Friday, August 14, 2015

#1502 Foodie Friday: three new meals and one dessert

I was going to write four new recipes, but I don't really write many recipes here. I like to tell you about what I made and share the link with you, but I mostly won't actually write the recipe. I did write the recipe last time for shrimp and noodles, but I've been making that for so long that I don't remember where I got the recipe in the first place.

Anyway...where was I?

Oh yeah - four new things! In the past couple of weeks, I have tried out four new recipes on my family. There were mixed reviews on a couple of the recipes, but I'm thinking about ways to make the so-so ones better according to our taste buds.

What I have been doing is on Saturday morning I sit here at my computer and I look at my Food Wonderful Food board on Pinterest. If I see something that looks good, I will pin it again to my Make It This Week board, then I'll write down the ingredients that I need to pick up from the grocery store, so I am planning a menu and making my grocery list at the same time. There are some standard recipes that I can always fall back on (tacos, spaghetti, various chicken dishes) but I like to try out new recipes, too. My goal is to cook about three times a week. The nights when I go to the gym are fend-for-yourself nights. Lately I have been planning my cooking and gym times around the nights when T is at home.

There's the background, so let me tell you about the meals I made:

Pic is from the original blog post

One Sunday I made crock pot beef curry. The photo is what got me. The meat looked so tender and the gravy looked so succulent and is that a chunk of sweet potato? I've never cooked anything with curry before. I bought some green curry powder at Trader Joe's especially for this dish. MT and I were the only ones who ate it; T was out that night and didn't seem too interested. How did we like it? We thought it was super delicious. I took it for lunch a couple of times that week. It tasted even better, as most stews do, the next day and the day after that. The meat was tender and flavorful. I added an onion because I basically put onion and garlic in everything. One thing that I would do differently is that I cut the carrot and sweet potato pieces too big. I will do a better job with that next time because there will certainly be a next time. The curry flavor was good. Different than anything I've had because I haven't had a lot of experience with it, and it was tasty. The gravy/sauce was succulent from the tomatoes and the coconut milk and all the spices. I served it over brown rice. It was filling but I didn't feel any kind of remorse or regret (like I did from another recipe I made that week). Yum yum!

Since I had some shrimp left over from the last time I made shrimp and noodles, I decided to try a different take on the shrimp and noodles with a recipe called Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta. The bottom line with this dish was that it was extremely spicy. Poor MT couldn't finish his bowl of it. I liked it, but I like spicy stuff. T powered it down, but we both needed big glasses of milk to put out the fire. I may try this recipe again, but next time I will add EITHER sriracha OR red pepper flakes, but not both. I don't know, though. MT told me flat out that he didn't really care for the dish. I don't know if he'd be willing to give it another try even if I toned down the spice. His words may have been, "I just like our regular shrimp and noodles." Poor dude was hitting the Tums that night. There were some leftovers which I took for lunch a day later and I did think it was pretty good. Maybe not for my family, though.

The third main dish I tried in the past couple of weeks is Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken.  I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken and again, the picture looked good, so why not try it. One thing do these bloggers get their food to look so good? The photos I take of food never come out well. I cannot make the food look pretty and appetizing in a photo. I'm sure it has something to do with good lighting and other stuff. That's why I'm showing you their photos. I don't even really bother to take pictures of my food. It just doesn't work out well. 

I digress.

MT and T both liked this recipe, but I didn't love it. I don't think I did a very good job with the sauce. For one thing, I didn't drain the chicken from it's marinade, like the recipe said I should. I just dumped it all in the pan and cooked it, then I removed the chicken, but there was still some of the soy sauce based marinade in the pan and I cooked the honey lemon sauce in with the marinade. So that's my bad. Even so, I didn't really care for the marinade itself. I think I might like to dust the chicken with a little flour and saute it, then put it in the honey lemon sauce. I think that would be delicious! I really like the honey lemon sauce. I also think that adding shredded carrots and maybe even some sugar snap peas would make this dish extra tasty. Everything came together really quickly and it was easy to make. I'll try this one again, with my modifications.

And what is life without dessert? I have a whole separate Pinterest board for desserts which is simply called Food - Sweets. I should come up with a better name for that board.

I wanted to pick a treat that had some chocolate because the boys love chocolate, but also a little something else that would be different and good. I picked Toffee Chocolate Bars. These bars pretty much have it all for me: a rich buttery crust, a layer of sweetened condensed milk that gets all caramel-y when you add some butter to it and let it simmer and thicken, and a rich layer of milk chocolate coated with toffee bits. I am embarrassed by how much of this treat I ate that weekend. MT was right there with me. The man whose usual praise is, "Yeah, that's not bad" was freaking out over these bars. I believe I heard him exclaim more than once, "Holy sh**! These things are f'n good!" (We are kind of potty-mouths around here, I'm sorry to say. It's hard to change our ways.) What would I change about this recipe? Not a blessed thing. They were perfectly delicious. I think I would limit my preparation of these bars to holidays, though. They are super-rich and too decadent to be just an ordinary weekend treat.

So there you go. I really had fun trying out these recipes, and if you feel so inclined, give one or two of them a try. I'm excited to see what I come up with when I look for a new recipe or two tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

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