Monday, February 08, 2010

But I did find my kitchen!

Along with my new 2010 awakening – that I still cannot explain very well – has come my return to the kitchen.

It was necessary because I was getting terribly sick of hamburgers, tacos, pizza and spaghetti. Ok, so really I wasn’t getting sick of spaghetti… we make our own sauce every fall and it is mmm mmm mmm deliciouso! (Yes, I have been getting a little too much Dora though.) So maybe we could eat spaghetti every night and no one in the house would really balk, but truth be told I am starting to run low on the coveted frozen sauce and so we needed some other options.

In the summers I hardly ever cook. AB barbecues all the time. And while he has prided himself in the past at barbecuing all through the winter, this one has been a little more challenging. Everything is sopping freaking wet. Rain all the time. And it is really hard to barbecue with everything being wet.

AB has finally realized the virtues of my Ikea grill pan that he balked at me buying a few years ago. Truth be told I use it at least once a week and this winter so far, it has been more like 2-3 times a week. Apparently though it’s ok to use now that we have a gas stove because fire is involved. On the electric stove at the other house AB just called it cheating.

Gas stove – fire – grill pan ok.

My days at work lately have calmed to a dull roar enabling me to check a few recipe sites most days for a quick overview of anything delicious. And if it fits the right criteria for a weeknight dinner (under 45 minutes start to finish and reasonably kid friendly) then I print it up and run to the grocery store over lunch if need be. We are not only eating better this year so far, the kids are getting exposed to some different foods AND it is helpful on the budget since we aren’t saying, “let’s just order out” or “pick something up on the way home”.

So far this year we have had great success with:

Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel Make sure you put the chicken in a bag or cover it someway before pounding it to prevent flying raw chicken bits. (Weeknight meal)

Braised Chile-Spiced Short Ribs with Black Beans Delicious and holy cow rich. Weekend meal.

Roast Duck Breasts with Pomegranate-Chile Sauce So I just made the sauce, I had a whole duck to cook, so I did the duck using the recipe below.

Crisp Roast Duck The duck was amazing, even the kids liked it.

Lettuce Wraps with Ground Turkey filling Weeknight meal that IS going on the rotation.

Pork Chops – from AB’s newest BBQ cookbook. I swore I would never eat pork chops and he took this as a challenge and I have relented. I will only ever eat his pork chops.

Ham – I grew up a huge ham fan, but now give it an “eh”. Then a year or so ago we had ham at a friend’s house and I was renewed. It was delicious. And more over, the kids loved it. So I revisited ham in January as well. Now what to do with leftovers? I am thinking ham and bean soup... very soon.

And last but not least (that I recall right now) is Fusilli with Spicy Chicken Sausage, Tomato and Ricotta Cheese I actually didn’t care for this because the Aidell’s chicken sausauge I bought was too sweet, in my opinion. However, Hans really enjoyed it. If I made it again I would use a traditional sausage.

I ran to the grocery store today to fill in a few missing ingrediants for this week's dinner items:
Turkey Lettuce Wraps from above
Pioneer Woman's Italian Drip Beef
Pioneer Woman's Cajun Pasta
Jambalaya (from the Zatarains mix... hey I have to have it easy one night this week!)

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