Saturday, August 04, 2012

5 nights - 5 new recipes

so i failed at returning on tuesday to describe monday night's dinner BUT now that it's saturday morning, i have many new recipes to share.

monday night: the crockpot lasagna was great - not much different than regular lasagna actually which is a good thing in my opinion.  the great thing about regular lasagna is that you CAN make it early and keep in the fridge until you put it in the oven at dinner time so it doesn't really NEED to be a crockpot dinner.  so while this recipe was good, it only fed 4 adults and a couple of kids who barely ate anything so i think next time, i'll just make a larger lasagna in the oven.

tuesday night: i made honey sesame chicken in the crockpot.  i used chicken thighs which i don't normally use which are always yummy but because i'd originally planned to make honey garlic chicken, i had it in my mind that this was a low 6-8 hour crockpot meal.'s actually a low 3 hour meal - that's a big time difference.  i noticed that it was smelling a burnt around the 5 hour mark so i opened the crockpot, thought, "what the heck is wrong with this crockpot?" and then checked the recipe again.  augh!  i scraped the burnt parts out, added the cornstarch, re-added the chicken and turned it down to warm since there was still 3 hours til dinner.  i added rice at dinner and it tasted good despite the overcooking - i liked it a lot better than the other saucy chicken that i make in the crockpot but this DOES call for a lot of honey - 1 cup.  i used 2/3cup and that tasted great.  am definitely adding this meal to my meal list.

wednesday night: we had friends over for dinner so i'd bought 8 little boneless porkchops (they came in packs of 4) and made a recipe from my friend, laura.  a can of cranberry sauce mixed with a packet of onion soup mix, poured over the porkchops and baked for 40 min.  i served it with rice which worked well because there was a lot of sauce (though it was very liquidy - i was thinking that i should have added cornstarch to thicken it up but it tasted great so probably no need).  i don't know if it's just the cheap pork that i buy or if i over cooked them but i always think that pork chops are so tough and chewy.  does anyone know the answer to this?  anyways, it was a great and very easy recipe but i don't think i'm a big fan of the pork.  i might try it next time with chicken.

so proud of my fresh basil!
thursday night: we have a basil plant in our garden that my mother-in-law planted for us but i never make anything with fresh herbs.  i gave some leaves to laura but she was insistent that i start cooking with basil!  i found a basil pesto recipe that didn't need pine nuts (which was perfect because i didn't have any AND they're expensive) but i found that this recipe didn't make that much pesto.  in the past, i've made pesto in my tupperware chop n prep and it was great but this time, it seems so grainy...but last time there were pine nuts and more oil so maybe that was the problem.  i didn't use fresh parmesan so i bet it could have tasted a lot better if i'd done that.  i ended up pouring what i'd made in the chop n prep into my magic bullet and blending it in there which was better.  i mixed most of it in with my chicken while it browned and i was wishing for more of the pesto to mix in with my pasta.  at the last second, i added cherry tomatoes which was great.  this was a good meal but i think i'll look for a different pesto recipe next time.  or use the recipe that laura gave me which just calls for chopped basil, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil.
okay - not the BEST looking...needed more pesto.
friday night: while i tried to convince tim that we should go out for dinner, i eventually caved and went with what i had planned - vegetarian black bean enchiladas.  this is such a easy meal - i LOVE not having to deal with raw meat (like chopping chicken or browning hamburger) - throw black beans, bag of thawed chopped peppers (which is only a few bucks and worth it in the time you save), rice, salsa, and taco seasoning into a bowl.  mix and divide into tortillas.  buy the pre-shredded cheese and it's simple!  and i love simple.  it made 8 tortillas for us so i froze 2 and cooked 6.  i only needed one and i was full.  tim ate one and a half and ben left half on his plate until it was bedtime and he decided he was hungry enough to eat it.  yeah, it's not the prettiest looking meal to a 3 year old.  so now we have leftovers for lunch today and some for tim's lunch come work week.  LOVED this and tim said it tasted better than the beef ones that i make sometimes which is a lot more work so this will be a regular menu item for sure.  his exact words, "i'd order this at a restaurant".  haha.

so there you have it - probably the first time in my entire life that i made 5 new meals IN A ROW.  i was more willing to make them because i didn't know what they were going to taste like instead of thinking, "ahh, i don't want that for dinner".  also, by having all the ingredients at the beginning of the week, it was less daunting to come up with what to make.  AND i didn't have the weight of "what am i going to make for dinner?" on my shoulders all day...which sounds ridiculous but honestly, is how it feels to me sometimes as a girl who doesn't like to cook.

now, other meats that i bought on monday that i now have to use this week are 3 lbs of ground turkey and some more chicken thighs.  we'll see what i can find for next week.  and no, don't worry - i won't post in this much detail every week.  haha.


Megan said...

Good job Bec!! I wouldn't mind hearing what you make next week. I like trying new (not too complicated) recipes but have been so uninspired this summer. I just don't want to cook when it's hot out. Last night's dinner was hot dogs at Costco. haha.

Carolyn said...

Rebecca, Most people think you need to cook pork "forever" to be safe. Pork really takes very little time to cook and the boneless ones you bought were probably less than 1" thick?? If they are firm to the touch
when you press on them with a utensil they will be done. Would like the recipe for the sauce..sounds yummy!

Laura said...

Good job Bec! Yes, pork is easy to overcook. I forgot to mention the thickness of the pork will make a difference with your recipe. If they're super thin you probably only need 30min at 350. That may have also been why your sauce was a little thin. We often buy thick chops. Sorry about that!

theRachel said...

You are an all-star, Bec! Even as someone who likes to cook I sometimes feel uninspired, so it's always good to have a variety of go-to recipes!