Although my cooking skills have improved quite a bit, my available time has not increased by much. So my favorite go-to recipes are quick, easy, and often involve the crockpot or leftover rice. (Lest you think I'm joking, I eat leftover rice at least 5-6 times a week. I don't even care for freshly cooked rice; it needs to be refrigerated at least a day or so before it's any good.)
All that said, here are a few recipes I have tried in January and February (Food blogger I am not, obviously.):
---One of the unanimous favorite new dishes was a Chicken Stew from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate blog. It was simple, filling, and delicious served over rice (ha! But I'm serious.). The recipe makes a lot of stew, so it's perfect for leftovers or sharing. I used all the listed ingredients, but I made mine in the crockpot and added lima beans about an hour before it was ready to eat. The second time I made this recipe, I reduced the potatoes and onions just a bit. Verdict: delicious!
---I made my first baked oatmeal (this may have even been in December...I honestly can't remember), using this Blueberry Banana version from Budget Bytes (one of my favorite food blogs!). It turned out quite well, and it was nice to have breakfast waiting in the refrigerator for the week. I want to try the same recipe with strawberries next.
---We have been eating a lot more fish lately, but we are still struggling for a perfect method of cooking it. A trigger fish grilled on cedar planks was delicious, but we haven't been able to find trigger fish in awhile. J and I both love tilapia, but each time we have made it we felt pretty ambivalent about it. I came across a simple salmon recipe from Pioneer Woman and finally tried it one weekend when it was too rainy to grill as planned. It was okay and something I will likely play around with again in the future. It really was a very easy method, so that's a win.
---Inspired by strongblonde, I made Koren Beef a few weeks ago. It was a bit of a branch out for Jeremy, but he was a trooper. Actually, he ended up liking it quite a bit and declared the leftovers delicious as well (with rice, of course!). I was nearly out of soy sauce when I made this so it wasn't nearly as saucy as it should have been. I have a new bottle and can't wait to try again.
---Of all the beans I cook in the crock pot, I had not made white beans until Mandy shared her recipe for White Bean Chowder. I put a batch in the crockpot on a cold day and dreamed about warm beans and cornbread all day long. They were quite good, even with the meager ham bits I had on hand. Only one problem...I forget how much I dislike thyme until I put it on something! My enthusiasm was dimmed, but only slightly. I took a big bowl to my mom's to go with salmon patties and they were a hit. Next time, I will remember to leave out the thyme and experiment with a few different seasonings. : )
---Huntsville got a Chipotle restaurant not too long ago, and I fell in love with their burrito bowls. Since my chances to eat there will be rare, I played around and created a somewhat satisfactory replacement at home. My favorite combo so far is leftover brown rice (you're shocked, I know!) sprinkled with a bit of taco seasoning, black beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and shredded cheese. So, so good. I eat this several times a week for lunch when I have a batch of beans. (Canned beans work as well, but keep some of the liquid; it helps blend everything together.) This is also good with taco meat or Mexican-seasoned chicken.
---Finally, a creation that was a bit more fun. A friend at work shared the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Toast with me and I knew immediately that I would be trying it. I didn't measure anything, just combined a couple of spoonfuls of softened butter with sugar, cinnamon, and a drop of vanilla. Verdict: Absolutely delicious! It was a hit with all four of us. I have cut back on bread drastically, so on a whim, I tried the same spread on a whole wheat pita (I split it in half, then tore the pocket in half, leaving four very thin pieces of pita). YUM! I cook it at 350 for a few minutes, then turn over to broil. The pita gets crispy on the edges and retains a little bit of chewy texture in the middle, all covered in buttery cinnamon goodness. This is a new favorite treat for me and at about 150 calories per serving (half the full pita), it fits in my breakfast plan when I eat it with two boiled egg whites. I totally recommend that you try it.
Whew...that certainly felt long; maybe I am cooking more than I thought?
Any recommendations for my new recipes in March? (Come on, April, I know you have something for me!)