Hey look! I cooked something! #1

For a variety of reasons including Jordan’s late school schedule I’ve made a “new school year” resolution to cook dinner more. This week was my first attempt. Anyone who knows me knows cooking is not something I enjoy or that I am very good at. It takes patience and a longer attention span than I am willing to give. My goal is to find easy, healthy, vegetarian recipes so that we don’t rely on fast food and take out during the week.

I want to share my successes and failures because everyone needs to new recipes! I’m taking pictures on my iphone with my kitchen and the food as is. I don’t know how cookbooks, food blogs, and pinterest make such photogenic food but I want to show what food actually looks like. I’m by no means a good photographer or cook. 

Here are my 1st attempts:

 

1. Veggie Enchiladas in Jalapeno Sour Cream Sauce. 

OMG! This was amazing! I used corn and black beans for the filling to add some protein but you can use any veggies you like. I cooked the beans, corn, pepper and onions up in my beloved electric skillet. The filling could use a little more flavor. I think next time I am going to but some smoked chipotle peppers in to give it a smokey flavor. The sauce is what really makes this dish! I used fat free sour cream and it was still super rich. It was a little time consuming and required a couple of pans but really wasn’t difficult and was totally worth it. 

enchiladas 

You can find the recipe here: http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/veggie-enchiladas-jalapeno-sour-cream-sauce/

Is this recipe a keeper? YES!!!! 

 

2. Garden Crock-pot Pasta: 

I think crock-pot cooking will be really convenient with the late nights Jordan will be in class. I have a cookbook of vegetarian crock-pot recipes and tried this new one. I combined one box of uncooked pasta with a jar of Prego tomato-basil pasta sauce, a can of stewed tomatoes, and a bag of frozen broccoli. The recipe called for squash too but I’m not a squash person. I mixed it up the night before then when I got home from work I put it in the crock-pot on high for 2 1/2 hrs. I went to work out and by the time I got back and cleaned up food was ready! I topped it with chopped up basil and feta cheese. It was a little mushier than I like but was pretty good. 

garden pasta 

Keeper? Not sure. It was simple to make but didn’t knock my socks off. 

 

3. Potatoes and Green Beans: 

Making this recipe I learned two things. First, I need recipes with clear directions. Second, I have no idea how to roast anything. The roasted garlic turned into charcoal. I chopped up some more and boiled it in with the green beans instead. I roasted (I guess) red potatoes covered in olive oil in the oven and boiled fresh green beans. I combined them in a serving bowl with chopped cilantro, green onion, and olive oil. It was a little bland so Jordan thought to add the left over feta cheese from the night before and that really made it! 

potatoes 

Original recipe here: http://theforestfeast.com/post/31462775464/potato-greenbean-salad

Keeper? Yes with some modifications. This dish really didn’t stand on its own as a dinner but would make a really good side dish at a picnic. I actually enjoyed it more when I ate the left overs cold for lunch the following day. 

4. Southwest Style Stuffed Pepper Mixture: 

Neither Jordan nor I like the actual pepper part of stuffed peppers. My grandma always made what she called “stuffed pepper mixture” so with a little creativity I was able to take the southwest stuffed pepper recipe from my crock-pot cookbook and put a spin on it. I cooked up four cups of white rice in the rice cooker. I had a bowl of corn, beans, red pepper and onion left over from the enchiladas. I heated those up in my amazing electric skillet along with a cut up green bell pepper, another onion,  and a tablespoon of chili powder. When the rice was done I added it, the veggies, a jar of salsa and 2-3 cups of Mexican cheese blend into the crock-pot. I stirred them all together and let them get all melty in the crock-pot for a little while. I served with a dollop of fat-free sour cream on the top.

stuffed pepper rice  

Keeper: Yes! It was pretty tasty and a great way to use up leftover ingredients!

 

What I learned this week: One thing that helped meal planning was making some dishes with the same perishable ingredients.  We tend to let things like fresh herbs and veggies go bad because you have to by a bunch as opposed to the amount that you need. I knew I needed a little bit of cilantro for the enchiladas so I found another recipe that would use the rest. I knew the green onions would go bad so I threw the little bit I had left in with the potatoes. This kept things from being wasted since one of the goals of this experiment is to save some money. 

Bonus recipe: Goat cheese and apricot preserves on Italian bread makes a really tasty sandwich. You can put slices of pear on it too. 

 

 

 

 

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