Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Food.

As part of my quest to eat better, I've made a new commitment to cooking.  I really like to cook, but prefer involved recipes that take hours.  I don't have that kind of time to devote these days.  Instead, I started looking for things we could cook on week nights when we have an hour between the time I get home from work with Scout and when Rykert leaves for work.   I am thankful for the interwebs.  I've been gathering easy recipes.  I'll admit that they aren't all that "light," but I have a theory that you can eat just about anything you want (in moderation) as long as you prepare it yourself and sit down and actually enjoy it.  I started planning our dinner out for the week, doing the grocery shopping on Sunday (if this doesn't happen, then we pretty much are destined to a week of Chik-fil-A and Subway), and then try to do any prep work that I can before the week starts.

Here's this weeks new recipes (all discovered via Pinterest, but the original website is linked below):
(Note: you need to go to the original website/ blog for the recipe in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, but my substitutions are included below)

Baked Chicken Parmesan
We really liked this recipe.  The croutons on the top are definitely what makes the dish giving you the breading and crunchiness without frying.  The only problem was that I used thick chicken breasts and they took forever to cook.  If I made this again, and I'm sure I will, I will either pound the chicken to a more reasonable thickness and/or cut into smaller cubed pieces.  But we liked it.  It just took twice as long to cook.

Crockpot Potato Soup
Aside from chili, I'm sort of a failure at making soups.  I usually scald it or if it's cream based, I curdle the milk.  And I usually hate recipes that call for "Cream of Something" soup, but this was so easy.   We substituted homemade chicken broth we had in the freezer which was Cajun seasoned instead of store bought broth.  We also added quite a bit of seasoning, as it seemed a little bland.  I'll definitely make this again, but will add more seasoning then the recipe lists.  We served it with shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top.

Ham and Cheese Sliders
To go along with our soup, I made these sliders.  My deviations to the recipe:
  1. I quartered the recipe and only made 6;
  2. I only put mayo on half because Mr. doesn't like mayo as a condiment;
  3. I used honey mustard in the glaze.
These were really good.  We will definitely make these again.

Bubble Up Enchiladas
Generally speaking I avoid recipes that include Weight Watchers points because I don't like to feel like I'm dieting and counting.  But I took exception to this, because it looked good and easy.  I really like to make Pioneer Woman's Enchiladas, but they take some time and are hard to pull together (at least for me) on a week night.

We liked this.  However, the recipe said to use a "casserole and I used a small, deep dish.  As a result some of the biscuits didn't quite cook all the way.  Next time, I'll use a standard 9"x13" pan.  I used ground beef instead of turkey for personal taste reasons, and next time I'll add taco seasoning to the beef as I brown it.  I did add seasoning as well (cumin, coriander, chili powder, and cayenne).  Overall, we did like it.  It's kind of like biscuits and Mexican-ish gravy.

My sister let me know that this "bubble up" thing can be used for lots of recipes like pizza.  But I was unfamiliar.

Baked Spaghetti

I think I actually followed the recipe as written.  It was passably good, better than plain old spaghetti, and very easy to prepare.  We will make it again.  The best part is that I think it can be prepared in advance and/or frozen.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (for work breakfast/ bake sale)

Every fall, my workplace has a significant charity campaign.  Our division held a breakfast, and I originally signed up to bring breakfast casserole or cinnamon rolls, but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get up early enough to get them cooked and into work early.  Instead, I found this recipe.  Honestly, I'm not a huge pumpkin fan.  Something about turning the calendar to October makes everyone ga-ga over pumpkin and everything gets pumpkin flavored.  Everything.  I don't love pumpkin, but load it with enough cream cheese, and I'll be willing to give it a try.  That being said, I really liked these muffins.  They were really good, even if I didn't have any nutmeg.  Rykert doesn't eat cinnamon so he didn't try them, but they also received rave reviews at work.

The rest of this week has been full of tried and true recipes including massive amounts of pulled pork for a dinner delivery at the Ronald McDonald House.

The benefits of this new project are two-fold.  We eat better because we at least know what we are consuming, and two, we save money by not rushing out for dinner every night out of desperation.  We also have a fridge stocked with leftovers which means my lunch and Rykert's middle-of-the-night 4th meal (as he calls it) are also covered.  A couple of weeks ago, I was bragging to my sister that we hadn't eaten out in over a week.  She quickly pointed out that it really wasn't something to brag about, because lots of people go out once a month or even less.  But we're taking baby steps.

I have a bunch of new recipes queued up to try, and if we can plan ahead, we should be able to keep it up.  Any recipe suggestions?  Leave me a comment and give me suggestions!

1 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Knittripps said...

Yeah, I'm one of those love everything pumpkin people. My husband does all the cooking. Many of his recipes are time consuming. He saves those for Sundays when he has more time. If they make enough, we eat leftovers for a few days. Sometimes he makes extra meals on Sunday that he can freeze (like baked pasta dishes or enchiladas). Soups/stews are always good for that. A roasted chicken can be turned into chicken tacos. Likewise with leftover roast and creative seasoning. Keep sharing! We are looking for more "freezer meals" as my due date gets closer.

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