But here I am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to get back into my routine. First things first: catching you up on all the recipes I've made in the past month. Brace yourselves, because this post is a doozy.
Flounder Piccata with Spinach (Cooking Light March 2008)
This one is an old standby. I'm not sure I've ever made it with flounder; I usually use tilapia since I always have frozen tilapia filets on hand. I served this with a box of Near East pine nut couscous.
Black Bean and Cheese Tacos (Everyday Food, June 2011)
I have several binders at home in which I've filed all the recipes I've torn out of magazines over the years. Every time we have a meal from Everyday Food I go through a mini-period of mourning for the magazine's untimely demise. It was the BEST. Martha Stewart, I am still a little pissed at you for pulling the plug on it. Please bring it back. Please?
Anyhoodle, M actually made this recipe and declared it to be very easy. It was quick and really filling, although I thought it could've used just a little bit more salt.
Pepperoni Bread (I have no idea...I need your help!)
Our next-door neighbor and his girlfriend gave us the BEST Christmas gift in the form of the pepperoni bread. It was readymade with instructions for baking. I put it in the freezer and as soon as we had a night when I just didn't feel like cooking, I fired up the oven. I know I'm going to enjoy anything that comes with the instructions "baste with butter." In the interest of trying to be health-conscious, I basted with olive oil instead.
OMG IT WAS SO GOOD. Does anyone have a recipe for pepperoni bread? Our neighbor travels all the time and his girlfriend lives out of state, so I haven't been able to track down her recipe yet. This would be such a great Super Bowl food. Help a girl out!
Burrata Pizza Pie (What's Gaby Cooking)
I'm not sure I even need to tell you how good this was. My favorite homemade crust + burrata + prosciutto + basil. Yeah. That speaks for itself.
Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo (Summer is a Verb)
Another old standby around here. Also this is shockingly popular on my Pinterest. It gets repinned all the time!
I happened to have everything on hand to make this and it always tastes like a little plate of summer to me. This time I took the seeds out of the jalapeno and that was a mistake. We both like it better with the spicy kick.
Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon (Skinnytaste)
I used thyme instead of rosemary because I had some leftover fresh sprigs on hand. I'm always surprised by how good (and easy!) a simple roast chicken is and this one didn't disappoint. M was SO EXCITED to have roast chicken on a weeknight, which was cute and hilarious. The leftovers make excellent chicken salad.
Chicken, Shiitake Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup (Skinnytaste)
This recipe is in my top-5 favorites from Skinnytaste. I've been making it for us since before we were married. It's so yummy and comforting. It was made even better with the leftover brown molasses rolls I had stashed in the freezer.
Oven "Fried" Breaded Pork Chops (Skinnytaste) and Braised Red Cabbage with Vinegar (Bon Appetit October 2010)
The pork chops were great, but holy goodness, the cabbage! Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I have always loved cabbage. Such an underrated little vegetable. There are so many recipes for braised red cabbage out there, but I wanted one that was simple and not too heavy on the caraway. This recipe from the inimitable Lidia Bastianich was perfect.
Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo (The Comfort of Cooking)
Another repeat for us. Now that I feel like I have finally mastered cooking spaghetti squash, I really need to branch out, but this preparation is just so freaking good! It's so filling and easy and tastes much more decadent than it actually is. I knew it was a good sign when I pulled these out of the oven and M said, "Oh yeah, you've made these before!" If he remembers a meal, it's only because it was worth remembering.
Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli (Budget Bytes)
Yet another home run from Budget Bytes. For those of you with kids, I would imagine this would be a hit. It's almost got a ranch type of flavor profile going on. It's a one pot meal and it's so darn simple.
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili (Budget Bytes)
I love white chilis. They're my favorite. And while this recipe isn't quite as good as my favorite (Texas White Lightening recipe from Southern Living a million years ago...this says February 2003, but my recipe is from a cookbook published in 1994), it was still pretty delicious. And spicy (which we like)!
Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls (Skinnytaste)
These are great, although I have a bone to pick with lasagna rolls. These type recipes are always advertised as SO MUCH EASIER than regular lasagna and I'm calling bullshit. Regular lasagna is way easier. You just layer. What is easier than that? When you have to roll, I inevitable end up with a few noodles that fall apart (see the middle roll on the bottom) and filling starts seeping out the sides and it's a mess. I love this recipe, but honestly, I think it would just made it as a normal lasagna in the future. Anyone else feel this way?
Salsa Poached Eggs and Grits (Budget Bytes)
M was trying to so hard to be helpful when I was sick and he offered to make dinner one night. This was one of the recipes that I had planned and I thought it would be pretty easy for him to execute. That was not the case. (I love you, honey! You are really awesome at making breakfast!) The eggs ended up being overcooked and I was so exhausted from helping in the kitchen that I only ate a little bit of it.
I wasn't super impressed with the meal, but I'm not sure if that was the recipe's fault or just extenuating circumstances. It gets a second chance.
After the previous night's disaster, I just really wanted Bagel Bites for dinner. WHY ARE THEY SO GOOD?
We hosted a few friends for New Year's Eve and I made a batch of Ina's Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya. A few thoughts:
1. The fact that Ina's estimated serving size is 6-8 helps me understand why she is such a large woman. Seriously. One recipe of this filled two Dutch ovens, fed 5 adults for dinner, and we still had enough leftover for 2 dinners and 2 lunches. And we are not a group of dainty eaters. Ina, I'm impressed. And horrified.
2. I used a can of diced tomatoes in placed of the cup of seeded, diced fresh tomato. This was a mistake. The extra liquid made the rice a little overcooked, gummy, and wet. It bothered me. Next time I would either reduce the amount of other liquids, or just use the diced fresh tomato.
3. I am the only person who was bothered by this. Everyone else loved it. Especially topped with the bacon hot sauce my MIL put in M's stocking.
Last Friday we had tickets to a hockey game, so we scarfed down Budget Bytes' BBQ Beef Stuffed Baked Potatoes in a hurry and I forgot to take a picture. Lucky for you, I've written about these before, so you can see a picture and read my review there.
If you've made it this far, congratulations on suffering through an epic amount of terrible food photography!