Friday, November 2, 2012

October Dinners

Garden Fresh Meatballs.  This is pretty flexible.  I typically use carrots vs. a yam.  And I have used GF flour vs. almond meal.  You can basically dump whatever vegetables you want in these.

Lemon Lentil Soup.  I really wanted to like this for multiple reasons......but I didn't.  There was an underlying bitterness (the turmeric perhaps?) that put me off.  I just couldn't bring myself to eat more than just one bowl of it.  That being said, I think I have issues with turmeric in general so, don't let me stop you from trying it yourself.

Crockpot Stroganoff.  This isn't my favorite way to cook stroganoff, but it certainly is the easiest and for what it is (a crockpot recipe), it is pretty good.  The ease of not having to brown the meat, etc. makes up for perhaps some lack of flavor.  I keep it in rotation for weeks when Mr. F. has to work late.

Hawiian Haystacks.  This is such a typical Mormon dish.  Think large church dinners where lots of people need to be fed on a budget.  Nostalgia galore, but not necessarily what I want to cook for dinner.  However, I came across this version which doesn't use any cream of crap and suddenly, it looked very appealing.  I quite enjoyed it, and Hawaiian Haystacks just might make a comeback. 

Southwestern Pizza.  I left out the adobo and the avocado sauce, but it was still really tasty.  I topped mine with lettuce and some cut-up avocado to make it a bit of a salad and to add some greens.  I will make this again.

Tomato Basil Soup.  A repeat from previous months.

Shepherd's Pie.  So, this version is no longer to be found on the Cooks Illustrated website.  I have a hard copy that I printed off a couple of years ago.  I think it is a shame because I really like this one, and I think the online version might be inferior.  I nix the beer and just add more broth.  The soy sauce and the added cream to the filling really punches up the flavor.  I don't really want to try any other versions.
Galicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens.  A regular around here.

Butternut Squash Risotto.  O.k.  I normally make a lot of changes to this recipe.  I always leave out the saffron (too expensive), the pancetta, and most of the time the white wine (adding more broth).  Despite all these changes, it is still a pretty good recipe.

Pork Souvlaki with tzatziki and GF Naan.  I end up broiling the pork skewers for about 6 minutes on each side.  The tzatziki I get from Smitten Kitchen and the GF Naan is from Artisinal Gluten Free Cooking.  The naan turned out pretty well and made good flat bread pizzas as leftovers.  This time around I also put the souvlaki over lettuce and used the tzatziki as a dressing of sorts.  

Hamburger Soup.  A family recipe. 

Pasta with Marinara Sauce.  The marinara wasn't the "best-ever."  I think it needed some more depth of flavor.  Some onions perhaps.  Next time I want a quick(er) marinara, I will try the Cooks Illustrated version.

Broccoli Soup and Chicken Parm Meatballs.  The soup is a family recipe: easy, familiar, and not at all special.  The chicken parm meatballs were o.k.  I used turkey and nixed the fennel seeds because I really dislike fennel.  However, I made a second batch with ground beef omitting the lemon zest and the fennel but keeping the rest the same and those were quite tasty.  So, that is what I will do in the future.

Creamy Chicken and Potatoes (crockpot).  I got this recipe from my sister and made it for the first time.  I cut up carrots vs. using bagged, used just dark meat (4 leg quarters) since we don't like the consistency of breast meat that has been cooked in the crockpot, and potato starch vs. corn starch since we don't use corn starch in these parts.  Again, pretty good for being a crockpot recipe (which means that the dishes tend to all start tasting the same).

Quiche Loraine with hashbrown crust.  I wanted to use the Smitten Kitchen recipe, but ended up not having sour cream.  So then I used the Simply Recipes version but using ham vs. bacon.  And just onions, no leeks.  All in all, it was really good.  Which is nice since I have had this aversion to quiches for a while now.  Finn loved this.  But then, he really loves ham. 

Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto.  When Deb posted this, I knew that I would have to make it as soon as I could get my hands on reliable broccoli.  (Read: not my local grocery store which sells broccoli that makes you want to weep.)  This was great.  Simple.  Tasty.  Involves Cream.  What more could you ask for? 

Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin.  This is really good.  Mr. F. always grumbles because it contains citrus and is not a desert or salad (his crazy food preferences!), but I cheerfully ignore him and keep putting it on the menu.

Veggie Burgers.  These were only o.k.  I don't think I will be making them again.  Although they were super easy to cook (compared to other veggie burgers), they ended up being dry, and I didn't love the flavors.  (Too much coriander, I think.)  They were salvageable by adding melted cheese and some sort of sauce.  I went with an avocado mashed in some sour cream.   

Enchilada Bake.  This is a classic weeknight dinner that one should have in one's arsenal.  Easy to throw together and tastes good.  Finn was in heaven because it has all of his favorite things: rice! cheese! beans! chicken!  However, the only green chile enchilada sauce that I could find that didn't contain corn starch or some sort of corn derivative was a super expensive variety at whole foods (Rick Bayless Frontera to be exact).  Mr. F. is allergic to corn, and honestly, I am glad to find an excuse to outlaw it from our diets.  If anyone knows of another brand that doesn't contain a lot of crap additives, please let me know in the comments.  For the chicken, I ended up poaching a couple of BS chicken breasts to shred since I didn't have any leftover chicken to use.

Phew.  Once again, I am a bit winded from typing all this up which makes me beg the question: is this even interesting to anyone?  I started it, because I would be interested in seeing what people ate on a monthly basis and get some meal ideas, but that is me.

Also, I think I am clueless as to how other people eat.  How does this compare?  Are these menus similar (in terms of effort, ingredients, etc.) to what you make at home?  Do you rely more on convenience items?  (Not really an option for us.)  Do you make more meals during a week?  Less?  I
normally plan 4-5 meals with the idea that there are a couple of nights where we eat leftovers.  (As well as eating leftovers for lunch).  Sometimes I come up short and Mr. F. has to make magic happen with whatever is left in the fridge and pantry.  (I love a man who can do that.)



MBC said...

It's interesting to me! I love knowing what other people are eating and getting ideas/food reviews. I usually plan 6 meals a week, but one meal is often omelets and fried potatoes or grilled cheese and soup. Frequently Steve is called upon to come up with something because I just don't feel up to anything or I didn't get around to making what I planned, although I do have a couple of freezer slow cooker meals on hand for those occasions, which are great if I decide early enough that that's the new dinner plan.

Melanie said...

Yes, I love these posts! I get pretty much all of my recipes from blogs these days.

I OD'ed on pasta during college and I just cannot get myself to eat pasta for more than one night every once in a blue moon...which cuts out a lot of quick and easy recipes. :(

Retail Worker #48721093 said...

I find it interesting. But I can't add much to the mix simply because I don't cook like this very often. And when I do (because it is just me) it ends up being dinner, then lunch, then dinner, and sometimes another lunch worth of food. :D

I will say that sometimes what you are cooking will inspire me to do something sorta/kinda like it depending on what I have at the moment.

I don't know if you ever looked up the cook book from that email I sent but you library might have it. 'Vegan Planet' by Robin Robertson. It does have a lot of soy/gluten product but I think some of the stew/chili recipes might be adaptable.

Janssen said...

I think Bart doesn't like tumeric too. Every time I make that soup, he's like "I LIKE it, but there is just . . . something that turns me off to this soup."

Ange said...



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