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I don’t have my notes for this week anymore, so I really don’t remember what we were eating or when! I only have my pictures to go by, along with some estimations. I’ll do my best! I only seem to have documented three days, though I’m pretty sure I made four meals. That doesn’t mean much – the fourth meal was probably something simple and recipe-less. I just have no idea what it was.
Roast Chicken for “Lazy People” (from Around My French Table)
I’ve made this classic Dorie recipe before, and, yeah, it’s my favorite roast chicken recipe. How can it not be? Everything goes into the Dutch oven, the Dutch oven goes into the oven, and I don’t have to do anything else. I do have to pick the chicken afterwards, but that means leftovers for another dinner and the protein is already cooked. Also, this is so simple and so delicious that it’s impossible not to love it. The bread that the chicken sits on while it cooks is easily the best part of this meal – I could eat that every day of the week and still be happy.
Chicken Enchiladas (from Don’t Panic: Dinner’s in the Freezer)
Here’s where Sunday’s leftover chicken found new life. Enough for three meals, no less. This took some prep work, but the nice thing is that I have two meals sitting in the freezer, ready to be reheated and eaten. All I’ll have to do is prep some avocado, tomatoes, and sour cream. Easy. And tasty, fortunately. This is the kind of stuff I’m hoping to have in ample supply by the time December rolls around. I made a few changes to the original recipe, which called for onions and peppers (of course). I took those out and added in some fresh corn off the cob. Definitely a winner. I bet this would be just as good with a classic red enchilada sauce instead of the cheese sauce. Something to try in the future.
Mongolian Beef (from Your Home-Based Mom) and brown rice
I expected more from this dish. This is usually what I order when we go out to Pei Wei when we’re craving Asian food, and I was hoping for a recipe that could compare. This didn’t. The beef didn’t come out with that restaurant-quality crunchiness I wanted. It tasted okay, but it wasn’t very exciting. I added mushrooms and snow peas to it, and though they probably improved the dish overall, they didn’t make it fantastic. I like making homemade “take-out,” but this one isn’t going to be a repeat. I’ll have to keep looking, I guess.
This week, the AC went out on Monday evening while I was cooking dinner. It didn’t get fixed until Wednesday, and I’m sure it would come as no surprise to know that I had no interest in cooking on Tuesday or Wednesday. So, this week was a little weird. I did, however, do a bit of cooking, so here’s what we got.
Pork with Apples and Cheese Grits (from the Pioneer Woman)
Awesome, awesome, awesome. I want this all the time. I usually don’t like anything sweet with my grits, but the apple-maple sauce on the meat also goes wonderfully with the grits. The grits recipe that goes along with this also includes bacon, but I didn’t feel like messing around with that, and I don’t feel that the grits really needed it. This was perfect just as it was. Naturally, grits take a little extra effort, but on the plus side, the pork and apples were really easy to do.
Taco Salad with Dorie Greenspan’s Roasted Corn (from Around My French Table)
bonus recipe: Taco Filling for Freezing (from Martha Stewart)
First off, the taco meat recipe makes a ton, and it freezes exceptionally well. We had enough left over for two meals (plus leftovers from those). I’ve been making an effort recently to collect freezer recipes, because I know cooking is probably not going to be my top priority after Niko arrives. I almost always make taco salads when we have a taco night. It’s not as attractive, but it’s a lot easier on me. The roasted corn went really nicely in this, adding in a little bit of sweetness. Tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, and avocado rounded out the veggies, and of course, there’s cheese and sour cream to top it all off. A little hot sauce, and this is easily one of my favorite quick meals.
Summer Gazpacho Soup (from The Naked Kitchen)
As it turned out, the repairman had to come again on Friday to adjust something on the AC, so it was turned off all afternoon while I was prepping this soup. Fortunately, the only cooking this soup requires it heating up some chicken broth. Everything after that is done with the food processor, and then it’s put in the fridge to chill. Thus, making it the best thing to make on Friday. Once the AC was back on, it took a while to cool down the house again, so it was nice to have this cool, refreshing soup. It probably wasn’t as good as the previous week’s chilled tomato soup, and it did taste strongly of cucumber (not my favorite veggie), but it was exactly what we needed that night.
Orange-Scented Chilled Tomato Soup (from Giada De Laurentiis @ Food Network)
Is there anything hotter than an August afternoon? I think the last thing anyone wants to be doing on hot afternoons like this is standing over a stove and getting dinner together. (and yet, sometimes, I still do it – why?) I’m not big on salads, and though I do like cool pasta and potato salads, I like soup better. Chilled soups are a little more limited, I think, than hot soups, but there’s still quite a few out there. I wanted a tomato soup, and this one had the added boost of orange juice and a dollop of sweetened Greek yogurt on top. This was quite, quite good. It’s very light, so a sandwich would have been nice to have with it, but it was just fine on its own too. I did add homemade croutons, just for the heartiness and the crunch, and that just made it even better. This is definitely a recipe I’ll keep for future summers.
Sweet Potato Biscuits & Chorizo Gravy (from Cook Like a Champion) and Roasted Corn
I’m not generally a big sausage fan, but I will make an exception for sausage gravy. I love sausage gravy. As for just plain sausage, I find that I prefer chorizo over anything else. So, when I saw this recipe combining the two, I had to give it a try. Oh, my goodness. The gravy is fantastic. I could have this for breakfast for days on end before getting tired of it. In fact, I had it for lunch the next day and then the day after that. I would have gone on having it, but I ran out of gravy. The sweet potato biscuits were just alright. I’ve made better sweet potato biscuits, and though these were tasty, they didn’t have the sweet potato flavor I was hoping for. But they baked up nicely, and I love the technique for getting pre-cut biscuits (roll the dough to a quarter-inch thinness then fold it over on itself before cutting the biscuits – brilliant!)
Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti (from Let’s Dish) and Steamed Carrots
This was . . . interesting. It wasn’t bad, just interesting. I’m glad I had the foresight to steam some carrots, because it really needed some veg to go with it (in fact, I wish we’d done more). Again, I am a sucker for anything buffalo-flavored, and this was a variation I hadn’t considered before. Not 100% sure I’d do it again, but it was definitely worth a first try. The topping there is mozzarella cheese, which it definitely needed, but I think the nice thing is that this is easily adjustable. Want more buffalo sauce? Okay, go for it. A little more blue cheese dressing, which is in the sauce? Sure, add a little more. It’s nice because you can play around with it, and it was very easy to get it all assembled. And the carrots did go very well with it.
Zucchini and Mushroom Saute with Pasta Sauce
This was intended to be stuffed zucchini boats, but I got lazy and skipped the boat part. Zucchini boats are fun to eat, but I’m not sure I’m thrilled with the making of them. This turned out pretty tasty anyway, so that’s okay. I had some chorizo left over from the biscuits and gravy, so I cooked that up and then set it aside to drain. Then I sliced up the zucchini and mushrooms and sauteed them. Once they were cooked, I added the chorizo to it and let that reheat. Meanwhile, I reheated some pasta sauce and crumbled some mozzarella. The veg mixture was spooned into bowls, the mozzarella was sprinkled on top, followed by a healthy spoonful of pasta sauce. Not terrific but it was tasty. And obviously fast and easy, which is often what I want on Friday nights. If I did this again, I’d use more chorizo (again, I used what I had, which was not a full sausage) and I’d add some rotini or fusilli or something. Or bread. Some kind of starch would have been nice and would have rounded out the meal. As it was, this was light but still filling, and I’d definitely do it again when I’m feeling particularly lazy.