My Recipes from the 30 days of Scratch Cooking Challenge
On June 1, I signed up to be part of a 30 Days of Scratch Cooking Challenge run by Chris Dalzeil from Joybilee Farm. I have mostly failed. But I feel successful and here’s why. For the last year, things have been going downhill in the cooking department at our house. Blame it on any number of things, it was not pretty. I would cook a box of spaghetti one day and feed it to my husband for three days in a row. It’s his favorite, I would justify. Grocery shopping was haphazard at best. I was mostly running into the store on the way home to grab something I could put on the table with little or no preparation involved.
My lapses in cooking started to occur as our nest emptied. With only one mouth to feed (husband) it was easy to just throw something together, or heat up pre-packaged cooked food. Less time in the kitchen and less to cleanup. Add that to a husband who is very forgiving and just glad to have something to eat and I was able to do less and less. Why not take the easy way out.
At this point let me back up and tell you that we raised four children and always maintained an open table policy at our house. Friends were always welcome at our dinner table. I would cook large amounts of fresh food and would be a bit prideful when the guests would say their mom’s didn’t cook like I did. What? How could that be? Yep. I was super mom. I had it all together. Pizza night was home made and my family loves the from scratch macaroni and cheese . I took pride in cooking from wholesome ingredients. So what happened?
The nest became empty. It was hard to work up enthusiasm to cook for two. Many weeks, an egg would be the only thing I cooked form scratch. I just didn’t care what I put on the table, if the table wasn’t surrounded by people. Even though I knew this was wrong. So when the opportunity arrived to join the Joybilee Farm’s challenge, I jumped in.
How am I doing so far? Well if we are percentage grading, I am sure I have failed. But I feel like I am taking baby steps back to cooking healthy meals.
I have done some experimenting with making up my own recipes. Some have been good and some not worth repeating, but the important thing is I am making positive steps. We are eating out a lot less often and not bringing home take out food. I have experimented with new foods like coconut flour.
Many participants probably took the challenge with the intention of cooking all meals from scratch for 30 days. Admirable goal. However, I jumped in knowing that I was looking for inspiration, and an attitude adjustment. And I think I found it. The people in the challenge have been so inspiring, sharing their goals, and recipes, successes and failures. Some, like me, were taking small steps forward.
My next goal is to empty the freezer of last year’s meat and veggies, cooking them into real food meals before the freezer is needed again for this years provisions. Every few days I take out a couple of packages of meat and veggies and actually plan a meal around the items. I can see progress. What do you see on your plate?
Here are a couple of recipes I came up with during the challenge. The meat one can be adjusted to your tastes. The stir fry veggies is not my original idea, of course, but something I love and can be used for many different fresh vegetables.
1 pound of beef cubes (or whatever meat you like)
1 quart of (home canned) tomatoes
1 pint of pickled peppers
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
corn starch to thicken the sauce if needed
Brown the meat in a heavy large frying pan or dutch oven. Add all the other ingredients. Simmer for two hours. Thicken sauce with cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of cold water. Wisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and allow to thicken. Serve over pasta or rice.
Stir Fry Veggies
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 yellow squash – cut up
1 zucchini cut up
1 red or green pepper cut into strips
2 cups mushrooms sliced
broccoli, green beans, peas, or other veggies that you like
Heat oil over med high heat. Add the garlic and onion and fresh herbs cook for a few minutes stirring frequently. Add the cut up veggies and any other ingredients. Cook and stir until lightly browned and tender crisp.