Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I have this love-hate relationship with cooking.  I absolutely love discovering a new recipe and figuring out and occasion to try it out.  I adore meal-planning and grocery shopping.  I enjoy quiet evenings after Wyatt has gone to bed and I go downstairs to finish cooking and eat dinner.  We rarely eat when W is awake.  I also love when W 'helps' me in the kitchen -- he loves to get out bowls and measuring cups and act like he's making his own meal.  One day our picky son will actually eat and enjoy my creations.   (Currently unless that creation is PLAIN noodles, Greek yogurt and fruit it won't be touched.)

The same can be said for Ben.  He does a lot of grilling and smoking, but we really do most of that on the weekends.  Especially in winter, its not much fun standing out by a grill when its freezing cold and dark outside.  And although I do 99% of our meal planning, he very much enjoys researching the best grilling/smoking technique for a particular item and then whomping up the perfect marinade or rub.  We don't host dinners often enough, but when we do I always rely on him for the entree portion of the meal.  And its always a hit.

I like to bake too, but that is much messier so I generally just stick to cooking.

What I don't love is the cleanup.  Although I rarely make anything complicated or requiring many dishes, I am not a 'neat' cook.  I try to clean as I go, but somehow I always end up with a redonkulus amount of dishes, pots, and pans to clean.  But the payoff when you make something tasty is so worth it. 

I also don't love my recipe organization.  Or lack of organization, I should say.  I tear recipes out of magazines, or print them off Pinterest but then after I cook said item I throw the recipe in a pile of papers.  I've got to figure out a system.

Anyway, enough talking.  Here are some of my recent creations.  None of these are my own recipe or idea.  I'm not that creative!  I'm also not a food photographer by any means.  My pictures are crappy but I promise you each one of these dishes are worth trying!  (Except the stuffed peppers ... but don't worry b/c I didn't link a recipe)

Skillet Chicken Parm w/ roasted broccoli.   This was an excellent healthier take on your traditional chicken parm.  The chicken is simply sauteed with a little olive oil, no breading or butter involved.  The mozzarella cheese part isn't healthful, but you don't use that much.  My intentions were to use whole-wheat pasta, but then I opened my pantry and saw those rigatoni just calling my name.  Soooo .... all-in-all ... a not healthy but not all that un-healthy meal that I 'll definitely make again.  And I must confess that while I only used 2 slices of cheese for that chicken, I opened the package and promptly ate 3. Maybe four?  I just can't resist fresh mozzarella!

Hummus Crusted Chicken roasted over squash, zucchini, and onions with a side of Israeli couscous.  This meal is a winner.  It has definitely earned its keep in my rotation.  Its easy, requires little prep and is healthy (except the couscous).  That said, it does NOT re-heat well at all, so don't make this if you want leftovers.

Skillet Mac' n' Cheese.  This was delicious.  I think I ate about 2 servings the night I made it and then at least 1-2 more throughout the week.  It re-heats fantastically, is a substantial meal, and is just plain old comforting. 

Stuffed Bell Pepper with a grilled avocado on the side.  The stuffed pepper was fine.  Nothing to write home about, but the avocado ..... killer.  I actually make them quite often, because they are easy and healthy-ish. 

Chicken Francese and roasted brussels sprouts.   I don't have a real recipe for this, but it is an all-time favorite.  And, yes, I did eat every single bite on that plate!

Chocolate Cookies w/ Candy Cane Buttercream.  I made these as a trial run for a Christmas cookie swap.  They actually weren't all that difficult, but I did have a zillion dishes to clean up at the end.  Only thing I'll change next time is I'd make them smaller as they are very very rich. 

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