Being at home ALL.THE.TIME can be a bit of a chore.
And like most chores, I need to turn them into a game of sorts to keep my interest from flagging.
The same goes with the chore of cooking dinner. I hate to always make the same thing, again and again. I like variety, I like to try different herbs and spices and flavors and textures. So I like to peruse cookbooks and surf recipe-rich Web sites for inspiration.
A recipe that gains consideration in my view is one that is relatively easy, relatively fast, and one that does not require a trip to the grocery store to purchase lots of pricey ingredients.
Here are three dishes that we've recently made at the Cleaver Compound. All THREE were winners.
I didn't bother to take pictures - in this house, one should just be happy that food was prepared.
First, a recipe from Pioneer Woman (like she needs any more publicity). One day, I was just looking for a side dish that moved me...this was IT!
YUM. They're boiled, they're roasted, they're drizzled with oil and kissed with herbs. They're soft, yet crunchy. They are darned near perfect. You're gonna wanna get some red taters and cook up a mess o' these for your family.
String Spaghetti Pie I blame this next one on Facebook. A friend posted that she was making String Pie for the first time. WTH is String Pie? I just had to find out...and in the dictionary, I am sure part of the definition says, "see Heaven".
From Food.com (previously known as Recipezaar.com): String Spaghetti Pie (which is akin to lasagna, but the "pie crust" is spaghetti-based). This one-dish meal was tasty and easy to put together.
The only part where I may have broken out in a sweat was when I added the hot, cooked pasta to the beaten egg, parmesan and butter mixture. I have made Carbonara sauce before (which also involves raw eggs and hot pasta), so I knew the key was to keep on stirring to keep from getting scrambled eggs, but it still made me a wee bit nervous.
My single modification to the recipe was to use more mozzarella (about a cup or so?) to top the entire casserole. We had this for lunch the next day (three meals total, it filled a 9 x 13 casserole dish), and it was still great, reheated in the oven or microwave.
The Boy did NOT sample the pie - he abhors all things pasta. He may be the only child never to enjoy Spaghetti-Os or the skills of that cooking genius, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.
Spiced Honey Chicken The Boy wanted Honey Chicken the other day - it is one of a few Asian-inspired items he will readily consume at a nearby Chinese buffet. He also likes kitten chicken on a stick and sweet and sour chicken (with that 'Day-Glo, nothing like it in nature' sauce).
I told him to search for a recipe for Honey Chicken, and to send it to me via IM or email. Instead, he posted it proudly on Facebook - and it isn't the recipe I ultimately used, though his was simpler.
I was not at all pleased about making this dish (also from Food.com). I don't like the taste of honey; I don't care for the smell of it, either (it reminds me of a combination of wet tea bags and Horehound cough drops - which surprisingly, are made with honey!...yuck).
One modification: We used only about 1/8 of a teaspoon of the ground red pepper, as it was Be Kind to The Boy's Taste Buds day. I STILL don't like honey, but for THIS recipe, I will make an exception. It reminded me of chicken with garlic sauce...but better. I hate to admit it, but I think the glaze made the difference.
The Mister grilled the chicken, and I prepped the sauce and sides. We served this with Basmati rice and Winter blend vegetables.
I urge you to try ALL of these recipes and let me know which one you like best!
I'm rooting for the Spiced Honey Chicken to come out as the big winner here.