason preferred my version to the panko version. I had a few pork chops left over so I cooked them up with coconut flour so anyone can eat them. I did serve it with frozen mixed veggies, but not the green salad. I just didn't have the time to wash and chop. I'm thinking the salad may need to be fixed as part of the kitchen prep time.

So tonight is Broiled Steak Bites. I made my own Whole30 friendly marinade for my steak and used Michelle's recipe for the family. I love that it makes a nice Friday night meal for the family: steak, potatoes, and green beans. The potatoes can go in the crockpot, which is also nice on a hot day in Oregon with no air conditioning!

The Slow Cooked Honey Sesame Chicken will be for tomorrow, and the Black Bean Enchilada Casserole will make a nice Sunday dinner. So I'll review those recipes later, but the biggest hit so far is the Monte Cristo Sandwiches. It's definitely going to make our meal plan a few times a month!

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