I am incredibly happy with the results of my little Chopped-inspired experiment. On Friday I shared the plan – to use the following ingredients during the week: rolled oats, au gratin potatoes, Moroccan spice, Italian style bread crumbs, mango nectar, quinoa, tikka masala spice mix, and lentils. I’ll bold the challenge ingredients below:

Monday started with Baked Mac N Cheese from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook. My oldest, a mac ‘n cheese snob, ate the whole thing, so score one for mama. Dinner for the boys was chicken bites in a light coating of bread crumbs, and Moroccan spiced chicken with couscous for the grown ups. Win-win. I loved that the Moroccan spice mix was full of flavor, but only the tiniest hint of heat. Due to my GERD I cannot do hot spicy foods so this was something I could enjoy.

On Tuesday, I made a lentil and spinach dish, served over quinoa. Tuesday was the day that it hailed in our little neighborhood, so something comforting was needed. Yeah, we’re wimpy out here in California, but it was really cold.

Wednesday saw me trying a new cookie recipe – now, I am the worst baker ever, I can’t bake anything from scratch, but I used the recipe on the back of the Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats bag.

The kids had a couple of friends over and the only one who didn’t like the cookies was my youngest. The lumpy look of them put him off, but the three other kids loved the oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies. So did my husband and I, and I used up all of the rolled oats. That evening I made chicken tikka masala and rice for my husband, and since the chicken was too spicy for me, I ate rice and the rest of the lentils from Tuesday dinner.

On Sunday, we had my son’s birthday party and made some mango margaritas using the mango nectar:

In the end, I couldn’t use the au gratin potatoes. It’s something we don’t really eat, I don’t even remember why I bought them, and every time I would try to make them I would just think “yuck” so I guess I failed my little challenge in that I did not use every ingredient. However, we ate some new meals and I had fun trying to use up my challenge items. This is definitely something I want to try again.

I’ll tell you all about my son’s Minecraft-themed party in a couple of days!