Whole Foods in a Hurry: The Grand Finale

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Last Saturday, I cooked my entire Whole Foods in a Hurry menu. Without a partner, except for my husband who pitched in when Libbie was asleep. (He watched her the rest of the day–that is definitely helping as well!)

We’ve already started eating through many of the meals. Some have been great; some I’m disappointed with. I think that’s the case in any big cooking project–not everything is going to be an A+. I thought I’d do a recap of each recipe with notes on taste if we’ve had it already. Hope this helps!

But first, here’s me about an hour in. Scary, aren’t I?

Apricot Breakfast Bars: I think I actually only used half the butter I was supposed to. Oops. But they are still amazingly delicious. I will be repeating this recipe for a long time!

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake: I haven’t defrosted one of these yet, but I’ve had them from frozen before and they were great. Can’t wait to dig into one soon! As I mentioned in the video, the batter is super-duper thick. That is normal and what makes it so tasty! I mixed in the berries with my hands to make sure it was really incorporated, and then pressed it into the pans with my hands as well. I made one blueberry and one mixed berry (both with frozen berries). (Picture is on the way into the oven.)

Christmas Eggs: My husband made these. Please scrub your egg pan out immediately if you don’t want to do battle with it later. 🙂 Libbie and I had them for breakfast, and sadly being frozen made the eggs a funny texture and very watery. While I would make the recipe again, I don’t know if I would freeze it. Oh well!

Sloppy Joes: No notes here. Tasted good upon sampling! 

Make-Ahead Wraps: I was frightened by how watery the rice still was when it was done, but when I let it sit and cool it thickened considerably, and–like the author said–once I mixed it all together it was a perfect consistency. Sadly these are REALLY spicy for me. My husband loves them, of course. I am super sensitive to spicy foods and if I made them again I would make them without the cayenne pepper. But live and learn! [Also note that the author said to use a package of Southwest seasoning. I used a recipe for Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning to try to keep it more ‘Whole Foods.’ So her seasoning may not have been as spicy.]

Pizza Pockets: The longer the dough sat, the easier it was to work with. I LOVE the flavor of the flaky dough and the pockets are delicious! Love that they can go straight from frozen into the oven for a quick lunch. They probably did take the most time, though, with the assembly factor. Also a learning curve! It took me a while to get them so the filling didn’t all spill out.

Baked Chicken Burgers: The easiest of easy! I forgot to add the onion when freezing, so I just sprinkled in some dried minced onion before I mixed in the mayo to cook them. They were absolutely divine on these homemade buns.

Before we get into dinners, want to see how I looked 4.5 hours into the cooking?

Gnocchi with Sausage and Swiss Chard (Rachael Ray 365):  While this is a recipe we love normally, it wasn’t great for the freezer. The red chard dyed the whole thing red, it leaked through my freezer bags upon defrosting, and the long sitting time made it more spicy (not a good thing for me!). AND I made 4 servings. Hm. Also, I paid $3.99/bunch for my red Swiss chard–yikes! If you used spinach or another green instead, I wouldn’t blame you!

Taco Bake: While we haven’t tried one from the freezer yet, I know this is a recipe I really like and I’ve been assured it freezes well.

Italian Cream Cheese Chicken Casserole: As I mentioned in my menu plan this week, I was a little disappointed on how this froze. I tasted the sauce before freezing and it was so delicious and creamy. Sadly, when it defrosted and cooked it lost a lot of the creaminess. Maybe adding some cream or milk and stirring before heating it in the oven would help. The flavor was still nice.

Sweet Aromatic Chicken: All kinds of yum. The easiest dump recipe ever, and super duper exquisitely tasty. I don’t know if the fact we used free-range chicken made a difference or not, but the chicken just fell right off the bone and we gobbled it right up.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken: Haven’t tried this one yet, but I love lemon and garlic and am looking forward to it!

Pulled Pork with Lexington Red Sauce: I made the mistake of using a picnic roast instead of a Boston Butt, and it didn’t fall off the bone like it usually does. Still got a good bit shredded and sauced and hoping it’s still delicious!

Unstuffed Cabbage: We had the most trouble with this recipe. I think I’ve amended the directions enough that you shouldn’t have the same problems. I hope! I did find it rather bland when I tasted it so add some extra salt or some other spice you like. Libbie and I are trying it tomorrow night and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tilapia and Pepper Packets: Easy to assemble. Again, I wish I had left out the cayenne pepper because I didn’t like the spicy flavor mixed in with the other tastes. We used frozen flounder and it worked well.

So there you go. It’s definitely been a wild ride and I have much more appreciation for what Tricia does each month! It was a ton of work, but I am SO GLAD to have my freezer stocked with meals. It’s already made a huge difference in that busy time of evening. We’re able to really enjoy each other’s company once Mr. V gets home rather than me battling Libbie out of the kitchen and trying to get everyone fed before her bedtime.

Have you tried any of these recipes yet? Would love to hear your experience!

If you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, they’re all labeled as Whole Foods in a Hurry. <– click there!

Added to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

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11 thoughts on “Whole Foods in a Hurry: The Grand Finale

  1. Great job, indeed!

    I mentioned in an earlier post that I've made the same recipe for the pizza pockets and we loved them! I had the same problem w/the filling spilling out.

    I've also had the Apricot bars but while we enjoyed them, I don't think I'll make them again. I felt like they were lacking something.

    Enjoyed your post!

  2. Great job! I love the videos! And the fact that you mentioned you were doing it with an overhead freezer only, I didn't even know that.

    You were a great blogiversary partner. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. You worked so hard. Good for you!!! You will be enjoying the fruit of your labors for a long time. 🙂

    I know what you mean about cream-of soups. I have made my own "cream of" ingredients before … very easy if you just make a roux and add either milk or broth. Another step, but not too hard, and better for you, etc.

    Enjoy those hard won meals. 🙂

  4. So glad you liked the Apricot Bars. i found this recipe a while back and am planning on making them this Saturday. (Having a Big Baking Saturday!) Been trying to find (and make) things that Gabe will eat for breakfast and that are easy for him to have packed and ready to grab on the way out the door!

  5. Aww, Jessie, you're so cute! (And Libbie, too, durr) We have almost the same haircut now! But really, you are SO FREAKING CUTE! If you were here, I would give you a massive hug. And our two massive chests would squash together, preventing us from an actual, real hug. Snicker snicker snort. Tee hee.

  6. Thanks for the wrap up and recipe reviews! I am really interested in trying the recipes you approve of–particularly the chicken burgers and tilapia packets.

    Also, I've never had a pizza pocket. (a home made one, that is!) I might have to try these out, too!

    Thanks for all your hard work and sharing.

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