Going Green

For the assignment this week I bought kale and brussel sprouts. I have tried eating both in the past, but not cooking them. I wanted to try cooking them and see how the different preparations would change the tastes and my liking of these bolder choice vegetables.

For the first option, I chose my favorite type of meal to make… a breakfast meal 🙂 Some bacon and eggs incorporating the kale and Brussels sprouts. I sautéed the kale to pair with the eggs and then did bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts. That was very tedious! I didn’t enjoy the bacon as much as I hoped, but it was ok. I don’t think I will make them again.

The next recipes I tried were snacks. I’m always on the run and wanted some healthy snacks. I found one for kale chips and one for Brussels sprouts chips. The kale chips were pretty simple. Wash the kale, drizzle with oil, salt and bake. The sprouts on the other hand, were again tedious. You had to slice the sprouts and peel off just the outer layers of it and set aside the remainder. Then you mix the peeled layers with oil, salt, pepper, and chili pepper for a little kick and bake. Both of these were really good but both called for way too much oil. I would use an oil spritzer if I made them again. They were a little greasy and didn’t lead to a healthy feeling snack in the end. But, they were good which surprised me!

The final recipes I did were simple side dishes. I did a basic kale salad and roasted Brussels sprouts. For the salad, I just rinsed the kale and added an Italian dressing to it. For the roasted sprouts, I used the remaining portions from the chips and tossed them with some oil and salt and baked them. I definitely preferred the sprouts over the salad. I think I like the kale cooked versus raw. It helps to take a little bit of the bitterness out of it.

I definitely consumed more vegetables this week with the challenge, but i find it hard to buy in bulk with fresh produce being one person. I prefer frozen veggies, unless i know I am cooking a large amount of something or running to the store that day. I don’t like wasting food and I didn’t finish a lot of these items, but I tried them for something different. Overall, I found some recipes I will use again and some I won’t. Sorry bacon!

Not a Chef by Trade

Let me start with the hot topic in my life and what has led to my current pantry and lifestyle situation: I recently got divorced. I no longer cook on any regular basis for my ex husband and my three stepchildren. So, going from a regular routine of homework and home cooked meals every night for 5 people to one person has caused my meals and prep to lack significantly.

My lifestyle has changed a lot as my work schedule demands have changed as well. I am much more spontaneous and do a lot less planning than I used to. Therefore I rely a lot more on pastas, frozen veggies versus fresh and other packaged soups and dinners that would lasts and allow for quick meal prep. The kids do come over from time to time so, I do have kid friendly food on hand as well, which isn’t always the most nutritious:) But if they eat it, that’s all you can ask for sometimes, right?!

With my work schedule being demanding with long hours and some late nights, I would love to get more meal planning done and use my weekends to do more weekly cooking. I have seen the lunches you can make online and that looks like a more beneficial option for me at times. I would like more fresh produce but I would need to buy it day of as I know it would spoil too quickly. I have tried some of the Hello Fresh and Blue Apron products for variations and I do like those. Though I have found some of those I don’t finish all the products in and I don’t like the waste.

The meals I chose to make including a childhood favorite of mine that we make every year during the holidays: Cheesy rice with broccoli. It is an old Campbell’s Soup recipe. The second one I made was a classic standby: Mousehouse Grilled Cheese. I have a cookbook all on grilled cheese sandwiches as the kids and I love them. Who doesn’t?!

All turned out delicious and the recipes are simple to make. If I had more fresh items and other produce on hand, I could have made much more of a variety of things. But, I’m not too picky for myself. Worse comes to worse, I end up eating a bowl of Cheerios!