Taste Test Tuesday: Family Cook Off Week 1

Last week I announced that my husband, daughter, and I were going to start a family cook off even each Monday. Yesterday, was our first cook off, and I was the judge. We need to come up with a prize, but we didn’t decide that yet.

So, for this week I got to pick the theme, and I picked a Fall Casserole. My daughter, who is 17 picked a Keto casserole, and my husband chose a classic. I forgot to take pictures, but below you can see the results of my judging. Next week my husband gets to pick the theme and be the judge. Even though my daughter decided she didn’t want to judge, just compete, she is going to pick themes every 3rd week. I am not sure how long we will keep this up, but we had fun doing it, and it is a great way to have some family fun!

I did a ton of meal prep last week, so now this week I can just relax a little for dinner. I don’t usually do large meal preps, but actually I found it quite rewarding. I now have 8 dinners prepped in the freezer and ready to go when I want them. I will post more on that in a future post.

Husband’s Meal: I don’t know the actual name of this casserole but I have seen versions of it on Pinterest. His ingredients were: tater tots, ground beef, cheddar cheese, Manwich, and Fritos. When he told me his choice I asked him if he could make his own Sloppy Joe sauce homemade, as he is a very good cook and I was pretty sure there would be High Fructose Corn Syrup in the Manwich. He opted not to do that, and took the easy way. I deducted points for that. Being he is a good cook, and knowing I do not care to eat the canned version I felt he was being unhealthy on purpose. He had good presentation, and this casserole was huge and will feed us for several days. So, from an economic perspective he gained some points. He also did not use a recipe. Again, he got some added points. It had really good flavor, but it was extremely dry. I suggested maybe less tater tots next time. His was also quite salty, most likely from the cheese and Manwich. There is no vegetables anywhere in this casserole.

Daughter’s Meal: She chose a Keto Chicken Fresca type recipe. I am not sure she realized it was Keto, because she doesn’t really care about Keto. So, I took away some points for not choosing a recipe that would be good for the whole family. She does not care for chicken, so she wanted to substitute for another meat. I already knew what my husband was making, so I suggested she not pick ground beef. So, she picked beef tips, or stew meat. She also didn’t want to make the homemade salsa, as she does not like fresh Cilantro, and I agree with her on that, as it tastes like dishwater to me. Her dish was very fast, and easy to make. The most time consuming part was sauteeing the meat slightly, with the chopped onions, prior to baking. Her ingredients were: beef tips, medium salsa, 1/2 of a chopped onion, a little cumin, chopped bell pepper, some of my homemade Basil herbed salt, and chili pepper flakes. Oh, and part skim Mozzarella cheese. The presentation of her dish was not great. She used way too much salsa, and it made the dish look very wet and sloppy. However, this dish had much better flavor, and it was tender and delicious. She was creative in her food pairings, and substitutes. It had great flavor without being salty.

The winner was my daughter. She put some thought into hers, and had a pretty well rounded dish. I would have preferred she added some rice, or something to it, to make it more of a balanced meal. My husband’s was dry, and hers was wet, but after taste testing was done, I just mixed them together and it was delicious!

Next week I will remember to take pictures.

From a CKD standpoint, the casserole with the fresh ingredients is always going to be best. Because I do the grocery shopping I was able to pick the products. There was nothing I could do to substitute Fritos, or Manwich, but I was able to buy grass fed organic beef, and organic salsa. I don’t think I remembered to buy organic cheese, but I did buy light cheese where I could. The Manwich and the Fritos are very high in Sodium, and as I stated the Manwich as High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. The Fritos might too, I didn’t check that. This did have a ton of protein in it, so I have to be mindful of serving sizes. I do not have an issue with Potassium, so the salsa is not an issue. As for phosphorus processed foods are going to have a lot of it, and the body absorbs 100 percent of it. That is why I prefer organic when possible, because it does not usually have phosphorus additives in it. Once in a while I find one, though, so always read the labels.

If you are living with a Chronic Disease, and you would like to help your family understand your food limits, try a family cook off. Let them learn how to cook for you, instead of you cooking for everyone else, and you. People learn by doing, and their perspective might change if they actually have to be in it.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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