Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The sweet smell of success...

I don't know if you remember, but I used to write a blog about being a new mom.  And now I write mostly about cooking and meal plans and food.  I hope you aren't growing tired of that.  I feel like people are generally pretty excited about my meal plans and recipes, but I just wanted to call out the elephant in the room.  This is still a blog about parenting.  I just spend most of my life as a parent feeding others.  I hope this makes sense to you because it basically makes no sense to me, but it makes me happy to cook and happier to share it with you.  Okay? Okay.

 So, anyway, a couple of times a month, I like to share my reviews of new recipes I've tried as part of our meal plan. The recipes we have been trying so far have been a wild success.  In case you've missed it, I also repin the pins for all of the recipes I try through Pinterest on my board "I Made This" so make sure you are following!

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef - Well, to say this recipe was successful would be a major understatement.  For starters, my husband actually MISSED OUT on this dinner due to delayed/cancelled flights while he was out of town.  So, the next day he heated it up for lunch - and then proceeded to eat it for lunch for the next three days.  In fact, we all loved it.  I knew from the minute I mixed up the sauce and poured it into the crock pot that it was going to be perfect.  I served it with some boiled new potatoes and steamed broccoli.  Next time, I'll definitely consider serving it up with some mashed potatoes and using the sauce in the crock pot as as gravy.  Either way, this is a wonderfully easy and delicious meal.

Quick Lime Cilantro Chicken - I accidentally cut up the chicken too small when I did this recipe.  The only thing that affected was the way I wanted to serve it.  I felt like it was small enough to be a taco filling when you're really supposed to eat it over a bed of rice (review for the rice below).  My husband disagreed and said he wouldn't change a thing.  I wouldn't necessarily call this a "quick" recipe.  The prep took a bit of time (zesting/juicing limes, cutting chicken breasts, chopping cilantro, mincing garlic, etc.), but once it was in the pan it wasn't a big deal.  We did a sprinkle of both the chili powder and cayenne pepper along with cumin.  The flavor was awesome.  I am thinking about using this recipe for shrimp or fish to make fish tacos for Lent.  I'll let you know how that turns out!

Fiesta Lime Rice - Oh, holy hell this was great.  My husband who does not like beans or tomatoes even raved about this.  TIH took one bite and said, "MMMMM."  I could eat a giant bowl of this for every meal.  The flavor reminded me of a Chipotle Burrito Bowl, minus the sour cream, cheese, meat, and guac.  So, that also means it's got all of that flavor with mostly healthy ingredients!  BEST.  We used brown rice instead of white and it was perfect.  I allowed everything to sit together for a bit before service which I think helped the flavors meld a bit.  Couldn't recommend this higher.  We had almost none leftover.

Chicken Tortilla Soup - The other day, a friend of mine texted me and asked if I could point her in the direction of a good Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.  I knew this one was on our meal plan, so I shot her the link with the caveat that we hadn't tried it yet, so I had no idea if it was going to be any good.  She let me know that it was, in fact, delicious and I excitedly looked forward to making it for our Saturday dinner all week.  My excitement must have clouded my judgment.  Because not only did I forget two key ingredients (black beans and red bell pepper...what?!), I also totally neglected to check out the cook time and pretty  much started cooking dinner about 2 hours later than I should have.  (This was also on the day when I completely forgot about a birthday party TIH was invited to until someone texted me.  Seriously.  My brain must have turned to mush from all of the snow days.)  HOWEVER, brain mush aside - this soup is actually DELICIOUS and SUPER simple to put together (as long as you don't forget key ingredients.)  You should not only cover it with every suggested garnish in the recipe, I also read in the comment section that many people suggested serving it with a squeeze of fresh lime over the top. (Definitely do that, it was great!)  Our only snafu in serving this was that the avocado I picked up had clearly frozen at some point (probably when traveling on the truck through our polar conditions.)  So, when I cut into it, it was no good.  The next time we make it, I am really interested to see what the diced avocado adds as a garnish, but it was still pretty dang fantastic without it!

Greek Stuffed Pitas - I will admit right from the start that I had my doubts about this recipe.  First...eggplant.  I like it in small doses, but I was pretty sure my boys weren't going to be into it.  Secondly...oregano.  I know it is so strange since it is such a common ingredient in so many recipes, but oregano is just not one of my favorite herbs.  Sure, I can handle it in spaghetti or pizza sauce, but I've been known to substitute (or fully omit it) in the past in other recipes.  However, this recipe was far too easy to put together to pass up.  When I opened up the oven, I was assaulted by the smell of oregano, and I thought my suspicions were coming true - I was not going to like this recipe.  I felt this way right up until I took a bite.  AND THEN MY SOCKS WERE KNOCKED OFF.  The flavor of the chicken (oregano and all) was PERFECT.  The eggplant took on the yummy flavor of all of the juices of the other veggies, chicken, and dressing and was perfect.  We served ours in whole wheat pita pockets with a little Greek vinaigrette (thanks Aldi) poured on top.  And, of course, feta.  My husband complimented the meal several times between bites, called dibs on the leftovers for his lunch the next day, and has already requested it for a future meal plan.  Simple?  Tasty?  Husband pleasing?  WIN.  (Also, vegetarian crowd - throw some tofu in there instead of chicken, or maybe some beans of sorts and you've got yourself a happy little meal.)


Looks great, eh?  Anybody cook anything delicious?  I'd love to hear!

1 comment:

  1. I am excited to try these recipes! They look delicious! I am happy I came across your blog. I am new to the world of blogging. Would you like to follow my blog? I would be happy to follow yours as well.


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