Friday, January 6, 2012

Mmmm Mmmm Good...

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I've cooked more this week than I have over the past year! That's an awful thing to admit, but it's honestly the truth. Hubby has done most of the cooking since we got married. The joke in the family is that I have said, from a young age, that I was going to marry someone that knew how to cook so I didn't have to learn. Well, I did, but I didn't marry him for that- it's just been an added bonus in my favor! But, I have been feeling increasingly bad about him doing all the cooking and me not sharing any of that duty. So, I promised myself, and hubby, that when I was done student teaching, I was going to cook for him- at least 3 times/week, which is 3 times/week more than I have been doing. So, first week into the new year, and I am going strong. Hopefully, I can keep up with it. It's very laborious for me, because I have to follow recipes to the "T" since I am new to cooking. I stink at substituting ingredients, and making meals based on what we already have. That, of course, would be more economical. But, I first pick recipes, than see what we have, and make a grocery list based on what we still need for those recipes for the week.

Originally for this week, I had picked 5 dinners to cook, but I began to feel overwhelmed about it because it was a long grocery list, a lot of new techniques, and I was just trying to do too much the first week. So, Hubby settled me down, and took on 2 dinners that he created. I picked 2 simple recipes, and 1 time intensive so that I could try something new, but not be stressed about cooking the first week of trying! I will admit that I love baking, and am more comfortable with that- especially with my favorite tried and true recipes that I always go to.

Beef Stew- Monday night
This was Monday night's dinner. I made beef stew because it is one of my most favorite things to eat. The hardest part about this was searing the meat because I wasn't sure if the meat would provide enough liquid to seer it, or if I needed to add some oil (like I said, I am new at this!). I opted for no oil, and I am glad I did. The meat produced enough "water" (if that's what it really is), to not burn the meat as it was searing. I am pretty comfortable with stews and soups because those are easy (in my opinion). And the best part is- it provided lunches for the whole week for hubby and myself!

Salmon Cakes
Salmon Cakes
Wednesday night was again my night to cook. This was the night that I chose to cook the challenging meal. As I have mentioned before, there is a set of cookbooks that I absolutely love. They all have different titles, but all are from DK Publishing. The one I used for Wednesday's recipe was call Quick Cook. As I have mentioned before, this cookbook series is filled with illustrations, which is my favorite part. I am such a visual learner/person, that these books make the food come alive to me, and makes me more comfortable to cook them. Wednesday, I made Salmon Cakes. The recipe in the book said 15minute prep time, but honestly, it took me more like an hour. That included cleaning up as I went. I used a ton of dishes and bowls to make these salmon cakes. But, they were delicious. The recipe said I would get 8 cakes, but I ended up getting 14- I guess I made them a bit smaller than the recipe said. We ate a total of 5, and I froze the rest (YAY for pre-made food!)

Cheese pizza- 1/2 whole wheat flour 1/2 all purpose flour 

Ricotta/Spinach pizza- 1/2 whole wheat flour 1/2 all purpose flour
Tonight, was my last night for the week! And guess what I made- PIZZA- a true favorite. I made two types- a ricotta/spinach pizza, and a cheese pizza. The dough is 1/2 all purpose flour, and 1/2 wheat flour. This recipe was from the same cookbook, but I altered the dough myself to make it a bit healthier.  Notice that in the picture, there is a bite missing? Hubby couldn't wait to eat, so he took a bite before I could photograph it! I have to say, that pizza is a favorite, but I am much more partial to fluffy crust, so I think my pizza crusts need a bit of work, or less wheat flour maybe? It was good, but not my favorite. This is a recipe that I want to work on until I find a happy medium. The recipe made 4 crusts, so again, I could freeze half of it! YAY for more pre-made/frozen food!

I have had 3 successful dinners this week. I am in the process of planning next week's dinners. This time, I am going to try to pick foods to make based on what ingredients we already have.

What are some of your favorite recipes?

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