I like to cook.
Is that weird?
I don’t know that I’m necessarily good at it, but I like it. I mean, I can follow a recipe just fine, and can adjust it as needed, so I guess I’m passable. I’ve never made up my own recipe before, though, so, it’s like I’m a prodigy (can 30-somethings BE prodigies, anyway?).
ANYWAY. Yes. I like to cook, but with a toddler and a newborn and a part-time job and a house to “clean,” it’s really hard to find the time to prep and cook a nice meal all at once. Most nights, I have about 30 minutes worth of time to get dinner going before the baby wants to nurse again. And, maybe it’s just me, but I’m not too keen on nursing the baby while pan-frying chicken, ya know?
So when I had the opportunity to try the meal planning service Fresh 20, I volunteered immediately. I know – there are lots of meal planning and recipe subscriptions available, and I have tried MANY of them. Fresh 20 really is different. As their website says, “The Fresh 20 mixes and matches a small list of ingredients to create 5 balanced dinners that play off each other.”
Each week you get a list of 20 fresh ingredients to build complimentary meals with. No more buying a week’s worth of heirloom watercress that you use a few tablespoons of and then toss (I am SO GUILTY of this). With this plan, the ingredients are used in multiple meals, but in different ways. You reuse the next night what you don’t use the first night, but not in a straight up leftover sort of way.
So, my Fresh 20 experience. This is the menu I picked to write about:
- Monday: Pesto turkey burgers and sweet potato nuggets
- Tuesday: Oven roasted salmon and lemon broccoli pilaf
- Wednesday: Spaghetti and pesto meatballs and spinach & fresh tomatoes
- Thursday: Herb crusted chicken and cannellini cauliflower veggie mix
- Friday: Creamy cauliflowers soup and chopped spinach salad
When I started my week, I printed off the meal plan, ingredients, and recipes. I looked them over and made a few changes, which, with the simple recipes was really easy to do. No one in my family likes cauliflower, so I just used broccoli instead.
I went shopping with my Fresh 20 list, and because they use normal ingredients, I didn’t have to buy everything on the list. I had some of it on hand already. Win!
(Super easy to follow shopping lists)
When I got home I did the meal prep for the week. I chopped veggies and portioned things out so that during the week, there was one less step to do each night. I thought this would take much longer than it did, and I was doing it with a newborn strapped to my chest.
The early prep really did make a difference in the week. But what I really loved in addition to that was the emphasis on, uh, FRESH ingrediants. I loved seeing my fruit bowls and fridge filled with produce I knew we were going to use. Often times I buy a ton of fruit and veggies with no real plan and then most of them go to waste either because I forget I have them or because I don’t know what to do with such limited prep time. With the menu I picked, every vegetable was used.
Fresh 20 also uses produce that is in season that you can buy locally, which 1) tastes better and 2) saves you money.
The recipes themselves were quite tasty. Not all of them were fancy or complex, but that’s a bonus in my book. One night our side dish was simple chopped and seasoned sweet potatoes, but even my picky picky toddler ate them. (He was less enamored of any of the green stuff, in the interest of full disclosure.) I absolutely loved the pesto sauce that was used throughout the week, and plan to make it again just to have on hand.
(Sample recipe: easy to follow makes for a happy momma)
In summary: I am a big fan. The plan is simple, the food is fresh and yummy, and one of the company’s goals is to help families save money by not wasting as much food (and, of course, to help families have tasty dinners to share together).
I really, really loved how flexible it was and easy to fit around your family’s preferences. And while I didn’t use this feature, they also have weekly menus that are vegetarian or gluten free, as well as lunch menus (which was a great change of pace from PPJ everyday).
Fresh 20 has also recently released a cookbook that is available for pre-order now.
Full of delicious, healthy, and easy recipes that your whole family can enjoy, it makes for a great investment and a staple of any mommas kitchen.
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Ready to try it for yourself?? Fresh 20 has agreed to give one lucky reader a FULL YEAR subscription to their weekly meal plan (the winner can choose from the classic, gluten free, or vegetarian plan)! Enter below for your chance to win!
*Burlington VT Moms Blog received compensation for this post, but the opinions expressed are entirely our own.