Excerpts of Erynn

a blog about… nothing in particular and everything at once

Review: 15 Healthy & Gluten Free Meals in under 2 Hours January 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Erynn Sprouse @ 9:03 pm

Today’s mission was this:

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To be quite clear, this post is NOT going to explain how to make 15 meals in under 2 hours. For that, you’ll have to go to the original source (which– spoiler alert– I highly recommend you do). This post is to get down what we thought, to explain how we did it, and what I’d do differently if/ when we do it again.

Cost: about $140

  • The plan is FREE
  • We already had some of the staples and all the THM-specific ingredients (they could’ve been substituted for non-THM ingredients anyway)
  • We shopped at Aldi and HEB
  • We bought all the foil pan things, but I don’t think I would next time (more on that below)
  • We have a bunch of freezer bags leftover and some other ingredients too.
  • We’ll need to purchase things like low carb tortillas, fajita toppings and some veggies for side dishes later, but c’mon… $140 for 15 meals that will feed my crowd of 8??? That’s awesome.

Time: waaaay more than 2 hours

  • We really weren’t in a hurry and didn’t even try to get it done in under 2 hours. I bet if we had been, my husband and I coulda knocked it out in about 45 minutes, not counting cooking time.
  • Meh… who am I kidding? We have six kids (five of them under 10) running around. No way we could get it done that quickly. ;)

The plan: 4.5 of 5 stars

  • It’s FREE. Honestly, I’m amazed Jen at WorkingatHomeschool is offering it for FREE (did I mention it’s FREE?). There *is* a lot of advertising on the site. Just slightly above average for a blog, I’d say. She has several other free plans, too, including Trim Healthy Mama (THM) friendly breakfast burritos, which is what I think I might try next.
  • Downloadable, PDF format, 9 page packet. In the packet, there are lots of helpful things. The things I found most helpful were the shopping list,  prep directions, instructions for prep stations, and the step-by-step directions. There are two inventory sheets in there too, but I have a different system (which I’ll share further down in this post).
  • I do kinda wish there were suggestions for sides because I stink at coming up with those.

The recipes

  • This is meant to be for Trim Healthy Mama followers, so if you don’t have the cookbook, you’re pretty well sunk.
  • We haven’t had any (except one) of these recipes before, so I can’t vouch for them, but they look great. I don’t think we’ve had any THM recipes we didn’t like. Well… except for the smoothie that had okra in it. Not too shocking that we didn’t like that one.
  • Some are stupid-easy. Which… to be honest, makes me feel a little silly to be freezer prepping them, but it’s like my sweet hubby pointed out: that’s just less work, so isn’t that a good thing?
  • I love that several of the chosen recipes are Fuel Pull. That means I can make it whatever I need it to be (S or E or even keep it FP) with the side dishes.

What we did differently this time & what we’d do differently next time:

  • Next time, I would only buy 2 square foil pans. You’ll see why below.
  • BLT Frittata (S):
    • *someone* forgot to put the bacon in. I didn’t cry… but kinda wanted to. ;)
    • We had too much mix for the two foil pie pans, and ended up putting it into three.
    • The third one was a bit smaller, so we think we might send it to the office with Jeremy or maybe give it to someone else. Either way, it’d be nice to be able to pull out individual pieces, so I cut it and put parchment separators between the pieces
    • Next time, I’d make it in two square foil pans… and remember to add the bacon. Actually, next time I’d probably just skip this recipe. My gang aren’t frittata people.
  • Wacha Want Mexican Chicken (FP): We just dumped the salsa in the bag of chicken without dividing it into gallon size bags.
  • Mama’s Famous Meatloaf (S):
    • We used half ground turkey, half 85% lean ground beef.
    • We cooked the meatloaf rather than freezing it raw. There’s a note that she froze it raw with the sauce on top and it was “juicy.” Seemed better to cook it before freezing it. We’ve frozen other meatloaves raw in the past, though.
    • The meatloaf shrank a lot, so we dumped off the fat, wrapped it in foil and put it in a gallon-size bag with a baggie  of the sauce in with it. More freezer space!
    • Next time I’d just make it in my regular 9×13 pan.
  • Papster Thighs (S): This is really just chicken thighs with seasoning on it, so instead of using foil pans, we just put the seasoning in a baggie and stapled it to the bag of chicken with instructions written on the baggie.
  • Slow Fajitas (FP): Next time I’d make it with venison.
  • Balsamic Chicken (FP):
    • I kinda jammed everything for one recipe into one gallon-sized bag. Next time, I’d dump the ingredients straight into the frozen bag of chicken.
    • Instead of chicken broth, I added water and chicken bouillon powder (probably not *technically* on plan… don’t tell the THM police).

As promised, my freezer inventory system explained… It’s really not complicated. I have a paper inside a sheet protector posted inside one of my cupboards that says “In the Deep Freeze.” I wrote the name of each item on a little post-it– color coded, one item per post-it– and stuck it to the sheet protector. For example, today I made three batches of Balsamic Chicken, so I put three “Balsamic Chicken” post-its on the inventory page. When I use something, I take off the post-it and toss it.