Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meal Makeovers

Now that I'm the one cooking dinner every night, I find myself getting bored with the same meals every few weeks.  When we were little, we would ask Mom every night, "What's for dinner?"  She would always reply, "Poison."  I never understood her irritation or need for sarcasm, but I imagine it's because she was tired of answering obvious questions and equally tired of cooking the same meals.

Jesse and I have about 20 meals that we rotate through each month.  We create our menu every Sunday, make a list, and go grocery shopping for the week.  Inevitably, the in-laws bring us dinner or I end up staying for dinner with family, so those meals move over to the following week.    

To combat boredom, I decided to try a new main dish every week and to update some of our favorites.  So far I've made:

Chicken Tetrazzini--so easy and delicious.  The recipe made enough that we had plenty of leftovers for lunch.  It was just as good as the first night.

Shepherd's Pie--We didn't have all the ingredients (celery, fresh rosemary and thyme, or tomato paste), but our improvisation was still tasty.  Once again, the recipe made enough for leftovers.

Pot pie has been one of our fall/winter staples for a few years.  We normally use a can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken and mix in cooked chicken and frozen vegetables, then cover with pie crust.  While it's tasty enough, there's always the odd wrinkled lima bean and crunchy green bean from the frozen mix, along with an after taste of cream of chicken.  I tried this recipe and loved it!  I watched videos on how to make a roux.  The filling had a nice consistency and flavor. 

One of our easiest meals is baked potato and grilled chicken.  Those are two of my favorite things to eat, but even they get old.  Instead of baked potato I made these twice baked sweet potatoes.  Oh. My. Heavens.  They were so good.  How could they not be when you add brown sugar, cinnamon, and cream cheese?  They weren't overly sweet and they tasted light and delicious.  So worth the extra 15 minutes.

If you have any favorite dishes, feel free to share.  A little variety makes cooking less mundane. 

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