Friday, April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

As I get older not only do Fridays seem to come more quickly, but also I find I am more tired by the time they arrive.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this, but somehow, every Friday, I am.  "Friday already?  Wow...that week went fast!  I am ready to sit (or snooze) on the couch!"  Pretty typical words falling out of my mouth this morning, and most Fridays.

On Saturday we did our meal planning and picked out a few new recipes to try. We didn't get around to all of them and we had mixed results.  2 were fine but by no means keepers.  Glad to keep you from wasting your time and energy on those lackluster dishes.  But two of the recipes earned keeper status, with one of them just blowing it out of the water!  The Lime Pork with Peppers & Onions was a massive hit, and was even delicious warmed up as lunch the next day!  Totally give this a try if it appeals to you - maybe even try it with chicken if you aren't too keen on pork.   And seriously...oven baked fries with parmesan and garlic salt?  That was almost a keeper without even actually making the recipe! Ha!

And I have a trick to cutting raw peppers.  Maybe you already know this one, but when my mom showed me a few years back I was amazed and LOVED it.  Now its the only way I prep peppers!  Watch the video and I'll show you how to do it!

I hope you had a good week, and I hope you find time to sit on your couch this weekend!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Lime Pork with Peppers & Onions
Parmesan Fries

Video Tip
Cutting Peppers (minimize waste)

Cutting Peppers - a great tip!

Lime Pork with Peppers & Onions

* 2 medium limes
* 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce (plus additional if needed)
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1/2 tsp dried thyme
* 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
* 1-1.5 lbs pork loin, cut into 1 inch cubes
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tsp brown sugar
* 2 medium onions, cut into chunky pieces
* 2 bell peppers (colors of your choosing) cut into chunky pieces

1. Finely zest both limes.  Then cut and juice the limes into a 1 or 2 cup measuring cup.  Add into the measuring cup the zest, soy sauce, garlic, oregano, thyme.  Add additional soy sauce to bring your total marinade mixture to 3/4 cup.  Mix well.
2. Pour 1/2 cup of the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag, then add the pork. and bay leaf.  Massage to combine and distribute the marinade.  Reserve the remaining marinade to use when cooking.  Refrigerate the pork for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. When ready to cook - drain the pork and discard the bay leaf and marinade. In a large non-stick skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the brown sugar and stir until bubbly.  Add the meat, cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until browned.  Reduce the heat, add the onions and peppers and reserved marinade.  Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and pork is cooked through. Serve!

Delicious! I marinated this overnight and then dinner swiftly came together!  Love that!  Liam, usually one of my pickier eaters, took one bit and asked if he could bring the leftovers to school for lunch!  His comment was followed by Ryan and Owen also thoroughly enjoying it!  Keeper status for sure!!! And I wrestled Liam for the leftovers...he got mostly the pork and I took mostly peppers and onions.  We were both happy!

One thing to note is too keep an eye on the pork while it cooks.  You don't want to cook it too long as pork has a tendency to get dried out. Remember...this is a QUICK dinner! It seemed very odd that it called for 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, but I included it and will continue to do in the future. I used one yellow and one orange pepper.  When preparing the peppers and onions keep them uniform in size so they cook in the same amount of time. Also - watch this video I prepared on a tip about how to cut your peppers!  It is one of my favorite cooking tricks I learned from my mom!

Parmesan Fries

* 1 egg white
* 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
* 1 tsp garlic salt
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 5-6 Yukon gold or russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges (peeled if desired)

1. Preheat over to 425 degrees.
2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add in the potato wedges (a few at a time) and mix to coat.
3. Place the wedges on a large greased cookie sheet and cook for 35 minutes.  Turn and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are your desired color.  Remove from the oven and serve!

These were voted keeper by everyone - even Finn!  Delicious!  I got 8 pieces from each potato I used (cut the potato in half, then in 4 pieces).  I did peel my potatoes before cooking, but maybe next time I will leave the skin on!

Friday, April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018

Well hello!  It's been a really long time!  I have continued to cook, try new recipes, repeat our tried and true favorites, but so much has changed since I last wrote.  July 4, 2015 was the date of my last post.  Since the last post I have had another baby (who is now almost 2!), started a new career (I am in my 3rd year of teaching), and, well, actually, I guess that's it.  But seriously - those are two massive changes!  Do we really need anything else? Life got so busy and hectic something had to move off my plate and the only thing that seemed flexible was blogging.  I took a prolonged hiatus, but now I am back.

It is funny to post here in April.  My first post was April 7, 2011.  I started this blog over spring break years ago because I was feeling like we were in such a rut at dinner.  Tacos, spaghetti, chicken...we liked dinner but we were definitely a bit bored.  That spring break week I tried a new dinner recipe every night in an effort to see what else was out there.  I had two criteria: the recipe couldn't be too complicated and it had to get at least 3 thumbs up at the dinner table.  It was okay if not everyone liked it, but the majority of us had to love it.  Over time we have had lots of great dishes, but only the true keepers ended up here.  And while I haven't posted to this blog over the last few years, we have definitely consulted it regularly!  We still have family dinner every single night - all 6 of us sit down together.  We talk about the highs and lows of the day, we laugh, we share our time together.  It is so important to our family and often it is my highlight of the day.  Seeing how our kids interact and truly enjoy being together is such a gift and blessing.

Enough of the reminiscing already and let's get back to the recipes.  This week I only have one new keeper - Chili Lime Oven Roasted Salmon.  We love this preparation for salmon!  I am lucky to have kids that enjoy salmon, and we have it a few different ways, but found that even salmon was falling into the boring category.  But this recipe is fantastic.  Based on a recipe from a cookbook Ryan got when he graduated and moved into his own apartment this recipe is definitely a keeper!  We served it to a friend that was over for dinner not knowing he didn't like fish - and then he emailed and asked me for the recipe!  You totally have to give this one a try!

Happy cooking!

New Recipe
Chili Lime Oven Roasted Salmon

Chili Lime Oven Roasted Salmon

* 3 tbs butter
* 1 shallot, minced
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 2 tsp chili powder
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* dash cayenne pepper (optional)
* 1 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
* 1 lime, sliced thin
* 1 - 1.5 lbs salmon cut into serving size pieces

1. Heat oven to 450 F
2. In a small pan cook the butter, shallot, chili powder, garlic, cayenne (if using) and salt over medium high heat, about 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and mix in the cilantro.
3. Lay the salmon in a greased 9 x 11 Pyrex dish or on a foil lined baking sheet. Distribute the shallot mixture over the salmon. Lay thin slices of lime on the salmon.
4. Cook the salmon about 14 minutes in the oven. Serve!

Most of my family loves salmon, and even those who don't request it for dinner on a regular basis don't complain when it is on the weekly meal plan.  So this was easily voted a keeper, and it is a quick recipe that you can absolutely throw together on a busy weeknight. What truly solidified it's keeper status, however, was the fact that I served it to a friend who was visiting for dinner.  He enjoyed it so much that he emailed and asked for the recipe, and in the same message he admitted to not really enjoying salmon!  Now he wants to cook this recipe and introduce it to his family!  Well that sounds deserving of keeper status for sure!  

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4, 2015

Happy July 4th!!! Wow - where is the summer going?  It is rushing by like sand through my fingers; yikes!  But we are immensely enjoying the summer so far, and have many more fun plans ahead of us still to go.  We had a family wedding on the lake, swimming lessons, lacrosse tournaments, tennis games, sleep-overs, fire-pit nights, bike rides.  What's not to love about the summer?

Summer meals have been mostly grilled, so we haven't had too many opportunities to try out lots of new dishes.  But there have been a few keepers so I've finally found the time to archive them here.  Is your garden bursting with zucchini and tomatoes?  If so - try spiralized zucchini and tomatoes.  Is your sweet tooth looking for something other than summer popsicles and ice cream?  If so - try white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies or cookies and cream Rice Krispy treats.  Feeling like mixing Italian and Mexican food?  If so  - try tex/mex lasagna

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Sprialized zucchini and grape tomatoes
White chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
Cookies and cream Rice Krispy treats
Tex/Mex lasagna