Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cooking All The Things

Since our kitchen was completed the weekend before Christmas I've cooked every meal for every day we've been at home and it has been glorious. JP and the kids may miss their daily Easy Mac ("Mommy, can we have that pasta that's in the cup again? I liked that one!"), but I am loving this using of pots and pans and fire and water. And JP bought me a very nice knife for Christmas, because he knows I hate making separate vegetable side dishes and thus have a burning need to dice at least four vegetables for every meal, so I am also working on my knife skills. Someday I will want to eat out again, but I have our menu planned for at least the next three weeks.

Here's a few of the favorite recipes I've made so far, along with a few new ones I've discovered.

On New Year's Day we did a brunch with the kids and I made this Cheesy Amish Breakfast Casserole with fresh berries, cheater Pilsbury cinnamon rolls that were more delicious than I remembered, and mimosas (faux for the kids - OJ and sprite, which JP also preferred, so I was forced to have about 6 mimosas all by myself, a hardship I stoicly endured). The casserole was REALLY good, definitely my new favorite in the breakfast category. But with four pounds of cheese, how could it not be?

That night we had our oven jambalaya, and then the rest of break is a hazy and happy blur, but I know I made my beloved Fiesta Quinoa Bake and JP's favorite Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce at some point. Oh and Giada's Chicken Stew - the broth is so good and it's a hearty soup that isn't creamy.

The menu for this week involves a few new recipes:

Sunday: Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin with Orzo with Parmesan and Peas. SO good. Both of them! I will definitely make both again, but the orzo was particularly good and would be great paired with chicken or just as a meal by itself.

Monday: Cheeseburger Soup. This was also SO good! I had to get over the weird name; all I could think about was the soggy bread of a cheeseburger dumped in soup, but the flavor of the broth with all the veggies was wonderful. We don't eat much red meat, so it was nice to have a new way to use one of our packets of the organic ground beef you can buy and freeze from Costco that wasn't tacos or chili (particularly since I don't really like beef tacos and my favorite chili recipe involves chicken). Plus, you get to make a roux! That always makes me feel very accomplished.

Tuesday: Verde Chicken Tacos. I took a few chicken breasts and put them in the crockpot with a jar of Trader Joe's verde salsa (LOVE that stuff) on low for 8 hours. When I got home I shredded it, turned the crockpot up to hi and added another halfish jar of salsa and about 3 ounces of cream cheese (trust me). It got all verde creamy and delish while I warmed some refried black beans and chopped up lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado, and then we served it all on tostadas or tortillas. So good! I rolled up the leftovers in tortillas, brushed them with a little olive oil, and put them in the fridge to bake on Thursday.

This all came about because I got home this evening and Cora was fussy and exhausted from being a Little Toddler all day at school (she just graduated from the baby classroom; she eats at a tiny table in a tiny chair with five other toddlers just like they're real people and sleeps on a nap mat instead of a crib; I'm ignoring all of it, but she is VERY excited about her advancement to the big kid side of things) and I didn't want to take the step of making my homemade white enchilada sauce. One roux is enough for the week everyone goes back to school/work.

still a baby

Wednesday: Leftover soup or pork, whichever individuals prefer. And a new big loaf of ciabatta bread for JP so he can find the soup to be properly filling.

Thursday: Verde Chicken Taquitos with assorted toppings.

Friday: Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce (TJ's gnocchi with this Vodka Sauce recipe)

Saturday: maybe I will finally let JP order Thai again? He's going through withdrawals.

Anyone else have any new recipe they've tried and love? I'm always looking for new ones!

(Also, is anyone else obsessed with Kresley Cole's Arcana Chronicles? Book 3, which I've been waiting for for over a YEAR, came out today and I just finished- loved it, though not as much as the first two in the series. Anxiously awaiting the promised book 4; why can't she write faster?)


  1. Had this for dinner last night. Super yummy.

    anon - jlv

  2. I'm SO excited to try the orzo dish. I honestly just bought some orzo, peas, and parm (among other things) and was wondering how the heck I could pull it all together! Perfect timing :)

  3. I love this crockpot tinga recipe from Rick Bayless -- so do my kids. It's great dressed up with avocado, queso fresco, and a squeeze of lime on corn tortillas or even in a bowl as stew:


  4. Happy New Year LL! Have you discovered Laurie yet? She has a yummy Healthy Sesame Chicken recipe on her blog, Simply Scratch. The recipe will satisfy your love of chopping veggies (and I've substituted whatever vegetables I have on hand with success). The sauce is a bit too sweet for us but easily remedied by decreasing honey and adding some chicken broth and red pepper flakes. Enjoy! --Desimom

  5. Just wanted to say - I picked up the Arcana Chronicles based on their mention in this post, and I've read all three over the past two days. They're great! I'm definitely going to check out her other books.

    1. Oh my gosh, if you liked the Arcana Chronicles you will LOVE her other stuff! I found her via the McCarrick brothers trilogy, a fairly traditional Scottish historical romance (starts with If you Dare), but then I discovered her Immortals after Dark series and fell in love. Strong female characters, action, romance, great dialogue- it's so much fun. She and Larissa Ione are two of the best authors in the genre that I've found (though Larissa's stuff is darker).