So, the whole idea of 30 Meals in One day is that you cook up a months worth of dinners in one day. Sounds scary doesn't it? Well that is precisely the reason it took me so long to do it. It is a very intimidating process, but I would say it is very well worth the effort in the long run.
30 Meals in One Day is made up of 3 cookbooks in total, Lunch, Dinner and Side dishes, optional computer software and labels. Basically you choose 15 meals from the cookbook(or through the software, which is genius, really) make sure the portion sizes fit the amount of people in your family, you might want to account for some leftovers for lunch the next day. Go through the shopping list and delete all the items you already have at home, make sure you look at HOW MUCH you will need. That is mistake numero uno. If you don't have the ingredients then what? Run to the store every time you find something you don't have? Not only will that be a total pain in the butt, but it's also a huge discouragement. So now, go shopping, and get EVERYTHING you need. You must make a list. Honestly there are no ifs ands or buts, if you do decide to wing it, you will forget something and you will either decide not to make that meal or just stop the whole process, which would be really sad. Once you have chosen your meals, gone shopping, and sat down for an hour, its time to look through the book and read about the process, read about the tips that will make it just a little easier, this is essential for success. One thing they advise is not to do the shopping and the cooking all in one day, you will burn yourself out.
So here is the process I went through, along the way I will add the things I found that can make it much easier on you.
Step 1: Choose 15 recipes. The book will give you a more in depth way to decide which recipes to choose since there are different methods of cooking different recipes, this is a very important thing to look at.
Step 2: Make your shopping list. If you are using the software this will already be done for you. All you will need to do is look through it and get rid of the items you already have on hand. Just make sure you have the right amount.
I found this was a really great thing to have, I only wish there was a way to delete more than one item off the list at a time, I had a lot of the stuff the recipes called for, so it was kind of tedious deleting things off one by one. Also, my computer is not hooked up to a printer so I ended up having to write my list out since there is no way to copy and paste(I would have e-mailed it to my hubby to print at work)
Step 3: Go Shopping the day before Cook Day. Take your time, Don't forget your list. Be sure to get everything on your list, even if you need to go to more than one store
Step 4: Prep anything you can. I didn't have much time the night before as we were going out, but I was able to cook all the chicken for the recipes that called for cooked, chopped chicken breast. Chopping all veggies, and grating all the cheese the night before would be a huge time saver as well. I can't count how many different times during our cooking day that I broke out the grater and grated the cheese. Prepping is a huge time saver and I strongly recommend it. Also get all the dry ingredients out and on the counter, get your mixing bowls, cutting boards, slow cookers, pots, pans, and can openers out and in the right spots.
Step 5: Rest your feet for the night, they will be sore(if they aren't already) in about 24 hours!
Step 6: Cook, cook, assemble, cook, assemble, freeze!
My tips: First and foremost I would really recommend first timers to do half the recommended amount of recipes. Because you are unfamiliar with the process, it can really get overwhelming and when you get overwhelmed it can really be discouraging. It is also a LOT of work to do in one day.
Don't use new bowls for everything, after each meal just rinse out your bowl and start the next, no need to wash with soap and then dry. Now you will read this in the book, but I just want to repeat that it's a good idea to have one set of measuring spoons, cups and bowls for dry ingredients and one set for wet. This will definitely cut down on time.
So on the back of the cook book its says 'no unfamiliar ingridients'. Well I have to say for me, there were quite a few unfamiliar ingredients, mostly the different 'culture' if you will. I'm in Canada, and the recipes are from the south. I have to say though that it's great to try some new types of food, new ways of putting things together, I get bored with the 10 or 20 meals I know how to make.
We have tried about 7 or 8 of the meals so far and I have to say that most of them were absolutely delicious. A couple weren't my taste but that's kind of to be expected. Trial and error, right? The first time you try this it is definitely a huge learning curve and when you finally get to eat the meals you will find what works and what doesn't, how much more or less you need to make next time. I found that the recipes with any pasta or rice that got cooked before hand and then frozen ended up a little mushy for my taste, of course that is a personal preference so I've made a note of that for next time. Once you do this a few times you will definitely figure things out and get into a groove. Soon the whole process will become second nature which is awesome!
Here are some pictures of my favourite meals so far and what it will look like ready to freeze.
This recipe is great over rotini pasta. It is very rich so you'll want to have some light veggies or a salad to go with it.
This recipe was supposed to be boneless pork ribs but we couldn't find any so we just used some sliced pork and it was fabulous. We served over rice and we had some steamed carrots to go with.
We haven't tried this one yet but I can't wait. Cheese Manicotti. I LOVE CHEESE, and there is like 5 kinds in this one. YUM!
One lucky Mama to a Sweet Thing reader will win a Dinner is Ready Cookbook and Software, that's a $40 value.
Also if the winner purchases the Dinner is Ready combo and then wins the giveaway, they will refund their entire purchase and shipping! Or, if the winner purchases the full set for $75 (before the giveaway) and then wins the giveaway, they will refund up to $60 of their order!
Giveaway Open Until 12pm PST Feb 12th, 2011
(Open to Canada and US)
I received a package of items for review. All opinions are 100% my own. No other compensation was received.
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