Monday, February 8, 2010

Family Meal Challenge Update - Round 3

I have been pushing myself for the last several weeks to prepare and eat more meals at home.  It is so tempting and so much easier to go out or grab something while we are out.  I realized how much we were spending on meals versus how much it cost me to buy the ingredients by combining sales and coupons.  It went against my motto, "why pay more than you have to."  I also felt like the hidden fat and sodium in dining out was not doing us any favors.  The menu planning has gotten easier, but it is still hard to find the motivation and time everyday to prepare a meal and clean-up the kitchen afterwards.  (I honestly don't mind cooking, I just despise all of the dishes afterwards.)

In my previous post about last week I already confessed that I messed up on Tuesday night and moved Wednesday night's meal to Tuesday.  So how did the rest of the week go?

Wednesday - The chicken still didn't get cooked.  I offered a few replacements when I talked to Steve on his way home from work.  He reminded me that we still had a giftcard from Christmas to Panera, which is on the way to church.  So, we enjoyed dinner at Panera before we headed to church.

Thursday - Mexican night.  It is always a hit with my girls.  I used the ground beef that we ground ourselves a few weeks ago.  It was amazingly lean and it had a really good flavor and texture.   I heated up some refried beans, soft tortillas, and pulled out our favorite taco toppers.  Everyone was happy and thankfully there wasn't very much to clean-up.

Friday - Wildcard night.  We were out running some errands when the snow had turned to a cold rain.  We were going to grab hamburgers at Five Guys, but when we pulled in the parking lot we saw that they had closed early because of the weather.  We ended up at Applebee's because we had to run to Ukrop's also and they are in the same parking lot.  We enjoyed our meal.  Steve and I got entrees off of the 2 for $20 special and shared the appetizer with the girls. 

Saturday - I started feeling bad Friday afternoon with a sore throat and woke up feeling worse on Saturday.  Steve called his parents and explained the situation and they invited him and the girls to come over for lunch to visit his dad for his birthday and I got to stay home and rest.  (I took a 2&1/2 hour nap!).  I had already bought the special ingredients for the green bean casserole made without canned soup and twice baked potatoes.  Steve helped me finally get the chicken that had been in the refrigerator all week prepped and in the oven.  So, we ended up with chicken, green bean casserole, and twice baked mashed potatoes.  The chicken was ok - I for some reason can never cook a whole chicken well.  It ends up overcooked on the breast, and undercooked on the leg and thigh meat (which we didn't eat).  The side dishes turned out really good.  I don't usually like green bean casserole, but this one was good and didn't taste as salty as the ones I remember eating with canned soup.  I have the rest of the chicken in the refrigerator and it is going to go in the crockpot to cook off the rest of the meat and make chicken broth.

Sunday - I hadn't planned for Sunday.  We ended up visiting a church near our house because our church was closed because of the weather.  We went out to lunch after church.  We got a call from a friend inviting us over for dinner that night.  She was making homemade lasagna.  I came home and made fresh french bread to go along with the lasagna and salad.  It was all really yummy.

So - I didn't do as well this week.  I did stick to the breakfast and lunch schedule I had for the girls and myself.  I am going to continue to stick with the menu planning.  It really does take away the daily stress of what are we going to have for dinner every night.  The thing I have to remember is to be flexible and willing to move things around when things come up.

Anybody have any tips on cooking a whole chicken?  I even had a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh that said it was the correct temperature (which it obviously wasn't after I let it cool and cut into it).


kmul2 said...

We love to make chicken in a bag. You use those oven bags and put in 1 T of flour, a little bit of water, some spices that you like, any veggies you like cut into chunks (like onion, carrot, potatoes, fresh green beans), then put the whole chicken on top of the veggies. Seal the bag and bake. The bags come with directions and cooking times. It always turns out well for us.

Miriam said...

I have never cooked a whole chicken in the oven, just the crockpot. It's always done and nice and juicy that way :) But you don't get the cripsy skin if you're going after that. Sorry I don't have any great tips to offer! (though the oven bag sounds like a good idea, it might trap in the moisture and keep it from drying out?)

Sdavis said...

I almost always cook my whole chicken in the crockpot. I just season it according to what we're having it with. It's easier to pick than baked chicken as well. Only if I really want it baked, do I make it in the oven. Then I let it cook at least 1/2 hour after the thermometer says it's done. I've had some many chickens 'not quite done'...HTH.