Kitchen Invasion: Wes Talks About the Week

After one week of taking over menu planning and cooking duties, it’s time for a review of how things went. Before I get into details from the week, let’s begin with a quick recap of Carrie’s original proposition, and how this one week challenge began.

About two weeks ago, Carrie approached me with a challenge – to take over all aspects of planning and preparing our evening menu. While this may seem easy for the seasoned chef, as someone who has rarely prepared meals that either aren’t already prepared, or that do not come from a box of some sort, the task was a bit overwhelming. Let’s not forget that, though I’ve made some huge changes in how I eat in recent months, it’s still only been a couple of months. During these past few months, Carrie has done the vast majority of the cooking, as my skills, prior to this week, were lacking.

Planning a Menu

Planning menus is easy. That is, it’s easy to pick healthy recipes off the internet and assign them to a specific day of the week. However, taking the seven recipes and condensing the ingredient requirements for each into a single shopping list is not. One cup of this, and one cup of that, sounds pretty simple… But the reality is that most products don’t come in single cup, tablespoon, teaspoon packages. Additionally, while a recipe may call for a specific spice or other ingredient, it might be something that only rarely gets used. In the case of spices, that’s not such a big deal. They keep for long periods of time. However, with perishable ingredients, such as produce, I have learned that it’s best to plan a menu that uses as much of the purchased quantity as possible.

Recap of the Week

Let me start by saying that there were no spectacular flops this week. I’m sorry to let you down, but I actually faired pretty well in the kitchen this week. That is not to say that everything I attempted came out perfect, but everything was edible, and worthy of going back for seconds. Click on the day to read about the recipes I prepared and get a link to the original:


(Tonight is homemade pizza night :)

Out of all of the recipes, my favorite was the barbeque chicken with lemon-garlic broccoli. True, though the ‘barbeque’ sauce tasted nothing like the hickory smoked goodness that most people are familiar with, it was very good. Especially accounting for the fact that the recipe calls for grilling the chicken, I’d say I did just fine. I’m also pretty sure that Carrie liked this one, as well.

My least favorite recipe of the week was the chicken tacos with mango and avocado salsa. Somehow, when picking this recipe online, I envisioned the mango and avocado salsa being cooked, not cold/raw. In hindsight, cooking salsa on the stove sounds kind of gross as well, so I’m not really sure what I was thinking. The good news is that Carrie really enjoyed this meal, so it wasn’t a total failure.

What I Learned

The single most important thing that I learned this week is that preparing and cooking a healthy menu is not necessarily hard, but it does take the motivation to see it through from planning to execution of each meal. Drop the ball on either, and you probably won’t enjoy your meal. Luckily for me, I have my very own Registered Dietitian to help me out. While I’m sure that I may cook now and then in the future, there’s something telling me that Carrie might not be too sad to return to her role as head nutritionist and chef.