food is essential to life: make it good

I actually remembered to plan a meatless meal for tonight! BOOM!

With my new cooking adventures I think it’ll be easier for me to come up with vegetarian meals each week. In years past I would buy boxed fish sticks and whip up some mac n’ cheese. Every Friday this was my dinner! I may as well have gone to McD’s and picked up their fish sandwiches (God I love those things, don’t get me wrong – there is something about them that are addicting! I would LOOOOOVE to go for one of those now but I know better). Lenten meals don’t have to consist of seafood though, not everyone likes fish or shrimp. So I’ll give you tonight’s dinner.

Grilled cheese & sweet potato fries. Simple!  We’re not talking plain old Kraft slices either. I picked up smoke provolone, an avocado, and I’ll saute red onions – stack it up on some sourdough bread. I’m making homemade fries too – 1 potato per person, slice them up, and sprinkle smoked paprika – bake and eat. That sounds DELISH!!! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

I’ll do a picture show of the last few nights of meals (in no particular order). Chicken sliders inspired by Ree Drummond, remember that you can change recipes – the recipe police will not come after you! This also shouldn’t stop you from making something that looks good; if an ingredient doesn’t seem necessary to the overall flavor then it’s okay to omit.

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Another Pioneer Woman recipe, this one I followed to the T. There wasn’t anything you could leave out. When you open the link it will say quick and easy – so true, it was ready in under 20 minutes. The only thing that wasn’t quick and easy, opening the darn pasta box. SERIOUSLY! “Tear here” is a bunch of BS.

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I forgot to include the picture of me food processing the red peppers but that is an important step. Look at Ree’s instructions, she gives step by step pictures – love her blog!

Next in the line up braised short ribs. A bit pricey but this isn’t something we will make on a regular basis; it was actually my first time cooking short ribs. I found this on the Food Network’s website from Claire Robinson’s 5 ingredient fix. The only thing I changed was the cooking time… I did it low and slow – 300 for 6 hours! Do it and you’ll thank me later.

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I had planned root veggies as a side however the tax office took waaaaaay longer than expected. So I didn’t have time to put them in the oven and had to bust out the insty mashed potatoes. No biggie. As I pulled the meat out of the pot, the bones fell off – yepp, I knew this was a good plan 🙂 This could easily be a slow cooker meal but you’ll still have to brown the meat before, it’s crucial to keep the juices inside the meat.

Oh yes, on the disaster that was brinner. It was a huge hit the first time around, I had to plan a second one… except it actually became a real breakfast. I didn’t feel like cooking that night and since we were both home the next day for breakfast, why not make a proper meal to start our day.

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Seriously, Pinterest… you can really suck sometimes. My cute idea quickly changed to scrambled eggs with chopped green peppers. That is where Josh stepped in, he makes THE BEST scrambled eggs; McLane agrees.  Want to make your waffles stand out? I added cinnamon, so yummy.  We needed protein so I cooked JD’s sausage patties. There’s an easy meal!

The final dish: mahi mahi with a mango salsa. I used the root veggies that were skipped from the night before, didn’t want them going bad and having to toss. The marinade that I found for the fish was s0-s0, I think I just needed to have more liquid but the fish was covered … maybe it was the marinade. I won’t even post it. It wasn’t bad, it was just lacking flavor.

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That’s it! I know it’s a lot but now you have no reason to be uninspired. So many meals to choose from 🙂 Pick your weapon!

 

Hands off my crock pot!!

Annnnd it’s Friday. I’m sorry little blog, my only friend and I’ve been neglecting you.

Tuesday: cleaned the house and did some grocery shopping for the two meals I planned.  Wednesday: watched Miss E again, payment of short ribs and veggies.  I ate dinner that night in 15 minutes, it was so good and amazing comfort food. I need to get the recipe ASAP. To make things easier for transporting I gave Kathy one of my grandmother’s pots to use and I’m telling you what, I think food tastes even better knowing it was cooked in a dish that’s been passed down.  It may be mustard yellow with small orange flowers on it, but it’s whats inside and knowing where it’s been.

If you guys have crazy weeks like we do in this house, I suggest setting up a “menu board”; I used to put a list on the fridge but for something reason the white paper with black ink didn’t catch Josh’s attention.  Neon markers? YEP! That fixed things 🙂 I actually started my menu board so he would know what was off limits in the fridge and freezer, 9 times out of 10 he’d eat half of my weekly ingredients and I’d be running to the store while attempting to get dinner going. Here’s what this week looked like:
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I change out the quote to keep it interesting for Josh … he’s easily amused.  The last one was “Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit”.  As you can see one day was leftovers, my fridge was being taken over my storage containers.  While I loved the organization of it all, it was starting to scare me that they might attack.  Oh, Monday’s meal was so delicious; pork chops cooked perfectly and with them being stuffed with blue cheese and cranberries, oh man MELT IN YOUR MOUTH.  I’ll have to add that to my rotation as well; I’ve done Gouda/spinach and caramelized onions/apples both which are hits as well.

On to last night’s crock pot meal; it wasn’t a crazy Thursday like the last few weeks but I taught all evening.  This was the easiest and fastest meal to prep, don’t be shocked when I tell you this piece of advice: BUY A MANDOLIN! I was able to slice a green pepper and 3 red potatoes in a minute. I had everything layered (shake some S & P on each layer!!!) in the crock pot under 8 minutes. Yes, I timed myself to prove to you that delicious dinners are possible. Please note, this is not the healthiest meal to date but it was good and we all need some extra goodness every once in a while.

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I tried to cut corners due to teaching, I didn’t have time to empty the crock pot and then melt the Velveeta, so I used a baby crock pot for that step and I’m super thankful I lined it with foil because it burned to the bottom. GROSS.  I highly suggest NOT skipping that step … Since I had leftovers I planned on taking them out then melting the remaining square of cheese, pour it on the chicken/veggies in a container and hopefully have an improvement the second time around.  Well my lovely husband cleaned up while I was teaching my last lesson and that idea was quickly laid to rest.  I love that he helped but now I don’t have leftover juices from the crock pot 😦 I didn’t tell him about this so when he reads the blog he’ll get upset that he “messed up”.  You didn’t mess up boo boo, you were super helpful to clean up the kitchen, one less thing I had to do after an evening of lessons.  Next time, don’t touch the crock pot until I say so *stink eye*, xoxo.

I was able to use some of the baby crock pot cheese, the meal didn’t turn out bad but the cheese was goopy (it is a processed log after all); it needed the juices to turn it in to a sauce.

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And to finish off an unhealthy meal, an unhealthy dessert!  We went out for a friends birthday on Wednesday and couldn’t pass up a slice of cheesecake … it’s sacrilegious to be near “The Factory” and not take home a slice of heaven.  MMMMM NOM NOM NOM.

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