- Low Country Boil - I did substitute Old Bay Seasoning instead of the Zatarains, but it turned out awesome. A big hit, and I’ll definitely do this again. I’ll adjust it to have fewer potatoes since the shrimp and sausage was the most popular part with us.
- I’ve done some repeats of other Pinterest recipes lately, including shrimp tacos, balsamic marinated steak, and salsa, and I’ll be making lemon cake for my birthday tomorrow.
- Stuffed shells - I was inspired to make this because of two pins I had on my board, but because I didn’t follow either recipe, I don’t think it’s fair to judge those recipes based on this batch. The shells themselves were fine - the filling was standard ricotta, egg, parsley and parmesan. In some I added in leftover Italian sausage (frozen after pizza night last week). They tasted a bit off I think because of the parsley - it was a bit old and tasted bitter. So, people, check the expiration dates on your dried spices! And also in your freezer - I was going to sneak in spinach to some of them but discovered my frozen spinach package expired 4 years ago. Whoops. Reminds me of this story from my Pantsfreesia blog. Grade: Sad trombone.
- Brief had leftover carnitas tacos. Still awesome!
- Leftover night! We finished off the carnitas pork for tacos, and also quesadillas. I also made some Balsamic Grilled Flank Steak as an alternative for taco filling since Brief had had the pork the night before. Grade: A.
Saturday, all day:
- We went out to Five Guys for dinner. As much as I enjoy cooking, I was tired of doing it.
Sunday, for dessert:
- Breakfast was at the Golden Corral (fancy!) for Father’s Day, and lunch will be on the go since Bloomer and I are traveling to West Georgia for a cookout at one of my BIL’s houses (with a pool!). Since we’re grilling out, I don’t have to cook dinner either, but did make a little something to take with us:
- Lemon Bliss Cake: This is from the King Arthur Flour blog, and they always have tasty looking recipes. I’ve made this cake several times before and it’s always awesome. The best part is the unwritten implied instructions at the end, when you cut the first slice and do a fist pump and yell “CAKE FROM SCRATCH, BITCHES!!” and then stuff your face. Grade: A+ for Awesome.
- Plans foiled by a fire at a gas station. Not one anyone in my family was near, but you know, a butterfly flaps it wings on the other side of the world, sets fire to a gas station and your dinner plans get ruined.
Tuesday, for breakfast:
- Homemade Egg McMuffin - Not rocket science, but a tasty start to the morning made with a real egg instead of egg substitute as the recipe calls for. After another try, I figured out how to make the round egg - we have a small microwaveable bowl the right size and shape that I cook the egg for 40 seconds on high, then flip it into the pan with the Canadian Bacon to finish cooking. Grade: A.
Tuesday, for dinner:
- Carnitas Tacos: I used the other part of the slow cooked pork from the barbecue last week to make these. I reduced the cumin from 1 tsp to 1/4 and it still was vaguely armpit-y. Apparently I just can’t put any cumin on things without feeling like I’ve bottled B.O. and poured it on my food. Despite that, the sauce was yummy and we’d eat this again. Good thing since there’s leftovers! Grade: A-.
- Southwestern Black Bean Salad: This was quite good, albeit the light sauce could have used some punching up (it’s olive oil and lime juice for the most part). I used this along with the carnitas pork in a corn tortilla and it was very tasty. I didn’t miss having cheese on my taco at all with all this flavor! I’ve got TONS of it left and will have it for lunch later in the week. Update: it tasted better on the second day when I had leftovers, so maybe just let it marinate a while and no punching up needed! Grade: A+.
Wednesday, for dinner:
- Marinated Grilled Chicken - I was planning another recipe that would have required having the oven on a lot and I was just warm already and couldn’t stand heating up the house. So I only had about 2 hours total to prep so I didn’t marinate as long as the recipe called for. The chicken came out great anyway, and I had all the ingredients on hand (even that armpitty cumin that I left out! In your face cumin!). Grade: A.
- Grilled Asparagus - This had a great flavor, but wasn’t as crunchy as I would have expected. I suspect that’s because I had to cook it in two batches so the first batch sat for a few minutes before eating. Regardless, it was very tasty and I would make it again. Grade: A-.
- Barbeque with Spicy Sauce - Grade: A. I did a Boston Butt in the crockpot on low for 10 hours (which is exactly how I used to make Zapper’s cat food, so she was excited and confused). To crisp it up a bit, I put the shredded pork on a broiler pan and stuck it in the broiler for 5 minutes after putting the sauce on it. I made the sauce from the Pinterest recipe because I’m still trying to figure out how to mimic the sauce at our local BBQ joint, which is awesome. This comes close but was a bit too sweet. I’ll cut the brown sugar back to 4 Tsp from 6 next time.
- Bacon Cheddar Pull Apart Bread - Grade: A. This was good, but I think next time I’ll shred the cheddar cheese and stuff it in. Alternately, I might try making a loaf of bread with the cheese and bacon mixed in, and just use the ranch butter to spread on it.
- No Sugar Fudgesicles - Grade: A. These came together quick and are very refreshing. You can definitely taste the banana and coconut in them, so it was a tad disarming at first. I think I was expecting true “Fudgesicle” flavor, but I quickly got over it.
Friday, for dinner:
- Leftovers! I cooked so much during the week everyone got to pick their favorite bit to eat again.
Sunday, for dinner:
- Baby Cheesus Bread and Pizza - Grade: A+. I’ve mentioned the Baby Cheesus Bread before, but this time I split the total dough into 4 portions to make 4 individual pizzas. Each kid (and adult) got to make their own up from a selection of sausage, pepperoni, and salami. My pizza resembled the Baby Cheesus Bread recipe (aka the cheese bread recipe in the link above), but everyone else’s was more traditional.
I struggle with my weight, and by “struggle” I mean “accept my largess and try to eat healthier but don’t stress about it too much”. Mostly I’d like more energy, but I have trouble giving up Coke. I’ve had success in substituting a cup of coffee in the morning for one of my two daily Cokes, but want to bring in more veggies and variety. So here’s what I tried this week from Pinterest the first part of this week (links go to my pin for the recipes). Part two, which will cover Thursday (barbeque!) and Friday (homemade pizza!), will go up on Saturday.
Sunday, for dinner:
- Balsamic Grilled Flank Steak - Grade: A+. This is the second time I’ve made this. The first time I didn’t have balsamic vinaigrette so I used soy sauce instead. Both came out good, so consider that a valid substitution, but I like the vinaigrette better. I served it with steamed broccoli.
Monday, for dinner:
- Grilled Marinated Pork Chops - Grade: A-. Olive oil, soy sauce, and lime juice are the main components. I would probably leave out the cumin next time (because it always smells like armpits despite my best efforts to like it). Despite the cumin, this was a very flavorful marinade that I would make again.
- Baked Kale Chips - Grade: A+. OMG YAY GREEN VEGGIES. My son loved this, and my daughter was a fan of crinkling them up for confetti. But still, getting one kid to eat a green vegetable? Total win. I made more later in the week for me during the day as a snack while I worked.
- Baked Squash Chips - Grade: B+. The main problem with these is that the squash has too much moisture to crisp up nicely with these directions, so they were disappointing. I was the only one to eat part of it, and they were disappointingly soggy after two minutes out of the oven. But fear not! I tried again later in the week… (to be revealed in part 2!)
Tuesday, daytime snack:
- Scottish Shortbread - Grade: A-. I couldn’t get my dough to score before baking without crumbling the top, so I just cut it right out of the oven without a problem. They are crumbly, but very rich and delicious. Also, I used regular salted butter and omitted the 1/2 tsp of salt, and the taste is still great. I’m still munching some on these during the week.
- I had a haircut so my husband made hot dogs for the kids for dinner. I was too full of shortbread to eat a hot dog. 🙂
Wednesday, for dinner:
- Shrimp Tacos - Grade: A-. We have tacos a lot, and I wasn’t sure if the kids would be game for shrimp only so I made some seasoned ground beef as well. These are simple to make and you can whip up yogurt dressing in advance (I will try to kick the flavor of the yogurt dressing up a bit in the future - it was blander than I expected). I was not a fan of the cabbage, and thought they tasted better with fresh lettuce, although I did prefer the corn tortillas to the flour ones I had for the kids. A pleasant surprise was the invention of the “surf and turf” taco my husband and son made. I ate all the leftovers Thursday for lunch.