Now, my local writers' group had a writing challenge this weekend, and I could have done that, but I didn't know about that until Friday. I also have to balance my goals at times. I plan to devote this upcoming weekend to a writing challenge and needed to give more emphasis to my healthy lifestyle goals this past weekend, so I'd already decided that this would be a perfect time for a cooking marathon.
I've fallen in love with cooking one day for the month or quarter, and my freezer and refrigerator were almost empty. I spent some time Wednesday and Thursday figuring out what I would cook and made a shopping list. I braved the frenzy at the local grocery store Thursday and waited nearly an hour to pay for my items, but I started the weekend well-stocked to cook and cook.
I made my Turkey Burgers Friday night (this time with oatmeal instead of bread crumbs to try a "healthier" option) and French chicken in a pot Sunday night, but I did the bulk of my cooking on Saturday when I made:
Ropa Vieja (cuban meat dish) with quinoa
Caldo Verde (portuguese greens soup - WW recipe toward the end in comments)
Picadillo (mexican ground beef stew) with quinoa
Beef Enchilada Casserole
Filomena's inspired turkey sausage and veggie pasta sauce with whole wheat pasta
Bella Braised Chicken with quinoa or pasta
I fell into bed exhausted and even sore Saturday night from all the cooking, but I loved the sight of my beautiful freezer full of individual frozen meals. I plan to use some of the extra chicken from Sunday's roast in a mexican casserole and in a king ranch casserole, and I have the fixings for a very simple but satisfying meal of light or turkey kielbasa with zuchinni, yellow squash, italian stewed tomatoes and quinoa that I will make later this week - just as soon as I figure out how I can freeze these additional meals.
This cooking one day for the month is one of my favorite healthier habits I've picked up in the past year or so. It saves time, it increases the variety of my diet day-to-day, and it ensures that I am often prepared to eat delicious, healthy and appropriately portioned meals that will help me continue to lose weight. It also saves money and reduces waste. The last time I did a cooking marathon, I was craving lentils, barley and beans, so my grocery bill was a very inexpensive $122.31. This time, I was craving meat, so the grocery tab was a much more expensive $274.88. But, I am getting more than 100 individual meals for that, so I still say it's saving me money.
I highly recommend trying a marathon cooking session if you never have. Sunday, I alternated looking at the pretty snow out my window and feeling darn good about how much I had achieved on Saturday.
Have you ever tried a marathon cooking session? Do you have any tips or great recipes to share?