I’ve never pretended to enjoy cooking. I just don’t, not even a little bit. I love good food, and I love finding yummy new things to feed my family. I just despise the lengthy preparation before you get to enjoy the meal!
This often leads me to feel like I’m preparing the SAME FOUR MEALS over and over because, A) they’re easy to make, and B) everyone will actually eat them.
So, when a friend gifted me two family meals from a meal delivery service, I was anxious to see if I would enjoy it more with the ingredients organized for me ahead of time. Maybe I wouldn’t dread dinner time so much if I knew a fun, new dinner wasn’t a giant undertaking. Ha. Haha. Hahahahaa!
It was super fun getting the box on our doorstep and unpacking all the goodies! Everything was organized, labeled and looked really fresh. The box was insulated, and the meat was at the bottom and had extra cold packs around it, so it all felt like I’d just brought it home from the grocery store. Both recipes looked delicious and only had six steps each. Awesome! (Oh, how confident I felt at this point! Silly, silly girl.)
I chose the Honey-Mustard Chicken for my first meal because I knew the boys would eat chicken and veggies, and because it looked easier than the Pork Chops and Garlic Picada. (What in the world is picada? I had to Google it. Don’t judge.)
Wait. Why are there so many little boxes under the first step? There’s only one picture for #1, but seven boxes. That’s not one step. That’s seven steps. But the recipe card said prep time was 15 minutes. I don’t see this happening.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
While I was getting out the cutting board and sheet pan, and mentally preparing to be a big girl and tackle this recipe, chaos was ensuing in the TV room. So, I took a short break to settle everyone back down and let two play Xbox, one draw on his Kindle, and I put little man on a bar stool next to me so he could “help.”
Finley and I washed all the veggies and cut the giant cauliflower. Don’t worry–he used his kiddie knife. It was super cute. Straight out of a Martha Stewart “Cooking With Your Children” article. Just add a soaking wet floor from veggie wash overflow, and 15 minutes to your agenda because kiddie knives suck.
We sliced the Brussels sprouts next since that was an easy step; just cut them in half. This, if you’re wondering, is difficult for a 3-year-old to do since Brussels sprouts are round, and very rolly. Rewashed a few that rolled off the cutting board (and then off the counter). No big deal. Wash, wash, slice, slice. Let’s keep moving.
Four boxes checked off.
“Peel the carrots.” Are you serious? I don’t think I even own a carrot peeler. (OK, I found the peeler at the bottom of the silverware drawer … so shiny and pretty … think it was a wedding gift … 16 years ago.) But, Publix sells these cute little bags of peeled, chopped carrots that I have been buying for as long as I have shopped for my own food, so … yea, never really had use for that shiny peeler. And, aren’t we sloughing off some kind of raw goodness when we peel a carrot? As long as I wash it, do I still have to freakin peel it too? Come on, help a girl out!
Peeling (kind-of) and cutting the carrots took about 10 minutes. Lost a few pieces that shot out from the knife and flew under the microwave (made a note to get those later) and a few that were eaten by my helper. 🙂
Another short break to help Finley go to the bathroom, wash our hands, and get him settled at the Lego table with Sawyer. After the cauliflower, carrots and Brussels sprouts, he was done helping. OK, back to the recipe.
“Roughly chop the almonds.” Oh. My. Lord. Am I being punk’d? Ugh. Fine. I’ll cut them in half. Two hours later … just kidding. Kind of.
Timeout for a Paw Patrol tent set-up in the TV room. And a snack because everyone is sttarrvving. And refereeing a pillow fight because “he’s taking too many pillows into the tent.” Whew.
FINALLY reached the 49th part of Step #1. Chop parsley leaves and stems. I’m sure I didn’t do it right, but whatever, I cut it all up. Then, I took this pretty picture and felt like I had just won a prize. The “It only took me an hour to finish Step #1” prize.
Time to roast the vegetables! I usually steam our veggies, so this was something new. And I’ll definitely do it again. Aside from the repetitive “What is that SMELL?” I heard from all four boys as they passed through the kitchen, this was my favorite part of the meal. A little olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh veggies. YUM.
Step #3 Coat and cook the chicken…
What I learned from Step #3:
I added the veggies back to the pan with the reserved fond (yes, I felt so fancy just typing that) and added the vinegar, almonds and parsley. Note to self: Hot vinegar splattering on your arm is pretty painful. Wear long sleeves next time.
Short break to scoot the boys outside to the backyard and set up ground rules so no one kills anyone while I’m in the kitchen for the next 15ish minutes.
Back to the kitchen. Made the honey-mustard sauce (first time making my own sauce!) and set it aside. Step #5 done!
I added the chicken to the skillet to keep it all warm, and called the boys to wash their hands and sit down at the table. I should have taken pictures of their faces as I put the roasted veggies on their plates. Like I was asking them to eat our pet bunny. One even brought out some tears. Seriously. We had to have that discussion (again) about how lucky they are to have a warm meal in front of them every night, and that I just spent more than two hours making this food, and they need to appreciate what they have, and…
They finally started eating, so I would stop talking. Whatever works.
The honey-mustard sauce was way too spicy for them, but they ate up the chicken and most of the veggies. Carrots were demolished, Brussels sprouts came in last.
There was a lot leftover for Jeff and me, so when he got home we had a really delicious, healthy, filling meal while the boys were in bed. Score!
And because I forgot to pause the delivery, we’re getting two more meals this week. Jeff said we’ll make these on the nights he can get home in time to help … we’re thinking these require two sets of hands. Or at least one set to prepare the food (without a kiddie knife) and one set to manage the boys. Meal Delivery: Round Two … here we go. 🙂
Love (and roast some veggies) more,
*Here is my Facebook Live session where I read this post aloud and we all had a nice laugh. 🙂