I’ve added a widget to the sidebar to collect the recipes from my random recipe project.  I’m retroactively adding things to it and I’m also hoping to auto post some of them.

A Review of the Random Meals

So far, the RNG meals are going quite well.  As I wrote earlier, the first two meals were a success.  We then had stuffed red peppers, which were quite yummy.  The cabbage on the side was especially and surprisingly good, though I will say that in the future, unless I’m getting it from the farmer’s market, I’ll buy the preshredded cabbage.  It’s just a pain to shred by hand.  Wednesday, we had leftovers.  There was some soup, one pepper, and a meal from before the great experiment.  Geeky Boy and I had a quick sandwich.  This was primarily because I had a PTO meeting and putting together a meal would have been difficult to do before the meeting.

Thursday, we had a chicken salad.  The recipe originally called for shrimp, but Geeky Boy is allergic to shrimp, so I substituted chicken as the recipe suggested.  There are several shrimp recipes in the book.  I may have to substitute or make GB something separate when I make these.  It’s a challenge.  This was a tasty salad, though I’d say that it would be better in the summer since it’s served cold.  I used a store made (organic) roast chicken.  I boiled the carcass afterwards and made a chicken soup out of it for lunch over the weekend.  The salad had plenty leftover as well, and I ate it for lunch. Yum.

Friday, we ordered pizza.  Geeky Boy had a friend over, and it was Friday, good time to break from the routine.

Saturday, I made scallops with Chipotle-orange sauce.  These were really yummy.  Everyone liked them a lot.  Geeky Girl was at a friend’s house, so she didn’t get to try them, but Mr. Geeky and Geeky Boy gave them two thumbs up.

Yesterday, we had sandwiches, which were by far the easiest thing I’ve made.  They’re easy enough to make for lunch.  We skipped the tomatoes on the side, but in summer, fresh tomatoes in a salad would be yummy.

Tonight, we had pork tenderloin.  I think this was my favorite so far, but I’m a sucker for pork tenderloin.  But the pepper crust gave it a nice zing that was cut slightly by the sweet sauce.  It was a nice contrast.  One thing I noticed, though, was that I had to cook the pork almost twice as long as suggested.  It was nowhere near cooked when I checked it at the suggested time.  I cooked it for another 15 minutes and it was perfect except for one especially thick piece, which I left in for another 5 minutes or so.  The sauce, too, took longer to reduce than I expected.  They said five minutes.  It took 15.  Also, I left the shitakes out of the veggie stir fry because I didn’t have time to reconstitute them.  Plus, I don’t think the kids would have liked them.  The veggies were still tasty.

Overall, I’ve been enjoying making different things and the family is enjoying tasting them.  We seem to have food leftover at almost every meal, which can either be eaten for lunch or configured into another meal.  But, we’re not saving a huge amount of money this way, for sure.  I made a trip to the butcher, where the meat was actually quite cheap, but scallops were not.  The pork tenderloin I got from the grocery store this time, but will probably get from the farmer’s market guy next time, which means it will cost me more.  Most of the time, I’m a mess in the kitchen.  These meals are designed to cook fairly quickly, so everything is happening at once.  More than once, Mr. Geeky and the kids (who do the post-meal cleanup) have commented on the state of the kitchen after I have cooked.  I try.  I do, but I need to get better, I guess.

I hope to try to do these one at a time, so that I actually remember the meal better.  It seems like a nice way to end the evening.

Mistakes were made

The title is one of my favorite Bush quotes. I love passive voice. It lets us get away with all kinds of things. One of my professors, when explaining passive voice used the example of going out to dinner with his brother. When it came time to pay, his brother said, “My wallet was left in the car.” As if the wallet decided to stay in the car.

So, this evening mistakes were made. Tonight’s meal, Pork Roast with Three-Mushroom Ragout, was quite tasty despite the mistakes. First mistake, should have deboned the roast. Okay, before that, I should have checked the recipe more carefully to see that I needed only 1.75 pounds of meat and not the 6.5 pounds I ended up with. And I could have had the butcher debone it. What I need it one of these. But, I managed to cut a third of the roast off with a little help from Mr. Geeky. I froze the other two thirds and will do something else with it. Second mistake, wrong kind of crushed tomatoes. Got the kind with Italian Seasoning. Didn’t seem to matter that much, though. Third mistake, no cremini mushrooms. Fourth, no sundried tomatoes without oil. This is what I mean about ingredients. If the store I frequent doesn’t have these things, I’m not running all over creation to find them. I just added a few more shitaki and button mushrooms and lived with oil soaked tomatoes. Didn’t seem to affect it much. Fifth mistake. The timer didn’t set correctly (i.e. I failed to push the “start” button) and so, my noodles cooked a little longer than they should have. Still the meal was good and I would definitely eat it again.

The lessons? 1) Read the recipe carefully before going shopping. 2) Make do with what you have.

First Healthy Meal of the Year

Like many others, I’m hoping to get back to some healthier habits in the new year. To help with that, I went through the Cooking Light website and found some recipes I thought would work. They have a handy shopping list too, so that you can send your recipe to the shopping list and voila! instalist. Tonight’s meal was this broccoli and cheese soup. I also made a small salad. I think bread would have been a good addition as the meal didn’t feel quite filling enough. I’m always hestitant to have bread since I want to eat a lot of it and usually dripping with butter. The soup itself was really tasty, almost buttery. Even Geeky Girl claimed to like it a little, though she did eventually resort to a peanut butter sandwich. I cheated a little and used the full fat version of Velveeta because I couldn’t find the light version. That’s one thing that I always have to think about when choosing recipes–will I be able to find the ingredients? The stores around here are generally well stocked and there are plenty of specialty stores around as well, but I’m not one to galavant around town finding specialty ingredients for a regular meal. I did actually have my first conversation with a butcher that wasn’t just “I need two of those.” I’m actually thinking about finding a good butcher nearby (apologies to the vegetarians in the audience). I’m also thinking of joining a CSA, something I wanted to do last year, but thought of it too late in the season. I’m hoping for an adventurous food year!