Day 4 breakfast was banana walnut oatmeal along with an orange and some milk. It was certainly an interesting combination!
You couldn't really taste the walnuts or the maple syrup at all-it just tasted overwhelmingly like bananas. It was odd that the recipe asked you to reconstitute dried milk to cook the oatmeal with instead of using the milk we already had. This was just an added expense that we easily could have skipped. The recipe came from the USDA's cookbook of dried milk recipes-apparently this is something that actually exists. I'm not sure why anyone would make a dried milk cookbook....but apparently someone at the USDA thought it was a good idea.
How is this appetizing to anyone in the morning? I know oatmeal is healthy and all-but it just looks (and smells awful). I actually liked the peanut butter raisin oatmeal that we had earlier in the week better. This recipe was much more watery than the first one which was kind of disgusting. It wasn't a bad breakfast and it doesn't take long to make.
Total cost: 1.79 per serving (3.58 for both of us)
Lunch was leftover pudding shakeups, green salad with tuna, toast and milk. Lunch was okay-not great but not bad. DH made the salads and he cut the carrots into HUGE pieces which was annoying to eat. Plus, the carrots were so hard you couldn't even stab them with your fork. It wasn't a lot of lunch at all-we barely got any tuna (half a can each). I was starving by mid-afternoon. The dressing kind of made the tuna get wet and slippery which was gross. The pudding was just as delicious as before-the banana had sort of browned but they tasted okay.
Total cost: 2.75 per serving (5.00 for both of us)
Dinner was a total hit! We had marinated beef with mashed potatoes!
First step was to make the marinade-garlic, lemon juice, pepper, salt and oil mixed together in a dish. The recipe called for 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper! That seemed like a lot of me.
The beef was then sliced into strips. I tried to make the strips as small as possible since the recipe said they would be more tender that way.
After slicing the meat you drop it into the marinade. I stirred the meat to make sure it was fully coated. You then refrigerate the meat for two hours-I made the marinade right when I got home and it was ready for cooking at 6:30! Perfect timing! I also think that you could make the marinade the night before and let it soak all day-it would just be more flavorful that way!
The side dishes were mashed potatoes and frozen mixed veggies. First step to homemade mashed potatoes is to boil the potatoes.
Next step is to mash them up and add butter. We don't own a potato masher so the fork had to suffice-it definitely would have been easier with a potato masher! Now that I'm thinking about it I'm wondering if we could have used the Kitchen Aid?
Finished dinners! This was probably the best meal ever! The meat was delicious-super flavorful and tender! It was a wonderful lemon-garlic flavor, definitely nothing subtle about it. I was worried about the large amount of pepper (since I always over pepper when I use it and end up burning my mouth) but you could barely taste the pepper. It was really easy to make and you could easily make a much larger batch! This would be a great meal for when you have guests or to bring to a party!
The mashed potatoes were okay on their own-but when you mixed the juice from the meat into them they were amazing! Our mashed potatos weren't smooth which was annoying-however that's just a sign that we need to invest in a masher! The veggies also soaked up the juice from the meat (or I may have been stealing the juice out of the pan-or maybe not) which gave them tons of flavor. I always feel that frozen veggies just don't have the flavor of real veggies-you really need spices to spice them up!
Another issue I've noticed with this meal plan is the reliance on frozen vegetables. While they do keep longer than fresh vegetables they require a freezer to store them in-which isn't always standard. They also cost more than canned vegetables and don't last nearly as long. It would be very easy to use canned instead or frozen in all the recipes-however I'm wondering if you lose some of the nutrients when you can? Freezer storage is always at a premium in our house (and we have a deep freeze along with our regular freezer) I would rather fill it with meat and frozen items that I've purchased on sale, leftover single servings of meals I've cooked and ice cream than heaps of frozen veggies. When DH got home from grocery shopping we had to eat almost a whole tub of sherbet to make room for the veggies (not that it was a problem!). I feel it would be more practical to leave the freezer space for storing meat and use canned vegetables instead. It would also eliminate food storage issues for those who don't have access to a freezer (or just own a mini fridge) and allow them to use lore vegetables in their cooking.
Total cost: 4.27 per serving (8.54 for both of us) This meal was a bit on the pricey side but it was so good! We will definitely be making this again!