Monday, January 27, 2014

The Fresh 20: Update @thefresh20

Wanted to post an update, as I am still using The Fresh 20 for meal planning!  I will admit that not every week is as perfect as the first; Dan got sick one week so we didn't cook as much, and I was traveling for work and basically skipped a week.  :(  Nevertheless, having a meal plan makes grocery shopping easier, and we bought fewer items so even the bit that went to waste wasn't much.  We're still saving money, and I love collecting these weeks of recipes so I can do them out of order if I want, especially when I'm traveling and can't cook for a week.

Now that we've established more of a routine, I choose an average of 3 meals per week and just go from there.

As I've said before, the recipes don't always knock your socks off, but it's good, unprocessed food, and it's a MENU.  I get home from work and know exactly what needs to be done.  I can even prep in the morning, especially if I was too burned out the night before to do it.  Win!

Here are a few dishes I remembered to take photos of...  Note: I usually photograph Dan's portion because I plate his up prettier than my own, and he gets a larger portion than me.

Tangy Pork Tenderloin (w/Squash & Fennel Potatoes)
I marinated the tenderloin the night before, so it had time to get nice and seasoned.  It was also very juicy once cooked!  The squash wasn't my thing, but the fennel potatoes were pretty good.  I should have let them spend some time under the broiler to crisp up.

Hot Chicken w/Feta Kale Couscous
This recipe was supposed to be Hot Chicken Legs with Blue Cheese Kale Potatoes, but Dan prefers white meat and I dislike blue cheese, so we altered it a little using chicken breast and feta!  We didn't have potatoes, so I used couscous instead.  Dan LOVED the variation with couscous and gobbled it up.  He said he'd like to have this couscous again.  (We had leftovers, and he ate them all.)

Moroccan Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash
This one was not our favorite, though the squash "boat" was really cute.  We just can't wrap our head around "sweet" dinners.  The turkey was tasty, and I barely noticed the quinoa (which is a feat for me, a hater of quinoa), but the sweetness of the squash and the cinnamon in the spices just didn't match up with our tastes.  Meh.  But I imagine someone else would have loved this meal!

Penne with Pancetta, Mushrooms, & Sage
Dan went back for seconds on this one!  I wish the photo was better.  It was super fun to make, because I got to make a wine reduction and do much of it in one pan, so I felt fancy cooking it.  Dan loves mushrooms.  I actually think I'd made this with an alfredo or red sauce instead of the reduction and enjoy it even more.

I've noticed that with the Fresh 20's "For One" menu sometimes you end up with some extras of the ingredients.  One week it was a half head of broccoli, another week it was half a grapefruit.  But if you can find a way to repurpose it (like eating the remaining grapefruit as a breakfast or snack), it won't go to waste!

Disclosure: This blog post is completely independent of any connection to The Fresh 20.  I bought my own three-month subscription in an effort to cook fewer processed foods.  I also do not share the recipes as they are a part of the Fresh 20 subscription.


  1. Acorn squash is difficult to prepare no matter how you slice it up. These look really tasty!

    1. I am finding that I'm not a huge fan of squash in general, unless it's pumpkin pie! :)

      Some of these really are tasty... it's been a good exercise in meal planning and actually cooking vs. picking up food "to go" from some fast casual place.

  2. I'm no fan of acorn squash, it is too mushy for me. But I loooove quinoa, it's my replacement rice since it's healthier - I like making fried rice with quinoa!

    1. OMG, quinoa as rice?! Blasphemy! JK, I totally switched to a mixture of Korean sticky rice and brown rice to "convert" to a healthier starch intake. I'm intrigued that you can do it with quinoa!

      Tell me your secrets! I want to know how you prep the quinoa and everything. :)


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